Everything about this wedding at The West Mill in Derbyshire is striking. If you haven't seen the venue before it's a stunning Grade 1 listed old cotton spinning mill dating back to the 1800's, with barrel-vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls, cast iron columns and beams, and is nestled on the riverbanks of the River Derwent with waterfalls flowing past the venue and SO many unique spots for portraits, and is giving us all the feels Sarah Gray Photography has captures the industrial vibes beautifully, as well as the style and elegance of our gorgeous couple. Have you seen the grooms midnight blue tuxedo yet, and the brides exquisite Pronovias gown? Talk about glamorous! Now sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy every minute of this inspiring wedding.
Angela the Bride: We had 70 guests at our wedding, including 4 children. We knew we wanted a relatively small wedding of just our close family and friends. Choosing our guest list was the easiest part of the planning process!


We chose our venue shortly after we got engaged. It was the only venue we viewed – we booked an appointment to stop in, as we were driving to visit the groom’s parents for the weekend and weren’t expecting to book a date – but as soon as we walked into it we knew it was the one! We wanted an industrial feel to our wedding, a venue that was striped back and that would allow us to add our own style and personality, but one that didn’t need too many flowers or decorations! The West Mill Venue was perfect for this – in fact, too many decorations would actually ruin the natural beauty of this venue! It has a stunning outside courtyard and four floors to entertain your guests throughout each stage of the day – exposing all of the old industrial elements! The movement through each floor and room, kept the guests guessing for what to expect next and kept the cheery atmosphere flowing!! Our main aim for the day was good food, live music all day and plenty of fizz! We wanted everyone to feel relaxed and to let their hair down!

Dress Code

We had a ‘Black Tie or Formal Dress’ dress code – as soon as we got engaged, we knew we’d have a Black Tie Wedding, as we wanted the photographs to be timeless. Our guests were the ‘moving decorations’ you could say – they made the venue look even better - everyone looked so smart! It was also an excuse for everyone to get really dressed up and for the ladies to be colourful and stand out from the men!

Colour Scheme

The main colour schemes for the day were copper and midnight blue! We collected a number of copper lanterns over the 14 months we were engaged from antique and second hand stores. We also made a lot of the decorations ourselves – we spray painted milk bottles, glass jars and champagne bottles with copper paint! We didn’t want the day to feel too formal or look ‘perfect’! We wanted it to have our own style and look more handcrafted, which I think suited the industrial venue.

Pre-wedding drinks

Given that most of the bride’s family and friends were travelling over to England from Ireland (we also has guests from USA, Canada, Australia, Copenhagen), we decided to make a weekend of it and hold drinks the night before the wedding in our hotel, Breadsall Priory Hotel and Spa, so that everyone could meet and relax before the wedding day!

Dressing Room

The bridal party got ready in the Dressing Room at the West Mill Venue, which was perfect! It meant that we could leave the room and walk straight out onto the aisle and go back to the room throughout the day to touch up hair and make-up!


We knew we weren’t going to have a Church wedding, as neither of us are religious, but we still wanted a traditional setting and the bride still wanted the experience of walking down an aisle! So as soon as we saw the Cotton Quarter Ceremony Room at the West Mill Venue, we were in love! It was perfect. It had a very relaxed feel to it and was beautifully simple. All of the exposed industrial elements of the old cotton mill were beautiful enough on their own, so we knew we didn’t need to overpower the room by filling it with a lot of flowers and decorations. But it was simple enough to allow us to add a few things to put our own style to it. We added a backdrop to the ceremony that our florist made – copper ‘Olympic style’ rings, wrapped in green foliage, hung by string from copper piping. Copper lanterns with candles lined the aisle and we added small glass jars with baby’s breath to some of the tables. We wanted to keep our ceremony intimate, short and sweet – our best friend sang ‘Fields of Gold’ as the bridal party walked down the aisle and ‘Marry Me by Bruno Mars’ for the recessional. Three close friends gave Readings and we chose our own vows and readings that had a personal meaning to us.

Drinks Reception

The bride and groom walked out to the court yard through a confetti tunnel to the sound of the live band, Dammit Jack, singing the bride’s favourite song ‘Sweet Home Alabama by Lynard Skynyrd’! Canapes and prosecco were served throughout the drinks reception whilst the band played! We also had our first dance straight after the ceremony outside in the court yard – the band sang ‘Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran’ for our first dance! The confetti blowing in the wind around us during our first dance was magical – it was as though we hired a wind machine! (I promise we didn’t!)


We were certain we didn’t want too many speeches or for them to be too long, so as not to lose momentum of the day, so we kept them short and sweet! We held the speeches in The Gallery of the West Mill venue – guests could stay standing or sit on some of the chesterfield sofas! We wanted to keep the speeches very informal and relaxed, so we knew we’d do them before we moved to the Breakfast Room for dinner and we made sure to top everyone up with yet another glass full of prosecco!

Wedding Breakfast

We had 10 round tables, each table was named with one of the bride and groom’s favourite places – either where they met, holidayed, got engaged, honeymoon destination etc! We knew we didn’t want a formal ‘top table’ and so we decided that the top table would just be a ‘table for 2’ – the sweet heart table- for the bride and groom! This was a priority for us, as it allowed us sometime to soak in all of the atmosphere and to actually have time to talk to each other during the day!! The band played during the entire wedding breakfast and they were amazing! All of the guests were singing along! We served beer, red and white wine, soft drinks and had three courses for dinner! We couldn’t decide on a dessert, so we went for Afternoon Tea with Prosecco, to taste a little bit of everything! We decorated the tables with milk bottles (bottom half spray painted with copper by the bride) filled with baby’s breath, glass jars & copper wire with candles and the centre piece were glass vases with bright and colourful flowers that looked as though they were picked straight from a meadow! The table names were held on champagne bottles that had been spray painted in mirrored copper by the bride!

Evening reception

The band finished at the meal and we had a DJ for the evening reception to kick it up a notch! We cut our ‘cheese cake’ during the reception!
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Pronovias - Ornani | Bridal Boutique: Maria Modes | Jewellery : Debenhams | Bridal Shoes: No. 1 Jenny Packham | Bridesmaid Dresses: Isabella Bridal | Flower Girls: John Rocha Lace Dresses from Debenhams | Trainers: Next | Page Boys: John Lewis | Trainers: Converse | Groom Suit: Charles Tyrwitt | Bow Tie: Mrs Bow Tie | Socks: Happy Socks | Cufflinks: Montblanc | Venue: The West Mill Venue | Florist: Tineke Floral Designs | Caterer: Jenkinsons Caterers | Cake: Cheese Yard | Invitations: Papier | Table Names & Plan: Linvitations via Etsy | Save the Dates: Russet and Gray | Pianist: John Budding | Band: Damm it Jack

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