Real Weddings

Baby you’re a firework. A winter wedding at The West Mill – Stacey & Sarah

02nd January 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

We’re getting 2019 off to a sparkling start by sharing the gorgeous wedding of Stacey and Sarah, which took place on bonfire night at the stunning Grade I listed West Mill in Derbyshire.

And yes, there’s sparklers to look out for, among many other very special and personal touches certain to give you lots of Insta-envy!

With its quirky industrial backdrop, Sarah and Stacey beautifully complemented this unique setting with a luxurious palette of blues, reds, plums and copper, not to mention magical festoon lights. The couple’s love of gin also features prominently in the day’s theme, with a special gin pop-up so that guests could ‘pimp their gin’. Sounds perfect to us!

And we just have to mention the couple’s bridal attire – Sarah’s kitsch vintage dress and sparkly ruby red shoes, together with Stacey’s bespoke suit look simply fabulous.

With images by Sharon Trees Photography.


Sarah says

: I proposed on Christmas Eve 2016. I surprised Stacey at home by allowing her to open one of her Christmas presents. The present was a photo album full of pictures of our life together. On the last page was a picture of a bauble with a comment saying ‘look on the tree’. On the tree was a bauble that Stacey had to find and inside was her engagement ring and a wooden heart which said, “will you marry me?”. She said yes!


We got married on 5th November 2018. Remember, remember the 5th of November. Stacey and I should have no problem in remembering our anniversary for the rest of our lives!

We wanted a winter wedding and November is usually perfect earlier on for its crisp bright days, and we thought getting married on bonfire night would be perfect. It meant we could see nearby fireworks and use sparklers with our guests.

Stacey found information about The West Mill online. As soon as we saw pictures of the venue we fell in love and made an appointment. The venue is just magical and takes your breath away when you see it. It was the first and last venue we saw – the decision was made!

As we got hitched on bonfire night, we wanted to incorporate this into our day. We mixed this, the industrial style of the venue and our love of gin to come up with the plan for our day. We both love winter so focused on blues, reds, plums and copper. The colours matched the venue perfectly too and brought everything together.


I knew I wanted to wear a vintage style dress and used Pinterest for inspiration. I had heard of a dress shop in Sheffield called Ruffles and Lace, which sounded perfect. A lot of their styling is 40s and 50s inspired.

I wanted a mid-calf length dress with long sleeves and they brought my dress to life. It fit perfectly and was the exact style I had in mind. I finished it off with some ruby red sparkly Irregular Choice shoes, followed by some homemade red glitter pumps.


Stacey wanted to wear a suit but trying to find a wedding suit for a woman is quite difficult as there isn’t a lot on the market. She found King and Allen on social media and we went across to Wilmslow for an appointment. Stacey had a bespoke suit made and it was perfect; exactly the style and colour she wanted. She went with a blue suit and contrasting red waistcoat. She also wore handmade women’s brogues from Trickers, a shoemaker located in Northampton. Finishing touches included a collar pin from Joe Browns and a pocket watch from Etsy.

Our dads and ‘best people’ picked their own outfits. We told them the colour scheme and left them to it.


My bridesmaids (my sisters) wore dresses I purchased from Lindybop online. They were a complete bargain and matched the style of my dress and colour scheme perfectly. They finished the style with black tights with a back seam and black patent heels.


We used a lady local to Derby for our makeup – Beauty by Taisiya. I went for a 50s style with eye flicks and red lipstick whilst Stacey went for a natural look.

A friend of ours did our hair (Sarah Fox). I had in mind in a relaxed vintage style and Stacey went for a striking up do.


We booked photographer Sharon Trees from Sheffield. I would recommend Sharon to everyone. She is fun and relaxed, and you hardly notice that photos are being taken which means you end up with perfect ‘in the moment’ shots. Stacey and I aren’t keen on having our photos taken normally but Sharon helped us relax and we loved every second. Sharon’s husband was also there, taking further photos but also just helping with everything on the day.


I wanted a striking winter bouquet with plums, reds, greens and pheasant feathers. It was huge and stunning, supplied by Twisted Willow in Ashbourne.

They also provided our buttonholes, the backdrop to our ceremony and our table decorations. For the button holes we had a mixture of plum and blue flowers with pheasant feathers.

The backdrop to our ceremony was gorgeous. It featured a mixture of my bouquet flowers with festoon lights hanging down. The mixture of colour and light was perfect.

