Cley Windmill Wedding // Laura & Ian

31 July 2016 / Real Weddings

Their love story started 6 years ago when Ian hired Laura to work in sales. The couple has now been together for 5 years (and counting). Read their story abut the cute proposal and the wedding day in North Norfolk. 

The Proposal

Laura – Ian proposed one Friday night after a very long day at work. He had been off that day and supposedly spent it watching movies with my soon to be brother in law Craig. Instead the sneaky monkeys had been into town and brought the ring!


I walked through the door about 5 o’clock, tired & a bit grumpy. Ian had made dinner which was bubbling away on the stove but all I could moan about was the fact he’d taken my wine out of the fridge and it was no longer cold! I went upstairs to change, noticing Ian was acting a bit weird in the spare room. I didn’t think much of it and went back downstairs to feed the cat. As I did so, Ian came down the stairs and whizzed into the lounge at the speed of light! I followed him in only to find him down on one knee in the middle of the lounge. I don’t remember a huge amount other than saying “are you joking” and then crying until he interrupted me to say “so, is that a yes?” Of course it was and so we spent the evening travelling around the parents houses to tell them the good news. We even skipped Ian’s delicious homemade dinner and ending up grabbing a quick McDonalds. Not the classiest of engagement dinners but it couldn’t have been more perfect to me!


Ian – I had planned to buy the ring about a week in advance, but I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to propose. We were going to Paris for a week over New Years Eve and everyone was telling me to do it there. Doing it in Paris wasn’t for me. Once I’d bought the ring, my (soon to be) brother in law and I chatted about how to do it. I was just so excited once I’d bought the ring I couldn’t wait, I was going to do it tonight. I decided to cook a special tea and when she came in I’d be down on one knee in the lounge. We’d just bought the house and I said to her, so we’ve just started one new chapter, now I want to start another. There were lots of tears and happy kisses.


Cley Windmil Wedding Venue North Norfolk. Norfolk Brides

Photo: Steven Brooks Photography

The Wedding Planning 

Laura - We started planning almost straight away (18 months in advance). We knew right from the start we wanted to get married at Cley Windmill. We had stayed there as a family the year before for my sisters 21st and fallen in love with the setting, the mill itself and the idea of a small, intimate wedding. So within a few weeks, we had the venue booked!

I honestly enjoyed every minute of it I kept waiting for the so called wedding planning stress but I never really felt it. Maybe because I am Operations Manager at a digital marketing agency with 40+ staff I have to organise day-to-day – organising a wedding felt like a rest! That being said, Ian was a huge support and patiently listened to me bang on about invite wording and table layouts. Obviously he took an interest but he also just let me have what I wanted – provided it fit within budget – proving he’s a keeper! I also had the support of my sister and mum who are like my best friends so when I did get a little overwhelmed and couldn’t make a decision, they were there to talk it through with us.

I’d say I enjoyed it all but thinking about the finer details and finishing touches were the bits I got the most pleasure from and the bits I felt made the most difference on the day.

Ian - As a project manager, I thought it was best to leave Laura to the planning. She did ask for a few of my ideas, but in all honesty I just wanted Laura to have exactly what she wanted, so I let her get on with it. 

The Wedding Dress 

My dress was such a good find! A local bridal shop was closing down so Ian and my mum both suggested I go and look. I didn’t want to initially as it was still over a year till the wedding and I felt it was too soon. But we went and thank goodness we did as we found it and took it home there and then.

My sister was actually the one who picked it up originally. I wasn’t 100% but she was adamant it would look amazing on. The minute I looked in the mirror I just knew. I know that sounds so cliché but when I looked at myself I could suddenly envisage myself getting married and the whole day itself. Of course, there were tears!

I just loved the shape and the quality of the lace. I decided to add some bling with a diamante belt from Liberty In Love which really set it off. 

Wedding pLanning Tips 

Be true to yourself. Everyone will have an opinion but you absolutely must choose things for yourself & your husband/wife to be, not for everyone else. It is your day and you are likely footing the bill!

I’d also say that taking the time to find the very best suppliers is worth its weight in gold. Cheapest is very rarely the best option and you really need to be sure you can trust and get along with those people as they will be playing a big part in your day. We were so lucky with everyone we chose, especially our photographer Steven Brooks who became more like a friend than a supplier and everyone is still talking about how good he was now! 

