Home Inspiration An invitation to a real wedding: Kerry & Will

An invitation to a real wedding: Kerry & Will

by Kloe Forster

How He Asked…

“After 9 years of waiting, we were in Edinburgh for my birthday. Will spontaneously popped out the hotel to buy my ‘birthday present’. Having initially been turned away from Laing the Jewellers for wearing a hoodie (It’s chilly in Edinburgh at that time of year!), Will bought a ring, which was extravagantly wrapped by the helpful shop assistant. He reluctantly stopped at Tesco on his way back to the hotel and paid 5p for a carrier bag to provide some disguise from what was inside. The Tesco bag was tucked inside a rucksack, which Will had strapped to his back for the entire day as we traipsed round the castle. He then insisted on giving me my ‘birthday present’ 1 day early, in the Princes Street Gardens, overlooked by the castle.”

bride and groom

The Ceremony Details…

“We got married on the top floor in the stunning West Mill in Derby, overlooking the river. The Cotton Quarter was absolutely beautiful as an empty room when we went to look round, but had the most incredible warm, magical atmosphere when filled with 120 of our closest family and friends. I walked down the aisle with my dad to ‘Real Love’ by Tom Odell (a special song for us), and there were A LOT of tears around the room, including the groom. Our ceremony was carried out by a wonderful registrar who made it so personal to us. We also had 3 readings from family members, including the very relevant and hilariously perfect ‘Oh the Place You Will Go’ by Dr Seuss, read by my brother. We danced out the room at the end of the ceremony to ‘You make my Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oates!”


The Reception Details…

“The great thing about West Mill was that the whole day was spent in the same location. The venue is so well set up for this, and we moved down to The Gallery on the ground floor for our drinks reception. We were so lucky with the weather, so people stood out in the courtyard and on the banks of the river in the beautiful Spring sunshine.”

bride and groom

“As our wedding was at 2pm, we figured most people would’ve eaten before they arrived, so we opted not to have canapes, but added some bar snacks to our package, just for people to nibble on. Will loves his beers, and a lot of our friends and family aren’t so keen on Prosecco, so we also had bottles of Peroni on offer for the drinks reception.”

group shot

“We then moved up to the Breakfast room on the 3rd floor for the wedding breakfast, provided by our caterers, Jenkinsons. We chose a Ham and Pea Terrine for the starter, and our favourite Roast Pork for main, with all the trimmings of course! We also chose the ‘Host a Roast’ from the caterers, so we could nominate someone from each table to carve. This was a great decision and definitely got people talking on tables where they didn’t know each other so well. Our wedding cake was our dessert, which meant it all got eaten, and didn’t end up wasted in a horrible mess at the end of the night! It was served up beautifully with fresh cream, fruit and a fruit coulis.”


“We put together several playlists for the day, which were playing in the background throughout the day, and helped set the mood. We had a ‘Selfie Station’, which was essentially a ribbon curtain in front of one of the bare brick walls, with some props and a selfie stick. A cheaper alternative to a photo booth and great fun too!

During the Wedding Breakfast, we had cards on the tables for people to complete with their ‘Advice for the Newlyweds’. There was only 1 per table, so it got people talking, and they were great fun to read after the wedding too!”

confetti shot

“Before the wedding breakfast had finished, the surprise Singing Waiters appeared, organised by the Mother and Father of the Bride as our wedding gift. They put on an act where they dropped things and had arguments in the middle of the room right the way through the wedding breakfast. Several different people had made comments to both of us, and the Mother of the Groom was marching up to one of them to put him in his place, as they burst into the song ‘Sweet Caroline’. Once everyone worked out what was going on, the whole room was on its’ feet (including grandma!). They did a brilliant set, and it definitely started off the party as we meant to go on! Our evening entertainment was a live band from our home town, along with a DJ, who kept the dance floor full all night between them.”

The Wedding Party…

“The Bridal party was made up of the Grooms beautiful sister, and two of my closest friends. I ordered ‘Will you be my Bridesmaid’ cards and wrote really personal messages in them, which they loved (and thankfully, they all said yes!). The bridesmaids wore strapless floor length dresses from Jasmine Bridal in Iron grey, which complemented their shapes and skin tones beautifully, as well as the rest of the colour scheme.”


