Bride and groom smiling holding hands walking down the aisle

Rachel and Peter first met at Cardiff Comic Con in 2013, where a mutual friend introduced them. "We spent the majority of the day together and talked for hours, enjoying each other’s company from the get go,” says Rachel. “We stayed in touch and arranged to meet a month later, and that was it. We've been together ever since.”

Winter themed wedding cake and bride holding bouquet

Second time lucky…

“I have two children, so we didn't move in together until 2018,” says Rachel.

“In 2019 Peter popped the question. I had always said I didn't want a public proposal but, on a night out celebrating his birthday, Peter got down on one knee and proposed in front of our friends. So I said no! The next day he asked again at home (and sobered up) and then I said yes.”

Inside of venue with brick floor and low hanging pendant lights

Wedding dresses Derby 

“Before I visited WED2B’s Derby store, I went to a couple of wedding dress shops and found many to be uncomfortable places to be,” says Rachel. “They had few dresses in sizes bigger than a 10 and many, many rules. As soon as I entered WED2B’s Derby store I was greeted by an assistant and immediately felt more relaxed. I went with a friend and my two children and we all went about picking out dresses. I didn't know what shape I wanted, so there was a little bit of everything. I’m not sure who picked out Summer, the dress I chose, but as soon as I put it on it felt right. When I tried another dress on, all I could think about was going back to 'my' dress.”

Bride walking down aisle with her father, bride and groom stood exchanging vows

“A dress called Summer could be considered an odd choice for a November winter wedding,” laughs Rachel. “But I love the understated design, gorgeous lace and the sheath shape, which made me feel fantastic. The words I had in mind for the whole wedding were ‘simple elegance’ and this dress is just that.” (For similar styles try Indigo, Marko or Oakley)

A venue full of character

The couple married at The West Mill in Derby. “It’s actually very close to where we live, so we always knew it was there,” says Rachel. “When we were looking for venues we started out with country houses, so visiting The West Mill was a bit of a wild card. Although, as soon as we looked around we knew it was the place for us. There’s so much character and history there."

Bride and groom smiling holding hands as they leave the venue

The big day

“I got ready at the West venue with my daughter Ruth, in the lovely bridal area on the top floor behind the ceremony room,” says Rachel. “Peter got ready at home with my son Joe and the best man, Jim. The weather was glorious sunshine but freezing cold, but we couldn't have asked for better in early January.” 

Bride and groom stood outside venue with whole wedding party

“My friends’ children were our flower girls and page boy, and they went down the aisle first throwing petals, followed by Ruth and Joe,” says Rachel.

“Then my dad walked me down the aisle to a ragtime version of Etta James’ 'At Last' played on piano by a friend. We also had a friend officiate and he wrote a wonderfully personal ceremony, which really was a highlight of the whole day.”

Bride and groom stood in front of river holding bouquet- close up shot
Bride wearing black leather jacket walking with groom by river holding hands

After the ceremony there were photos and a drinks reception with mulled wine, hot chocolate and canapés. “Having met at a Comic Con, we had a movie-related wedding but we also tried to keep everything quite simple, elegant and vintage,” says Rachel. “We chose wine red and navy for the colour scheme, our favourite colours but also very apt for the season.” 

Bride and groom and two of bridal party holding blue smoke flares in the air smiling

Food, glorious food

The couple served baked camembert with antipasti then roast chicken with winter veg, followed by Eton Mess for dessert. “Peter is a coeliac and the venue was great at making everything gluten free,” says Rachel.

“Our wedding cake was also gluten free and had three tiers of lemon and elderflower, red velvet and vanilla. Our florist Jessica used all in-season flowers to create the bouquets, button holes, and decorations. They were stunning!”

Cinema ticket style place setting tag with 'The Bride' on
Bride and groom sat in leather wingback chairs holding hands facing away from each other

“Our first dance was to the song 'Running Home to You' from the musical episode of The Flash, which was the perfect, geeky, romantic song,” says Rachel. “Our band, The Alchemists, learned our first dance song and it was so beautifully sung, they were just fantastic. We also had a vintage photo booth during the evening, which was a lot of fun!”

Bride and groom holding each other dancing and smiling

The special moments

“We tried to have friends and family involved as much as possible, for example in the ceremony music, the ceremony itself, the readings and the speeches,” says Rachel. “It’s all these moments that hold a special place for us.”

Bride and groom laughing while cutting wedding cake

My top tips…

“Once you’re at the end of the aisle looking at your partner, nothing else matters, so don't stress,” says Rachel.

“Also, if anything isn't how you planned, you are the only person to know it’s not right!”

Bride and groom laughing holding sparklers surrounded by guests holding sparklers

Rachel’s Dream Team 

Photographer: Esther Louise Triffitt

Venue: The West Mill 

Wedding dresses Derby: WED2B

Cake: Derby Cake Maker

Florist: Bramble and Twine 

Band: The Alchemists

Photo Booth: Old School Booth

Make up and Hair: Carly Hair Makeup and Beauty 

If you would like your big day to be one of our real weddings please click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Or click here for more details about WED2B’s wedding dresses Derby