Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

macarons & sequins. a festive wedding at west tower, lancashire – joanne & timothy

March 23rd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (44)

Today’s real wedding takes place at Christmas time, but it’s anything but a traditional yuletide affair. Joanne and Timothy opted for a classy, neutral palette of ivory and green, with some Christmas sparkle in the shape of some rather stunning gold sequined bridesmaid dresses!

Spring might be approaching here at BUN HQ, but if you’re after a good dose of festive cheer – with some scrumptious macarons and bubbles thrown in for good measure – scroll down for all the fabulous details.

With images by Sarah Maria Photography.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (14)

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (31)

joanne says: We got engaged during a trip to Paris in December 2015, which was an early Christmas present from Tim. We arrived at our hotel, Maison Souquet, late afternoon and decided to have a stroll around Paris. He took me to the Bir-Hakeim Bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower and that’s where he popped the question. He even had a photographer ready to capture the moment. The photographer then took us to other beautiful locations for more engagement photographs. That night, Tim took me to dinner and to the ballet.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (39)

We got married a year later, on 21st December 2016. We are both big fans of Christmas and wanted a wintery, Christmas wedding. I really hoped it would snow! I am a primary school teacher so had to squeeze in the wedding and honeymoon during the school holidays.

We tied the knot at West Tower country manor in Aughton, which was our favourite venue. We viewed it first and nothing else compared. The venue is so pretty and in a perfect location for our family and friends. Inside, it has a neutral colour scheme, which means it wouldn’t clash with any colour I chose.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (49)

Our theme for the day centered on Christmas, but not in the traditional red and green sort of way! I love neutral colours and wanted the venue to be full of ivory flowers and greenery. West Tower already had gold Christmas decorations, so I decided to dress my bridesmaids in sequin gold to match.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (64)

I purchased a Rosa Clara wedding dress from the Knutsford Wedding Gallery, in Cheshire and teamed this with Sophia Webster shoes. I am only 5’ 2” and knew that I wouldn’t suit anything that hid my frame, so I chose a slim fitting and backless gown. I knew that Tim would love it, too!

On the wedding day, my makeup was done by the fantastic Elle Rogan, and my hair was styled by Walnut Salons, Halsall. They both came out to the venue the morning of the wedding.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (1)

Tim wore a French navy suit with woven waistcoat and champagne tie, all hired from The Grooms Room in Southport.

My bridesmaids wore long gold sequin dresses from Debenhams. Meanwhile, the groomsmen wore French Navy suits and waistcoats with champagne coloured ties, also from the The Grooms Room.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (17)

We booked Sarah Turner of Sarah Maria Photography, to capture our day and she was amazing. She was everywhere and we didn’t notice! She made us feel really comfortable and her photos are just beautiful. I liked her informal approach to capturing the day, and she caught lots of funny moments on camera!

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (24)

The Wedding Rooms supplied our ivory and green flowers – white roses are my favourite. They also provided the decorations and chair dressings. I collected lots of Pinterest photos and they sorted everything. I wanted flowers everywhere; I love them! My favourite was the archway of flowers. I loved going through the arch before walking down the aisle. I had low and high flowers on every table, as well as lots of candles and tea lights.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (36)

Our favours were macarons by The Macaron Lounge in Ainsdale, Southport. We had Champagne and chocolate flavours, wrapped in gold tissue paper and put into ivory coloured boxes.

A family friend, Bridget West, made our cake. I showed Bridget a Pinterest photo and she made one that was even better! The bottom layer consisted of chocolate sponge, with a middle layer of vanilla sponge and then fruit cake on the top. We have saved the top layer for our first child’s christening.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (58)

As for the food and drinks – we chose Laurent Perrier champagne, Malbec and Pinot Grigio. Our appetisers included mini Yorkshire puddings filled with beef and smoked salmon blini. For our meal, we started with a choice of leek and potato soup, bury black pudding or smooth chicken liver parfait. To follow, we had roast chicken crown, roast prime rib of beef or pancetta wrapped pork fillet. Our desserts included West Tower chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding and cappuccino cheesecake.

In the evening, we had a cake of cheese, mini fish and chip cones, mini pizza swirls and mini beef burgers.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (50)

We booked Alex Birtwell for our evening entertainment. He and his brother provide live music of your choice. They’re the best wedding band I have seen. Our friends have since booked them for their wedding. Everyone – young and old – were catered for and danced all night.

We also had a harpist, Maxine Molin Rose, play as the guests arrived for the ceremony. She then played the tune to A Thousand Years as I walked down the aisle.

Magician, David Burgess entertained the guests between the ceremony and wedding breakfast.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (60)

Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend West Tower to others. They were so efficient during the whole planning process and on the day itself. The venue is used exclusively for weddings. They know exactly what they are doing! I didn’t have to remember anything on the day of the wedding, as they had everything under control.

Our favourite part of the day was the evening, when we were completely relaxed and the band was playing. Everyone had so much fun.

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (65)

We went to the Maldives for our honeymoon. We stayed at a resort called Centara Ras Fushi. The island was so small we could walk around it in less than ten minutes. It was such a simple place and so beautiful. We stayed in a water villa with plunge pool on our deck, with our own steps down to the sea. The island was surrounded with beautiful coral reef. We saw small sharks, sword fish and Monterey daily. We spent Christmas and New Year there – it was perfect!

A Festive Wedding at West Tower (c) Sarah Maria Photography (61)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, slow down and take in the day. Everyone told us that the day would go so fast. We didn’t take any notice of them! We woke up the next morning and had to pinch ourselves. It felt like it had all been a dream. Also, take a minute for yourselves at some point during the day. Before our wedding breakfast we were taken into a separate room from our guests to just relax and talk to each other.

We have been together for four years. From the moment we met, we knew we would be together forever. Our wedding was the perfect day to start the rest of our lives together.

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about the author

Alexis Forsyth
Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...

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