Jess & Ben

Jess and Ben Holder • Wedding Details


Bride & Groom: Jess and Ben Holder

Date: 18th March 2019     Photography: James Mottram

Wedding Style: A rustic, spring wedding day filled with DIY projects from all the family!

Real Wedding at The West Mill Venue, Derbyshire

Your Love Story?

Ben and I met during our time at university. We were, and still are, both keen hockey players – however true to our sport we actually met during a hockey social not on the pitch! I remember it vividly, I walked down the stairs of a dark and dungy pub in Leicester, the same place and time every Wednesday evening, however this time I saw Ben at the bottom with a pitcher of beer and whispered to my friend ‘I like him’. Embarrassingly the theme that night was witches and wizards, and I happened to be in a black rope – handy to use the tie of said robe to attach myself to Ben and he is still yet to untie himself 8 years later, metaphorically of course.

We finished our standard 3 years of university together and Ben decided to continue to do a Masters, so rather than forking out on two lots of rent we moved into our first 1 bed flat together. Once the year was up it was our time to move on and start to save for a house of our own. However with the chosen residence not a lot of saving was done and then 2017 we got our ultimate wish and fell pregnant!

We moved, AGAIN, no proposal in sight and gutted the house to make it our home and I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl in January 2018. Still no proposal.

Our first family holiday to Cornwall was booked and although I’d given up hope (we’ve been together 7 years at this point), I went and had my nails painted ‘just in case’ for the 1000th time. I can honestly say Ben was showing no nerves, acting completely normal and I thought It wasn’t my time and just continued to enjoy our holiday. Little did I know all the walking we had been doing was to help scope out the perfect place for Ben to get down on one knee after I’d turn round to tell him to come and see the most amazing view I had ‘stumbled across’ and he FINALLY asked me to marry him! His words were ‘Ive never seen someone cry so quickly’. He admitted he was petrified to ask my dad for my hand in marriage of which my dad replied ‘she needs her head checking if she says no’ thanks Dad! But on a serious note it was the perfect proposal, the shortest engagement (sept18-march19) and the most amazing wedding day!

What was your inspiration and vision for your day?

Honestly, I never really imagined my perfect wedding day, I had always just wanted to get married! We looked around a large mix of venues all very different but as soon as we saw the West Mill we cancelled future viewings as we couldn’t see ourselves getting married anywhere else!

Why did you choose The West Mill Venue?

The venue speaks for itself, you could walk in and do nothing and it still has the WOW factor. The simplicity of the bare brick, the wonky cobbled floor and the detail of the old workers name scratched into windows and posts just amazed us. It’s such a stunning space, and exclusive use which was important to us.

Did you do any DIY projects?

We did almost everything DIY. My mum talked me out of doing the flowers DIY which I’m thankful for now. But I do have an advantage of a very handy father and a graphic designer as a brother. Non the less I actually designed everything myself, the invites, menus, advice cards and signage and my brother finished it off to make sure it was perfect for us! All our wooden props, the centre pieces, the place name holders and cake stand were made by my dad – he’s a few less trees in his garden now! We also had a projector during the first dance as we chose Mumford & Sons – There will be time which has a lot of foreign lyrics in it. The translation of the words was played through the projector so people could appreciate the words just as much as we do!

Tell us about the details…

So many people commented on how relaxed I was as a bride and this definitely translated to our suppliers. Originally we wanted to have a cheese tower, however budget didn’t really allow this so we opted for cupcakes. I knew my cake supplier as I used to work with her, so I trusted her skill and let loose and she surprised me on the day with the best mix of vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes of all different sizes and the perfect amount of detail in the icing!

The same goes with our flowers, I actually stumbled across the florist whilst having afternoon tea with my maid of honour. I showed them two pictures of the kind of flowers I liked and left them to it. I wasn’t disappointed and loved the flowers, it was nice to have a few surprises on the morning as a bride you organise every detail of your day! 

I had never had a ‘dream dress’ but I thought I would know what would and wouldn’t suit me – I couldn’t of been more wrong! I didn’t want strapless or a princess style and I ended up with both and it was my perfect dress! I had a corset put into the back of the dress and a cathedral length veil. I think it shocked a lot of people, as it wasn’t what they were expecting, but they loved it non the less!

Ben’s suit was much more difficult, he was set on green – but the right green was difficult to find! When we found it, it was miraculously in the sale – but that meant limited sizes! We ended up buying the waistcoat 4 sizes too big and taking it to a tailor to make it fit, they did a grand job and both Ben and his best man looked amazing.

What was on the Menu?

Drinks reception – we opted for no canapes, as a lot of our guests were big drinkers we upped the anti on prosecco, there wasn’t a drop left in sight. There was a gin bar with some unusual gins to try as well as the norms. We had Bens favourite beer, Birra Morretti and then of course a mix of softs for the drivers and non drinkers. 

The taster evening at the West Mill made us so excited for our menu! We opted for brie and mango parcels to begin, stuffed chicken for main and cheesecake for dessert. There wasn’t a plate that wasn’t licked clean in the house, so many compliments on the food and I couldn’t of asked for better service either! Wines were sourced by my father in law, after a few evenings of tasting them (I know nothing about wine) between us we decided on a red, white and rose for the tables, I would love to tell you what is is, but I haven’t a clue. Like I said, laid back bride over here. 

In the evening we had pizza, which again was raved about by all the guests but I can’t say I ate any, Ben did – he loved it! We also organised a mix of sweet jars for people with a sweet tooth!

What was your favourite part of the wedding?

This is such a difficult question. I loved every second, but if I had a gun to my head and had to make a decision, it would be walking down the aisle to meet Ben. Seeing your family, friends and husband to be’s face all looking at you and sharing the emotions you’re feeling was just so surreal. A lot of people had been waiting for the moment just as long as I had, and it didn’t disappoint. One of my favourites photos is Dad and I walking down the aisle and it’s just pure joy!  I don’t stop smiling the whole ceremony (or day), and the emotions involved with our vows, as we had written our own, was just incredible, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Do you have any advice for future brides & grooms?

Just enjoy it. There’s so much planning involved in a wedding, and from the moment you wake up on your wedding morning to the moment you go to bed just enjoy all your hard work and live in each and every moment. It goes so fast, I know everyone says it, but it really does and you’ll never want it to end!

Don’t worry if something doesn’t go to plan, or if there’s a hiccup you’ll probably laugh about it afterwards anyway adding to the atmosphere of the day! Remember it’s ultimately your partners and yours day, so please yourselves and don’t feel bad if your not doing everything that is expected of you. Everyone that is there with you is there because they love you and want to celebrate your love the way you want to!

Highlight at the beginning what’s important to you both and don’t get stuck spending money on unnecessary things because it’s a trend or expected!

Weekday weddings are just as good (& cheaper!) as weekends! The people that want to be there will! Photographs and videos bring your day back to life once it’s over, so personally I wouldn’t skimp on these two factors! And if your contemplating choosing the West Mill – do it – you honestly won’t regret it! 

Can you sum up your wedding day in 3 words?

Unforgettable, Perfect, Whirlwind.

The Dream Team


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