Katie & Tom

Real Wedding at The West Mill Venue, Derbyshire

Your Love Story?

We met 5 years ago at work. We both worked as secondary school teachers. We went on our first date to a bar in Nottingham and have been inseparable since!

Our engagement was in Bath in 2019. Tom went to school in Bath and I thought we were just going for a mini-break to see the city and spend some time with his family.
On the second day of our break, Tom told me we were going shopping but we stopped off via Prior Park (National Trust) on the way. When we got there, I was very confused as it was still early morning and closed to the public. To my surprise, a kind member of staff let us in, and we had the park to ourselves. Tom walked me down to the Palladian Bridge at the bottom of Prior Park (there are only 4 in the world) and proposed. He had secretly managed to arrange the whole thing with the staff by buying lots of their National Trust raffle tickets to let us in before the park opened. We spent the rest of our weekend in a happy little bubble exploring the city, going for food and drinking cocktails.

When we had to postpone our wedding, we went back to Prior Park on the day we were first supposed to get married. It will always be a special place for us both!

What was your inspiration and vision for your day?

We wanted a relaxed day with lots of summer flowers and pretty pastel colours. We loved the style of the venue and wanted to compliment the industrial feel with soft summer vibes.

Why did you choose The West Mill Venue?

The West Mill is beautiful. We visited lots of venues, but this had everything we wanted. Despite it being the middle of summer when we were looking at venues, it rained for two weeks. We knew we were having a summer wedding but wanted a venue where we wouldn’t have to worry about the weather. The weather on the day was wild! There were huge downpours, lots of wind and beautiful sunshine, but it didn’t matter as the inside is as beautiful as the outside of the venue. We also had lots of guests that were travelling, and there were many places close by for our guests to stay.

All the staff are so helpful and kind. Planning and rescheduling a wedding in a pandemic is stressful, but they were always on hand to help and reassure us – nothing was too much trouble. 

Did you do any DIY projects?

Yes! My sister and I are quite creative and loved the opportunity to design and make as much of the decoration as possible. My mum loves flowers and with the help of our florist, grew lots of flowers in her garden that were used in the bud vases used throughout the venue and on the cake. We made the signs, stationary, seating plan and table holders. We sourced two vintage ladders off Facebook Marketplace and painted them for the table plan and to hold our signs. 

Tell us about the details…

Once we had decided on the venue, I went to find my dress with my mum and sister. It didn’t take me too long to decide. I tried quite few boho-style dressed on and absolutely loved them all. However, when I tried on the Lunella dress, I just knew it was perfect. It was so unique, and I had never seen a wedding dress like it. It was so beautiful and fun to wear. I absolutely loved it!

After struggling to get a new make-up artist when we had to move the date, I decided that I would use the money to treat myself to some expensive make-up that I could keep and learned how to do it myself. I spent a lot of lockdown watching tutorials and practising for the day. I also had an online consultation with a Charlotte Tilbury artist that helped me choose the right shades and helped with tutorials. This was so helpful when you couldn’t try on make-up in the shops. They managed to find products that suited me perfectly. 

Our hair was done by Hannah Blinko. She is just so, so talented. I wanted my mum and bridesmaids to be able to choose what they wanted on the day. Nothing was too much trouble for her and they all looked absolutely stunning. My hair stayed put all day – despite the crazy weather. I wish she could do my hair every day! She was also a kind and happy presence that kept us all calm whilst we all got ready. 

The bridesmaids all wore Maids to Measure dresses in Cloud Blue. We bought them off ASOS and they had 3 different styles in this colour which meant they could choose one that they liked best. The flower girl dresses were from Lipsy Girl collection at Next. The groomsmen all wore linen suits from Moss Bros; the staff were fantastic at sourcing all the sizes we needed and making sure they were all fitted perfectly for the day. 

