West Mill Wedding Photography, Darley Abbey – Cassie & Nick

This is the West Mill Derby wedding of Cassie & Nick from Spring 2016.

Wow, what can I say about this venue? It’s quite an amazing place.

Positioned on the banks of a weir on the River Derwent in Darley Abbey, it’s a Grade I listed building. It started life as a cotton spinning mill in the early 1800s and was a part of the industrial revolution.

Having stood derelict for some time, the building has been restored back to life and is now one of the East Midland’s most unique wedding venues. The renovation has retained all of the original architecture; exposed brick walls, cast iron columns, barrel-vaulted ceilings, and beams.

It’s also the perfect place for unfit photographers who want a good workout on a wedding day clambering up four flights of stairs with heavy cameras & lenses. For the wedding party, there is a lift of course!

Cassie & Nick have kindly provided some words about their day along with some tips and links to vendors they used.

So, how did you meet? – tell us a little more about yourselves.

“We met on our first day at Warwick Medical School in 2008 where we shared a flat on campus. I was 23 and Nick was 22. We instantly became best friends and a year later decided there was more to our relationship. He told me he had feelings for me in our favourite park over a subway sandwich!”

The proposal – who proposed, where, when & how?”

“It was my big 30th and Nick had whisked me away to Iceland to celebrate as I had always wanted to see the Northern Lights. On our last day, we were at Thingvellir National Park in between 2 tectonic plates when Nick proposed. He didn’t get down on one knee though as he didn’t want the snow to make his trousers wet!”

How was the wedding planning process for you?

“I loved it – I was totally in my element. We had an 18-month engagement so had plenty of time, although I did leave choosing my dress to the last minute! Pinterest and wedding magazines were my obsession. Nick – on the other hand – I think has had enough of Hobbycraft and wedding shows for a lifetime!”

Where did you get married and what was it about the venue(s) that appealed so much?

“We got married at The West Mill Derby. It wasn’t originally the style of venue we were looking for, but when I saw they were converting an old cotton mill in Darley Abbey where Nick grew up and where his parents still live, we couldn’t not investigate. It was still a building site when we saw it for the first time but the potential was amazing.

Right on the river Derwent, there was going to be a pretty little courtyard and 4 floors – one for each part of the wedding: the ceremony at the top, wedding breakfast one floor down, then the party floor and general lounge area on the ground floor. I loved the concept of moving from one floor to the other and the industrial feel of the place. We could make it whatever we wanted.

There were several visits over the 18 months where we saw it evolve into the venue it is now. We feel very lucky to have been part of its beginnings.”

How would you describe the style of your wedding and what made you decide to go down that route?

“I am not sure we had a particular style, we just wanted lots of beautiful things and for it to feel like us. We made most of the decorations, table settings and stationery ourselves and everything had to be lavender and grey.

I also wanted flowers everywhere and whilst our budget couldn’t quite stretch to that, our florist made us some lovely pieces that really bought the whole theme together.

I loved seeing everything come together on the day and all our hard work did look as beautiful as we had hoped!”

Cuisine. What kind of food and drink was served and why?

“We had to use the caterers that the venue worked with. The food was quite formal but modern. Definitely no complaints from the guests! We topped off the evening with a delicious Belgian waffle bar – ‘cause who doesn’t love a waffle?”

What were the most memorable part(s) of the day and what was the funniest moment?

“Nick says ‘seeing me walking down the aisle’ but I know that’s because he thinks he should!

I loved our first dance. We had an amazing duo called ‘Union Avenue’ who learnt our first dance especially – XO by John Mayer. As everyone joined us on the dance floor, everything came together at that moment and the song sounded perfect.

The funniest moment was definitely the best man’s speech. He had made a video/slideshow demonstrating Nick’s suitability as a husband – it was hilarious and everyone got to see some pictures and videos Nick wished they hadn’t!”

Did anything go wrong on the day and were there any surprises?”

“Nothing was catastrophic – there were a few things that weren’t as planned but that’s just my OCD coming out.

One lovely surprise was walking down the aisle to a pianist playing our music rather than the iPod – a present from my mum!”

Is there anything you would have done differently?

“Be able to slow down time! The day went so quickly, we weren’t done having fun yet!

My beautiful handmade backdrop for the ceremony took a little longer to set up than we had originally planned and my bridesmaids were busy sorting that out whilst I was getting my makeup done. I wish we had spent more time getting ready together.”

Do you have any advice for other couples in the stages of planning their own dream day wedding?”

  • Enjoy it, experiment, don’t be afraid to have a go at something.
  • Pinterest is your best friend.
  • Don’t leave only 5 months to choose your wedding dress!
  • And you always need more booze than you think!

‘Our Photographer’

“As soon as we saw samples of Ian’s work, we wanted him to photograph our wedding. He was easy to work with, friendly and adaptable, and produced fantastic documentation of our wonderful day. I loved seeing moments we would have otherwise missed and the slideshow he made to our favourite choons brought back happy memories. Thank you!”

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