The theme for our wedding breakfast tables was ‘gin’. For our dining table decorations, we had a wood log slice, with a gin bottle with gypsophila and copper candle sticks.

Our bespoke gin seating plan was created by Amy Bailey Design based in Kirkby in Ashfield.

We purchased miniature bottles of Henderson’s relish to use for our favours, meaning our guests could use it with their meal. Being a Sheffield lass, it’s all about Hendo’s with your dinner!


We went with a three-tier marble icing effect cake consisting of Victoria sponge, red velvet and chocolate, provided by Cakes by Cherry Pie in Sheffield.

We also had cake pops with a bonfire theme, from Torte Cakes in Sheffield.

We finished the ‘sweet table’ with toffee apples, from Stud Farm Fruit in Staffordshire.


We had canapes during our drinks reception consisting of mini Yorkshire puddings, mini fish and chips and a spicy veggie bon-bon. Then, for our wedding breakfast we had a mango and brie parcel to start, sausage and mash for main and chocolate brownie with raspberry ice cream for dessert. The food at the venue was provided by Jenkinsons Caterers.

One of the big perks of our wedding venue is zero corkage from the drinks reception up until the end of the wedding breakfast. For our drinks reception we used a vintage tin bath as our ‘booze bath’, filled with a mixture of lagers and ales. We also had plenty of prosecco flowing. For our meal we had red, white and rose on each table. Plus, guests still had access to the booze bath beers.


We had string quartet, Classic Strings playing whilst we walked down the aisle, during the ceremony itself and also the drinks reception. They played a mixture of pop and classical music.

In the evening we had band, The One Step. They are fantastic and lots of fun. They did a stripped back version of Adele’s Sweetest Devotion for our first dance and then had our guests up dancing the entire night.

We also hired a photobooth from OH Photobooth from Derby who were recommended by our venue. Oh Photo use an old style camera for the pics and have guests running around grabbing different costumes. It’s so much fun and our guests loved it. It’s the best photo booth we’ve ever experienced at a wedding.

Special touches

We used a number of peg board signs through the day which we got for a bargain from Primark. The copper frames matched our colour theme and the boards were easy to create.

We also made a photo pallet board. We used an old pallet, sanded and painted. We decorated it with old photos of us from our childhood, right through to pictures of us during our relationship. We decorated it with fairy lights for that extra sparkle.

To continue our gin theme, we set up a gin bar for our guests in the evening. We used a gin light, purchased from Next and provided fruit and spices for our guests to ‘pimp their gin’.

Thanks to

The West Mill is simply stunning. The building is an old cotton mill that has been lovingly converted into an amazing wedding venue. The styling of the venue is gorgeous. If you didn’t want to add your own touches, you wouldn’t need to, as it looks amazing as it is.

The staff are brilliant too. Andrew Rose, the owner, makes you feel so welcome. We met Andrew on our first visit to The West Mill and every time we’ve met him since he goes out of his way to talk to you and make you feel welcome. The West Mill is a very popular venue but the time and effort they put into your special day makes you feel like it’s the only one. The event management team are also amazing. Karen Eggleton was our event manager, she helped us plan the details for our day and ensured everything ran smoothly. We couldn’t have done it without her.

Best bit

For me, my highlight was marrying my lovely wife, of course! Other than that, if I had to pick, I would say the ten minutes after the ceremony. Karen (our event manager) had arranged for some fizz to be waiting for us in the dressing room. It meant Stacey and I had ten minutes to ourselves straight after the ceremony to collect our thoughts. It’s just what was needed after saying ‘I do’.

Stacey says that marrying her best friend and having friends and family there to celebrate with us was her highlight too.


Two days after the wedding we jetted off to Cancun, Mexico. We stayed at Secrets Silversands, an adult-only resort. It was pure luxury. The weather, staff, food and drink were perfect. It was great to have two weeks away together straight after the wedding. Whilst there we went on a couple of excursions, visiting local islands and also some speed boat and jet ski adventures.


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, try and relax in the run up to the wedding, maybe plan a trip away if you can. We found that a couple of weeks before the wedding we were both getting nervous and a little stressed. We had to force ourselves to relax so that we could enjoy every second.

Also – spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets. We had a lot of plans on the go to help us with check lists and also keep a tab on the budget. And if you’re not having a videographer get someone to record the speeches. We had a family member record them and we’re so glad we did!

Finally, the real wedding blogs on Brides Up North are great for inspiration. We also used the online directory on the website to help research suppliers.

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