Charlotte Balbier

golden touch. stella york for a classic wedding at west tower country house hotel – victoria & neil

July 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (40)

Here at Brides Up North we do enjoy it when brides push the boundaries with their dress choices. Falling for something a little different, today’s bride Victoria chose a stunning soft golden gown instead of a traditional ivory or white design – and we’re sure you’ll all agree, she looks gorgeous!

The rest of the wedding party keep the style bar high with maids in pretty pale gowns with lace detailing and the groomsmen in smart navy suits with polka dot tie and pocket square.

From the beautiful blooms to the elegant cake the entire day comes together perfectly for the classic and sophisticated wedding that Victoria had dreamt of.

With images by Cahill Photography.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (1)

victoria says: We got engaged in London over August bank holiday weekend in 2013. We had booked a weekend away and were staying at the Royal Horseguards Hotel.  We always try to go to a Michelin starred restaurant when we go away so Neil had booked a meal at a surprise location. On our way out we had a walk through Whitehall Gardens just in front of our hotel. It was such a pretty little garden with a really old tree in the centre which we had seen through our hotel window. We stopped by it and Neil said something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to embarrass you but….’ Then got down on one knee and pulled out a little blue Tiffany & Co bag from his suit pocket and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked and in a complete daze, I really wasn’t expecting it. Of course I said “yes”.  We celebrated our engagement at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (11)

Our wedding day was 3rd April 2015. We had no specific date in mind to get married, we had talked about a bank holiday weekend during the early stages of planning and it just so happened our chosen venue – West Tower Country House Hotel in Aughton, Lancashire – had Good Friday available.

I had my heart set on West Tower from the first time I saw it.  A friend of a friend was a bridesmaid at West Tower a few years ago and upon seeing the pictures I fell in love with it! We did a little bit of research online and narrowed our choices down to a handful we wanted to view in person. West Tower for us just blew the rest out of the water, it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (3)

We didn’t really have a specific theme for our wedding day, we just want it to have a classic and sophisticated look to the day to fit in with the venue.

Our colour scheme was vintage/soft pinks, cream and gold. I wanted to have soft colours for a spring wedding and I had always liked the idea of vintage pinks and the colours worked perfectly with the venue.

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My dress was from designer Stella York. I bought from Bridalwear by Emma Louise in Bolton. I had seen the dress at a wedding fair at the Emirates Stadium displayed by a bridal wear shop based in Chester and I fell in love with it. I did some research into North West stockists of Stella York dresses and Bridalwear by Emma Louise was the only one. I contacted the store and from day one Emma was so helpful. She didn’t stock this particular dress but ordered in a sample for me to try on. I fell in love as soon as I put it on, it was so different to anything I had tried on previously. The colour, the lace, the detail, everything was perfect!  It had to be ‘the one’.

Neil wore a dark navy blue three piece suit from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow with a polka dot tie and pocket square. He also wore a bow waistcoat with a pocket watch to make him stand out from the other groomsmen who had classic four button waistcoats with the same time and pocket square.

My bridesmaids wore dresses from Debenhams, flower girls from Next and our page boy wore a Marks & Spencer suit with a polka dot bow tie to fit in with the men.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (21)

Our photographer was Martin Cahill of Cahill Photography. We would most definitely recommend Martin to other couples as he was great from start to finish. The pictures say it all, we are so amazed by them and they will bring us happy memories for the rest of our lives.

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The majority of our flowers were silk with a few fresh ones here and there. Neil’s mum did all our arrangements throughout the venue and our bouquets. My flowers were hand tied, long stemmed cream silk roses bound with lace.

The chair covers, aisle runner, lanterns, pillars and swagging throughout the venue were provided by Add A Little Sparkle.

All our stationary, from invites to table names were handmade by me. I also handmade all of the pearl and crystal napkin rings for the wedding breakfast which doubled up as name cards.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (27)

We gave our guest favours of Charbonnel et Walker milk chocolate truffles which came in a white boxes edged in gold, which tied in perfectly with our theme. We had lots of ideas for favours but in the end went with simple and classic.

