James and Gemma’s Pampas and Dried Flowers Tipi Wedding in Sussex by Phoebe Rossi 

Today I am sharing with you this delightful Sussex wedding, full of DIY charm. Gemma and James were married last summer and what a day they had for it, the sun shone and it was HOT! I remember the weekend well as we were in London for Dexter’s birthday and it was red hot! They decided on a tipi wedding so they could have a blank canvas to do what they wanted. They manged to keep the costs down by doing lots themselves and bringing in friends and family to help out. They filled their day with pampas grass and dried flowers, rustic touches and so much joy! The fabulous photos by  Phoebe Rossi just radiate happiness and love, what else could you wish for!

It was the perfect day celebrating with friends and family. Beautiful surroundings and a relaxed vibe.

Gemma and James were married on 24th June 2023 at Four Oaks Farm Hassocks in Sussex. ‘We looked at a couple of barn style venues but when we visited four oaks farm we fell in love with the beauty of the lake and surroundings. It also gave us a blank canvas to style how we wanted to style it! We had about 70 guests in the day and 140ish in the evening. The planning was on and off for about a year and a half.’

How they met 
We met at the pub we both used to work at. We have been together for 4 years now

The proposal
My husband is half Irish and we were over there to celebrate my birthday and new year. He took me to a beautiful restaurant overlooking the coast on my birthday. He then popped down on one knee and got out the most beautiful engagement ring. There was a lot of tears! It was perfect.

How did you allocate your budget?
We had a little money saved and decided to do a lot of the decorating etc ourselves to keep costs down. With the costs spread over the year we managed to pay bit by bit with no debt!

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Our biggest expense was the tipi. But it looked incredible and was well worth it! All of our decorations and flowers were done by us and family/friends. I also made our invites rather than buying them.

How did you choose your photographer?
I came across pheobe rossi whilst online searching. Her relaxed candid approach really spoke to me and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

The dress 
I actually got my dress from wed2be so saved money there. My now mother in law is a dab hand on the sewing machine and did all alterations I needed. The shoes were from ASOS, they were very comfortable for the short time I wore them…I ended up bare foot most of the day! I had a small dried flower hair piece that I found on Etsy, along with the bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids.

The suit and bridesmaids
The suit was from next, he wanted a lightish colour to fit the outdoor theme and managed to find a 3 piece about a month before the wedding date. The bridesmaid dresses were from silkFred.

Theme or colour scheme
Our theme/colour scheme was champagne/gold and greens with lots of pampas and dried flowers etc.

White and beige dried flowers with the occasional pop of bright coloured dried flowers. Using dried flowers meant I could organise the decoration months before without worry of flowers dying.

We had very simple decorations, tea lights, vases and mirrors along with leather sofas, quirky chairs and hay bails to the side of the tipi overlooking the lake.

We decided on a buffet style BBQ in the day. There were a choice of meats, salads and sides and everyone got up to get there own food. It worked really well. In the evening we got the best pizza truck ever. The amount of compliments on the pizza was insane!

Wedding cake
The wedding cake was made by my husband parents. A very natural looking 3 tier cake.it looked so professional and tasted delicious!

We had a live cover band in the evening

Who supplied the stationery?
We supplied basically everything!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We went to the Dominican republic in the Caribbean about 2 weeks after the wedding.

Personal touches
My husband made the arch for the ceremony, which I didn’t see until I was walking down the aisle. Simple but beautiful. We had elegant paper fans on the seats for people to use in the heat. We did also buy white umbrellas in case the English weather took a turn but we were very lucky.

Special moments 
I don’t think I have one particular highlight of the day. The whole day and evening was a dream. Our friends and family loved it just as much as us!

Advice for other couples
Do not overthink too much. At the end of the day you are marrying your person. Don’t lose sight of that to throw a lavish party. You don’t need money to make it the perfect day!

Biggest surprise 
No real surprises as I had planned basically all of it. I was a little worried that the older generations would not enjoy our boho, relaxed vibe as much but I couldn’t have been more wrong!



Supplier Shout Outs


Phoebe Rossi Photography

www.phoeberossiphotography.com / www.phoeberossiphotography.com/blog / 07808518008 / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / PINTEREST

I’m a documentary wedding photographer based in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. I have a natural approach to wedding photography, I try to blend in with the guests to capture loads of candid moments that tell a true story of the day. I love relaxed weddings where the couple just want everyone to have a fun day.


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