Claire and David’s Autumn Big Chief Tipi Wedding 2016!

When we think of an Autumn wedding in the great outdoors, we envision warm colours, crisp leaves on the ground, the sun piercing through the clouds… and maybe the temperature dropping slightly!

Big Chief newlywed Claire set the standards with her DIY Wedding, hitting the nail on the head when presenting the most beautiful Autumn-themed wedding. It was jam-packed full of truly gorgeous oranges, browns, creams, and dark purples throughout their stunning decor, flowers and finishing touches! We’ve fallen in love with Claire and David’s wedding so much that we invited Claire to write a Guest Blog for us… and to inspire all of our newly engaged followers too!

Here’s what Claire had to say about her Big Day and all of their preparations…

“The best wedding ever, the best wedding yet, a wedding that no one will ever forget!” – Julia Donaldson, Playwriter & PerformermeliameliaphotoCo-287

The Proposal

There was nothing romantic about the proposal – we had been together 11 years and we agreed it was time to get married! We went to Fusion jewelers in Skipton, as we go there a lot and they sell the most beautiful antique rings. I chose a flower shaped diamond ring (I wanted something a bit different) which I love!


The Chosen Date

We chose the 8th October for our wedding – we both love the Autumn for the (usually!) nice weather and the gorgeous colours at that time of year.

The Wedding Venue

We knew we wanted to get married at our Parish church just across the road from us, as it is a beautiful building!



We viewed several venues and we decided they were a bit too formal and ‘weddingy’ for us – essentially we just wanted a big party, nothing that screamed ‘wedding!’ (and my pet hate in wedding photos is the fire exit sign in the building in pictures… there are lots of venues where this would happen!). That’s when we decided on the tipis, we loved the idea that we could do what we wanted with them, with no one telling us what we had to do! We stumbled across Big Chief Tipis and the rest is history!


The Wedding Reception

We wanted somewhere local for the reception so we didn’t have to travel far and thought Windy Harbour Farm Hotel, just up the road from us, would be perfect. They do lovely food and have stunning views and a big field to house the tipis! They were willing to do the food we wanted, which was traditional English Fish and Chips and Meat and Potato Pie, and Sticky Toffee Pudding and Ice Cream!



Our Tipi Setup

We had three Big Hats and one Baby Tipi – the entrance was at the front of the triangle formation of the three Big Hats, complete with Weatherproofing Kit and wooden entrance doors, while the Baby Tipi was attached via a tunnel at the back.


When you walked into the first Big Hat we had the lounge area, the bar and the fire pit to act as the drinks reception area. Then this opened out onto the other two Big Hats with the tables on one side, and the stage, dancefloor and disco ball at the other. The baby tipi led off here, with things to keep the children entertained such as games, colouring and Despicable Me on loop on the DVD player!



We chose Big Chief Tipis on the recommendation from our venue dresser, Bethany Sian, who had worked with them before. We found them more reasonably priced than some other tipi companies, and on visiting them on one of their open days, we were very impressed with the set up and how helpful everyone was. I must have sent around 50 emails in the run up to the wedding, and everything I needed was sorted out, they were great!

The Dress

I purchased my dress, a Maggie Sottero Milana in champagne, 6 years ago when I lost my mum and she left me some money. It was a fishtail gown with lace and lacy cap-sleeves – I deliberately didn’t look at any other dresses in the next 6 years so I wouldn’t change my mind about it! We had discussed getting married a while ago, hence my dress purchase!


The Suit

The men wore navy suits from Ted Baker, with a brown tweed waistcoat, orange socks and ties (to tie in with the colour theme of the wedding), and Loake brown brogues. The older bridesmaids wore a sequinned top and tulle skirt by Coast, and the little ones wore dresses from Ebay. I love the way we all matched!



Your Photographer

We chose Melia Melia photography for our wedding, as James had photographed my friend’s wedding a couple of years earlier, and we both got on really well with him. He has a relaxed style of photography, which we loved, so there weren’t many posed shots, which suited us! It was a lovely surprise to see the photos when they came back, and meant we could enjoy the day more as we didn’t spend half of it having photos taken!



