Tipis come to Shillingstone

Tipis had been ordered for this wedding.  They were huge!  The Oakleaf Marquee team who put them up were incredible, even moving them a little to make sure that they were in the perfect place. www.oakleafmarquees.co.uk


Friday brought a great crowd of helpers and family to put the decorations in place.  They had been made by the bride to fit the Native American theme and to celebrate her surname.  They looked stunning.

Tables were laid and flowers put in place in jam-jars on each one. Some of the flowers were provided by Emma Vowles from Winterbourne Stickland, Dorset, who also created the bouquets, head-dresses and buttonholes. Friends supplied the rest of the flowers and most of the bracken from their blueberry farm just outside Wimborne - http://www.trehaneblueberrypyo.co.uk

A bar had been put in place by Oakleaf Marquees and this was stocked with wine that the couple had brought back from France as well as spirits and bottled beer.  Wheel barrows were put ready for ice the following day to keep the drinks cool.  They had also ordered beer on tap from Drop the Anker Brewery, specialists in Bespoke ales.  www.droptheanchorbrewery.co.uk The bar was manned by friends. 

In the field was a horsebox bar – www.littlebarco.com – which had arrived on Friday night.  The was used to serve fizz after the ceremony.  The girl who arranged this was a friend of the bride and came from Kent but seemed very happy to return to Dorset for other events.

The open entrance to the tipis held the table plan, the timings for the day and a box for cards and good wishes. So much pre-planning and making had taken place.

The back of the gazebo was festooned with a beautiful macramé hanging made by the bride.  Lanterns and candles were added to the in-house pots of white cosmos. The benches from the Tipis were set out ready for the ceremony next day.  The bride’s father had grown pots of bracken to place down the aisle.  He had also brought pots of shasta daisies which were scattered about by the entrance to the tipis.

Haybales were once again delivered from Vines Close Farm and these were arranged on the lawns and around the fire pit for extra seating.  We had put a shade sale up over one of the benches and the family had placed a garden gazebo over a “haybale sofa” on the lower lawn. They had made tables from pallets for drinks and candles. https://vinesclosefarm.com

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Campers who had stayed Friday night, either in their own tents or in one put up by New Forest Bell Tents - www.newforestbelltents.co.uk – came over to the tipis on Saturday morning to put the last decorations in place.  (see later photographs for one of the bell tent city)

The bride arrived with her father but no bridesmaids! They had left the house they had rented in Winterborne Houghton earlier than the bride.  The bride went into the house to see the registrars and the bridesmaids did arrive in time having taken a roundabout route. The bride looked stunning in a lace trimmed dress with flowing sleeves. On her hair she wore a wonderful coronet of bracken and flowers.

The bridal party left by the dining room doors and crossed the lawns to the gazebo.  Eight adult bridesmaids in pale grey dresses with sequinned tops, two small girls in white and the couple’s older son in grey trousers led the procession.

The piano player who had set up beside the gazebo started to play, the ceremony began, just a little later than planned. - https://www.pianoaccompanists.com/profile-chloe-inskip /Chloe Inskip - 07711 312253


And a truly beautiful, relaxed, family orientated ceremony it was.

Ceremony finished, the guests collected their glasses of fizz from the horsebox bar in the field and then explored the grounds or chatted with friends before gathering on the field for the first of the group photographs. Dan Watkiss took all the amazing photographs not marked with a dot which are in house.  His ones of the children and the totally natural close up photographs of the guests were truly fantastic but sadly not ones we can use on the website. https://www.watkissphotography.com

Just as he finished taking the group photograph and was beginning to put away the camera he had to start clicking away again as the best man got down on one knee and proposed to his partner!

The sun was incredibly hot and many people took refuge under the catalpa tree where we had also place a pram for a tiny guest.

The caterers, Nothing Pretentious, had set up their barbeque and salad tables earlier and they began serving delicious burgers – either meat or veggie – which guests collected from the chefs so that their burger was cooked as they wanted, before going on to choose salads etc.  I had a veggie burger which was made from sweet potato and was delicious - https://npcatering.co.uk
Later they set out a table laden with cheese and fruits of every sort and three layers of cake cooked by a friend. Laura had added her own home cooked chutneys, oils and pickles to the feast.

As the sun got lower in the sky and the light became better for photographs, Dan took a whole group photograph from an upstairs window. Just as he finished taking the photograph and was beginning to put away the camera he had to start clicking away again as the best man got down on one knee and proposed to his partner!

He then took the bride and groom off into the fields and gardens to take some beautiful informal photographs.

6pm brought speeches and then the band started up, two musicians and one singer and the party commenced!  They had come down from Manchester and played some wonderful music. They came through Encore Musicians - https://www.encoremusicians.com. The Bass Player was called Bo Lee - bolee@gmail.com

Oakleaf Marquees had provided speakers and a friend set up a disco which started to play at 9.30 and continued until the witching hour of Midnight when music has to stop.  The couple had arranged for a silent disco from for their friends so that they could continue to dance into the small hours.  I gather it was a huge success and amazing to watch! info@discomaniauk.com / www.discomaniauk.com

The tipis really came into their own at night when they glowed and the lights strung across their rooves lit up

We had moved the firepit to the field by the house as the grass was still green enough to be safe and some of the party stayed up, very quietly, until 5am!

The couple spent the night in our bell tent in the walled garden and only appeared very sleepily at about 11am.  Bacon then began to be cooked for brunch which smelt delicious.  The party continued with watching first the tennis and then the football on a large screen and many friends taking advantage of the amazing weather relaxing on the lawns.  Clear up was a bit of scrabble to get done at the end of the day!

It had been an amazing weekend.  The tipis, the weather, the number of guests camping and relaxing in the grounds gave the celebrations a wonderful festival feel.