Sopley Mill Wedding Photographs of Alex and James

Sopley Mill wedding venue is a beautiful 18th century watermill. It is surrounded on both sides by the river Avon. We were sad to see it close as a wedding venue back in 2011 shortly after we shot Tammy & John’s wedding photographs. After a vast amount of hard work the owners of Sopley Mill wedding venue have just re-opened it. It is now a stunning dedicated wedding venue with incredible views over the Avon water-meadows. You can see more of our Sopley Mill wedding photographs here.

So it was with great anticipation that I arrived early on the morning of Alex and James’s Christmas Sopley Mill wedding to see the transformation in all of its glory. The owners have beautifully accomplished the task of creating a ‘blank canvas’ for brides and grooms to create their dream weddings. It provides stunning views, beautiful historic buildings and the privacy that is sometimes difficult to find in other local wedding venues. Jasmine, Sopley Mill wedding organiser played such a crucial role in the day’s happenings.

I had talked to Alex in length about her choice of venue and plans for her big day but never expected the story at Sopley Mill wedding venue to be quite so wonderful.

Sopley Mill Wedding Bridal Preparation Photographs

I met the ever huggable Alex and her lovely bridesmaids in the Avon suite. This had been designed and furnished as the perfect bridal preparation room. Light colours and soft furnishings complimented the decorative mirrors and natural lighting.

The girls were full of excitement and anticipation as they hung Alex’s couture designer dress over a window. Next they unpacked all of the Sopley Mill wedding necessaries.

Amazing wedding hair stylist Kelly Gill (one of our recommended wedding suppliers) and wedding make-up designer Tara Sanger worked their magic. The girls merrily whirled about the room in a frenetic blur of wedding preparation.

Sopley Mill Wedding bridal preparations
Sopley Mill Wedding dress ironing
A Face Time call from Australia to her bridesmaid’s parents added to the emotion. I took some time to capture the details in the rest of the venue. I found wedding florist extraordinaire Maria from Simply Flower in the ceremony room. She adorned Sopley Mill wedding venue’s beautiful light space with white roses and green foliage.

Sopley Mill Wedding bridesmaids
Sopley Mill Wedding dress
Sopley Mill Wedding dress bride
Sopley Mill Wedding bride photograph
Back in the Avon suite I don’t think I have ever seen so much involvement in ironing and steaming of dresses on a wedding morning! Maria delivered the white rose button holes and gorgeous bouquets.

Alex’s mother although busy helping was constantly looking elegant in front of camera. With a little time for happily dancing about the room the girls were ready.

Her stunning dress now on, Alex and her bridesmaids exchanged surprise gifts and added the finishing touch of a veil.

Sopley Mill Wedding Groom Preparation Photographs

Meanwhile James and the chaps were to be found downstairs at Sopley Mill wedding venue. They looked rather dapper. They performed their jobs of pinning button holes, checking on room setups and greeting the guests almost as well as the wine and beer testing ‘tasks’.

Sopley Mill Wedding best man
Once all of the wedding guests were seated in Sopley Mill’s ceremony room James and his best man relieved the tension with a couple of jokes. Set against naked brick and white plaster, with light French furniture and a couple of seasonal Christmas trees the image of the expectant chaps was timeless.

Sopley Mill Wedding Ceremony Photographs

The Alani String quartet struck up as Alex’s father waited patiently at the rear of the room for her to arrive. She was elegantly led in by her beautiful bridesmaids. Alex walked down the aisle happily tearful to the open mouths of her wedding guests.

Sopley Mill Wedding string quartet
Groom and best man at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding ceremony guests
Father of bride at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding ceremony
Sopley Mill Wedding service
Wedding reading
The emotional ceremony included lovely readings and tear jerking vows. The happy newly weds left to a standing ovation.

Sopley Mill Wedding civil ceremony
Sopley Mill Wedding bride portrait
walking down aisle at Sopley Mill Wedding

Sopley Mill Wedding Reception Photographs

In the wild weather outside I quickly took the assigned group photographs. Maintaining concentration and distracting from the cold with a pinch of humour. The wind did however help with getting a little movement into Alex’s veil. Combined with the textured red brick of the mill it was the perfect location for couple shots. Alex and James even ventured into the landscaped garden for a couple of pictures next to the river.

Bride and groom at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding bride and groom kiss
Back inside the warm cosy bar area guests enjoyed canapés, drinks and a sweet table. Laughter and chatter filled the air with the smell of mulled wine and the sound of the string quartet.

Sopley Mill Wedding drinks reception
Sopley Mill Garden Wedding

Sopley Mill Wedding Breakfast Photographs

The wedding breakfast was announced. The wedding party moved up to the Riverview room on the top floor overlooking the beautiful countryside. Under the strings of fairy lights the wedding tables displayed wine bottles customised with childhood photographs. Disposable cameras and Maria’s gorgeous wedding flowers added to the decor.

Sopley Mill Wedding breakfast room
Bride and groom enter Sopley Mill Wedding breakfast
Alex’s bridesmaid explained the incorporation of Jewish wedding traditions. They lit the Hanukkah candles and James was invited to smash the glass.

In keeping with the festive time of year crackers were pulled. Merlin’s catering supplied what can only be described as amazing food, it’s not often we are treated to a chocolate fondue!

Sopley Mill Wedding food
Sopley Mill Wedding venue view
Sopley Mill Wedding guests drink
Wedding Camera at sopley mill
Sopley Mill Wedding speeches
custom wedding wine label

Sopley Mill Wedding Speeches Photographs

The traditional speeches involved many tears and laughs. The timing bets were exceptionally well organised. As the drinks flowed the log fire was lit in the bar area and the evening guests arrived.

Best mans speech at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding speech toast
bride and bridesmaid at Sopley Mill Wedding
Bournemouth Photobooth set up in the garden lounge. The incredibly tasty pork pie tower and cheese stack were set up from Crow Farm. Alex and James ‘cut the cake’, which actually involved cutting one of the sumptuous cupcakes supplied by Carol from Cakeexstacy.

Sopley Mill Wedding Evening Photographs

I took the opportunity to capture some night-time long exposures, helped by the gorgeous fairy-lights around garden. Back inside Alex and the girls had gathered in the Avon suite.  They practised the salsa dancing they had learned on the hen do. My jaw now ached from laughing.

Sopley Mill Wedding venue night portrait
Sopley Mill Wedding salsa dancing
Bride poses at Sopley Mill Wedding
Upstairs the ever helpful staff had turned the ceremony room around. OJ’s soul band had set up under disco lighting. Alex and James took to the dance floor to ‘Aint Nobody’ for their first dance. Shorty after James’s surprise ring of salsa-dancing girls encircled him!
Sopley Mill Wedding evening guests
First dance at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding first dance
Bride and groom dance at Sopley Mill Wedding
Father of the bride dancing at Sopley Mill Wedding
Dancing at Sopley Mill Wedding
Bride dances at Sopley Mill Wedding
Sopley Mill Wedding evening dancing
Sopley Mill Wedding guests dancing
Sopley Mill Wedding bride and groom dance
Upstairs wedding guests danced the night away to the funky tunes. Downstairs they huddled into the warmth of the bar area and enjoyed the sensory explosion of paella from Idelica.

wedding cheese
Whilst saying my goodbyes I had the opportunity to capture the happy couple together on the staircase.
bride and groom kiss
I left in awe not only of Sopley Mill’s transformation and staff but of the light, warmth and love created by Alex, James and their guests on a cold, dark winter’s day.

You can see what Alex and James think of our Dorset wedding photography services without time limits in their Sopley Mill Wedding Photographers Review.

 

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