For more advice and tips from the lady herself, make sure you attend Cwtchfest! where Emma will be running a series of workshops.
Opting for a festival wedding is a chance to break away from traditional wedding venues and package prices. However, daunting logistical challenges can put couples off. I’ve worked in festival organisation for many years and here at Sylvie and Joan we have been combining our love of festivals and weddings since 2010. Here are my top tips for things to consider when planning a festival wedding.
A Festival Site Do you already have access to a possible site? If you are lucky enough to have a family home with a large garden or open land, or have a friend with fields and the necessary event permission,s then a festival wedding is a great option. Or maybe you have a favourite location in mind? Find out who is responsible for for the land and ask to discuss the possibilities. Many country estates or village halls will also have land, meadows or fields and may be open to hosting your event so explore your options.
There are more and more venues popping up offering festival-style weddings which can be a good option. Ask lots of questions and look into terms and conditions carefully – you don’t want to be disappointed with restrictions, corkage fees and obligatory packages if you were setting out to hold a festival wedding to avoid the industry norms.
Think carefully about how much outdoor space you will require. It isn’t just the size of your tipi or tent that you need to consider. Do you require enough space for a children’s tent, a chillout space, an outdoor stage, streetfood vendors and toilets?
Ensure you talk to the site owner and have a clear plan for site access and parking for both your festival guests and suppliers.
A Festival Tent There are so many wonderful options out there – tipis, yurts, domes and bigtops! Enquire with a few suppliers and compare guide prices. Go and visit the company and check out their tents at open days and events. Choose an experienced supplier that you can trust as this will be a hugely important aspect of your day.
Be realistic about your indoor space requirements and discuss them with your tent supplier. How many day guests will you have? Will there be extra evening guests? What sort of catering do you have in mind? Will you require extra space for buffet service, hog roasts BBQ or dessert tables? What sort of music are you having? Do you have enough room for a stage for your band and dance floor? Will your tent company supply tables and seating or will you need to hire these in?
Once you’ve chosen a supplier they should arrange and conduct a site visit to measure up, assess the site suitability and discuss ground characteristics with the site owner.
Remember that you will require hire of the land before and after your event – with your tent being constructed some time in the days preceding the event and taken down 1-2 days after. An exact day can not always be guaranteed as your tent company will keep a keen eye on weather forecasts and aim to set up or pack down at the most sensible time.
A Festival Theme Just like weddings, no two festivals are the same. Think about your festival style. Are you looking to create a relaxed rock ‘n’ roll music festival? A boho woodland festival? A colourful backyard carnival? Or maybe a beach party vibe? The possibilities are endless!
Festival Food There are so many great,innovative caterers out there and more and more marvellous festival-themed food vendors and bar companies! The only limit is your imagination, space and budget.
When talking to caterers and vendors, check they are experienced catering in outdoor locations. Will they be self sufficient on the day or do they require power, running water or the hire of a separate catering tent?
Festival Weather The unpredictable weather is often a worry for any bride and groom. There really is no use in fretting about the one aspect of your day which is out of your control. Instead take steps to ensure that despite what the skies have in store, your event can proceed without a hitch.
Think about shelter from both the sun and potential rain. This is another reason why ensuring that your tents are big enough is so important. Think about setting up some chill-out areas under canvas and know what your options are with buildings on your wedding site. If you’re hoping to have an outdoor ceremony always have a Plan B. A hamper of brollies always go down well with guests too.
Fire pits, blankets and heaters are all good options to keep your guests warm. Ensure that your invites and wedding website let your guests know that sensible footwear is advised and wellies are positively encouraged!
Festival Lighting – Your tent supplier can talk to you about options for lighting inside the tent and uplighting for the exterior of the structure and nearby trees. Also give thought to lighting any chill out area, pathways or outdoor loos.Plenty of festoon lighting, hurricane lamps, wax torches and firepits really add to your festival atmosphere.
Festival Power! Make a list of your power requirements as you go along in planning your day. You’re likely to need generators for a festival style wedding. If you keep a note of everything requiring power as you go along, the experts can ensure you get the right kind.
Festival Loos This is probably the one aspect of Glastonbury that no one wants to recreate on their wedding day! Ensure you hire enough toilets for guests. Talk to your site owner about whether there are any discreet areas you can situate your loos, signpost them well, light the way and ensure the pathway is safe for your guests.
A Festival Manager There’s no doubt that there can be logistical challenges to holding your own festival wedding. Consider consulting a professional planner or investing in an on-the-day co-ordination service. This will provide you with valuable help in the month leading up to your event and will give you, your friends and your family the freedom to enjoy your festival wedding without anxiety.