Your Wedding Day Dream Team (please provide Website / Social Media Page if known)
Photographer: Jessica Rigley Weddings @jessrigleyweddings
Florist: Fruits of the Florist (Marie Aldridge) @fruits_of_the_florist
Band/DJ: Mountford @mountfordfunctionband
Welcome sign: @bluebellpressuk
Tell Us About Your Incredible Outfits What and who did you wear?
Bride- Dress by Stella York from the Wedding Room- Chilwell. @theweddingroom
Shoes- international due to having small feet!
Veil- Something borrowed (bridesmaid).
Groom- Suit by Ted Baker.
Bridesmaids- Ever Pretty.
Groomsmen- Slaters Nottingham.
Your Love Story How did you meet, was it love at first sight? Tell us about the proposal!
Both James and I had very different paths that we had travelled before meeting. James went on adventures around the world; I had adventures with friends and family close to home whilst searching for the right career path. It was eventually that career that brought us together. Teaching in the same trust, we had spoken to one another occasionally but it took us well over a year to actually meet up out of work. Our first “date” (though we didn’t class it as a date) was a walk at Cromford- a place we now go every year to mark the occasion. Several months later, we realised that what we had was more than just friendship!
Having a dog, means we often go walking and in May 2021, we headed to Dovedale. Sitting on the top of the hill, we chatted about how lucky we were to have such loving and supportive families meaning we can all enjoy getting together (something we had done the day before)- it was at this moment, James turned around on one knee with a ring in his hand. There wasn’t an immediate yes: more of a stunned “What are you doing?!” but of course, there was only ever one true answer!
Your Wedding Day Vision & Inspiration What was your inspiration and vision for your day?
At first, we weren’t sure what we wanted- a summer wedding? A country house? A barn? We viewed the West Mill and James immediately knew it was the venue for him. I loved the style and the fact, the day could be hosted across the different floors; however, I am not decisive and I needed time. We really fell in love with the idea of an October wedding and after viewing other venues, my heart kept fleeting back to the West Mill. We knew they had the 20th October 2022 available at our initial meeting so fingers were crossed for the date to still be free- it was and the wedding was booked! We (me more than James- he just went with the flow) ran with the idea of autumn and opted for burnt orange and reds for our colour scheme and décor.
Why did you choose The West Mill Venue?
Both James and I didn’t really want a venue that meant a turn-around in ceremony room, to wedding breakfast, to evening reception. When we found the West Mill, we absolutely loved all the different levels and the rustic vibe that it brings. Once we had decided on an October wedding, we also knew we needed somewhere to cater for all kinds of weather and I am so glad we did, as we had the joys of rain- ALL DAY! We knew that the venue was perfect for our autumnal theme due to its exposed brick and gorgeous windows which lets in so much light, even on the gloomiest of days. We also loved the fact that the evening reception room was more informal and relaxed with plenty of comfy seating as well as a large dancefloor- a huge must-have for me! Our evening guests have since commented that they didn’t feel like evening guests because they weren’t fighting for seats or a table that was already occupied by day guests.
The West Mill were so accommodating and all staff there were so lovely, friendly and helpful allowing us to visit with our mothers to show them around. This was another reason for choosing the West Mill.
Did you do any DIY projects?
The majority of our wedding was DIY in order to keep costs as low as possible. I absolutely loved designing and making décor alongside family and friends and doing bits over the past year meant that stress-levels were kept to a minimum. Save the dates and invites were designed on a computer, printed at a local shop and put together by myself and my mum. I also created the table plan using the same design as the invites. They were pegged to a gold frame which James had stapled with chicken wire and then finished with a small drape of false foliage. The chair sashes were made with voile fabric, tied together with a pipe-cleaner wrapped with pearls- a last minute hack. Simple but effective. James and I are lucky to have talented family members so the centre pieces and hanging were all made by them using creativity of wood work and false flowers- the hanging was certainly a talking point and we love that we were able to use it for both the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
Finally, we had little touches such as a memory stand for our loved ones, fireworks and a bathroom basket of essentials. Again, these were designed on computer, printed and then placed in frames we already had lying around the house. I also made personalised confetti packets which displayed the order of the day- the confetti was made with dried flowers.
