Bridget and I met over three years ago, something that we weren’t both expecting but life without each other is unthinkable. We knew from the outset that we had both found ‘the one’ and knew we would end up spending the rest of our lives together.
It was important to us both that we wanted to share our commitment with our family and friends and started to consider what options were available to us. Once we decided that we would have a Civil Partnership, we embarked on our quest to find a venue. We went to a few places near to where we live but nothing quite caught our eye. As we are quite private people, we didn’t really want to be in a venue where it was open to the general public so this ruled out many venues that we had seen. We considered travelling out of the area as there were some lovely places within a couple of hours drive, but in the end after a heart to heart we agreed that we wanted to stay locally.
When I was a young girl, My Dad and I would drive into the grounds of West Tower and I remember thinking how magical it was. It only seemed right that we go to West Tower, on the off chance that we could have an impromptu look around. We were given a warm greeting and were proudly shown around by a member of staff. As soon as we set foot through the door, we knew this was where we were to celebrate our special day but thought it would be out of our price range. The flexibility of the venue in terms of options was very surprising and we felt really comfortable talking with the staff about planning our big day. We originally decided to go for a Christmas wedding (which we are now glad we didn’t as there was such heavy snowfall!).
We settled on April 1st 2012 partly due to it being our anniversary and also had the added bonus of being a Sunday which meant that planning the day could be a lot more flexible. Bridget and I are quite laid back and did have a budget to stick to (which promptly went out the window!). One of the first questions you are asked is what are your guest numbers? Straight away we realised we had underestimated the guest list by half and were struggling to try and decide who was on the day and night list. This was proving the most difficult thing to decide as it impacted upon the whole day and also influenced the budget. In the end we opted for a later ceremony at 3.30pm which meant that all 125 guests could come.
We found our dresses quite easily. We had met the ladies from Birkdale Brides who made us feel so special. They were just as excited as we were when trying our dresses on!
Sorting out how we would have our hair was equally as easy, Bridget has her regular hairdresser and I have been going to the same hairdressers from the age of 11. Thankfully, they were more than happy to do our hair on a day when they don’t normally work!
Having sorted ourselves out, we needed to start thinking about our ever growing guest list. What time will they need to be at the venue? Do we do have canapés and a drink before or after the ceremony. Who will entertain them whilst we are off having photos taken? All the decisions were made so easy for us, as Leonie at West Tower had done this many times before.
Waking up and looking out of the window to see clear skies and a slight breeze was such a relief, as the day before had been dreadful. We weren’t concerned about it really, as we know that if the weather had turned, then there was enough room to house all the guests inside. We also had the added advantage that the interior to West Tower was truly a wonder to behold.
The excitement set in pretty quick, as well as the ‘I can’t believe it’s today!’ thought as well. The time had come around so quick!
We arrived at noon where we were greeted like old friends. One huge element of the day from ALL of the staff, was that we were made to feel so unbelievably special, like we were the only people to have ever done all this there! I don’t think every venue has that added sparkle.
We unpacked all our things and hung our dresses in the bridal suite and had an amble around. The staff were all so excited to see us and they all came out to say hello!
What happened between us arriving and having the private moment with our parents and two best friends just before we walked up the aisle was a bit of a blur, a good blur though!
Every last detail was taken care of for us, even to a jug of ice water for us to have a sip, to sooth our nervously excited dry mouths!
We booked a string quartet to play music for the ceremony itself and to provide another piece of elegance to the day, it wasn’t until I heard Nessun Dorma being played that I got goosebumps and the nerves kicked in! We were given prompts by our MC for the day, Lindsay, who gave us a proud nod to enter the room and walk down the aisle, in front of all our friends and family.
The ceremony was over in what felt like minutes. We felt like celebrities as we were getting so many photos taken including our photographers, who were strategically placed to get that special shot!
Once the ceremony had finished, we had half an hour to mingle with our guests before we were whisked away for photos. We were quite keen on the idea of more relaxed and informal pictures and catch impromptu pictures of our guests. We were not disappointed with them! We received the link to the photographs less than 24 hours later!
Our guests were seated in the main room where we were greeted into the room as a formal couple and went straight into the speeches! I went first as I knew I would probably cry when my Dad gave his! True to my word, I did!
We settled down for our meal, a served buffet, which was simply quite exquisite. We had both decided that we didn’t want a wedding cake but settled for a cake of cheese, which went down a storm. We saw it beautifully decorated before it was demolished as part of the buffet!
As the day flowed into the night time, our DJ ensured that we were given a welcome into the night! We had our first dance, true to form and what people were expecting from us, we broke off the dance to a more upbeat song and naturally people jumped up to join us. We didn’t see many bums on seats after that!
I was given a word of advice from a dear friend which I was instructed to do. Stand back and soak the day in. It’s a day like no other. Watch the party from a distance but only for a moment.
Our day was the most magical experience for us both. We got to show all our family and friends the love we share for one another.
The day was amazing, one that we didn’t want to end. When it did, we sat with our best friend, Helen and had a debrief over champagne, Jagerbombs and bacon butties!
We both agreed that if we had our Civil Ceremony somewhere else, it wouldn’t have been the same.
DJ – Steve Mitchell – 07740950715
Venue West Tower Aughton – 01695 423328
Lighting / Dancefloor Steve Mitchell – 07740950715
Photography – Northwest Photography – 01260 545040
Venue Dressers Princess for a Day – 01515316850
Wedding Dress – Birkdale Brides Southport – 01704 550 991