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A super fun DIY wedding packed with details from monkey lights, succulents, neon hearts, unicorns and smokebombs.

I met Catherine back in 2015 when I was shooting the lovely Ellie + Joe’s wedding. We had a long chat standing by the photo booth and she said to me ‘when I get married I want you to be my photographer!’ Then flash forward to 2017 Catherine and Jack got in touch and told me they were engaged and getting married at Sopley Mill. I was so excited – they were planning a proper DIY wedding in a Water Mill with smokebombs, flower crowns and super cool details. I was very excited about this wedding. I knew it was going to be detail heavy but these two superseded all my expectations and put on a visual feast. Sopley Mill is effectively a shell, you hire it out and decorate. Honestly,    there was not a single detail that Catherine missed. The Mill looked amazing, it was a real mish-mash of stuff, from paper mache bears and giraffes, palm leaves, dream catchers, succulents galore, glitter bars, trolls (remember those!) but it all went together so well and looking bloody amazing. 

Catherine professes that she is not a stylist but I think this could be her calling in life. She did EVERYTHING herself, she even did all the florals and was making her flower crown in the morning of the wedding. I was truly blown away with this ladies talent and how humble she is with it too!

Getting ready

I rocked up to Sopley Mill, where Catherine and her girls were getting ready, and it was so much fun, everyone was in a good mood. Catherine wore a dress that she designed with Calm amongst the chaos. She had worked with the team sending pictures of shapes, materials, colours embroidery (lots of cats and plants) and sparkles and they managed to create something fabulous! (wait and see…!)

Jack got ready at Burley Manor and wore a super cool green suit and had a  tailormade waistcoat from Jack Bunneys that he had seen in one Catherines copies of Rock n Roll Bride. Jack also wore a gold kangaroo that he used as a tie pin. It was bought by his Great Nan on a trip to Australia. Unfortunately, she passed away just a few years before the wedding but Jack + Catherine managed to incorporate her into the day in various ways but the kangaroo pin was a favourite.

The ceremony

The wedding took place at in the beautiful brick-walled room at Sopley Mill. The room looked so light and airy, the big neon heart and flower arch at the alter looked amazing and all the other little details dotted around just added to the quirkiness.  It was an emotional ceremony, with happy tears but lots of laughter (and a reference to the Lion King) After the ceremony they conga’d the aisle together and all the guest joined in and did a lap around the grounds!

The reception

Sopley Mill is a newly renovated watermill surrounded on both sides by the Avon River with uninterrupted views across the water meadows. It really did make people (including me) say wow – it just looked so beautiful.

It was a beautifully sunny day, which was what the couple had hoped for and meant all their guests got to enjoy the grounds and the sunshine to the fullest. While the guests hung around drinking and taking in all the super cool DIY details, we wandered around the venue and into the watermeadows doing fun and creative portraits. These two were so relaxed in front of the camera and did not stop laughing, making my job nice and easy! Catherine + Jack also bought smokebombs with them which totally added to the day. We had so much fun setting them off and got all their friends involved later on.

Before the meal, there were a few speeches, which were very, very comical and Catherine had asked her sister to do a speech as ‘best woman’ It turned out she had written a whole rap in the tune to Summertime by Will Smith called ‘Wedding time’. All guests got involved with the chorus and it was just the most hilarious thing! 

We were lucky enough to get some reaaaaaaallly magic light between the end of dinner and dancing. So we got back outside and soaked up the last of the September sun and let off more smokebombs!

Then Catherine + Jack had their first dance and kicked off the party.  OH MY GOD, THE DANCING – I love dancing and they simply did not stop.

Here’s their awesome quirky, detail-heavy, awesome wedding!

 Sopley MillDIY wedding lightbox vintage rocking horse at sopley mill Dream catcher hanging at sopley Mill DIY photoframe at Sopley Mill bespoke cat dress designed by calm amongst the chaos ceremony at sopley mill dorset bride and groom holding smokebomb sopley mill wedding party holding smoke bombs at sopley mill bride and bridesmaids wearing hand designed leather jackets


Dress designer – Calm amongst the chaos
Makeup artist – Lucy Workman
Hairdresser – Kim White
Grooms Suit – Jack Bunneys
Florist – The Bride
Caterer – Sausage + Pear
Cake:  Little Gem Bakes
Music –  We Perform
Videographer: Devoted Films
Venue – Sopley Mill