Some of our guests sadly couldn’t make the day, one of my bridesmaids had to isolate and Tom’s best man was not able to leave Thailand due to travel restrictions. The staff helped us to make sure that they could join us all day via laptop and iPad. Ryan was able to greet our guests and do his speech, despite being so far away. We were all a bit nervous about how it would work, but it was fantastic to have him there remotely, and everyone loved his speech which was played to our guests. He also managed to send us gifts to the venue and bought us drinks without us knowing, which were delivered to us by the catering team after the ceremony. It was such a lovely surprise!

We found our florist, Jessica (Bramble and Twine), at a wedding fayre in Derby. We fell in love with her romantic florals. My mum also wanted to be able to grow flowers for her to add to the arrangements for the day. She was so kind and helpful offering her lots of advice. The bouquets that she created for me, my bridesmaids and flower girls were just beautiful. 

For the décor, we spent a lot of time getting ideas from Pinterest and making things ourselves. This included all stationary including the signs at the venue, table plan and place settings. It was loads of fun and added more excitement in the build-up for the day. For the tables we had long trestle tables. I bought the grey fabric table runners from Etsy, which we also cut and tied into bows for the place settings. I got a mix of white and taupe candlesticks in different lengths from Sostrene Grene which went nicely with the blue, white and pink flowers in the vases. For the vases that were used throughout the venue we bought some of these, but also many wine bottles that we enjoyed finding and drinking so they could be used for the day. Lots of our family and friends were kind enough to help us out with this!

Our cake and wedding favour biscuits were created by my wonderful godmother. She has baked beautiful creations for years, but has finally decided to start her own business, Berarey Bakes, so more people can have her amazing hand decorated cakes and biscuits. I created a Pinterest board of styles I liked and left it up to her to decide on the final design. The muted blues and greens with gold leaf went perfectly with the colours, and my florist helped her pick flowers that would go well on the cake. There were three tiers of different flavours: vanilla, lemon and white chocolate and raspberry. 

Our photographer Anna (Pear and Bear Photography) was just brilliant. I am in love with all the photos. On the day she was fantastic at organising our big families for the group shots and getting all our couple shots in a way that gave us time to spend together but didn’t take up the whole reception. It was so nice to have a balance of photos and spending time with our friends and family which was important to us. The photos speak for themselves really – they are stunning!

Finally, for the evening reception we decided to have a Spotify playlist that my bridesmaids helped us to put together. We wanted to have our first dance with everyone as it had been so long since we had been on a dancefloor due to restrictions. We started the night with Florence and the Machine ‘You’ve Got the Love’ and danced the night away.

What was on the Menu?

We wanted the menu to feel fun and summery. 

At the reception we had a gin bar with different flavour tonics, beers, cider and prosecco. 

We had a vintage ice-cream bike serving different flavoured ice-creams for our reception (vanilla, honeycomb, raspberry ripple and mint choc-chip). Our guests absolutely loved this, and it was perfect for summer! Luckily the sun came out too!

For the wedding breakfast we had a watermelon and cucumber salad with mango and passionfruit crush for starters. A BBQ wedding breakfast with a variety of salads, bread and oils. For dessert we had the chocolate orange tart with ice cream. It was all absolutely delicious with options for the veggies and vegans as well. 

What was your favourite part of the wedding?

I loved walking down the aisle with my mum. After a year of waiting and so much uncertainty, it was so emotional feeling like we had finally got the day that we had planned for. 

Seeing all our friends and family having fun together was so special after a year of lockdowns – all the dancing and we did in the evening made up for it!

Do you have any advice for future brides & grooms?

Try and stop your planning and organising at least a few days before the wedding. Take the time to relax and look forward to the day. You don’t want to be rushing around or feeling stressed – it is supposed to be happy and fun!

You won’t remember all those small details you stressed about (candle colour etc.) or notice them on the day. All you will remember is how you felt and those moments with your partner, family, and friends. When you are planning, take a step back if you are feeling stressed, and remember what the day is about – celebrating love with your family and friends!

If you’ve been inspired by Katie & Tom’s wedding and would like to know more about The West Mill, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to download a Wedding Brochure or get in touch.