How to pull off a DIY wedding!

The bride & groom in silhouette against the tipi

DIY Weddings

So, you’re planning a DIY wedding? Well, I can tell you now… It’s going to be awesome. Fact!!

The great thing about DIY weddings is that they’re all different. Yes, they’re usually in a marquee or tipi on a field, but the overwhelming difference between a normal wedding and a DIY wedding, is you guys. Because you’ve got to do EVERYTHING(!), you’re in control and your wedding will end up being totally “you” on a plate. Completely different to everyone elses wedding. No one can tell you what to do… you can do what ever the hell you like!!! If you want dwarfs with painted faces serving cocktails and canapés, you can have it (we’ve seen it!!), or if you want your guests doing shots from a giant ice sculture, go for it. Now that’s a recipe for an awesome and unique wedding!!

You can also plan it at your own pace and do things in your own time. However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security thinking it’s the easy option. Don’t worry though, help is at hand (not that you asked for it…. but we’re going to stick our noses in anyway! Lol) Here’s a few pointers that we’ve picked up along the way to help you avoid the mistakes other people have made. Its totally up to you whether you to tell us to sod off – its totally cool if you do – we just thought we’d put together a ideas that might help!


Location, location, location!

Make sure people can actually get to the amazing place you’ve picked for your wedding (unless of course your wedding is an open-air wedding at the top of the mountain, in which case, we’ll all put our walking boots on and hike there with everyone else and have an amazing time). Even though you’re doing everything yourself I’m sure there’ll be a few things that you’ll book for your wedding that will require people to access the site. Boring things like toilets, generators, caterers and water supplies will need access at some point. That said, if there’s room for the marquee or tipi guys to get in, everyone else will be fine I’m sure, and if they can’t, just get them to park down the road in a next door field and tell them to walk. To be honest, parking away from the tipi is an awesome thing as we don’t end up with cars spoiling the view.

the tipi at The Lingholm Estate

Parking & Facilities

Have a think about parking. Having a big field is awesome and it might seem like there’s lots of space to park cars but think about how you want your wedding to look. Do you want cars parked where you can see them from inside the Tipi? Take a look at where the sun goes down in the evening and decide whether you really want cars parked there, spoiling your view of an epic sunset that’s begging for a photo.

If you haven’t got a spare field knocking around (who has, right?!), I’d say leave an area well out of the way to one side and get cars to park there.

I’m going to talk crap for a little bit here…. but hire a nice toilet! There are loads of options out there so you can rest assured that your guests can pee in luxury! Failing that, provide them with a bucket and sapde with a white ribbon on it! 🙂

Food & Drink!

We’ve all gotta eat right? So who’s doing the food? We’d highly recommend booking a catering company who specialise in outdoor events. Someone who could take the stress out of preparing and serving food on the day and most of all gives you and your guests a meal to remember. We’ve seen some incredible food services out there that will pretty much take your wedding to the next level! Imagine everyone outside, in the sun with a few beers, going from one street food van to another – it’s pretty epic and right on trend at the moment! If you google ‘local street food markets’, such as Bustler or Digbeth Dining Club, you can see lots of different street food vendors available for hire.

But, if you fancy doing it yourself, that’s totally cool… why not?! We’ve had some awesome weddings where guests have all been asked to bring cakes and food with them and even end up presenting it on the ‘gingham altar’ for a British Bake Off style judging – it’s a right laugh and can save you a few quid too!

If you decide against caterers and you’ve roped in a stack of “willing” volunteers to make your wedding food – nice one! Now, time to think sensibly… who’s actually going to prepare it and serve it on the day once you get back from the church/ceremony? Obviously, you can’t be there plating up all the food, not even if it’s simply a big platter of sandwiches. You’re kind of important as the bride and groom. You need to be out there, drinking champagne and looking fabulous. Plus we kinda need you for some photos! 🙂  Maybe get mum and dad  or the bridal party to do it….? Wrong!!! Please, please please don’t do that – you can guarantee they’ll head off just at the moment that they’re needed for some family photos and leave you all standing there waiting, wasting your wedding afternoon. We’ve seen it so many times…. the ushers and groomsmen run off after the church with your parents in tow to “make sure the food is ready” and we spend the next hour waiting for “the right time to do family photos when everyone is here”, when you’d much rather the have your photos done and out of the way and crack on with partying!!!

Honestly, there really is only one option… Hire a few support staff to come in and take care of your home prepared food. At least have them there while you’re at the church, making sure fizz & beers are ready to be served as soon as you arrive back at the reception. For what they cost, it’s 100% worth it – it means you can just enjoy your day knowing that side of things is taken care of. You may also need to hire chiller to keep the food cool and safe to eat, especially on warm summer days.  It also means there is someone there to clean up after you and make sure your beautifully decorated tipi looks amazing all afternoon, rather than having plates and half eaten food dotted around the place 🙂 Don’t even think about walking around with a bin bag cleaning up yourself…..hell no!!! 🙂

The same for your bar – Even if you’re putting on your own bar (which is awesome by the way!), have someone there who isn’t a guest to just look after it and make sure you don’t have to worry about it. Ask them to collect glasses and discard left over drinks, top up your beer buckets with ice and generally keep things clean and tidy. At my brother’s wedding, we had a bar, but as part of his stag do we went and brewed our own beer, and had that there on a keg for guests to help themselves. It was great! (highly recommend The Nutbrook Brewery for a completely customised home brewing experience – )

Here’s a few caterers we think do a great job!
Chris The Chef
The Rustic Crust
Paisley Flour Catering
Karen Rhodes

Barbecue wedding food at Hazel Gap barn


Music + Entertainment

Everyone loves a bit of music, right!? Splash out and entertain your guests during the day as well as the night. It creates an amazing atmosphere and you’ll really bring that festival vibe to your wedding.

Mansfield Avenue
Mango Acoustic Duo
The Distractions

How about something for guests to do in the evening to keep them entertained? Roasting marchmallows or s’mores on a camp fire, a mechanical bull, or even some giant jenga – so many options!!


 Plan ahead

It might seem obvious but make a plan. Make sure that not just you know whats happening, make sure someone you trust also knows. Ideally get someone independent (whether it’s the caterers or venue owners) to run the backstage part of the day for you and sit down with them and make sure they know exactly what you want, so either you or your friends and family don’t have to think about it on the day.


I know it’s hard as no one quite does it as good as you do, but you can’t do everything yourself. Give people jobs to do – nothing too taxing if you don’t think they can handle making 10,000 origami cranes, but at least make them do something so you don’t burn out and stress yourself out leading up to the wedding. You wanna make sure you enjoy the preparations as much as the day itself!


I hope that helps?


Don’t forget, we’re here to help, not just take photos – If you’ve hatched a cool plan, but are not sure if it”ll actually work, by all means run it past us. We’ve been to over 600 weddings now so we have seen sooooooo many things and know how to make a day successful, so feel free to bounce some ideas of us and we’ll happily guide you to make these ideas come to life and be totally amazing on your wedding day!


Failing that, Hannah makes an awesome wedding planner, so feel free to book her to run your day and we’ll have one of our super star assistants to photograph with me instead! 🙂

the beautiful tipi at night