“The Best Man was Wills brother, and the Brides brother and one of his oldest friends made up the rest of the party. Another friend was due to be a groomsmen, but his girlfriend was pregnant and went into labour the day before the wedding! We missed them so much on the day, but they were in our thoughts, and we were super happy for them too. The groomsmen wore 3-piece morning suits in Navy blue, with a brown tweed waistcoat and light brown tie. Not the original plan, but it worked so well with the rustic style of the venue, and looked really smart too.”

wedding party

The Bride and Grooms outfits…

“I was extremely lucky to win my beautiful dress in a Facebook competition from Estilo Moda Bridal. I chose a beautiful champagne colour trumpet shape gown with lace and sparkle details, and an incredible chapel length train. Completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted, but I fell in love with it when I tried it on. My shoes were beautiful sparkly Rainbow Club heels, that I absolutely loved as soon as I tried them on. And they were comfy too!”

brides dress

“The grooms suit was from Suitors in our home town of Buckingham. We had seen it in the window a few times, and although I wasn’t convinced that it would work with our colour scheme, we both loved it as soon as Will tried it on, and he had to have it. We tweaked the flowers to make it work, and the rustic brown and navy combination complimented the venue and whole feel of the day so well. His shoes were from Next, and we ordered personalised cufflinks for the men online.”

bride and groom

The Finer Details…

“We wanted our day to be all about our journey together over the last 10 years, and although the venue itself didn’t need much decoration, we added some finer details to make our day really personal to us. It was so important to us that our day was unique, but really reflected who we are. We also pulled on the history of the Cotton Mill with homemade oversized cotton reels, and lots of natural fabrics i.e. ribbon and lace, in shades of grey, cream and light pink, with a bit of glitter here and there to add a touch of glamour.”


“We’re both rubbish with flowers (Bridesmaid and florist Emma will agree!). We had seen some photos on Pinterest of empty beer bottles with flowers in as table centrepieces, and knew we wanted them. And we knew that we wanted to keep the colours neutral – mostly creams and pinks to compliment the natural tones and textures in the venue. But that was about all we knew! We left all the other flower details to our amazing florist, who did a fantastic job. We can’t thank her enough. Thank you Signature Flowers by Emma Newman.

Most of our finishing touches were DIY. Our tables were named after street names that were relevant to our relationship i.e. where we met, where we went on our first date, and where Will proposed, with a short story description on each table for the guests. We ordered personalised Love Hearts for our favours, as they’re our favourite sweets, and they were tied with a brown parcel tag with a message saying ‘Thanks for sharing our first meal as Mr & Mrs Hayton’. I loved how personal these were, and there weren’t too many that were left behind either.”

“The Mother of the Bride made our amazing naked cake (which we also used as the dessert), the Mother of the Groom made oversized cotton reels, and Sister Sarah painted the Order of Service onto a pallet. We up-cycled some pallets, with photos of our parents and grandparents weddings, special quotes and horseshoes. The Father of the Bride made the table signs from broom handles, quarry tiles, wall brackets and spray paint, and the table plan from some bits of wood, varnish and string that he had in the garage. We used empty bottles as the table centrepieces filled with gorgeous flowers. Place names were pegs, which were attached to the stems of the champagne flutes.”


Is there anything that stands out to you on your big day?

“I have so many memorable moments from our day – The first being that moment when I walked down the aisle, seeing my gorgeous groom at the other end, and the room so full with all our favourite people. That was the most magical feeling in the world!

The second was the walk we took with our photographer during the drinks reception. It was actually intended to get some great shots (which it did too!), but we had a lovely time, just wandering around the ground of the venue, with me trying not to get my heels stuck in the grass, but also sharing our thoughts on the ceremony, the day itself and just taking it all in. We were extremely lucky in that our photographer (Emily Horton Photography) gave us plenty of space to enjoy the special moment.

The third was the Singing Waiters. They were just absolutely amazing, made everyone smile, and the perfect way to get the party started. People are still commenting on them to this day, and we loved every minute of their brilliant set!”

bride and groom

What advice would you give to other Brides / Grooms to be?

1. Design a wedding website (we used a free template on gettingmarried.co.uk). It meant we could keep our invitations really simple, and all the other info was online. People could RSVP online and we got email notifications, which made things so much easier!
2. Try and take 10 minutes out on the day (even if it’s just during your photos), to take it all in. It’s the best feeling ever seeing it all come together, and watching all your friends and family in the same room, smiling and enjoying themselves!
3. Make sure you give yourselves enough time for everything. As a guest, it probably worked quite well, but I wished we had a longer drinks reception so we could have talked to more guests after we were finished with our amazing photographer.

bride and groom

Is there anything that you wish you knew before you tied the knot?

“Everything will be fine! Things will go wrong (a minor cake disaster, the guest book fell off its stand and broke, and a last minute absent groomsmen), but in reality, it will still be THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. These things don’t matter – all that matters is that you are marrying the one you love, and celebrating with all your most special friends and family around you. And it’s the most amazing feeling ever.”

bride and groom

All pictures were taken by Emily Horton Photography

If you’d like to share your day with us just complete the submission form here.


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