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Getting your bars right for a successful Tipi, Teepee or Tepee wedding.

All you need to know to get your bars right first time in a tipi, teepee or tepee. I never know which spelling to use as I guess all 3 are correct, but lets just run with tipi for now.

Many people start off with the idea that they'll just put a bar in the corner and guests will help themselves. The reality is very few actually do this, or if they do, make it work. Why?

This will only ever work if the bar is there just to look good, for guests to help themselves to welcome drinks, but is useless to actually serve from. They or their guests may also spend the entire day stressing about re-stocking, topping up, running out of glasses, mess everywhere, ice etc. and then wish they'd never bothered. It's a story I've heard, but fortunately, many realise well in advance of the actual day. Often, they've not allocated anywhere near the space needed.

Location of bar:

Easily over-looked but very important. The bar should be situated at the opposite side of a tipi to the DJ, dance floor or band. If it’s next to it then guests will not hear and will find themselves shouting all night. The usual length of the bars will range from 10 to 18 feet depending upon the number of guests.

A fully stocked and functional bar will require enough space for a back bar, fridge/s, space for staff and the physical bar itself.

There are 3 main options for a fully stocked and served tipi bar:

Sloping sided bar: This is a small or giant hat tipi with sloping sides. The first 90cm can only be used for basic storage but otherwise is unusable space. The next 80 cm is used for fridges & back bar. 1.2 metres is required for staff to pass and open fridges etc. with the remaining 80 cm being taken up by the physical bars themselves. Total space required (depth) from edge of tipi is 3.7 metres. It is possible to fit a fire pit in (as it has to be in the centre of the tipi) but it is always very very close to the bar. It is advisable to locate the bar directly in front of an entrance zip so that the bar can be re-stocked without any guest disturbance.

Straight sided bar: (Extension canvas). A much better and popular choice. Instead of having sloping sides, the extension canvas creates additional useable space without taking up valuable tipi space. A fire pit works well and is a safe distance from the bar. The bar can be re-stocked easily as there is an opening behind avoiding guest disturbance.

Bar Tent: The ultimate bar space. This allows bars up to 18 feet across and is suitable for up to 300 guests. In addition to the bars, there is still plenty of space for guests to stand or sit and chat. Brides to be often worry about people staying in the tent all day and night but in reality no one stays more than a short time as there’s so much more to see and do in the other tipis. The bar tent can be integrated into the existing tipi structures or used as a stand-alone bar tent.

The logistics of guest drinks can prove a challenge. How much to provide? Where to store drinks in advance? Where to chill fizz or wine? When to serve? How to serve toast drinks? Glassware? Collection & glassware storage? Aargh!

Very few weddings have a free bar the whole day and most offer the usual reception, wine on tables & toast drinks as above. We can advise and help with every aspect and it's often far cheaper than you'd think.

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