Alice, a project co-ordinator at Northumberland Uni and Dan who works at Derwent Walk chose Hallington Mill for their outdoor tipi wedding.  The pair share a love of the great outdoors, exploring new places and enjoying new adventures together, their fun filled tipi wedding reflected this and they enjoyed a fabulously laid back and informal wedding day last September…despite some somewhat biblical rainfall!!!

Alice has kindly helped with our real wedding blogs this month, read on as she shares her wedding story with some brilliant tipis for those in the throws of wedding planning!


How did you both meet?

We were both working at Handmade Burger Co in the metro centre in 2013. Dan was kitchen manager and I worked FOH. We didn’t talk that much for about 6 months until we went on a staff night out and ended up playing pool and talking till 6am. Then it went from there, he was round my house every other day and we moved in together after 6 months.


How did you get engaged?

We were up visiting friends and family in Consett for New Year, and we’d been to a house party at Mitch’s the night before. I was VERY hungover, and Dan convinced me to go for a walk with Mitch and his dog Jackson the next day along Derwent Reservoir. About halfway round he asked Mitch to take a photo of us, and he got down on one knee. I was so hungover that I can’t remember a thing he said, I just know that I said yes. It wasn’t even a decision; it was obvious we were heading towards marriage from the early days. We then got a KFC and called friends and family. Romantic!

What made you decide on an outdoor wedding?

We always said we just wanted a big party with all our family and mates. We didn’t want a strict timeline of things to do and a big sit-down meal. We really just wanted a scaled-up version of having people round for a BBQ or a get together. Because of that we immediately discarded the idea of hotel or package weddings. We didn’t want a lot of the things that came with that. So, we focussed on barns and tipis, so that we could have a view and really make the most of the beauty of Northumbria.


How did you find Special Event Tipis?

It’s so long ago now but I think once we were halfway sure that we were looking at a tipi, we just googled ‘north east tipis’ and emailed a few to get quotes. I chose Special Event Tipis from the emails and calls that I got back, I could tell immediately that we’d be in safe, honest hands. They helped me get the package I wanted within our budget, and made sure that we’d thought of the basics such as toilets and generators. Things that we’d have had no clue about otherwise.


Why did you choose your venue?

We visited a few places when we were looking for a venue. Some with barns and some that would need a tipi. When we visited Hallington and walked through the woods towards our field, we both gave each other a ‘this one’ smile. It was the perfect amount of wild that we could make our own. Also, the house was so beautiful that I wanted to move in. Rob was the perfect combination of professional and warm, he let us know that they didn’t really get involved in the weddings, but in a nice and relaxed way.

What season did you choose and why?

Late Summer/Autumn. Autumn is my favourite season, but I didn’t want a really cold wedding, so it’s a thin line in the UK obviously! I wanted yellows, oranges and browns, but not full scale pumpkin sort of autumn.


How many guests were there?



What vibe did you want to create for the day?

Just a relaxed get together, with a BBQ. We knew we would include some wedding bits like speeches and the first dance, but other than that, we wanted it to be as relaxed and chilled as possible. We just wanted everyone together, having a laugh.


What were the wedding colours?

Yellow, orange, browns and blue


How would you describe your theme and styling?

The theme that ended up coming about was beer and Bovril – I’m known for drinking lots of beer (lady lager) and Dan’s known for loving gravy. His dream meal is meat, tinned potatoes, and lots of gravy – he’s a simple man. Around that most of our decorations were brown beer bottles, amber jars, and vintage Bovril jars. My mum grew the flowers, and they were all spread out in bits, so it almost felt like part of the environment rather than decorations. Our big pieces of decoration were from reclamation yards, we had old wooden ladders, milk churns, a wheelbarrow, coal buckets. My dad then built the chandeliers. We wanted a wildflower and fairy light sort of display. So, using plumbing pipe and old bike wheels he created 2 masterpieces, which everyone got stuck in with decorating. I made everything else by hand- the napkins were just 30m of muslin dyed and cut up (thanks for the tip Special Event Tipis!), I did the table plan, order of the day and other wedding stationary things. I also did all the signs using cheap Ikea gold frames with pressed flowers (pressed by mum) and painting the front of them.

Did this wedding incorporate any special history, hobbies, or passions?

