Real Wedding- The West Mill, Kayleigh & David

Welcome to our latest Real Wedding blog featuring Kayleigh & David at The West Mill exclusive use wedding venue.
When Kayleigh Otter and David Foster, both 31, first met they were just 16 years old and worked on
the production line in a sandwich factory. But even then Kayleigh knew David was the butter to her
bread and after half a lifetime together the couple tied the knot in a stunning ceremony in Derby’s
West Mill. Here, Kayleigh tells the story of their day.
Who: Kayleigh Otter, a midwife at Kingsmill Hospital, and David Foster, an algorithmic trading
manager. They live in Selston, Nottinghamshire.
Proposal: David took me to Venice for my 30th
birthday and I had absolutely no idea he was going to
propose. Even when he got down on one knee I didn’t expect it – I just laughed. We had a few days in
Venice and then we went to Milan and I chose my ring there. It was completely unexpected but all
the more lovely because of that.
Venue: West Mill, Darley Abbey. I had always wanted to marry in church, but Dave works away a lot
and the church in Darley Abbey insisted we attend three weekends a month, for six months. This was
impossible for us, so we decided on a country house venue. We looked at several in Nottinghamshire
and Derbyshire but we hadn’t found anything that really had the wow factor. As soon as we walked
into West Mill Dave was asking if we could book it – we loved how unusual the place was.
When: The venue didn’t have any Saturdays left in 2017, but they did have some Fridays. We decided
to book 7th July and it was only afterwards that we realised the date was 7.7.17 – so Dave has no
excuses for forgetting our wedding anniversary.
Night before: My mum hired Stretton House the night before and we all stayed there. My two
cousins from Australia came over for the wedding and it was lovely to be able to spend the night
before with all my family.
Bridesmaids: My sister Tamara Otter was the matron of honour and my bridesmaids were cousin
Olivia Heslop, sister-in-law Claire Harradine and friend Claire Pedley. I also had my two nieces as
flowergirls, 14-year-old Caitlin and 10-year-old Maisie. My mum owns a mother-of-the-bride outfit
shop called House of Elegance, in Worksop, so she ordered all the dresses and accessories.
Best man: Dave’s best friend Andy Graham was best man. He lives in Hong Kong and came over
especially for the wedding.
Dress: I did loads of dress shopping and I had a very set idea of what I wanted: something plain. In
fact, I ended up with the complete opposite but I couldn’t have loved it more. It was from the
designer Mori Lee.
Theme: West Mill is very urban and industrial but I chose to view it as a blank canvas and endeavour
to make it prettier. I wanted the theme to be elegance and sparkle and to link back to Venice a little
bit too. I had an enormous scroll made with a quote from the Merchant of Venice written on it,
which came from Polly and Me, and I placed this in the centre of the room.
Flowers: I saw quite a few florists and some of the quotes I was given were completely ridiculous. I
was continuing to look around and met Laura from Avant Garden at a wedding fair at Calke Abbey.
She was incredibly down to earth and understood exactly what I wanted, which meant I had
complete confidence in her.​ My bridal bouquet was stunning, filled with white cymbidium orchids, with blush centres, sweet
avalanche roses, pink astilbe, pink astrantia, white thistle, blush wax flowers, Italin ruscus, baby
eucalyptus and asparagus fern. I loved it so, so much I have paid to have it preserved and it is now in
a glass case – I couldn’t bear to just let it die.
Laura also did my bridesmaid’s posies which had sweet avalanche roses, memory lane roses,
waxflowers, astrantia, astilbe and greenery.
Dave’s button hole was a Cymbidium orchid, white thistle and waxflower while the groomsmen had
memory lane roses instead. The corsages were white orchids in keeping with bridal bouquet.
Every single flower Laura used was absolutely stunning and she really helped to guide me in choosing
the right thing for the right time of year. She was also really well-priced and I felt that I got a lot of
flowers for my money. We went to 10 weddings last year, all with different budgets and themes, but I
would not change my flowers for any others. They were perfect, fabulous quality and my favourite
floral masterpiece was our ceremony backdrop. Avant Garden brought the “WOW” factor I wanted
for the ceremony room.
Accessories: Laura also did my birdcages filed with flowers which hung from the ceiling during the
ceremony, and then went on the tables later. She filled jam jars with flowers which hung off the
chairs either side of the aisle and I had hurricane vases with candles in them lining the aisle too. I had
a vintage ladder which held sweetie jars and lollies and I made my own tables cloths and runners
with rose gold sequins, hessian and lace.
I made a welcome board, which had maps of the places we met, got engaged and got married cut
into the shape of hearts.
For the name places, we had chocolate bars made with a photograph from our engagement shoot on
one side and the menu on the other.
Rings: My engagement ring was by Cartier and we bought our wedding rings from Temprel in
Nottingham. I’m a midwife which means that I can’t wear diamonds at work, so my dad suggested I
have two rings – a plain band that I wear all the time and a diamond one that I wear when I can.
Music: This was really important to me. I had a violinist called Alexandra performing during the
ceremony and a duo called The Notes played during our drinks reception.
In the evening we had a band called Echo Drive – I chose them because the lead singer Caulder has
an amazing raspy sound. We booked them solely based on their promotional video but it was a
gamble that paid off because they were great.
Photography: I came across Simon and Adam from Enchanting Wood Photography at a wedding fair
and although they are based in Berkshire I knew they were right for us. We are really thrilled with
our pictures a lasting memory of our day. And we also had a photobooth in the evening which was
really good fun and has provided us with a really different set of images too.
Cake: This was from Buttercup Cakes near Manchester and it was actually the first thing I booked –
even before my dress, even though it really reflects my dress in terms of the ruffles. I had four tiers of
lemon drizzle cake and the bottom tier was covered in white, pink and purple frills which gave it an
ombre effect. It was beautiful and tasted divine.
Top tips: Everyone tells you the day will go quickly but it was like a whirlwind. It’s important to take a
step back and take it all in. Also, prepare as much in advance as you can. It is possible to do an awful
​lot yourself, providing you give yourself plenty of time. And finally, stick to your budget – because it is
possible to get very carried away.
If you would like to book a consultation to discuss your wedding flowers click here