Our cake was made by Taylormade Cakes by Tracy. We chose a five tier cake made up of fruit, lemon drizzle, chocolate fudge and carrot. We wanted a quite a large cake to make an impact in the room. It was a classic five tier design with some of the tiers edged in edible lace and decorated with handmade flowers which Tracy had replicated from the silk flowers used in our arrangements.  We didn’t see the finished cake until the day. It was so perfect and just what we had imagined, I didn’t want to cut it. I would highly recommend Tracy to anyone.

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For our wedding breakfast we had a starter of smoked chicken Caesar salad with herb croutes and bacon crisps followed by mains of Lancashire blade of beef slow cooked in a beer jus with wholegrain mustard mash, roasted shallots, button mushrooms, carrots, swede and bundles of green beans. To finish we had sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream (our favourite pudding). In the evening we had a hog roast.

A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (30)

As entertainment we hired a string quartet called The Dotted Crotchets to play for our guests’ arrival, my entrance, signing the register and for our drinks reception. The Dotted Crotchets were our choice, we first heard them play at the Trafford Centre and we fell in love with the idea. We hadn’t been to a wedding with a quartet before and thought it was a nice touch and a little different to anything we’ve experienced as guests at a wedding. We had full control over the song choices which enabled us to pick songs that meant something to us.

We hired Robin, the MD of Dancefloor Couture, as our DJ for our evening reception. He had played at a number of our friends’ weddings in previous years and was absolutely amazing. We knew we had to have him and didn’t want anyone else. He certainly didn’t disappoint!

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A Classic Wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel (c) Cahill Photography (35)

We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff made us feel comfortable from the first day we visited West Tower, they could not have been more helpful from start to finish. They made our vision of what we wanted our wedding day to be into a reality. It was so much more than we dreamed of. I could not fault them on anything they have a fabulous team and would highly recommend them as a wedding venue.

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I enjoyed every single minute of our wedding day, it was such an amazing day and one I will never forget. For me there were a couple of standout points; the moment my bridesmaid and my dad saw me in my dress for the very first time. I had concealed everything about my dress from everyone other than my mum until I was dressed on the day. It was such an overwhelming feeling to see their faces when they finally saw it. It was definitely tears all round moment. Another special moment was when I saw Neil waiting for me at the end of the aisle and taking our vows.

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For our honeymoon we went to Hong Kong for four nights then onto Koh Samui, Thailand, for six months and then Singapore for six nights. We wanted to have a long holiday as we normally only do short breaks away, so it was nice to enjoy almost three weeks away from everything together as a newly married couple.

Neil spent a few years as a child in Singapore and time as a teenager in Hong Kong as his dad worked away in these countries, so he was excited to go back and see what it was like now and also to show me where he lived and the things he experienced as a child. We chose Koh Samui as our ultimate luxury destination for rest and relaxation in the middle of our two city stays. We had our private villa with our own pool. It was paradise.

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My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute and try to take in as much as possible as the day just flies by so quickly. Also, take five minutes together to discuss the day so far.

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Love Is Golden! A Real Wedding In The North West – Natalie & Alex

May 26th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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This week has been wall to wall gorgeousness, with Real Wedding after Real Wedding here on the wedding blog, so I thought that I might as well round off the week with another beautiful big day!  Thanks to Adam Riley Photography and real bride Natalie for sharing this stunning celebration with us today. 

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Natalie says:  We got engaged in July 2011. I had just got out the shower and Alex was on one knee (in his boxers!) in our bedroom! {Editors note: This appears to be a theme! See Thursday’s Real Wedding } We were going to California later that week but apparently Alex was becoming nervous about taking the ring through customs- so spontaneously proposed that afternoon! It was perfect as it then meant we could celebrate with our families that evening.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography   A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Our marriage took place at St. Michael’s Church, Aughton, followed by the reception at West Tower Country House Hotel, Aughton on 30th March 2012. 

