A Vintage Tepee Wedding: Gemma & Giuseppe

There’s quite a story behind Gemma & Giuseppe’s gorgeous wedding, and one that I hope might ease any of you stressing about your wedding venue (I know Roo had a bit of a similar drama last month, she’ll be writing about it for you soon).

“Our reception took place in tepees, at Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge (who, p.s. were AMAZING)” Gemma explained. “We had always wanted a tepee party, but our original venue to pitch them fell through with just 8 days to go! Oatlands Park Hotel came to our rescue and then some. They turned everything around so brilliantly – nothing was a problem, and they accommodated everything from the tepees to my 100 vintage teacups for the arrival champagne. After it all went bottoms up, major panic ensued for approximately half a day before I gave myself a stern talking to and set to work! I have to say that despite all of the last minute worry, the day went like a dream, and it just goes to show that even the biggest disasters don’t mean that your special day is ruined!”

However there’s no telling that there was any drama when looking at their fabulous photographs from Robbins Photographic. ”We found photographer Lee over a year before our wedding, and as soon as we sat down for a coffee and a chat, we knew instantly that we’d met our photographer. Photography was one of the most important things for us. After all, it’s a record of your day and something you will look back at for years to come. To say we are both chuffed with the results is an understatement! Lee perfectly captured the fun and laid back vibe of our day (not to mention the fact that he totally got my personal hatred of anything posed to within an inch of its life, and/or the compulsory group shots!). From our ‘couple’ shots to all of the little DIY details, Lee covered it all and then some. Even our guests commented on how great he was (and that was before he won them over with his photobooth box of tricks!).”

Even though they didn’t have much time, the couple were able to really put their own stamp on their reception tepees, and even the ceremony was filled with personal touches. “I was determined to make sure that every detail of the wedding was ‘us’. Even though we chose a church ceremony (traditionally very formal), we made sure the atmosphere was relaxed and fun,” Gemma continued. “The vicar was more than happy for our string trio to play modern, well-known songs, to make sure the music was personal to us all the way through the ceremony. We also made 100 flags for our guests to wave when we walked back down the aisle as man and wife. I loved it! They were really easy to make – we bought some good quality stiff paper, a load of pop-cake sticks, and set to work with a few pairs of wavy-edged scissors and a hot glue gun!”

 ”Our party tepees were also littered with various bits and bobs we made ourselves. Giuseppe did a sterling job of making a job-lot of beards and red lips on sticks (which went down a storm with our guests by the looks of the photos!), my Dad made our seating plan frame out of polystyrene and gold spray paint, my Mum and I spent a whole day hand-painting lanterns from Ikea to make sure they went with our colour scheme, and I had a lovely old time thinking up all manner of ideas to transform the blank canvas of the tents. The list is pretty endless, but if you can manage to do it yourself you can create an atmosphere which is totally up your street for a lot less money than you think.”

“There were so many different themes or styles I loved, and I’m sure Giuseppe tore his hair out on more than one occassion every time I discovered something else or changed my mind! So in the end we had a little bit of everything that makes us ‘us’! Let’s be honest, our wedding was full of contradictions. We just threw everything into a big pot and gave it a good old stir…and thankfully it worked! I won’t lie, it was hard work. I was more of a hectic bride than a blushing one! But all of the little things we did were definitely worth it. Our main aim was to avoid having a traditional ‘do’, so we simply saw our wedding as the biggest celebration bash we would ever throw.”

The bride wore a stunning blush vintage wedding dress from Fur Coat No Knickers and some statement Beatrix Ong shoes. “I always knew that I’d end up with a vintage dress, and annoyingly I had visions of it being a champagne/blush coloured dress. Not easy when most dresses are either white or ivory! Amazingly, after only one week and two visits to the girls at Fur Coat No Knickers, I’d found my dress! I made quite a few changes to it – we added more tulle to make the skirt bigger, changed the neckine from straight to sweetheart, replaced the waist sash and added some silk flowers to the back. I also quickly discovered that a long veil just wasn’t me (I felt like I’d aged 100 years!), and that a birdcage veil was much more my style.”

“This was all no problem for the girls at FCNK, who sourced all manner of flowers, feathers, and vintage jewels to make various creations until we hit upon the right one! I’d recommend  Fur Coat No Knickers to anyone – the girls, Emma and Laura, are incredible, we always had a laugh when we went. They were both extremely helpful in coming up with ideas to fit in with my style, as well as totally understanding any changes I wanted to make to the dress. I was made to feel extremely special every time I stepped through the door, and my dress fittings became one of the most memorable occassions in my wedding prep history!”

Oh I just love it…Thank you so much to the super cool Gemma & Giuseppe and photographer Lee for sharing these today.

Supporting Cast:

Photography Credit: Robbins Photographic
Ceremony Venue: St Nicholas church, Chiswick
Reception Venue: Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge
Bride’s Dress: Fur Coat No Knickers
Bride’s Shoes: Beatrix Ong
Bride’s Headpiece: Fur Coat No Knickers
Groom’s Outfit: October House
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon & Coast
Cake: DIY
Flowers: DIY
DJ: The Wedding Smashers
Transport: The London Classic Bus Hire Company

17 comments

  1. What an amazing bride -to read her talk about how much love and respect she has for everyone who helped – incredible. And she looked amazing too! Now this is the kind of people that you want to be friends and just hang out with.

  2. ohh bride to bride question please! we are having teepees and have 180(ish!) guests coming. i adore the look of long tables instead of round tables but i was just wondering how many large teepee’s you had and was it 100guests? also.. in planning decor for the teepees.. how did you make sure all your ‘dimensions’ were right?! such silly questions but it’s the main thing that i keep thinking about!

    i love the whimsical sun flared shots of the couple, absolutely stunning!

  3. Gemma

    Thanks for all your lovely comments!
    Christine, we had 2 large tents to house our tables for approx 100 guests. We also had a smaller tent at the side, but we found we didn’t need to use that for the tables so it was used as a ‘chill out’ area, along with the bar and our photo booth. Finally, we had a separate large dance tent, which was not joined to the others but a hop, skip and a jump away across a small path!
    In terms of decor, I’m afraid it was a case of suck it and see! The only downside of a tepee wedding is that you can’t go and visit it whenever you get a new idea, unlike a normal venue! Space was quite tight, but it felt nicer that way as you don’t want to be rattling around in a cavernous tepee! Even though those things are huge, it still felt intimate. I guessed at most of our decor in terms of how much we would need, but if you have time I would highly recommend you go to as many of your tent company’s open days as you can, with your scrap book of ideas and a measuring tape. You might feel a bit of a wally (we crawled all over the place measuring up!) but do it!
    You’ll always find a way of fitting everything in, so don’t panic. Just be prepared to do a lot of re-jigging, table-shifting, and ladder climbing as soon as your tents go up!

  4. Gemma, thank you so much! This helps us so much and oh yes, we’ve already begun the measuring tape visits, haha so we will most definitely keep it up – I can’t wait for the teepees to be up and to start transforming them, how exciting!

    Again thank you loads, your wedding really was gorgeous!

  5. Emma

    My oh my I feel like you have made my dream wedding come to life, we are having a tepee wedding next August with a vintage afternoon tea. I would love to be able to speak to you for some inspiration! It looks absolutely stunning! Well done guys and congratulations! I never comment on ANYTHING online but you definitely have to be commended for your work there! Wow x

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