Helena & Jonathan’s English Country Garden Inspired Wedding

Who: Helena Catlow and Jonathan Simms
When: 28th May, 2017

Where: Brackensfield Church, Ashover and the groom’s mothers home

Theme: I’m a graphic designer by trade and in the last few years I have run my own wedding stationery firm – so I’ve seen so many trends I was spoiled for choice. Our wedding reception was being held in a marquee at my mother-in-law’s house so I felt the theme should reflect the setting – an English country garden. I wanted lots of flowers of the season and wildflowers.

Planning: I was at a wedding fair at the Silk Mill in Derby and Avant Garden was at the same event. I got chatting to Laura and thought she was lovely, really down to earth – even though she is really successful. I knew she was the perfect person to do my flowers  – but I didn’t give her much to go on! I wanted flowers of every colour and every type. Laura came back to me with flowers of all different kinds and colours and we narrowed it down from there. I didn’t actually see one real flower throughout the process – Laura kept sending me Pinterest pictures (the bible for brides) and she knew exactly what I wanted.

Bouquets: The brief for my bouquet was a bunch of wildflowers that looked as if I’d been wandering through the countryside picking flowers. The bouquet was a complete surprise – I just left Laura too it. And it was absolutely beautiful and exactly what I wanted. The bridemaid’s were wearing sage green so I knew that having a mixture of colours in their bouquets would work. They didn’t believe me when I told them they were having every single colour! They had slightly smaller versions of my bouquet, which were equally gorgeous. The main flowers Laura used were delphiniums, stocks, waxflower, green bell and ranunculus which have intense colours and beautiful, pure shapes. She also used lots of scented foliage such as eucalyptus and rosemary.

Hair: I asked Laura for some additional flowers for my hair and she gave me loads – so I had my hair absolutely covered in blooms and ended up filling the bridesmaids hair too!

The ceremony: I wasn’t able to decorate the church because it was well dressing weekend which meant that there were lots of flowers in the area anyway. Unfortunately, it was a sport theme and the display in the church was a cricket bat! I kept thinking that everyone would think I had arranged it for Jono as he loves cricket!

The reception: My mother-in-law lives in a converted chapel house with a large piece of grass behind it. I wanted absolutely loads of flowers but I still wanted guests to be able to see each other and talk across the table, so I came up with the idea of the ‘trees’, although they weren’t trees at all! Scott created the trunk from a branch which was secured very firmly down and surrounded with greenery. There was a piece of glass on the top and Laura placed the display on that – so they looked like colourful trees! I was absolutely blown away by them; I burst into tears when I saw the marquee. They were the absolute talking point of the day and everyone thought they were stunning.
I was very much aware that marquees can look quite empty so I asked Laura for some greenery so I could decorate other areas. She gave me some advice on how to tack it up with string and I decorated the bar and as many other places as I could! More and more greenery kept turning up and so I just kept pinning it up – I really wanted it to look like the outdoors.
I was devastated the next day when I had to take the ‘trees’ down. I had envisioned just handing out the displays from the top – but they were absolutely massive. No one would have a table big enough! So, I had to split them up and make smaller bouquets to give to the grandparents and parents. The tree trunks have gone back to Avant Garden for other couples to use.

Top tip: Don’t hold back and always follow your instinct. Everyone kept telling me that I was going over the top and ordering far too many flowers. Laura and I knew it would look amazing, but it was almost like no one else could see our vision. Jonathan thought I was going mad – but he would pay it all over again and some because he loved it so much. My mum cried when she walked in the marquee and everyone was overwhelmed. Laura totally understood what I wanted and I just can’t recommend her enough. contact us