Totally Tipi – Where down to earth meets out of this world

One of the biggest decisions you will make when planning a wedding is the venue… after the dress of course. This decision is so important because not only does everything logistically start to fall in place after the venue is booked, but also it sets the tone for the experience of the entire event.

An option that is becoming increasingly popular is the Giant Teepee. Originating from Norway, these inspiring structures are a pop up event space that captured my heart the minute I stepped in one. So much so I chose them for my own Wedding in 2013.

To say it was love at first sight sounds a bit dramatic but there really is something so captivating about a Teepee. The way the canvas blends so beautifully into its surroundings, the impressive size of the structure itself and beautiful way the Nordic beams strut out of the roof or sides when the canvas is peeled back. It’s a structure that really lends itself to a wedding because unlike a marquee it requires literally no dressing in order to make the space look and feel inviting or to create that Wow factor.

When we looked for a company to provide our Teepees we did our research and visited a number of open days. One of which was at Thwaite Mills. (Which would eventually be the venue for our Wedding) A small working watermill, hidden in the industrial area of Stourton, Leeds. The event was hosted by Jay and Laura of Totally Tipi. A small, family run business with only 2 Tipis at the time. The rather corporate hustle and bustle we’d seen at other open days was replaced here by a beautifully serene, exquisitely dressed hideaway. The Teepees nestled into opening in the nature reserve, surrounded by wild flora and fauna, with the sounds and sights of the old watermill as a stunning backdrop. We were greeted by Laura. Jay was busy stoking the fires, chatting with guests as he went by, his broad, friendly Yorkshire accent unmissable in such a quiet setting. Laura talked us through the spaces they worked with, how they fell in love with the Teepees much as we did, we learned about their family, they learned about ours… it was more like we were catching up with old friends than making a potential wedding venue booking.

See, that’s what makes Totally Tipi special. If you have read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I am all about service. Get it right and you can win over even the harshest critic. Jay and Laura not only get it right, they do so effortlessly. They get to know you so they can hold your hand when they need to and leave you free to express yourself and take control wherever you want. They are accommodating to the last detail and you can really tell that these structures are an extension of their family. So much so they pick their suppliers and staff as carefully as you would your closest friends. We loved them so much we invited them to our Wedding!

3 yrs later and their 2 Tipi’s have grown to 7 allowing them to cater to more regular events and unique formations. But Laura is keen to ensure they don’t outgrow their roots and forget what makes them special. For her its about having flexibility to cater to all event requirements but staying true to only agreeing to supply their spaces if it means they can give it the personal service and time that it needs to be Totally Tipi.

If you are thinking of a unique space for your wedding or event, I really can’t recommend the guys at Totally Tipi highly enough. Check out their website for more information or give Laura and Jay a call 0845 6805 209




Bibbity bobbity boo…

Everyone says they knew the minute they found ‘the one’. No, not their husband to be, for some that’s definitely not instantaneous, I’m talking about the perfect wedding dress. 

Many will admit to being so emotional they were brought to tears. To tears?! I am sure to many that seems a little OTT and perhaps even shallow. But finding the dress is about more than pattern and lace. 

Finding the right dress is about discovering a very special and sometimes totally secret version of you. The you, that little girl inside always dreamed you would become. The you that knocks your partner to be off their feet. The you that isn’t afraid to cry over a dress… 

You’ll try on many dresses, some will feel beautiful, some will entice you with their intricate lace work and jewels, some will make you feel very special indeed… But when the right dress and you appear together in the reflection something extraordinary happens. Suddenly the store around you disappears and is replaced by the adoring stares of your family and friends, your makeup and hair transforms before your eyes like your fairy godmother has just waved a magic wand and joyfully chimed ‘bibbity bobbity boo…’ You unknowingly stand on your tippy toes imagining they are adorned in the most spectacular glass slippers… For a moment the world stands still and you forget to breathe…

Yes finding the right dress is way more than shape or form, it’s more than a designer label or price tag, some say it’s the only outfit you will remember wearing your entire life…

Yes finding ‘the one’ is more than pattern or lace… It’s a little bit of magic. 

The future is full Eastern promise

There was a time, not so long ago, when I believed all of the innovation and trend setting in bridal haute couture was coming from Europe. In fact, I would have probably thought you mad if you were to suggest otherwise.

Then I started to create my pinterest boards of ‘Designers I like’ or ‘Fantasy collection’ and noticed a common theme… I appear to have a thing for Israeli designers!

In a country known as the start-up nation, the bridal industry has captured the world’s attention. There are super sexy designers such as Lihi Hod and Liz Martinez producing super stunning collections featuring both demure and daring cuts and styles, plus a unique sector of Haredi fashion designers. Serving the Ultra-Orthodox fashion world with designs specifically for secular women, designer Chana Marelus produces collections of modest designs that are no less spectacular! In fact they are pretty damn special!

The interesting take over of Israeli designers, including those in the Haredi sector is being attributed to several things. Firstly, times have changed. There is more acceptance of fashion and haute couture in Israeli culture nowadays. Religious fashionistas started opening their minds to international trends and incorporating them modestly to their style. More secular women have been inspired by the more recent return to modest trends on our catwalks and women in celebrity culture from Kate Moss to Michelle Obama.

This more modest trend can also be seen in the bridal gown field with closed cleavages and more demure silhouettes being seen on the runways of leading designers such as Ellie Saab, Oscar de la Renta, and Monique Lhuillier.

What I do find interesting, after researching the industry, is that Israeli women tend to rent their wedding dresses, often for considerably less than buying them. Which means they can afford a pricier haute couture gown for their big day.

This clearly affects the market giving the designers more permission to make design decisions that are not based on cost per unit. Does this mean the designers are often made of more expensive materials? More elaborate time intensive labour? I would assume so?

However in the rental space how does that affect the fit of the garment? Most brides here choose their dress and then spend the next 6 months trying to get it to fit just right. (Sometimes at the expense of a healthy diet!)

Whatever the reason, the one thing is for sure. There is a huge amount of talent coming from this nation and I definitely predict we will see more of these ladies collection’s appearing in our high-end boutiques over the next few years.