May 16th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
A romantic venue that dates back to the late 1800s is the picture-perfect setting for today’s beautiful wedding in the heart of Lancashire. Say hello to Imogen and Neil, who tied the knot at the fabulous West Tower manor house in February.
Opting for a classic, elegant theme, the couple’s big day is brimming with prettiness and sophistication in every imaginable way. The ivory flowers, the blossom trees, the buttercream sponge cake, and that stunning Ronald Joyce gown – we think you’ll be coveting all these exquisite details just as much as we are!
Swapping a traditional guest book for a Polaroid camera, serving shots of Limoncello (yes, please!) and even hosting a competition relating to their first dance with a £50 bar tab up for grabs – there are lots of personal touches to inspire all the brides-to-be among you, and so much more besides. We think it’s time to hand the blog over to Imogen to talk us through all the dreamy highlights from their special day. Enjoy!
With images by Ian MacMichael.
imogen says: We got engaged at home. Neil attached the ring to our new Boston Terrier puppy, Michael. He proposed just before our 11-year anniversary.
We got married on 11th February – there was no particular significance associated with this date, but we decided that we didn’t necessarily want a summer wedding because the weather wouldn’t be guaranteed. We chose February half term because I’m a teacher.
We tied the knot at West Tower in Aughton, Ormskirk. We wanted somewhere close to home and this venue is just a short drive away. We went to a wedding open day and thought the venue was lovely. We only viewed two different venues, but it quickly became clear to us that West Tower was the ideal choice.
We wanted to keep the theme classic and elegant. We didn’t want anything that would date too easily, so we kept it simple. Above all, we just wanted everyone to have a good time and look back in years to come and think ‘that was a fantastic day’.
We chose to keep the colour scheme quite neutral. The groom and groomsmen wore grey and navy suits, and the bridesmaids wore dark green as I saw the dresses and loved the colour. We wanted to have lots of green and ivory in the flowers, and both like thistles so a few of those were included. All of this tied in with the dress and suit choices.
I bought my dress from Always and Forever Bridal Boutique in St Helens. It is a local wedding dress shop and the service was great! I went back for a second time and they had taken the dress out of the window for me to try. I loved it. It felt comfortable and was quite traditional except for the scooped back and beading. The designer was Ronald Joyce and the dress was called Jillian.
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.
March 23rd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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November 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Our second helping of real wedding inspiration today comes in the form of Gill and Craig’s colourful summer wedding that took place at West Tower in Aughton.
Cue outdoor ‘I dos’, bright bridesmaid dresses and origami bouquets!
With images by Suzy Wimbourne Photography.
craig says: We got engaged on 12th May 2014, at our favourite restaurant in Costa Teguise Lanzarote. Some of my family were on holiday there as well as two of our friends. I arranged for the rest of the gang to follow down to the restaurant half-an-hour later than Gill and I got there. I got down on one knee in the terrace area, then the rest of our group arrived at the restaurant where we had a celebratory meal. It was the most nerve wracking day of my life!
jill says: Our wedding day was on 4th September 2015. We knew we wanted a Friday wedding in September so when we contacted the venue and the 4th was available, we jumped at it.
We got married at West Tower in Aughton, Lancashire, which is the village I grew up in. West Tower was the second venue that we viewed and we both knew as soon as we saw it that our search was over due to its stunning grounds and intimate feel.
We didn’t have a theme but decided we wanted the wedding to be light and summery and so chose to incorporate pastel colours, which worked well with the venue. After a lot of Pinterest research we settled on mint green and coral.
September 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we have another wedding that stands out, not for having an unusual theme or vibrant colour scheme, but due to its simplicity.
After finding a dream venue in the West Tower, bride Victoria set to work adding elegant touches for the classic wedding she’d always dreamed of.
We love Victoria’s stunning Ronald Joyce gown, her maids’ lovely latte coloured dresses, the chic looking cake and all the pretty peonies. Just perfect!
