{Real Wedding} Michelle & Lee – A Yellow & Honey Themed Wedding

{Real Wedding} Michelle & Lee - A DIY honey themed wedding with a tea length wedding dress. | An Industrial, No Corkage Wedding Venue, Derbyshire www.thewestmillvenue.com | Images: Red On Blonde

We have such a wonderful wedding to share with you today and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Michelle & Lee married with us back in September 2016 and although the British weather served up a little drizzle that didn’t dampen their spirits! The gorgeous couple added lots of DIY touches to the venue with pops of yellow and when your new surname is Honey… what else would your wedding theme be? CONGRATULATIONS #TEAMHONEY

Real Wedding at The West Mill Venue, Derbyshire

Bride & Groom: Michelle & Lee

Date: Saturday 3rd September 2016

Wedding Style: A honey themed wedding with pops of yellow and a tea length wedding dress.

Photography & Header Image: Red on Blonde

Your Love Story?

We met in November 2007 when I used to work with Lee’s brother at The Co-op whilst studying at University. We started chatting over MSN and eventually agreed to meet. We shared an instant love of music (which became very apparent to our unsuspecting guests in our ‘alternative hour’ during our DJ set) and spent many of our first dates at gigs. On the 27th October 2014, lee proposed to me to, the day before my 28th Birthday. He blind folded me, and told me we were off out for a birthday surprise. We drove around for nearly an hour (still blind folded) – it later turns out we had only gone half a mile down the road, but he drove across two counties in the process so I wouldn’t work out where we were! He took me to a place called Trent Lock, where we spend a lot of our time, and proposed to me on a beautifully fairy lit bridge (which I am terrified of). He told me that I never had to be scared of bridges again, as we would always be together…awwww! Little did I know a few weeks later that our good friend Matt Selby, a photographer, had captured the who thing, and we now also have amazing photographers to remember the really special day!

 What was your inspiration and vision for your day?

We always wanted to let the venue do the talking. We know the wedding day should be about us, and it was…but the reason we chose the venue was because it just reflected us and our charters….so we tried to keep it minimal and stylish, but in keeping with the heritage (with sewing machines as center pieces etc). We love all things old, recycled, up cycled, homemade and DIY and we wanted this to shine through. As our surname was HONEY we thought it would be rude not to incorporate that somehow…and as you will see it did pop up from time to time during the day. By keeping it simple, we could make sure the main focus of the day was on the real inspiration for it all….each other!

Why did you choose The West Mill Venue?

We first visited The West Mill in the early November 2014, when it was pretty much as it had been for the last 40 years. Andrew met us on the day and it was absolutely freezing, and Lee was on crutches with a broken foot at the time, but that didn’t stop us exploring all four floors…… As soon as we walked in to the dusty floored, damp, cold, broken windowed old mill, we knew this it was EXACTLY where we wanted to get married. We would have got married in the state it was if we could….it was just epic. We love renovation ourselves, and turning something old in to something beautiful, and this is exactly what The West Mill was going to be. We came back in the snow a few weeks later to confirm everything, and visited again many times during the renovation to see all the amazing changes. The West Mill has many amazing advantages as a wedding venue, but for us it was all about its history, its journey, the story it tells and its passionate owners.

Did you do any DIY projects?

DIY was pretty much the entire theme of the wedding! Other than the clothing and flowers, everything else we either raided car boots for, built, handmade or asked friends to help with. Lee is very handy, and I am very creative, so we thought why not do it all ourselves (some nights at midnight covered in stamp ink and glue…..I did have second thoughts). We made all of our stationary, from invites to table name cards. We filled jars with buttons, wrapped cotton around endless bobbins, up cycled pallets, made chalkboards, hand stamped 200 sweet bags, attached 400 polaroid to crates with string and Lee even built a giant Jenga for our guests to enjoy. I baked cakes the day before the wedding, my Sister-In-law made us an amazing honey pot table plan, and my Mum was lumbered with the wedding cake and making 86 jars of honey for our favors! A great team effort! We feel so proud of everything we achieved!

 The details…


I knew I always wanted a shorter dress, and looked for ages after getting engaged to try and find something I liked…House of Mooshki was the perfect choice with 10’s of designs that were vintage in appearance. I also wanted sleeves, but didn’t really like any I tried on with sleeves. For me, the great thing about Mooshki is that they custom make every dress and they can change anything! I chose the Sarah dress, but had a lower neckline and chose to have it with long lace sleeves, rather than the standard cap sleeve. I absolutely loved my dress!!! I wore yellow vintage Clarks shoes (£10!) which I bought before the dress. As a gift Lee got me something AMAZING custom made Converse trainers, as he knows I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to heels! They were designed by my very talented cousin. They were covered in Bees (that Honey theme again!) and the date of our wedding! I changed in to them just before the first dance so I could party hard all night. Lee wore an amazing suit from Hugo Boss. Having worked in high end fashion for the past 10 years, he wanted something really different and really special. A plain navy or grey suit, just wasn’t going to cut it!


Oh wow the flowers!!! Probably my most loved detail of the whole day. I absolutely LOVE flowers, my house is always filled with them…weird obsessive over here. I didn’t want ‘typical wedding flowers’ and a typical bouquet. Just after we got engaged one of my colleagues got married and when I saw her flowers…I was like “I WANT THEM”. That’s when I found Helen at The Flower Mill. Her flowers are unique and stunning. I wanted something wild and fragrant as well as being colourful but subtle. We told Helen a few of our ideas, and she created us an amazing design pallet. We ended up with Window boxes, vintage jars with flowers, arrangements on our sewing machines, hanging foliage, simple baby’s breath bouquets for the bridesmaids and a matching little magic wand for my flower girl. My Bouquet was simply beautiful. Wild and colourful. Helen did a sterling job. My mum dried my bouquet after the wedding and it now takes pride of place in our dining room!