Tell us about the details – Flowers, Cake, Decor, Stationary….
As above, we are lucky to have talented family and friends so most flowers were false; however, there were certain things that just had to be real flowers. We opted for a florist who had been recommended to us- Marie from Fruits of the Florist. Upon our first meeting, Marie was so warming and passionate about her job that we knew we wanted her to design our flowers. We didn’t have specific flowers in mind, just to bring that autumnal vibe to life. Marie listened to our ideas and was communicative throughout the process. I sent Marie pictures of the centre pieces and hanging so she had an idea of what we had already done and she absolutely smashed our top table runner to compliment it all. We had: a ceremony runner which was used for the top table, button holes, bridesmaids’ bouquets and finally the bride’s bouquet. I burst into tears when I saw my bouquet- it was perfect in every way and the colours beautifully stood out bringing out the simplicity of my dress.
Our cake was made by a friend of ours- a lemon sponge for the top two layers and Victoria sponge with strawberry jam for the bottom layer. It was then beautifully decorated with false flowers to tie in with our theme. My mum also made a fruit cake to be cut up- we couldn’t believe how much of this went! The West Mill were more than happy to put the cake in a different place to where it is normally displayed in order to suit our vision.
Despite making most things ourselves, we knew we couldn’t do justice with the welcome sign so we opted for the services of Emily at Bluebell Press UK, who designed and made our beautiful welcome sign which was complimented with autumnal jars holding false candles.
Alcohol. Because No Great Story Started With A Salad (…or did it?) What was on your food & drinks menu?
The beauty of the West Mill is the no corkage! We provided our own drinks for the day which was great for keeping costs down. We opted for: Passionfruit Bellinis (these were made up by the venue on the day using prosecco and passionfruit puree), prosecco and bottles of beer for the reception drinks as well as juice and Nosecco for those not drinking. For the wedding breakfast, we had: 2 bottles of white and 1 red per table (plus extras), a glass of prosecco each for the toast and as a personal nod to James’ time travelling, we had mini shot bottles of Soju in each place.
The food was delicious! We chose to keep it simple and cosy with it being autumn: Crab cakes to start (this was a firm favourite for James and I), Cornfed Chicken with hassle back potatoes for the main, finishing with a traditional sticky toffee pudding.
Finally, the evening food consisted of pulled pork and chips. All dietary requirements throughout the day were catered for.
The Hangover Only Lasts A Day But The Memories Last A Lifetime Can you sum up your wedding day in 3 words?
Dream come true.
What are your favourite memories or highlights of your day?
Seeing our vision come to life was so magical. After spending a year prepping, it’s the most wonderful feeling knowing it has all come together. Once our décor was dropped off at the venue the day before, it was hard knowing it was all out of our hands but the West Mill and Nicola (who was our designated co-ordinator), did the most perfect job in ensuring everything was how it should be and because of it, the day was a dream. We were “blessed” with rain all day, but that didn’t ruin the magic; instead, it made it more special. We had made our own confetti so felt a little gutted that we wouldn’t be able to get that gorgeous confetti shot in the courtyard but Nicola made sure we had this moment in a different way! After the ceremony, as James and I walked down the aisle as husband and wife to a friend singing Frankie Valley’s “I love you baby”, Nicola invited guests to throw the confetti- this was a moment to treasure as it meant our hard work hadn’t gone to waste and we had so much fun seeing our family and friends singing along. It truly was the most perfect day and everything we had ever dreamed of.
Do you have any advice for future Brides & Grooms?
Enjoy every second and don’t worry about the weather- rain doesn’t hurt! Take time to step back and soak in the atmosphere: watch your guests as they enjoy themselves alongside you. Finally, don’t accept shots from your friends- there will be too many offered and the pillars on the dancefloor are the only things that will hold you up at the end of the night!!