What could be more perfect for a Sunday afternoon than a stylish, laid back wedding at The West Mill? The design details from Rachel and Chris' wedding are just amazing, so different to anything I've seen before. I love the idea of a wedding newspaper instead of an order of service and it's a great way to introduce guests to your wedding party. The colour scheme of greys, greens and copper is just perfection too. Images come from the fabulous Sam Docker who, as always, has captured the day to perfection. Oh and if you're wondering where Rachel's gorgeous headpiece is from, it's the handiwork of Debbie Carlisle - isn't it beautiful?

The Bride

Rachel The Bride: I was pretty sure of the style of dress I wanted, I tried on that style and absolutely hated it. I did however, find a designer that stood out and tried on almost every dress in the Eliza Jane Howell collection within a couple of weeks and finally chose the Violet dress from Cicily Bridal. I also wore a headband from Debbie Carlisle and a full length veil by Neive in the day and a floral headband (an absolute masterpiece) by Lauren Harrison in the evening.

The Groom

Deciding on Chris’ suit seemed like a pretty straight forward affair. He found a suit he loved from Ted Baker and had it altered for his, smaller stature. But with a few weeks until the wedding he had a change of heart of bought a suit from Next instead which teamed up perfectly with his Dr Martens.

The Venue

Like many other engaged couples, we started our wedding planning with a small event in mind. Inevitably, the day was anything but. We only saw one wedding venue before booking and instantly knew it was the one for us. At the time, The West Mill at Darley Abbey was under renovation so having a bit of faith was key, The day we booked, the venue was lacking in the fundamentals like walls and floors. We wanted a venue that could cater to both a humanist ceremony and reception for an ever expanding guest list. The venue is spread over 4 floors and has been renovated in such a unique way whilst maintaining the history of the building.

The Details

The array of table flowers and my floral headband for the evening were put together by Lauren Harrison. The vases collected from charity shops and some of the foliage was foraged by bridesmaids Katie and Lorna on the wedding eve. Lauren also integrated some peacock feathers which I bought from the market in Derby. Instead of the traditional champagne toast, we went for a home-brewed fruit infused vodka (one of Chris’ friends recipes) that floored a few guests and ended up being thrown on the mother of the brides dress by the father of the bride, her ex husband. For the ceremony backdrop we had Macrame curtain hanging from Ebay and decorated with pictures of our maid of honour, Grace and our nephew, Winter.

The Ceremony

Our ceremony was based around the principles of a humanist ceremony, we wrote our own vows and had a reading from a Steinbeck book ‘Travels with Charles’ read by Chris’ Mum. One of our friends, Izzy, played the piano after the ceremony. We had a song for our nephew Winter and a song for my maid of honour Grace who died a few months before the wedding. The music was our time to remember the people that weren’t there on the day.

The Entertainment

In the evening we had a 3 piece Ceilidh band, Knitters Jig, which went down a storm and bridged the gap between dinner and dancing. The band were followed up by a Dj with our first dance to ‘you never can tell’ from Pulp Fiction. We gave out sparklers outside for some photos which went down well until one of my bridesmaids lit the bucket of around 100 sparklers and burnt her hand.

The Cake

The cake was made by a family friend, Natalie Hibbert, and although neither of us got round to eating any and decided against the cutting of the cake, we were assured by guests thats it was as tasty as it looked.

The Photography

Sam Docker was one of the only wedding related decisions that we both agreed on from day one and having him taking the snaps on the day was important to us both - needless to say we weren’t disappointed. Not only were the photos incredible but he came in handy organising 6 bridesmaids and the rest of the bridal party in the morning and is an all round top chap.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

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Bride: Eliza Jane Howell | Boutique: Cicily Bridal | Headpiece: Debbie Carlisle | Groom: Ted Baker | Venue: The West Mill | Band: Knitters Jig

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