 I think one thing that came through unintentionally was my artistic side- I paint portraits and have done signage for other weddings in the past. I used my easel as decoration and painted all the signage. The other thing was my DIY side, my dad’s and electrician which had led to me having a passion for tools and DIY, even doing a short stint as a carpenter. Things like old ladders, the wheelbarrow etc being around gave a feeling for it being a DIY wedding.


Did you have a first dance?

 Talking heads- naïve melody. We wish we’d cut some of the into out because it’s very long and maybe practiced it at least a little.


What did everyone wear?

 Beautiful things! My dress was by Rembo styling, a clean cut boho dress designer. Dan wore a light blue tweed suit from house of Cavani. The boys wore miss matching blue suits (we didn’t want them all to spend money on new suits and we couldn’t afford to buy them all a new one). My bridesmaids wore beautiful orange dresses from coast, which we got in the sale 2 years ago for £35!


How did you feed and water your guests?

We hired the absolutely amazing gingernut catering. For ‘canapes’ we didn’t want people walking around offering tiny bits of food, so we got an unreal Spanish grazing table full of olives, meats and cheeses. For the main meal we had a BBQ with chicken, burgers, skewers, lamb and amazing veggie options, with mac and cheese, wedgies and salads etc too. We did a buffet type service so that everyone could get what they wanted and to avoid staf having to navigate the tables too much. For afters we had 2 cheesecakes from a bakery near our house, and a wedding cake that mum made. For night food we had chicken and lamb kebabs which I’m still craving to have again.

Drinks wise we did the reception drinks ourselves- we did 10l of white sangria and 10l of red sangria in big kilner tap jars, along with a wheelbarrow full of beer. We also hired Albert and Charlies bar who were amazing and did us personalised cocktails based on what we drink, which went down a treat. We also provided the prosecco for toasts, and table wine and water ourselves which saved us a lot of money, although the bar also offered amazing deals on that.


How did you entertain your guests?  Did anything fun or unusual happen on your wedding day?

 For the ceremony and reception, we had Phill, a friend of ours that we met at the open mic nights our local holds every Sunday. He’s unique and amazing, we love his vibes. I’ve included a video of him at the reception. For night time we had Ian from Icon Entertainment. He was so lovely and set up without us even noticing. He was an absolute pro.

Words of wisdom for our future brides and grooms?


  1. Don’t panic about weather, you WILL work it out and it WILL be fine. We had a lot of rain in the run up to the wedding and had to move all of our seating to one of the 2 tipis the day before the wedding, so that we could fit the bar and ceremony in the other tipi, as they were originally supposed to be outside.
  2. Listen to the experts- they’ve done this a lot more times than you.
  3. Invite people to help you set the tipi up and do all the decorating- it will introduce people to each other and feel really nice. We had people doing brew runs and beer runs, and making bacon buttys etc.
  4. Try to have a secondary decision maker- I had a few meltdowns because I was stressed about the never-ending rain, while trying to redesign the space and organise the changing bar and ceremony, all whilst people were asking me ‘where does this go, what am I doing with this, what’s this for’. It’s a lot to deal with, and if you’ve never set up a tipi before like most humans, they probably have as much of an idea as you do.
  5. Try to get the tipi etc done as early as you can. Just get it done so that you can relax and de-stress before the wedding. We ended up having to redesign a lot of things the day before the wedding because of the rain which meant that on the day the boys ended up still being in work mode rather than relaxed mode. Dan treated the whole day like a shift so that I wouldn’t have to do anything. I wish he could have relaxed a bit more on reflection.
  6. On the day- do you! As soon as the ceremony is done everyone you walk past will ask for a photo and grab you. It took me so long to do all that, that my bouquet died because I couldn’t find my jar of water for it to go in, and I got none of the Spanish grazing table. Say you’ll be back and take 10 minutes with your other half to decompress before you start again. Try to take 10 minutes every now and again throughout the night to be together. We don’t have many photos of us together throughout the day because we were so focused on pleasing everyone else.



Supplier shout out – who helped to make your day magical?


Photographer- Chelsea Cannar photography

Venue- Hallington Mill

Hair and Makeup- Cheryl Griffiths

Flowers- Northumbrian flowers

Catering- Gingernut catering

DJ- Icon Entertainment

Ceremony- Ross Hutchinson

Bar- Albert and Charlies

Music- Phill Richardson



Alice & Dan – Gallery – Special Event Tipis


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