I’m back with another instalment of my wedding series, and this time I thought I’d show you our venue in more detail, as well as the food and our entertainment. The venue itself has to be one of the biggest talking points of our day, and we’re pretty biased, but its one of the best venues I’ve ever seen! Hoghton Tower is located on the outskirts on Preston towards Blackburn, and is set in beautiful private grounds with a mile long driveway. The venue is a grade 1 listed manor house set on a hilltop and has been visited by the likes of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, so a pretty impressive history!
We’ve known and loved the venue for a number of years now, so when we got engaged it was a complete no brainer that this was going to be our first venue choice. Needless to say, we didn’t need to even visit anywhere else, and had our date booked within a few weeks of being engaged! One of the things i love about Hoghton Tower is the amazing view you get at the top, looking right out over Lancashire, and with every corner you turn in the venue, there’s an incredible photo opportunity. We struck gold with the weather too, with 28 degree sunshine and gorgeous blue skies, it really was picture perfect and the most stunning backdrop to our day!
With such a stunning venue, we wanted to make sure we arrived in style, but rather than picking a very traditional car that you would associate with this kind of place, we wanted something that was a bit more us whilst still sticking with a classic feel. We decided to choose matching Beetles, Bradley and Herbie, from a brilliant Lancashire based company called Vintage Love Bugs. The cars were decorated beautifully and definitely turned heads, with people honking and waving at my dad and I on our journey to the tower!
These were complimented perfectly with a classic VW Camper Van in grey, named Doris, which was my late grandma’s name, so it was really meant to be! Doris came from Chase The Sun, who have a number of camper vans for hire, but this one fit our theme perfectly, and I couldn’t resist when I found out what she was called! Doris was also decorated in the most perfect way, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending either of our transport suppliers to anyone. We couldn’t fault them at all!
The drivers all very kindly stuck around throughout the service so that we could head out afterwards for some photos with the cars, which also meant our guests got to see them all. Everyone absolutely loved them, and we’ve had so many people ask us about where we found them. I wish we could have them chauffeur us around all the time!
When it came to entertainment during the day, we came to the decision pretty early on in the planning process that a string quartet would be a fitting choice for such a lovely venue, however budgets being pretty tight, we found a great group, Endymion String, that also offered a trio service for a slightly lower price. We were completely spoilt for choice with their song repertoire, and any songs we wanted that weren’t on the list, the trio were willing to learn for a small additional fee, so were able to truly personalise the music to our own taste.
The string trio played during the ceremony, whilst our guests were arriving, and then when my bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle (to Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles). They also played on whilst we were signing our register with some more of our favourite songs, then moved out to the gardens to entertain our guests with more music in the sunshine! I’d highly recommend getting in touch with Endymion String if you’re in the North West area and looking for something classic but a little different too! I just wish I had more time to relax and enjoy the music, as we ended up missing a lot of their set in the gardens due to having photos taken, but from what our guests have told us, they were incredible throughout, and carried on with no complaints even though it was absolutely sweltering outside!
Our wedding meal is where we lack photos, but it was probably one of the main things that our guests were bowled over by. Our caterers, Campbell & Rowley, were an absolute dream to work with, and tailored our menu to our personal tastes. We were so certain that we wanted these guys, that we actually booked them a good 18 months or so in advance, but it was so, so worth it just to hear our guests gushing over ‘the best wedding food they’ve ever tasted!’.
We went with an antipasti starter as we absolutely love cured meats, cheeses, breads and oils. Oscar from Campbell & Rowley let us pick exactly what went on the plate, even down to the little pepper-dew peppers and chutneys. Sadly this is the only course I have a relatively good photo off, so you’ll have to bear with me whilst I try and paint you a picture of the rest! For the main course, we wanted a nod to the history of the venue, which believe it or not, was where a piece of beef was first knighted ‘Sir Loin’, and the term sirloin first came about. We went for a roast sirloin main with all the trimmings, but had a little fun and nominated someone from each table to carve the meat, unbeknownst to them! This really helped to break the ice on tables where people didn’t know each other too well, and definitely gave us all a laugh when they all came in to the room with their aprons on ready to carve!
