Abi & Ben’s ‘To the Moon and Back’ Tipi Wedding

Written by Caitlin Hoare
‘The moon theme came from the phrase ‘to the moon and back’, which we often say to each other and has been the theme of many Valentine’s Day/Christmas cards over the years…’

Abi and Ben’s tipi wedding at Spirit Lake was all kinds of wonderful and featured a dreamy lakeside ceremony followed by reception drinks in the walled garden, cream canvas tipis, a fully vegetarian menu, curated gin bar, live band AND sparklers.

Their summer wedding styling is simply gorgeous, blending both classic and modern elements, the neutral white florals were paired with accents of shimmering gold, pink and neon. As well as the gorgeous moon theme, they also managed to tie in their mutual love of trapeze and reference the amazing flying trapeze rigs around the world that they have flown at together. Yes, really!

Notes from the Venue

Spirit Lake is a picturesque, 30-acre space nestled in the Surrey countryside that includes manicured gardens, two pristine lakes, a walled garden and magical woodlands, making it a glorious and idyllic setting for an outdoor wedding celebration, just like Abi and Ben’s.

They opted for three giant hat cream canvas tipis from Canvas & Light as their reception space and decorated them with tens of white paper lanterns which tussled in the breeze and looked fantastic. This was paired with a smaller nimbus tipi to offer a shaded chill out area to guests throughout the day, located on the water’s edge.

Abi says, “Our wedding day at Spirit Lake was absolutely perfect. The first decision we made while planning was to have an outdoor venue, so that we had total flexibility with vendors and other elements of the day. We loved that we were able to customize every aspect of the day and we are so grateful to all our vendors and family/friends who worked to make it happen!

“It was also important to us to provide a range of easy-accommodation options for our guests, so Spirit Lake was perfect with nearby hotels and on-site glamping and free camping.”

Abi and Ben had legally married on the Thursday at Leatherhead Registry Office. On their wedding day they held a wedding blessing ceremony overlooking one of the lakes at Spirit Lake. A string quartet played as guests arrived via the woodland path and white petals had been scattered along the aisle with small arrangements of flowers attached to chairs lining the aisle also. To finish the ceremony area a beautiful arch had been covered in foliage and large white roses, orchids and dahlias by Zuzanna of Bloomantic, this was the perfect focal point and backdrop to say their vows.

Abi wore a beautiful, low-backed, beaded lace gown from Made With Love with a floor-length veil. And let’s not forget the silver glitter Jimmy Choos!

“I had seen the dress on Instagram, before we were even engaged and thought it was beautiful. So when the proposal happened I knew that Made with Love would be a stop on the wedding dress hunt. In person, the dress was even more beautiful than online, covered in beaded vines that were perfectly suited to an outdoor wedding, with just the right amount of sparkle! I wasn’t expecting to feel comfortable in such a non-traditional dress but when I tried it on I knew immediately that it was the one”.

Later in the evening Abi changed into a tea-length, shimmery dress, chunky alice band and comfier shoes so that she could make the most of the dance floor.

Ben and his groomsmen all wore a two-piece black suit from Moss Bros with black velvet bow tie and the six bridesmaids wore strapless dresses of blush pink, ruched at the hip with high leg split.

Abi’s bouquet was bursting with large white roses, mini orchids, seasonal dahlias and stocks whereas her bridesmaids carried pared back bouquets of white roses and dahlias.

The ceremony was conducted by their dear friend, Marcus, who has known both Abi and Ben since they met. Readings were given by parents and a bespoke, dinosaur-inspired reading was given by their friend and flying trapeze instructor, James.

After the ceremony guests made their way to the walled garden for the drinks reception and nibbles served by their wedding caterer, Gastro. Abi and Ben had a few photos with their ushers and bridesmaids and then went for a walk around the grounds with Kirsty Mackenzie Photography to capture some couple shots, before joining their guests in the garden, who lined up for the all important confetti moment!

After a couple of hours enjoying drinks and mingling, guests were invited to take a seat in the tipis, which had been set up in a triangle formation. The dance floor and stage were located in the back tipi whilst the dining area stretched across the two front tipis, with space for the bar and indoor fireplace at one end. Coloured spotlights were set to pink to be in-keeping with their fun, evening colour scheme.

Abi and Ben added so many personal touches to their day with the moon being a key theme throughout. This was incorporated in the cake, a bespoke neon sign and large wooden crescent moon which was the perfect photo prop for the couple and guests alike.

The large wooden moon was in fact a surprise for Abi, organised by Ben and Little Wedding Warehouse. Abi had seen the large wooden moon online early in the wedding planning journey and had fallen in love. Unfortunately, it took them over their props budget so they decided not to hire it. But Ben contacted Little Wedding Warehouse to organise the moon and they were happy to work with him to keep it a secret, even going so far as to distract Abi on set-up-day so the moon could be wheeled into place!

On the tables were gold beaded charger plates, gold cutlery, white napkins and white tapered candles. Tables were named after the flying trapeze rigs around the world that Abi and Ben had flown at together, with the top table being, ‘High Fly Trapeze’, their current and favourite training rig. These table names and the seating plan were super stylish in clean white with letterpress gold foil type from Ink and Paper London.

Two photo walls near the dance floor captured the couple’s history to date and a table was set out with photos dedicated to those who sadly could not be part of the day which was a really lovely idea.

Abi and Ben are both vegetarian and wanted to make sure they could eat everything on their wedding day so their caterer, Gastro, provided a bespoke, delicious and fully vegetarian menu featuring a selection of sharing bowls / platters such as courgette, spelt and cumin fritters, baba ganoush and falafels with an array of delicious and world-inspired salads, breads and dips.

After the feast there was time to enjoy the outside a little more. Guests were later ushered in for Abi and Ben to cut their white, three-tiered cake by Claire Owen Cakes which was adorned with flowers and a moon on top, before they were whisked away for their couple portraits and guests were treated to four varieties of wood fired pizzas served from Gastro’s vintage horse trailer.

During this time the tipis had been switched to evening mode. Lights had been dimmed, a few tables had been packed away, the fire was lit and the marshmallows were out. The bespoke neon signs, ‘Till death do us party’ and ‘To the moon and back’ came into their own in the lower light. Abi popped off for a quick outfit change before she and Ben kicked off the dancing with their first dance to Lucky by Jason Mraz. The band kept everyone dancing with a short break to capture the beautiful sparkler images. The evening finished up with a switch to silent disco and guests partied on until the early hours.

When everyone was ready to retire they did so in their own glamping luxury because Abi and Ben had arranged for Victoria Lily Events to set up a curve of bell tents around the main lake – the perfect place and an incredibly beautiful setting to wake up to the following morning and reminisce about events the day before!


Venue Spirit Lake

Photography Kirsty Mackenzie Photography

Tipis Canvas & Light

On-the-Day Coordination Fiesta Fields

Catering + Bar Gastro

String Quartet Surrey String Ensemble

Band Jack Entertainment

Cake Claire Owen Cakes

Flowers Bloomantic

Film Mooncast Films

Bell Tents Victoria Lily Events

Hair + Makeup Lucia from Storme Makeup

Bride’s Dress Made With Love

Groom’s + Groomsmen’s Suits Moss Bros

Bridesmaids’ Dresses ASOS

Props Little Wedding Warehouse

On-the-day Stationery Ink and Paper London

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