Wedding of the Week: Sara Paine and Christopher Mills

16 Jul 2018

A Harry Potter wedding theme made Sara Paine and Christopher Mills' big day one to remember, showcasing plenty of magical DIY details 

How did you meet?

We both worked for Welcomebreak services as store managers but at different sites, so we met on and off over a few years... I always thought he was hot. Our stores were always trying to get one up on each other in every area. Three years later after a KFC conference we both attended, we stayed in each other's lives. 



Tell us about the proposal.

We were on holiday in Florida doing the whole Disney/Universal scene. One evening we went to our favourite Italian restaurant and as we walked back decided to go on the Orlando Eye to see if we could see the Disney and Universal Parks fireworks at the same time. Chris isn’t the best with heights but he seemed up for it. We stayed back to get on the last pod round and he bought me a glass of champagne. As we were going round he couldn’t look over the edge and just stayed in the middle shaking. When we got to the top (I was searching for the closet McDonalds), I turned around and he was there with the ring and said “How about it?”. It took me a few minutes to realise he was being serious and I said yes. On the way back down the fireworks were going off. He did good.


What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

The theme was Harry Potter and our colour scheme was lilac and blush.


What venue did you choose and why did you choose it? 

Whitley Hall Hotel in Sheffield because it was in the middle of both our families (I'm from Halifax and him from Chesterfield) and the whole venue was just beautiful. The gardens were stunning, great for photos. It was just very 'us'.



When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I went to Nora Eve in Chesterfield and I picked out about six dresses to try on. I wanted one with back detail. The lady helping us brought a dress that had just come in for me to try on, which was different to the ones I had picked. I tried that on first and when I looked in the mirror I just knew straight away that that was the one and my mum started to cry. I did try the rest on but nothing even compared to the first one. It was by Maggie Sottero and was named Andrea.


What did the bridesmaids wear?

They wore blush multi-way dresses by Coast. I chose them so that they could wear them however they felt comfortable; I just wanted them to he happy in what they wore on the day.


Where did you find your suits?

Moss Bros; they were morning suits by Ted Baker.



Tell us about your floral arrangements.

I had gone on Pinterest to look at ideas and sent my mum's friend, Elizabeth of Rose & River Floral, what I'd like. What came back was exactly like my picture; I couldn’t believe how alike she had managed to get the arrangement. She did my mum's flowers, so I wanted to keep something the same from both our weddings.


Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

Everything from our wedding was DIY. We come from creative families so it was the best six months ever. With the Harry Potter theme which we didn’t tell many people about it, but I don’t think they were shocked. We picked this because we are such fans; we had travelled to Florida to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and knew this should be our wedding theme:

  • Our Seating plan was on a Marauder's Map.
  • The favours were cocktails in little bottles named after the love potion and liquid luck.
  • The children had wands and activity packs (incase the speeches were too long for them).


  • We even had a photobooth with our wedding date on it.
  • We had a sweet cart with sweets from Honeydukes.
  • A Polaroid camera was provided for guests to take a photo in the booth and hang on a tree for our scrapbook.


  • The tables were all either a class from the film or a shop, so we made items like The Book of Monsters, wands, flying keys, spell books, a Mandrake, dark arts items, etc.
  • We also had a 'snuggle with us' box with throws in so our guests could sit outside and stay warm.





How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

So nervous. As soon as I saw Chris he was crying and that was it, I was set off too. 


How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

We had a short but sweet ceremony. The song playing as I walked down the aisle was Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, although it was a violin cover by Daniel Yang. Under my wedding shoes on the sole was the line ‘After all this time? Always’, and that’s how we answered our vows (another Harry Potter reference).


What was your most memorable moment? 

Chris – Just before the speeches Sara’s friends went round and did a sweepstake to guess how long the speeches would take and the winner got all the money to spend on the night. Sara's dad did his speech, I did mine and my best man managed to time his just right - so much so that he actually won. 

Sara – Chris’ speech. He had joked about how bad it would be and he wasn’t pre-writing it, but it made me cry on more then a few occasions and it was so beautiful.


What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Inviting people and the seating plan. I never ever want to see another sticky note again.


What was the most important investment for you?

The small touches that made it the perfect day. The fact everything was done by us or someone we loved.



What song did you choose for your first dance, and why? 

The Way I Tend To Be by Frank Tuner was our first dance song. Chris introduced me to him as an artist and we have gone to see him every year we have been together. While we were in Florida we saw him (the day after we got engaged) and we joked that this should be our wedding song.


Did you have any evening entertainment?

Just the DJ the venue supplied, but he was great and got everyone up dancing.




Tell us about your wedding cake. 

Both of our nans made the cake. It just felt more important to us that our family got to take part in helping us make our day. It was in the colour scheme we had chosen and had sugar flowers all over it. We also had a cheese tower cake because we just love cheese too much.



If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Not to get so stressed out about the seating plan. Also, we wish we could have spent more time with people on the day.


Did anything go wrong on the day?

Other than one drunked guest falling and ripping the bottom of my wedding dress and cutting the cake before the photographer was ready, the day went smoothly. 


Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

How fast the day goes. We took in every moment but I wish I could have had a wedding week.


Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went to Cape Verde... somewhere we had never been before and we just wanted somewhere we could relax. We went a week after we got married but in-between all that we went a away to the Lake District for a few days to enjoy our time together as newlyweds.


Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages? 

Ignore what everyone else wants and just do what you both want... that’s all that matters.


Steal their style:

Photography: Captured Life Photography,
Venue: Whitley Hall Hotel,
Wedding dress: Nora Eve Bridal,
Bridal accessories: Jon Richard,
Groomsmen suits: Moss Bros, 
Flowers: River and Rose Floral

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest issue of Bride magazine

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