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  • Writer's pictureRosie Barrett

50th Birthday Tipi Party Full of Love, Colour and Light!

It was a huge pleasure to work with this couple! Jo and Rob Gambi are an incredible pair, he survived cancer to climb Everest and she became the first women to have climbed the 7 highest peaks in the world and nursed her very sick husband whilst waiting for air transport on the side of a mountain in Nepal before then climbing Everest together.

The call came from Owen at Coastal Tents, "Rosie, I think I've got one for you". I met Rob and Jo at their home in Lymington for a meeting that week and the fun began from there. It was clear although they had most things in place the party needed a little help to pull it together and with both Rob and Jo away a lot in the lead up they needed someone like me to step in and help! We worked through everything they already had in place and talked at length about how they wanted this to be a real celebration.

Coastal Tents were supplying their beautiful Tipis and putting in all the services so I didn't need to worry about any of that side of things with Owen and Carla in charge.

I can't remember now how we came to the theme and decoration but I knew it had to feel warm and inviting and Jo had mentioned a Moroccan theme on a few occasions but I was conscious that it shouldn't be to dark and full on Morocco. I started with napkins from 365 Linen, I chose their pumpkin (closest to coral) and a Yellow Mustard colour knowing that Grand Illusions have fab dinner candles in mustard and soft pink plus pillar candles in a tea colour and pink would tie into the napkins. I wanted to keep the flowers simple so used a single white Anthurium with a pinkish tinge in a simple glass vase, an incredible cymbidium orchid that couldn't be more perfect in terms of matching the colour scheme again in simple clear glass vase plus a palm potted into a green pot to help lift of the table. As always I used votives with tea lights in to give low level light on the table and the white ones I used had a very moroccan feel. I would normally add a coloured water glass but felt this time a simple clear glass was as powerful to the scheme. I used Fabulous Company's brass candlestick to finish of the dinner candles. Lizzie also assisted me on the job which is handy for deliveries but always fun....

Balloons!!!!! I love balloons... they add a fab large amount of detail for little cost usually and used in the right way can feel modern and fun. I made two large balloon clouds in the same warm golds, coral, yellowed red tones, using different sized balloons to create the desired effect. I also wanted to use giant balloons floaty above the tables but sadly we are in a helium emergency and so I couldn't get hold of any helium. Instead a tied air blown giant balloons to the frame work of the tipis and allowed them to move in the breeze.

I hired in some fabulous soft Moroccan furniture from Themes Inc. in Glastonbury and some palms to give texture and depth. They have these incredible huge moroccan lanterns that I used to mark the entrance of the tent with with more palms and tropical plants in grass baskets to finish the look.

Chris Piercy Wedding Magician was on hand to give a little entertainment through out the night and guests were stunned by his supreme skill and magician-ship! "He's Brilliant" I heard a lot! and they were right.

There was also a rapid reaction game and a photo mirror that everyone enjoyed getting involved with.

Catering was a delicious hog roast by The Hog & Lamb Spitroast co. with fabulous canapés, salads and desserts supplied by Mange Touts and his lovely team. Plenty to go around and the canapés were delicious.

After dinner Guests were encouraged out into the cold May evening with a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail and sparklers to enjoy an incredible surprise fireworks display by Phoenix Fireworks UK to music that Jo picked out herself... although it was meant to be a surprise for Jo, Rob told me she proved to demanding so he had to tell her..... 😂.

The 8 minute display was amazing and so perfectly timed to the music. A real treat to enjoy. And when photographing fireworks there is really only one person you should call. The very wonderful Mark Pickthall has photographed the Queen and in my eye one of the best pictures of her, he is regularly seen in the pit at Glastonbury Festival taking shots of the bands and revellers but is equally as happy at a party or wedding.

I love this shot of Jo on her own with some sparklers snapped by Mark later on in the evening wearing her fab cat suit by Rosa Bloom.... a catsuit with a story to tell as she'd originally on my suggestion fallen for a longer leg version but it had been shipped out to Taylor Swift for her to wear at an awards ceremony..... But I think Jo looked incredible in the tiny version of and what a cracking pair of legs! Must be all that walking and climbing.

Tom Braggins Band finished the evening off with their brilliant sound and kept guests dancing for a long time!

Suppliers list

Planning and styling - Rosie Barrett

Catering and bar - Mange Tout

Entertainment - Chris Piercy Magician

Tableware - Fabulous Company

Plants and chill out furniture - Themes Inc.

Band - Tom Braggins Band

Birthday Girls outfit - Rosa Bloom

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