With images by Teresa C Photography.
victoria says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012, three months after having our little boy so Christian asked me when he had got in from work as he was working that Christmas Day. Not very romantic but it was nice.
We picked the date the 30th May 2015 for the wedding because ever since we have been together the weather has always been nice around that time of year.
We got married at West Tower, Ormskirk. I was told about the venue by my florist, who I have known for more than 15 years. We went and took a look around and fell I love with it that much it made me cry. It was just what we were looking for, it had character but was modern at the same so was perfect for us.
I wanted an elegant theme just because it looks so lovely and classy. I think I went for this theme once we had found our venue and I had found my dress as it made me feel elegant so everything just fell into place.
I went with a latte type of colour scheme as again I thought it looked elegant and classy. I just knew I didn’t want bright colours.
I chose a dress I didn’t think I would have as it had a high neckline and I always thought I would go for a strapless. It also had a lot of Swarovski crystals, which again I didn’t think of having initially. When I tried it on I was very surprised as it made stand up straight and made me feel so elegant – I just loved it. I did keep looking for a while but I just kept going back to the first one so that’s how I knew it was ‘the one’.
My dress was by Ronald Joyce and my full length vail was by Joyce Jackson, both bought from Romantica in Wigan. My headdress was by Richard Designs and that was from a friend’s bridal shop, Bride 2 Be, in Leigh. My shoes where Jenny Packham from Debenhams and all jewellery was from Debenhams too.
My husband, the best man and ushers all wore Moss London slim fitted suits with bid like waistcoats, which we thought really set them off. Their shoes were from Aldo and Topman and shirts from TM Lewin. Sue at The Wow Factor (who is amazing) made our son Harry’s full suit, the men’s ties and pocket ties and the bridesmaid dresses.
For transport on the wedding day we hired a Daimler car from Grace Wedding Cars in Ashton Wigan, which was lovely.
Our photographer was Teresa C Photography, who had already done photos for us in the past which we love so we didn’t hesitate at all in asking her would she do our wedding and the outcome was amazing. She is a very talented photographer and we would highly recommend her, as we always do.
Our cake was made by Jane at Coco Cakes. I wanted a simple cake with pearls and a faded colour effect. We also wanted it to be all different flavours, as it was going to be our evening desert after our barbecue. We went for Victoria sponge, carrot, chocolate and then lemon drizzle, plus more chocolate in 50 cupcakes. It was all delicious. She is amazing at cake making and I’ve always got my cakes made by her. It was a three-day proses to make the cake, which was well worth it – she is a perfectionist!
Stacey Whitaker from Perfect Daze, in Wigan, created all the flower arrangements, including those carried by me and my bridesmaids. I wanted all flowers for table arrangements to be mainly hydrangeas and peonies so left Stacey to work her magic. She is an amazing florist and would highly recommend her and her team.
As favours we gave soaps to the ladies and scratch cards to the men.
The entertainment for the evening was a band called Kings of the Dance Floor, who we found on the intern. They were an indie type of band and really got the place rocking! They were excellent all night and the dance floor was packed from beginning to end, which I guess you get with a very good band.
Special touches on the day included my one of my best friends Olie, giving me away as my mum and dad have both passed away. I also had an old picture of my parents displayed on the day. The best man David did an amazing job of his speech and everybody has been talking about it since. He managed to get everyone clicking their fingers to the Adams Family!
We would highly recommend West Tower to other couples, as they couldn’t do enough for us and the whole day ran smoothly. It was an amazing day, and one we will never forget!
We have yet to go on honeymoon. We are planning that for next year as we have just done the two of the most stressful things in life – buying a house and getting married.
March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.
Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.
Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.
So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!
We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!
We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!
I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!
I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!
Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!
The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.
It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.
We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!
Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!
My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.
As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.
I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!
One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!
We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!
We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.
We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!
My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!
We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!
I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!
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