Matt and Shannon’s one-of-a-kind celebration at Riverwood Estate was a beautiful recollection of their travels throughout the world. Our large kata tipis were the perfect choice for their Gold Coast wedding reception, awakening memories of African safaris and their adventures across India.
The couple turned their experiences into inspiration for their wedding decor, with glimpses of their travels throughout the tipis, including miniature African animals on the tables, safari prints, and even a Hippo and Giraffe cake topper!
Matt and Shannon brought personality to every aspect of their day, and the result was a unique wedding, a reflection of so many special moments they shared before they became husband and wife.
Tell us about the moment you and your partner first met? Matt and I met when we were both bridesmaid and groomsman for mutual friend’s wedding. About a year after this we were set up by the wedded couple.
How did you know a tipi wedding was for you? We both love to travel and explore the natural world and I wanted to incorporate elements of our travel together into our wedding. The tipi allowed my safari type theme to really come through. We did a lot of camping in Africa and also stayed in tent style accommodation in India.
What styling tips are a must for the tipis? Lights and flowers. Plus I strung up polaroid prints of photos from our travels together. I had a lot of comments from guests that they enjoyed looking at these. It made for a sentimental decoration that was something you can also keep. I was trying to be conscientious about how much waste my wedding created as well as the cost.
Did you have a budget in mind, and did you stick to it? Yes I did have a budget and the only thing that blew it out was the fact that my booked venue ended up being a nightmare to deal with and had to cancel 6 months from the wedding date. So the cost of the more expensive new venue due to limited options and the new need for accommodation meant that I went over the budget. Otherwise I would have been on track!
How do you describe your style and where did you find your inspiration? I can’t say I had one particular style, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted the day to reflect the memories that I had created with my husband and to be in the natural environment. I most definitely wanted a more relaxed party vibe than a formal wedding. The tipi was mainly our wet weather backup, but it also gave a safari feel. Fire pits, lanterns and directors chairs took me back to our time in India. Wine barrels to reflect our many vineyard tours. Safari animal figures and prints to reflect Africa (our all-time favourite adventure!). A mix of natives and roses in my bouquet represented the bush and vineyards. Hay bales and hessian to blend with the natural setting, but also to create a more casual feel. I also had a few sentimental items/ photos on the gift table that represented those nearest and dearest including my Dad who passed away several years ago. My cake topper of a hippo bride and a giraffe groom was made as a funny reference to some events that happened to us in Africa.
What was one of your favourite highlights from your wedding? The entire day was so wonderful. But it was such a great feeling to be finally married to the man I love and just be able to relax and enjoy everything. I also really enjoyed the special time spent with the bridal party getting photos and drinking champagne before the reception started.
Is there anything you would have done different, and if so what? I would have had my charger for my iPad at the venue! I had an acoustic solo artist playing for music and in his breaks I had created this massive song playlist on Spotify. But the iPad ran out of charge and then we had to just go with whatever random music the artist played from his collection. Was a bit disappointing because I had spent a lot of time putting that playlist together and all the music on it meant something to us. So don’t forget your chargers people!
Do you have any advice for other couples planning a tipi wedding? Try and coordinate a time to see a tipi that has been set up for someone else’s event. It really helped me conceptualise the size and space you have to work with and to plan what decorations would be suitable.
Oh, and most definitely use Gold Coast Tipis. Hannah was an absolute gem. She helped me find a new wedding venue when I thought I was in absolute dire straits, and nothing was ever too much trouble. Everything to do with the tipi setup was well coordinated and met expectations.
Venue: Riverwood Estate
Tipis: Gold Coast Tipis
Furnishings: Hampton event hire + Gold Coast Tipis, Director chairs, firepits and cushions bride’s own.
Arbour: Made by bride’s brother.
Photography: Studio Impressions
Catering: Red Pear Catering
Bar: Woody Bar, Luxury at Vintage Enterprises
Celebrant: Tarnya Bennett, I Do For You
Musician: Mick Danby
Florist: Ingrid at Florabunda
Cake: Cakes alousia
Dress: Anne Bertossi – Paddington Weddings
Hair: Aurum Bride
Make-up: Aurum Bride
Suits: Nick at Pinstripe Tailors