Real Weddings Exeter: Laura and Stuart’s elegant mill wedding venue
A beautiful mill wedding venue in Devon was the perfect setting for this happy day. Our WED2B Real Weddings feature reveals more… Laura and Stuart met through the online site Plenty of Fish. “We started talking in July and we...
A beautiful mill wedding venue in Devon was the perfect setting for this happy day. Our WED2B Real Weddings feature reveals more…
Laura and Stuart met through the online site Plenty of Fish. “We started talking in July and we became a couple in September,” says Laura. “Before we met up we were messaging each other from the minute we woke up to the minute we went to sleep! I wanted to wait at least one or two weeks before meeting but eventually, we thought, let's just do it! We didn't want to wait any longer, so we met one evening on the Quay in Exeter, by the bridge with all the pretty lights around. Stuart was my first online date ever and he was also my last!”
The big question
Stuart proposed to Laura in Cockington, where the couple had their second date. “That was the date when we both knew this could be it,” says Laura. “There was a bench where we had our first kiss, and Stuart always said that when he proposed to me it would be at that spot. However, when the proposal did happen, the bench had been removed for renovation! Yet, he didn't want to do anything else in that moment, so he knelt down in the muddy patch that was 'our bench'. How romantic!”
Wedding dress nerves
"I bought my gorgeous dress from WED2B’s Exeter store,” says Laura. “I chose the beautiful Amore dress and Caprice jacket. Oh, how I miss wearing it, and we've only been married for three weeks, one month this Friday! I adored it. My store experience was amazing. I was really nervous and so worried about some stranger seeing me in my undies. Although, when I was there, I didn't think about any of it once. I was in a little happy bubble, trying each dress on.”
Shopping for The One
“I’d searched the WED2B website, so I knew which dresses I wanted to see,” says Laura. “These were the first four dresses I tried on. They were lovely but I didn't have that special moment with any of them. Then the shop assistant showed me Amore and straight away the buttons made my eyes light up. I thought I didn’t want a plain dress, yet I tried on the plainest dress there was and I’m so glad I did! Before the assistant even had it up to my chest, I knew this was my dress. I was squealing in the dressing room, just waiting to pull the curtain back to show my mum, my maid of honour and my sister. There were tears from all of us. The smiles and feelings were so overwhelming that I knew I didn't need to try on any more."
Laura also tried on the Caprice jacket and fell in love instantly. “I love anything with a high neck, so this jacket was made for me,” she says. “I’ve had two strangers message me through FB to ask where my beautiful jacket was from. What a compliment! As I said previously, for such an insecure person, my experience was truly amazing. From the shopping to the trying on, to the emotions, to the squeals and the smiles! I want to do it all over again, twice a year!”
A beautiful mill wedding venue
The couple married at Bickley Mill Inn in Newton Abbot. “It was dreamy,” says Laura. “We found it through social media and instantly arranged an appointment. We also had an appointment for another venue the following day but halfway around viewing Bickley we phoned to cancel it! Stuart and I just knew that this mill wedding venue was the one for us after meeting the staff and seeing the décor and the surroundings. We didn’t want anything grand and this felt like home. The woodland animal décor, the comfortable sofas, the white-washed walls and the wooden beams were all gorgeous. When we saw the ceremony room Stuart and I gave each other that look that says, we're doing this here!”
The big day
Laura and Stuart married on Friday 27th September 2019. “Our ceremony was the most perfect and most surreal part of the day,” says Laura. “We walked down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme. When we told people this they were amused but it was a piano and cello version and it was beautiful. Not many people guessed that it was the theme tune to the film. We also had two other songs with lyrics that were meaningful to us. Having the other songs in the background when we were signing the register helped to capture that 'just married' feeling. My step-dad walked me down the aisle. He’s been in my life since I was two and I forget he isn't my biological dad. We’re all very close, very open and very much a family, which means everything.”
“We kept our theme simple,” says Laura. “We loved our mill wedding venue as it was and neither of us wanted thousands of roses or lots of clutter. So we stuck to a hessian and foliage colour pallet, with hessian bunting, chair sashes, and table runners that complemented the mill wedding venue perfectly. For our centrepieces, we had wreaths with different foliage and wildflowers to complement my bouquet and the buttonholes. Our florist also made a hanging garland for the ceremony room. The whole room smelt like woodland, it was amazing. There were also letter pegboards for our welcome sign and for our orders of the day and big light up letters to brighten up the evening reception. Stuart's Dad made our naked cake with a wooden Mr and Mrs topper, which sat on a log slice decorated with fake ivy.”
Time to celebrate!
After the ceremony, there was fizz and photos until 3:45 pm, when guests sat down for the wedding breakfast. “We decided to have the speeches after dinner, so we had something to look forward to,” says Laura. “Then we went into the night with good music, dancing, a BBQ and even sparklers! Sparklers were always on my list of things to do. Stuart wasn't keen but he now admits the photos are awesome.”
“It’s hard to choose highlights and memorable moments because the whole day was one big memorable highlight!” says Laura. “The one thing that we couldn't wait for was the 'first look' whilst walking down the aisle. The first dance was also amazing. The whole room just froze and it felt like we were dancing in an empty room. The speeches were so thoughtful and funny, getting ready with the girls was hilarious and the sparklers at the end of the evening were very pretty. My Dad coming into the room though was another level of emotion. When I close my eyes I can see his face and that overwhelming feeling still gives me goosebumps every time I think of it. It truly was the best day of our lives. That sounds so cheesy but, until you get married, you can’t really imagine how getting married feels. It was perfect.”
My top tip…
“This is the best tip that Stuart and I had,” says Laura. “Take some time out as a couple to enjoy that 'just married' feeling. We took 10 minutes out of the day and 10 minutes out of the evening to just go for a walk, to enjoy each other without cameras or without any conversation. It was the best thing we ever could have done. In the evening we walked up to a bench at the top of the mill wedding venue's gardens. We looked down at the deck and just watched all of our guests talking, laughing, dancing. We had a few kisses and my sister actually took some sneaky photos without us even knowing. Those photos are some of our best ones.”
Laura’s Dream Team
Mill Wedding Venue: Bickley Mill Inn, Newton Abbot (bickleymill.co.uk)
Florist: Hollyhocks (hollyhocks-shop.co.uk)
Videographer: Dave Robson
Stationery - Hobbycraft (hobbycraft.co.uk)
Makeup - Nicola Redman (facebook.com/Browslashesmakeup)
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.
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