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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I fell in love with West Tower the second we pulled up! Not only is it set in the most beautiful countryside but it is the perfect mix of traditional and modern- plus The Bridal Suite is INCREDIBLE! West Tower only holds one wedding per day so it meant that the venue was jam packed full of people who were only celebrating our day. I couldn’t recommend West Tower and its fabulous staff highly enough!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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We both wanted our wedding to be about family, our friends and us, so we tried to make it as personal as possible. We love to travel so our invitations were created to look like a suitcase arriving through the post! We named all of our tables after places we have visited around the globe – and accompanied them with a picture of us at an iconic location. Having said that Alex is an extremely proud Mancunian so our Top Table was ‘Manchester’

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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I had absolutely no idea on which colours to choose but after many hours trawling the shops we finally discovered some beautiful dresses for the bridesmaids in a gorgeous shade of teal I don’t like anything to be ‘too matchy’ so after that we kept everything very neutral sticking to shades of champagnes and pastels.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Both Alex and I travelled (separately of course!) in a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud from Classic Wedding Cars. Jim, our driver, was lovely and put us ease as we made our way to the church.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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My number one requirement was I wanted to have some beautiful straps- and I found the perfect dress (SSM5210CS) on the Sottero Midgley website. It was an ivory fish tail covered in gorgeous lace and pearls. After trying to search the dress down across the whole of the North West I was devastated to find out that the dress of my dreams had been discontinued. I took matters into my own hands and emailed Maggie Sottero directly who informed me that Sugared Almonds in Earby had one sample size left. I hastily made an appointment- and a two hour trip later I finally tried it on- it was absolutely perfect (although rather large at the early stages!). So many people approached me on and after the wedding and said it was the most beautiful and unusual dress they had ever seen. I definitely agree!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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I had a tear shaped bouquet, which included two types of pink roses, lilac freesias, cream lisianthus and eucalyptus foliage.

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My sister (The Chief Bridesmaid) had a smaller version of my bouquet and the other bridesmaids had pink roses and eucalyptus.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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All of the bridesmaids are tall, thin and gorgeous – so they were very easy to dress! After many hours of trying hundreds of dresses on we finally chose a silk, one shouldered, full length, teal gown from Fairytale Occasions in Whitefield.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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We had Nathan Bradbury singing Motown Classics during our drinks reception which was a nice way to greet the guests after the Church Ceremony.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Adam Riley Photography is an absolute must for any future bride! His photos are incredible and still make me cry when I look at them! We wanted extremely natural photographs and Adam’s reportage style meant that he captured so many little moments that I had forgotten about or not even seen – a perfect reminder of the day!

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We used Creative Weddings for our video who were extremely helpful throughout. They had filmed a friend’s wedding so I knew they were excellent.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Princess4aday helped add the finishing touches to the already perfect West Tower and dressed the room for us with champagne swaging, bay trees, fairy lights and wooden hearts.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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I know it’s a cliché but the whole day was perfect and there wouldn’t be one thing we would changed. We both smiled from start to finish! It was just wonderful having all the people that you love in one room together-having the best party ever! I wish I could do it all again!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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My Polish Grandad sang ‘Sto Lat’ after the speeches. It is a traditional polish song which means ‘100 years of happiness’- he had sang it at my parents’ wedding 31 years earlier. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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We chose DJ Steve Mitchell who works at West Tower regularly and has a great reputation – we knew we were in safe hands with him. Steve also provides fantastic and unusual lighting – so The Ballroom was transformed between the Wedding Breakfast and Evening Reception – making it seem like a brand new room

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My ‘zombie wedding’ themed hen do had taken place over Halloween, so my cousin Katherine (also a bridesmaid) had taught us all the ‘Thriller’ routine. We then performed it during the evening reception – much more difficult in a wedding dress!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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After the wedding, we had 10 days on The Riviera Maya in Mexico, followed by two nights in London in a gorgeous hotel looking out on The Houses of Parliament.

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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My top tips for other Brides Up North would be plan in advance! I focussed on one element of the wedding at a time and planned as early as possible. I could then make sure I had the best of what was out there and it was exactly what we wanted.

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I made sure that everything was sorted about two weeks before the wedding and this then meant that we could relax and enjoy the build up in those last few days and drink lots of champagne!

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A Real Wedding In The North West by Adam Riley Photography

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Congratulations Natalie & Adam!

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Are you newly wed?  Contact me to share your Real Wedding memories!

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  – Images © 2012 Adam Riley Photography

Adam Riley Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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