For dessert we chose an edible white chocolate plant pot, filled with apple crumble and topped with edible flowers, which was incredible. No thanks to the heat, I didn’t feel well at all during the meal after spending a long time in the baking sun having photos taken, so I couldn’t stomach much of my meal and was gutted to have missed out on this as it was so dreamy when we tried it at our tasting session!
Again, I would whole heartedly recommend Campbell & Rowley – they are genuinely one of the nicest groups of people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and literally couldn’t do enough for us, not only on the day itself but in the run up too. They served an incredible meal to us and our guests, and finished the night off with wood fired pizzas to keep our bellies full and happy (and to help soak up the alcohol!).
Our wedding cake was made by my beautiful bridesmaid and best friend Sophia, who is super talented, and rustled up a stunning three tier semi-naked cake of our favourite flavours! We had classic Victoria sponge at the bottom, then an amazing chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, topped off with a lemon cake, and oh my goodness, SO. GOOD. We luckily got to bring half of each tier home with us and have been keeping some in the freezer so we can have cake for breakfast most weekends!
Finally, we filled our own sweet table and donut wall to keep our guests energy levels going through the night! We managed to find some of our favourite sweets online via a wholesaler for a fraction of the price of what hiring a sweet cart would have cost us, and then I made my own donut wall out of pegboard and dowels to save us a small fortune rather than hiring one! The peg board cost me around £30 to make and paint, and the donuts were from Asda and only cost around £2 for a tray of 12! Bargain!!
When it came to the evening entertainment we decided to keep things pretty simple and stick with a DJ rather than a band, and we were so glad we did! We chose DJ Des Grant, who is a bit of a legend in Preston, and he was amazing! He was around for the whole day and acted as our Master of Ceremonies, providing background music during our meal and introducing the speeches. He knew exactly how to get people dancing, singing and having a good time, and when he appeared with a back full of props, our guests went crazy for them! He was an absolute gem and we’ve had so many compliments on what a great guy he was. We’d book him again for any big parties in a heartbeat!
We also booked an incredible magician, Jason Rea, who was seriously amazing. Magic wasn’t something we’d ever thought about having at our wedding as we’d always pushed the idea aside thinking it was a little cheesy, but then I met Jason at a wedding fair at our venue, and he made magic seem so cool! He absolutely blew us away then, and he did all over again at our wedding. As you can see from the pictures he was surrounded by guests all night, and everyone was in complete awe of his tricks. We’re already trying to find an excuse to book him again! If you can, snap this guy up, he’s insanely good!
Finally, we couldn’t have a wedding without a photo booth, and I knew I wanted something that was super Instagram-able, so what better than a rose gold sequin backdrop?! We went with Smileomatic Photo Booths, and we were so pleased with Sally and how she brought our vision to life!Every single photo looks incredible, and our guests absolutely loved the booth (some maybe hogged it a little too much, ha!). Our prints matched our wedding stationery perfectly (more on that very soon!) and Sally was the nicest person, making everyone feel a million dollars whilst having their photos taken.
Venue – Hoghton Tower
Cars – Vintage Love Bugs
Camper Van – Chase The Sun
String Trio – Endymion String
Catering – Campbell & Rowley
DJ – Des Grant
Magician – Jason Rea
Photo Booth – Smileomatic
Photographer – Weddings By Luke
We were so happy with how the venue and all of our transport and entertainment complemented each other on the day and how our visions came to life just as we had hoped! Next up I’ll be showing you some ‘behind the scenes’ photos of team bride getting ready on the morning of the wedding, so keep an eye out for that post coming next week, but in the meantime, if you haven’t yet seen my post on what we wore, you can catch that here!