Wedding at Tipi Spaces, Devon
Beneath the Blossom
Johanna and Michael's tipi wedding in a Devon orchard
Johanna and Michael first met at a street food market in London back in 2009. “A mutual friend introduced us and after a couple of friendly lunches, we started dating,” she says. 12 years later, Johanna was seven months pregnant with their second child when they became engaged while walking in Bampton.
“We were enjoying the views when he got down on one knee. But I thought he was tying his shoelace so crouched down with him to rest and he had to ask me to stand back up so he could propose!” laughs Johanna. “It took me so much by surprise I just burst into giggles!”
The couple rented a duo tipi from Tipi Spaces with an attached pagoda to accommodate the 150 guests attending their “local, low-key wedding” in an apple orchard across from their home in Bickleigh. “We had the ceremony amongst the blossoms, the wedding breakfast in a tipi and the evening dancing in the village hall,” says Johanna, who deliberately planned the wedding date to coincide with the apple trees blossoming. “We thought that would provide a beautiful, natural décor on the day,” she explains. “The white tipis created a lovely backdrop to the colourful decorations and gave lots of light in the day. They also created an atmospheric cosy feel in the evening once the fairy lights came on.”
Wearing a custom-made gown created from a lace top, chiffon and silk skirt, and a beaded belt, Johanna wed Michael during a humanist ceremony under the trees, which included a pagan handfasting and was followed by cake, bubbly and afternoon tea with garden games. A bouncy castle, face painting, treasure hunt, kids disco, dress-up basket and craft area entertained the 50 children at the wedding, while the adults enjoyed a quiz, a traditional Viking game and a competitive round of tug of war.
Supper in the tipi consisted of a medley of vegetarian Middle Eastern shared platters including Lebanese lentil ragout, tabbouleh and muhammara, and was followed by an orange blossom and cardamom Eton mess. The evening continued to treat guests’ taste buds with pizzas as the couple’s DJ friends took it in turns to play sets into the small hours.
“Having 50 kids at the wedding was a worry, and it felt like we were catering for two separate parties, but actually they made the atmosphere so relaxed, fun and colourful,” says Johanna while reflecting upon her and Michael’s day. “We also catered a breakfast followed by a walk the next morning, which allowed us to catch up with people that we hadn’t chatted to during the wedding day.”
With friends and family contributing towards everything from the flowers and the cake to Johanna’s headpiece, she recommends delegating wherever you can. “People tend to love getting involved and contributing to a festive occasion like a wedding – and it made all the difference,” she advises. “We also had two friends on hand to deal with all the logistics and queries that inevitably come up, which took the pressure off us and meant we could just enjoy the day.”
Photography Emma Stoner emmastonerweddings.com
Tipi Tipi Spaces tipispaces.co.uk
Dress Pirouette pirouettethecollection.com
Groom’s outfit – jacket Ted Baker tedbaker.com/uk jeans Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com
Flower girls’ outfits Coco Flower Girls etsy.com/uk/market/coco_flower_girls
Flowers Bluebells & Blossom bluebellsandblossom.co.uk