TIPI or SAILCLOTH - it's a controversial question!

by Owen Relfe

TIPI or SAILCLOTH - it's a controversial question!

If you are planning an outdoor wedding or event and are now debating which tent or marquee option is best for you, then let us help (we have had plenty of couples at our open weekends have this discussion). At Coastal Tents we specialise in the hire of giant Nordic Tipis and Aurora Sailcloth tents – stunning alternatives to traditional marquees! But which one should you go for? We get asked this question a lot and we’re pretty good at guiding you through the decision to help you make the right choice for your perfect day. We’ve put together this handy guide to help explain the differences.


Tipis are a fantastic choice for your event or wedding – they have a stunning rustic charm to them. They are frequently used by couples wanting to create a festival-style or boho wedding or for large events with many guests. Made from wooden poles and light-tan coloured canvas they blend beautifully with natural settings. Our tents can seat 30-300 guests, but many more if you are going for a more relaxed feel without a seated element to your day.

Here at Coastal Tents we use Tentipi Tents – they are the original Nordic tipi company, and the best. In fact we are the only provider of Tentipi in Dorset. Each tent has been made using the very best materials, making them the perfect choice for the great British weather. They provide shade on a sunny day, and shelter on a wet one - Tentipi even developed their very own bespoke material to make them as water resistant as possible! Not only that, but they are fire retardant too and can withstand high temperatures meaning they can house open fire pits so you can create a cosy atmosphere on a chilly day or into the evening.

The sides of the tipis can be raised, creating a light and airy feel to your celebration under cover – a great way of soaking up your outdoor setting and perfect on a warm day. It also means the tipis can be linked so we can configure large spaces for big celebrations. For cooler months, including winter weddings, the sides will be fixed down and we can add wooden doors for extra warmth and clear sidewalls to add light and floorspace.

When it comes to decorations, the choice is yours! Some people let these fabulous structures do all the talking and keep things simple, whilst others go all out with their own unique styling. We have lots of added extras for hire that can help enhance your tipi event – here are some of our favourites.

Lighting – adding lights really helps to set the tone of your event, especially as night falls. We have up-lighters that light the tips of the tipi making them glow at night, plus thousands of sparkly fairy lights to wrap around the poles and create a magical glimmer.

Fire Places – fireplaces add a warm and magical glow to our tipis and can create a fun, central socialising area. The tents are ventilated at the top to allow the smoke to escape but we offer a supply of smokeless logs!

Barrel bar – our bars made from beer barrels add some quirky character to your do. Use them for a DIY cocktail station or to house your evening cheeseboard!

Festoon ladder – use to hang lighting or add some colour with beautiful foliage or flowers.

Sailcloth Tents

Our Aurora Sailcloth marquees, very similar to Sperry tents, offer a sophisticated and more traditional look to your wedding or event. The translucent canopy (supported by wooden poles) makes for a light-filled space during the daytime and then glows beautifully when lit for the evening. They are classy and graceful and their beautiful curves and sculpted peaks fit into any setting bringing a real sense of timeless elegance. With options to seat up to 300 guests (or more if you aren’t planning a sit-down meal) they are perfect for both large and small gatherings. We are the longest sailcloth tent provider in the UK and really do know how to create the ‘wow factor’ with these beautiful structures.

If your chosen venue has stunning views, the sailcloth marquee will compliment this perfectly with its panoramic sides offering up a 360-degree view. One of the handy things about the sailcloth is that you can easily lower and raise the sides – so if a short summer shower is heading your way you can easily create full shelter. Or you may want to raise the sides to let some cool evening air in if your party’s getting off to a bang and things are getting hot and sweaty on the dance floor!

As with the tipis, these beautiful tents look stunning even if you keep things simple, but here are some ways to bring some added colour and character.

Lighting – our sailcloth lighting package comprises a festoon hung in the canopy and stylish lamps on the king poles to create a magical ambience.

Festoon walkway – shepherds crooks and matting create a clean, dry and smart pathway to lead guests to your magical party.

Lanterns – paper lanterns hung from the canopy of the sailcloth add colourful elegance.

Rope swing – our reclaimed wood swings can be dressed with floral arrangements or foliage.

Floral Crown – our 6ft steel rings are hung around the king poles for the real WOW factor and can be dressed with florals and/or foliage .

Whichever option you choose, these beautiful alternative outdoor structures will create an unforgettable wow-factor to your day. If you are still unsure then please give us a call on 01929 505005 or drop us an email at info@coastaltents.co.uk as we’ll be very happy to talk to you in more detail about the options and prices.

Coastal Tents Team xxx

Photo Credits - Tom & Lizzie Redman Tipi - Martha & the Meadow, Rosie Barrett Events, Virginia’s Vintage Hire, Fabulous Company Sailcloth - Melissa Rose Design, Switswoo, Allens Hire, Virginia’s Vintage Hire