A Wedding Story
After growing up most of my life in Ormskirk and attending my cousin's wedding a long while ago, I'd been hoping to get to West Tower to shoot a wedding and thanks to Rebekah and Chris I was lucky enough to get the chance. Becky wanted some photos of her Bridal prep while she was getting ready at her parents house in Liverpool, she'd been waiting for me to arrive before giving her Bridesmaids their gifts, personalised hoodies with their 'job roles' printed on them. As she went upstairs to slip into her dress the flower girl and page boy arrived, 2 great little kids with bags of personality, bit shy of me and the big camera lens at first but it wasn't long before they were posing away for the camera. The wedding cars arrived soon after to chauffeur everyone off West Tower, 2 stunning vintage style cars including a beautiful 7-seater with leather seats and mahogany windows from Love and Carriage based in Liverpool, these cars certainly do have the wow factor.
After settling into the Wedding Cars ready for the 30 minute or so drive from Liverpool to Ormskirk, I jumped into mine and headed off to West Tower to make sure I could beat the girls there and get set up ready for their arrival. It wasn't too long after I arrived that the 2 gorgeous cars turned into the long driveway up to West Tower, Becky helped out of the car by one of the Ushers. Luckily after probably one of the wettest most miserable summers we've had in years (and that's saying something!) the weather had been awful all week running up to the big day but luckily decided to play ball and the sun was shining for the soon to be weds! So that meant an outdoor ceremony in the gardens of West Tower, the couple saying their vows in the beautifull white, wooden gazebo. On their website West Tower is described as a romantic hideaway amidst rolling Lancashire countryside and it really is. It's a stunning venue with truly stunning views and it's so, so quiet and out of the way, certainly one of my favourite venues I'ver shot at if not the number one, just perfect. Chris and his groomsmen looking very smart in their grey three-piece suits, a nice subtle touch with Chris in a slightly different waistcoat so he stood out from the rest of his groomsmen and there was quite a few of them. They all enjoyed the sun as they waited for the Bride's arrival at the outdoor ceremony, first down the large stone staircase outside West Tower were the 2 little flower girls and page boy carefully holding hands before being followed by the Bridesmaids shortly afterwards. It was such a lovely, relaxed and fun ceremony with bags of laughter, especially when the couple's pastor, Rob Whiteway stood up for his part in the proceedings, such a funny man that had the couple both laughing out loud and open mouthed in shock at some of the things he came out with in front of the wedding guests. The guests were also entertained by a fab singer playing the keyboard in the sunshine both during the signing of the register and for a short while after the ceromnny as everyone mingled and chatted and congratulated the newlyweds. This country would be perfect for outdoor weddings, if only you could guarantee the flipping weather but it's nice when you do get the chance!!
Once the ceremony was over and the couple had been hugged and kissed by all of their guests we nipped to the front of West Tower for a few portrait photographs with those amazing vintage cars before they headed off back to Liverpool. As I said previously because the weather was so nice it was great that all the guests were able to enjoy the gardens at West Tower in the sunshine, everyone was in high spirits and I had the chance to get some great formal and informal portrait shots and make the most of this amazing venue not to mention the beautiful scenery. After the formals were all taken care of and we'd worked though the couples group shot list, everyone headed into the spacious ballroom to take their seats ready for the new Mr and Mrs Davies to be introduced to the room before enjoying the lovely meal, I can say it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! Us wedding suppliers don't always get fed at venues too often but when it's as tasty as this meal it more than makes up for it, so even if you're not getting married here it's still worth a trip to the restaurant, I'm already looking forward to going back again to sample the menu.
So after the guests had finished eating (did I mention the food here is amazing?) it was time for the speeches started off by Rebekah's dad handing over a pair of ear defenders ready for married life with his daughter! Speeches are often my favourite part of the day, they're often so funny and although I don't always know the background behind some of the stories, you can't help but laugh along with them, especially when the couple are either cracking up or hiding in embarrassment, it's nice to feel that personal connection with them as someone on the outside that is there to document their day. It's not easy standing up in a room full of people to give a speech but Chris was helped along by his friend Budweiser and the relief was clear to see when his turn was over and he could sit back down. I have to mention the Best Man though, he'd written his speech that morning on the only thing he could find suitable, the back of a box of Cheerios, a first for me, brilliant!
It was back outside for more fun in the sun after the speeches, the couple had hired a bouncy castle for the kids, including the big ones and had also set up ball games including Tennis, Bowling and Cricket so it was a good job the weather was in their favour. I took Becky and Chris off a bit further into the grounds in and around West Tower, a beautiful meadow area with some huge trees, perfect to stand under for couple portraits, they were also game for some photos in the corn field adjacent to the gardens, corn almost up to their waist and because it had been such a beautiful and unusual summers' day we were treated to a stunning sunset, it's like the Holy Grail for a photographer, a brilliant couple, a beautiful venue and a perfect sunset, when those 3 things fall into place, you know you've had a top, top day! Thank you to Rebekah and Chris for letting me be a part of your day (and feeding me, did I mention the great food?).
Best Wishes for the future to you both, Stuart.