The Big Day 

We actually had a whole wedding weekend! We booked the windmill from the Friday afternoon until Sunday morning and had every bedroom so it was just like a big house party with all our closest family and friends.

On the Friday evening we all met for welcome drinks in the lounge, had a Fish & Chip supper and then we all did a quiz which I had created. I tried to make it personal to us and our guests so I included rounds like Ian or Laura?, guess the baby and questions that were based on a questionnaire I sent everyone a few weeks before. It made for such a giggle and got everyone relaxed and talking ahead of the big day.

We spent the night before apart. Ian with the best man and me with my sister.

On the morning of the wedding we had a delicious breakfast (separately of course!) and then me, my mum and my sister went back to our room and enjoyed a fabulous massage from a local lady called Emma from Driftway Therapies. It was such a great way to relax! Because we didn’t get married until 4 o’clock (actually 4.40pm because I ran late!!) we had plenty of time to enjoy the getting ready process. We enjoyed some delicious sandwiches, fresh strawberries and a cheeky bottle of Bollinger to help with any last minute nerves. I personally felt very calm right up until the moment the registrar came up to ask me some questions and fill in the paperwork. All of a sudden it became very real and I just couldn’t wait to get downstairs and marry my best friend!

After the ceremony we went into Cley village for photos and then did the speeches outside in the windmill garden just as the sun was beginning to set. It was truly magical! We sat down to eat about 7.30pm and had a delicious meal of charcuterie, fillet steak, wedding cake and local cheeses before making our way to the lounge for music and dancing. Just because we had a small wedding, didn’t mean we couldn’t party!

On the Sunday morning we all ate breakfast together before taking a walk down to Cley beach. The fresh sea air was just what we needed and it made for a lovely opportunity to talk about the wedding day and relive it from everyone else’s perspective. I don’t think it was until that point that it sank in that we were going on honeymoon the next day!

Favourite Moments 

Laura – My dads face when he saw me for the first time, I’m so glad we have a photo of it!

Although it made me cry, I also loved it when my mum said “Goodbye Miss Miller” as she left me to go into the ceremony room. It was so poignant and a great insight into how she was feeling at the time.

On the morning of the wedding, we got a text to say Ian was already in tears because he’d opened one of my wedding gifts to him which was a diary of all the reasons I wanted to marry him. I’d been filling it in for a year and so he had over 200 entries to read through. I was so glad he liked it!

It goes without saying that my favourite moment was saying ‘I do’ to Ian. I just loved saying those vows to him and truly meant every word.

But it was all truly perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I know everyone thinks their wedding was the best wedding ever, but I really do believe that!

Ianthe best moments were the moments Laura and I had to ourselves, and whilst they were fleeting, it was so nice to grab 5 seconds with each other to share a quick kiss and tell Laura how beautiful she looked. She was simply stunning and when I saw her, I simply couldn’t help but well up.  

RECOMMENDED WEDDING SUPPLIERS 

WEDDING VENUE: Cley Windmill 

WEDDING DRESS: Originally from Miss V Bridal but that store is now closed. 

ALTERATIONS:   Fancy Fox  

JEWELLERY: Beaverbrooks & Liberty In Love 

WEDDING CAKE : Cake That

FLOWERS: Flower30

CHOCOLATES:   Digbys Chocolates in Cromer

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY: Steven Brooks Photography 

VIDEO: Family member using GoPro

HAIR : Gemma Holiday

GROOMSWEAR:Victor Valentine

WEDDING FAVOURS: Shortbread windmill biscuits made by Mother of the Bride

STATIONERY: Etsy and Strawberries And Cream Stationery

TRANSPORT: Step-Fathers Land Rover Defender

WEDDING MORNING MASSAGES: Driftway Therapies 

GUEST GIFTS: Marshland Arts

Dalia Courridge

By Dalia Courridge

Owner of Norfolk Brides - the wedding guide, wedding blog and inspirational hub for couples planning their wedding in Norfolk; Wedding Fair and Wedding Show organiser. Editor to a FREE annual glossy Norfolk Brides Magazine.