Your Wedding Transport

We were undecided about getting a wedding car as we didn’t have far to travel, but we are so pleased we did! We used VW4 Weddings and hired a traditional Volkswagen campervan – the driver was so nice as he brought all the men over to church and then he stayed for a good while afterwards for photos. The camper was lovely, we wanted to keep it!



Your Bouquet

My bouquet was made by the very talented Folky Dokey, who also did my church flowers, buttonholes, hair flowers, bridesmaids bouquets and the birdcages and pumpkins in the tipis! Gez is amazing, and really understood my ideas when I went to her with the idea of an autumn themed wedding. All of the flowers are dried or preserved so they will last a long time, and they were just stunning!





Tipi Decor and Finishing Touches

I couldn’t have dressed my tipis without the help of Bethany Sian (event styling)! She saw my vision from the start, and over the 2 years of planning I was excited every time I sent her a new picture of something I’d made or bought! She was amazing, dressing the tipis with all of our props the whole day before and on the day of the wedding. She was easy to communicate with and I trusted her entirely with the dressing.

I sourced all of the props, or made them myself – copper spray paint was my best friend, and I spent a fortune in the local charity shops! As it was over 2 years, at no point did I feel I was rushing to get things made, it was such good fun and very enjoyable! Myself and my (very patient!) friends made between us 100m of bunting, 9 tablecloths, 72 tulle pom poms, 72 favours, handmade dried leaf confetti, 9 tree centerpieces, 72 cutlery holders, the table name cards, the photobooth frame to hold the photos and lots more – I feel a bit lost now its all over! The centerpieces were made from some old plant pots sprayed copper, with some twigs from a friends garden, and copper fairy lights and moss. They looked fab! I hung framed-doilies, covered lampshades in moss and collected lots of hurricane lamps, pine cones, leaves and conkers to scatter around to add to the Autumn feel. My dad lent us an old record player that we played 1940’s music on whilst we were eating, which sounded lovely!

I took my Polaroid camera and made tags with all of the guests names on a pegboard, so they could take a picture then peg it to the board with a message for us. It worked so well, I popped all the photos and messages in a book the day after and it was so good to read all the messages and look at all the funny pictures!

I hired a desk from Bethany Sian which I put all of my sweets on, which went down really well with all of the adults and kids!






The Wedding Cake

My bridesmaid made my wedding cake – 1 layer chocolate, 1 layer lemon, covered in a copper coloured buttercream – it was amazing! The lovely Elf made my needle felted decorations for the cake – my husband keeps hens, so we decided on a pair on top of the cake! I took her a picture and some feathers and she did a marvelous job recreating them, and also made some pumpkins, acorns and leaves to go around it. She is so talented!


Your Wedding Entertainment

We booked the Audiopimps for our wedding band – I went to school with the singer and I did a bit of research and they sounded great. They were so good and worth every penny (to those of you deciding between a DJ or a live band – go with the band, you won’t regret it!) – they had all the guests up dancing all night and sang some amazing songs; from Kings of Leon to the Proclaimers!


The Honeymoon

We went to the Royal York Hotel for our honeymoon for the weekend – it was so nice! We stayed in a suite which was amazing and they left us champagne and chocolates. We are going back this year for our anniversary… in the same room!

What was your favourite part of the day?

We didn’t have a favourite part of the day – it was all so good, we didn’t want it to end! Everything went perfectly and just as planned and the weather was great, I wish we could do it all over again!



Do you have any advice for our Big Chief Bride and Grooms?

My advice to anyone when planning their wedding is to do exactly what YOU want – we had no speeches, no first dance, and no cake cutting and you know what…No one missed them! We didn’t want the stress of worrying about speeches and dancing. We wanted a party rather than a wedding reception, which is what we had. The whole event was relaxed, fun, and flowed really well, no one was bored and everyone said it was the best wedding they had been to!”


We’d love to hear from you all, so if you’re a Big Chief Bride or Groom, and would love to shout about your Big Day, please send an email to our Marketing Assistant, Lizi Munro, and she will send over our Guest Blogger template! Don’t forget to include all of your favourite wedding photographs, and your photographers name.