Wedding at the West Mill, Darley Abbey Mills, Derby
On the 28th of February, I was honoured to photograph the whole of the lovely Cat and Steven’s wedding day in the beautiful West Mill, Darley Abbey Mills, Derby. This stunning Grade 1 Listed venue was once an old cotton mill and offers wonderful views of the river Derwent. It was a real privilege to be a part of such an intimate wedding, and with only 28 of the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest privy to the exchange of vows, the ceremony felt incredibly special to witness. Even though the West Mill can quite happily accommodate hundreds of guests at no point did it feel empty with only family and close friends in attendance.
Arrival of the bride
At 11 in the morning the beautiful bride, bridesmaids and flower girl arrived. The great thing about West Mills is that there is a private suite available, allowing the bridal party to get ready in the comfort and privacy of their own area. It was a little chaotic whilst they got ready with laughter and giggles at all times (helped along by some bubbles to calm the nerves)! The first to be ready was Evie, the lovely vivacious young flower girl who could not wait to be a part of this special day, and pleasingly, was so keen to have her photograph taken.
Soon the handsome groom and best men (yes there were two) arrived in plenty of time which allowed for me to take some small group shots of them prior to the ceremony.
The guests were greeted on the third floor of the mill, a stunning room with old flagstone flooring and a vaulted ceiling, the ideal space for a wedding ceremony. Before Cat’s big entrance the five lovely bridesmaids, Lyndsey, Sadie, Alex, Stacey and Sally, all dressed in a striking emerald green, the very charismatic pageboy, Noah and the flower girl, Evie all made their way down the aisle. The beautiful emerald green, plum and sunflower yellow colour theme made for a magnificent choice, especially for the stunning flower arrangements and bouquets. It was then the turn of the star of the show! Cat was accompanied down the aisle by her father, Robert, the true epitome of a proper Derbyshire farmer; proud, rosy-cheeked and full of frivolity! It was a joy to watch the bride, she looked to be having the time of her life, and was completely in her element enjoying this incredibly special moment. I don’t think she stopped beaming with that incredible smile of hers all day! Cat wore a beautiful dress, which she had done all the alterations to herself, and looked absolutely stunning.
After the ceremony, we had the opportunity for some small group shots with plenty of time for everyone to relax, catch up and have a few celebratory drinks.
West Mills in-house caterers provided the guests with a fantastic and seasonal meal of asparagus soup, sliced roast leg of pork and for dessert the ultimate crowd pleaser – stacks of pancakes with all the traditional accompaniments, in a fitting nod to Shrove Tuesday.
After the wedding breakfast, it was time for the best men to give their speech- a part of the wedding I always look forward to! Somewhat unconventionally both best men were involved, but this made for a thoroughly enjoyable (and hilarious) few minutes! I thought they were absolutely brilliant and they even had some in tears of laughter! It was explained how Cat and Steve met online via Plenty of Fish, and how he rather romantically travelled all the way to China and surprised Cat by proposing on the Great Wall.
What started as a small, intimate and private wedding later became a joyous celebration, with many more friends and family joining the newlyweds down on the second floor of the mill.
Once everyone had arrived it was time to cut the cake, and what a cake it was! Hanging upside down from the ceiling, it had the real ‘wow factor’ and was just one of many quirky touches that made this wedding so unique. This was followed by the first dance and this was special to see in more ways than one! Not only did Cat and Steven go to the effort to practise and rehearse their dance ahead of time; but the chosen song; ‘You and I’ originally by Ingrid Michaelson, was performed live by a fantastic singer Morgan Richter. It truly was a joy to watch and photograph, and I’m sure this will be remembered by the guests for years to come. The rest of their guests joined them on the dance floor and the partied the night away with the excellent disco provided by Daniel of Inferno Disco & Karaoke.
It, of course, goes without saying that I wish Cat and Steven the very best of luck as they embark on their new lives together as husband and wife, they make a perfect couple and I look forward to hearing what the future has in store for them!