June 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Today we’re poring over Jenn and Mark’s exquisite wedding at the magnificent West Tower manor house in Lancashire.
Wearing the most stunning Mori Lee mermaid style gown, the beautiful bride carried a gorgeous bouquet of peonies and roses for a quintessential summer bridal look.
With a five-tier artificial cake – every inch the picture-perfect creation – the couple also laid on a special cocktail hour for their guests, complete with the breezy sounds of a live saxophonist.
With images by Ian MacMichael Photography
jenn says: We got engaged in London on 15th November 2014. We were celebrating Mark’s birthday, staying in our favourite hotel – The Grange St Paul’s. We were out sightseeing all day and when we got back in the early evening, there were roses and champagne in our room. Mark asked if they were for his birthday, I said no, then turned around and he was on one knee.
We got married on 11th June 2016. There wasn’t a specific reason why we chose this date, other than that we knew we wanted to get married on a Saturday at the beginning of summer.
We tied the knot in All Saints Church in Childwall, which is Mark’s family church and is stunning. This was followed by a reception at West Tower. I had always dreamed of getting married at West Tower; it was the first venue we viewed and we both knew straight away that it was perfect for us. The grounds are gorgeous and the staff are unbelievable, too.
Our colour scheme was white. We wanted everything neutral so that our photographs wouldn’t look dated in the years to come.
I chose a lace mermaid style Mori Lee dress – I tried on more than 50 dresses before I found ‘the one’. It was from a gorgeous shop called Natalie Ann Brides. As soon as I started to try on different gowns, I knew I would find my perfect dress there. I was petrified I wouldn’t find one that I loved and was really nervous, but they really put me at ease. I didn’t actually choose my dress – Natalie said she had found the perfect dress for me and, it turns out, it was exactly what I’d been looking for!
Mark wore a three-piece black dinner suit with bow tie from William Hunt in York. He has seen a photo of the suit on Pinterest which we couldn’t find anywhere, but he eventually tracked the shop down. They had one in London and another in Harrogate. He dealt with Gavin who was brilliant and nothing was too much trouble.
Peaches and Cream did the bridal party’s hair and makeup. I loved the trials in the buildup and it was such a fun atmosphere in the shop on the day. They don’t come out to your house, which I quite liked as there were ten of us so it could have got a bit manic! All the girls looked stunning.
Our wedding transport was a vintage car from The Wedding Rooms, Formby.
As for our photography, we booked Ian MacMichael. We chose him as he was at the West Tower when we first visited. He had been the photographer at a friend’s wedding too and was brilliant. Ian and Hazel were absolutely amazing on the day. Ian even went as far as helping the men with their button holes and ties and Hazel helped stack the dishwasher and close all the blinds in the house before we left. The photos tell a story rather than all being posed which is what we wanted. They have managed to capture some unbelievable memories that we will cherish forever.
Flowerstyle by Laurie provided our flowers. I carried a bouquet of peonies and roses, and the bridesmaids all had the same but slightly smaller. We loved Laurie from the first time we met him. He’s an absolute perfectionist and nothing is too much trouble. We were overwhelmed by how amazing the flowers were.
Flowerstyle also supplied the flowers for our venue and table decorations. We decided on large white blossom trees in silver pots with white peonies and roses. The flowers looked exactly how I imagined.
We used I do with love for all our stationery. Anne was unbelievable. I needed to make last minute changes to the table plan and she did it no problem. Everything was better than I had imagined.
We were extremely lucky in that my aunt had offered to make our wedding cake. She used to have her own cake company so I know first-hand how talented she is. I looked through hundreds of cakes online and on Pinterest too, and decided to go for an all-white five-tier artificial cake. It was made from polystyrene, which meant she could make it in advance and easily transport it around. It was so glamorous and decorated with fresh flowers. Everybody commented on it. We had an M&S cake bar which was cut up in the evening, so nobody knew it wasn’t real!
We decided to go for a choice menu for the wedding breakfast, as we liked that our guests could choose what they wanted to eat. Our starters included soup, goats cheese salad or eggs benedict. For mains, we had salmon, sausage and mash, or beef roast. Desserts were sticky toffee pudding, Eaton mess or chocolate brownie. We had a choice of red, white or rose wine, too. The food was amazing – everybody is still talking about it now!
Mark has two unbelievably talented sisters who had offered to sing at the wedding. We asked if they would sing while our guests arrived at West Tower, before the reception. Guitarist Tony Wish accompanied them. It was such a special part of our day. They sang songs that were perfect to us, and even some from Mark’s childhood.
After the reception, we had a saxophonist. We love beach bars when we’re on holiday so wanted to create that type of ambience. We had a cocktail hour with strawberry daiquiris and whiskey sours while Tom Da Lips from Six15 Events played. He was absolutely brilliant and such a nice guy. It was a great start to the nighttime party and exactly the atmosphere we wanted.
In the evening, we wanted a party so decided to book Steve Mitchell Wedding DJ. He was actually the first booking we placed after the venue. We had heard so many amazing comments about Steve and after meeting him we knew he would be a great party starter.
As a special touch to the day, we had framed photos on display of anybody missing who had passed away. My nan carries the photo everywhere with her of granddad now.
We would recommend our choice of venue to other brides and grooms, without a doubt. West Tower are unbelievable. I actually can’t put into words what they did for us. From our first visit we were treated like we were the only people getting married there and it was just our wedding that mattered. Karan and Charlotte were there at any time to answer any question. We never once thought we should have booked anywhere else. On the day they were outstanding. The service was like nothing I have ever experienced. Sue and Steph were just brilliant and there for everything. I couldn’t recommend them enough and if we were to do it all over again (I wish we could) we would definitely do it there.
My favourite part of the day was before the reception, when Sue put us in the ‘leather lounge’ – just the two of us – where we reflected on everything that had happened and felt so excited for what was coming. It was nice to spend those ten minutes together, just the two of us.
We went to Mallorca on honeymoon. It’s one of our favourite places. We usually travel long haul but thought it would be nice to have a relaxing holiday with a short flight after the non-stop running around. We went to Palma for three nights and spent our time sightseeing, eating tapas and drinking sangria and Champagne. It was perfect. That was followed by seven nights in Puerto Portals where again we ate lovely food and drank lovely wine and just had a perfect time together. We decided that it wasn’t long enough so stayed for an extra two nights. It was such a special time.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, take advice from your venue. Use as many of their suppliers as you can as they’ll know the venue and often the people working there. We were delighted with every recommendation West Tower made. When making decisions, remember it’s your day. Do what you want. nd take time out, just the two of you, on the day itself!
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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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