Being a cake maker and decorator for many years, doing loads of wedding cakes and birthday cakes…I thought I deserved a day off! I lost count the amount of time I was asked…”are you making your own cake”. Obviously I couldn’t resist and still made lemon drizzle cake for our cake buffet! Yes CAKE BUFFET! The job fell to my lovely Mum. I didn’t want a traditional wedding cake with icing (I was sick of making them!) so I went with a lovely naked cake, which was complimented with extra fresh flowers provided by Helen. Just perfect. We then had the cake and sweet buffet, as anyone who knew us, was expecting a lot of cake at our wedding, and we didn’t want to disappoint.

Music / DJ

Well this was certainly an eye opener for some our guests. We believe that music is a lot of what brought us together (along with MSN) and its always featured massively in our lives. So it had to reflected on our wedding day! Now we like a lot of alternative / heavy metal music, and trying to find a DJ willing to accommodate this, probably isn’t easy. However luckily for us, my brother and his wife share the same tastes, and had done something similar at their wedding a few years ago…we naturally enlisted the same very talented DJ’s, Ryan & Rich from Need a DJ. We gave them pretty much our whole playlist, with an hour of our ‘special’ music thrown in there. It was wild and it was crazy, and our friends loved it, and our family…well they watched from the sidelines…but this was exactly us, and wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Now this was a tough one. As we aren’t really in to traditional photography (there is a theme here), as well Lee being really in to his fashion photography, along with having photographers in the family, we knew this would probably be our most challenging find. However luckily, I stumbled upon Red on Blonde Photography really quickly, and we both just loved there stuff instantly. Un-posed, documentary, natural shots, in beautiful lights which emphasise the epic surroundings and backdrops. They were genuinely perfect. Oh and just happened to be the most lovely people ever too. They are a couple who have recently just got married, so they’ve been there done that! Having two photographers was really important to us, as I think you often miss out on the groom and his groomsmen getting ready….we 100% wanted those moments captured, and we are so glad that we did! They even made us a slideshow video with all our favourite photos, which we literally cant top watching! They made us laugh, and cry..they really do have the best job in the world! www.redonblonde.com/2016-michelle-lee/

Personal Touches

The main thing we didn’t want to lose sight of at our wedding, was the real meaning behind it, and the real reason we were there. We decided to write our own vows, to compliment the traditional ones. We hadn’t read these each other beforehand, so that made it really special. We kept them sincere, apart from a subtle joke, that we miraculously both included in different ways, which really made us both smile even more. As we’ve already said music plays a big part in our lives, so we spent ages choosing our ceremony music, eventually settling with Ben Howard ‘Old Pine’ to walk down the aisle to and as a nod to our love of all things 80’s we walked back down the aisle to The Power Love by Huey Lewis & The News. My brother then came up with an epic playlist for the rest of the day! We are very lucky in the fact that Lee’s sister just so happens to be an Opera singer so she, along with her piano teacher, sang some beautiful songs as our guests were arriving, which sounded incredible with the amazing acoustics in The Cotton Quarter.

What was on the Menu?

Guess what…..we didn’t want traditional food! This was no problems at all for Jenkinson’s. Firstly we went with Prosecco, Bottled ales and bar snacks for our reception drinks. We are big real ale drinkers, so wanted our guests to be able to enjoy the same! For the main we  wanted a nice casual relaxed sharing meal…which is what we love to do when we go out. Jenkisons are SO accommodating to your every need. We went with bread, oils, olives and hummus to start. Closely followed by minted lamp rumps, hickory smoked chicken with sweet potatoes, slaws, oils, pittas, rices, salads and dressings – all in a serve yourself manor. For pudding we had a trio of White Chocolate & HONEYcomb (there it is again) cheesecake, Chocolate praline cup and a lemon tartlet. Jenkinson’s even did a special favor for mum by serving her a special Key Lime Pie as it’s her favourite. In the evening we served fish and chips in cones! Wahey!

What was your favourite part of the wedding?

For us, it was the ceremony and reading our own vows. It’s what the day was all about, and I the happiest moment of my life was walking down the aisle in front of all the people that loved us the most, to marry the man that I loved the most. Having all the people you love in one place, is truly an unforgettable moment.

Aside from the ceremony, the music and the fun we had on the dance floor was truly epic! We just loved that so many of our guests indulged us in our crazy music tastes and joined us dancing (even though they didn’t have a clue what was going on! – we are very sorry if we made any of your ears bleed!) It just once again showed us how important it is to surround yourself with amazing people, who made our day one will shall never forget.

Can you sum up your wedding day in 3 words?


Do you have any advice for future brides and grooms?

Enjoy and embrace everything. And if you can and are able, get involved, and do of much of it yourself as you can do – you really will reap the rewards. And don’t forget to enjoy the planning part! Accept that everything won’t be ‘perfect’ as no one else will even notice. And finally…never lose sight of what the day is actually all about..you and your love!

The Dream Team

Photographer: Red on Blonde Photography

Bridal Fashion: A House of Mooshki dress from Carla’s Brides in Nottingham. Wore with vintage Clarks shoes and a Matthew Williamson headpiece.

Hair: Lucille at Lucille’s Locks

Make Up: By the beautiful bride

Groom’s Fashion: Hugo Boss

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Jenny Packham No.1

Cake: Made by the Brides Mum

Flowers: Helen Foster @ The Flower Mill

Stationery: All our own

Band/DJ: Ryan Johnson @ Need A DJ

Other Entertainment: A homemade giant Jenga for our guests to enjoy

Decor/Props: Everything was carefully collected and created by us #teamhoney

Transport: VW Transporter vans (belonging to the Groom & Best Man)

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