Katie + Dan

Our Sopley Mill Wedding :: Katie + Dan


I‘m absolutely delighted to feature this stunning Autumn Sopley Mill Wedding. It was a real treat to photograph – awesome people at the heart of it of course, amazing moments, a wonderful waterside wedding venue and a fantastic location on the edge of the New Forest, close to the sea. A complete visual feast and to be honest a wedding photographer’s dream!

A lot of this of course was down to Katie and Dan being, well, just Katie and Dan and the fabulous couple that they are. It was also in no small part due to the meticulous planning and inspired choices. Therefore I was keen to find out more and so I asked Katie to tell me a bit more about her and Dan’s wedding journey, the choices they made, the styling and some of her memories.

“We are absolutely in love with our album! We would like to say the biggest thank you for capturing our day so perfectly and for all the little extras you have gifted us – you really have gone the extra mile”

1/6: How did you discover Sopley Mill and what made you choose it?

Katie: Shortly after our engagement in the September of the year before, we began the search for our perfect wedding venue using wedding photographer’s Instagram accounts with only one search criteria in mind, to be by the water. After many an evening searching, it was finally on Ideal Imaging’s page that we stumbled across the incredible Sopley Mill (See original photo below). We instantly fell in love with the charm of the beautiful riverside location and traditional mill-style building and instantly had the ‘this is the one’ moment!

sopley mill at sunset


2/6: What was your theme & styling and why did you choose to have an Autumn wedding?

Katie: Madonna once sang that “Music makes the people come together” and that was the whole premise of our wonderful wedding. An autumnal wedding was something I had always dreamt of and so to do it justice we combined tones of blush, teal, and grey, with notes of rusty orange and browns, from roses, pine cones, feathers, and thistles to create a fitting palette. With music being so important to both of us we also had to fit that into our bouquets, so flowers created from sheets of music paper it was! In addition to those in the bouquet, my wonderful Mum created some extra ones to go around the venue. We spent many an afternoon together and with family and friends foraging for autumnal leaves to create our top table decorations, crafting and building our photo booth area, painting guitars, creating signs and of course getting it wrong and starting all over again!

Our musical theme started from the moment we sent out our invitations (which we hand-made) in the style of an imitation vinyl record complete with track list and working audio CD. On the day itself, the tables were named after music venues, our table plan and signs was created from vinyls, we had written a band emoji quiz for the guests and in the evening we managed to find ‘that’ wedding band that not only met but far exceeded our every expectation.

styling for music themed wedding at Sopley Mill

3/6: What do you remember about your morning preparations at the Christchurch Harbour Hotel?

Katie: After a year of planning the day finally arrived! Whilst the team of groomsmen set up the venue (with my floorplans and instructions in hand), all of the bridal party were blissfully unaware as they gathered for hair and make-up in my room at the Christchurch Harbour Hotel. Some commented it was very busy with so many of us there, but for me that was all part of the fun! All my favourite ladies laughing and joking around in one room, what more could a bride ask for?!

Bridal Preparations at Christchurch Harbour Hotel

Groomsmen preparations at Sopley Mill

The morning ran smoothly and I hardly noticed being papped the whole time.

Bridal Preparations at Christchurch Harbour Hotel

bridal portrait using window light

It then suddenly felt like time stopped as my Mum and Grandma let my Dad in to see me for the first time!

Reveal for Father of the Bride

This was quickly followed by a slightly panicked 15 minutes in which I was unable to locate my father’s tie and pocket square (it was of course where I thought it was the whole time)! We then proceeded to the lobby of the hotel where I continued to dress my Dad whilst my bridesmaids set off, driven by my Step-father and Grandfather, closely followed by my father and me in a vintage 1949 Jaguar.

wedding at Christchurch Harbour Hotel

4/6: Could you share some of your thoughts and memories as your Dad led you down the aisle?

Katie: Waiting with 6 of my bridesmaids in front of me, my Dad by my side and my two Maids of Honour behind, I couldn’t wait to hear my Godmother’s Instrumental version of ‘The Writer’ by Ellie Goulding to get me down the aisle. I was filled with excitement but oh so focussed (as you could certainly tell by my facial expression) on getting the all-important walk right, that we had all practiced in the hotel corridor after a couple of drinks the night before! Once I made it down the aisle to my husband to be I could finally smile!

Sopley Mill Wedding ceremony

5/6: What were your other favourite moments through the day?

A highlight for us both was the glorious white barn owl flying our rings down the aisle (one of our first dates was to an owl conservancy but it was also a sentimental ‘nod’ to two of our late grandparents to make them a part of our special day) and I think it came as a great surprise to all of our guests.

Owl ring bearers sopley mill

The ‘mother of the bride’ and ‘father of the groom’ delivered their custom witty yet heartfelt reading during the ceremony, our Grandparents witnessed us signing the register before we left to have some more intimate photos down at Mudeford Quay (another reason for selecting our venue).

Wedding photoshoot on Mudeford Quay

Wedding photoshoot on Mudeford Quay

Wedding photoshoot on Mudeford Quay

“Thank you for making our beach dream happen on a late- November day and producing such stunning images”

Whilst we were away our guests enjoyed the owls, giant jenga, made a start on the quiz, and the bar of course! The food was perfect and the speeches were everything we had hoped them to be…funny, emotional and very honest! All that was left was to dance the night away and we certainly did do that!

6/6: Six months on, how are you remembering your day?

Now that the day is all over and the memories will live forever, we still have some of the decorations scattered around the house, including some homemade musical flowers and a hand painted guitar that welcomed our guests on the day. And every time we open the dresser drawer there is a lighter with our wedding date and a drawing of the mill on it that my sister-in-law drew for us (these were given to all of the guests as favours and used to light the sparklers in the evening). There is of course nothing better than occasionally flicking through the photos in our album that was included in our wedding photography package or watching the highlights video from our videographer, a late addition that we are so grateful we included! Both our parents, immediate family, and friends were all so involved in the run up and on the day of our wedding and we couldn’t be more grateful to them all!



Let me introduce you to some of the other suppliers to this wedding:


Flowers and some venue décor: Simply Flower

Photographer: Alistair Jones (ME!) & Josh Thomas Powell, Ideal Imaging

Brides dress: Mark Lesley from Sofi Designs

Bridal Bridesmaid dress: Online retailer adapted and altered by Jackie Filer

Light Grey Groomsmen’s suits: Slaters

Dark grey groomsmen, grooms waistcoat and wedding car: All Aspect Wedding Services

Band: Captain Atlantic

Bridal party hair: Amy Blunden, Mane

Make-up: Peachy Glam

Catering: Red Cherry

Catering Bar: Tom’s Bar

Owls: CSR Falconry

Wedding rings: Groom’s: Petra Jewellery / Brides: custom made by Marmalade Fine Jewellery, Chiswick

Engagement ring: Petra Jewellery

Cake: Cupcake Central with flowers from Simply Flower

Ceremony music: Pre-recorded piano covers by Katrina Sulley (Godmother of the Bride)

Videogrpaher Dom Balls

Majority of decorations: homemade by bride, groom and family.

Are you planning your own wedding?


Would you love to know more and check my availability? Fingers crossed I’ll be free and I’ll send you a brochure.
I’d love to hear from you.