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what a beauty. our real life bride & celebrity columnist jane prepares to get glam

July 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jane Witherspoon  (4)

Last time we caught up with Jane Witherspoon, our real life bride & celebrity columnist, she’d been thinking about how to impress guests with her flower, food and entertainment choices for her upcoming wedding while getting some top tips from newlywed wed actress Michelle Keegan.

Fast-forward a month and Jane’s thoughts have turned to her own appearance on the big day, and in particular what style of hair and makeup she might have for her moment in the spotlight.

Luckily Jane’s job as a celebrity reporter has once again put her in touch with an A-lister (of the beauty world) who can help. Hair and makeup artist to the rich and famous Ciona Johnson-King, whose clients include Cameron Diaz and Keira Knitghley, has styled Jane on many occasions for glittering events at which she has been reporting.

So as her wedding day approaches, Jane has called upon Ciona to give her some expert advice on her bridal beauty regime. And rather than keeping it all to herself, the generous bride-to-be is sharing all the details with you here on the blog today. What a star!

Jane Witherspoon  (5)

jane says: It’s hard to keep on top of a good beauty regime at the best of times let alone when you’re finalising plans for a wedding. I’m not doing too well at trying to eat healthier and drink lots of water. In fact, the busier I get the more I seem to consume! And as for this growing my hair malarkey, generally I’m feeling a bit of a mess. I’m sure it will all be worth it come October though.

For the big day itself, I’m thinking of eeping my hair and makeup quite simple and classic, inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco.

Luckily when it comes to bridal beauty I’ve got a trump card in the form of Ciona Johnson-King. Ciona is the make-up artist to the stars and I’m so lucky and proud to be able to call her my friend. Cameron Diaz, Audrey Tautou, Liv Tyler, Gwyneth Paltorw and Keira Knightley are just a few of the names she’s worked with.

Jane Witherspoon  (3)

With this in mind I’m handing over this month’s blog post to Cio to give you some amazing pre-wedding beauty tips, and accompanying the post are some of my favourite Ciona creations – now what style to choose?

ciona says: If you’re reading this, the chances are you or someone dear to you is about to get married. Congratulations! It’s the most magical day of your life. I thoroughly recommend it! To help you prepare, here are few of my top wedding tips…

1. Practice beforehand, using daylight when available. Your hairstyle needs to work from the sides and back as well as the front. Make sure your skin tone is the same from the face to all body parts. It’s important to be completely comfortable on the big day so don’t go too far out of your comfort zone with your hair and makeup. It’s not the time to try the latest catwalk trend. Take photos from different angles so you can see how your hair and makeup will look.

2. Take care sunbathing in the run up to the wedding as suntan marks are very tricky to disguise. If fake tanning, build up light layers over a few days or weeks rather than going for a strong spray tan just before your wedding. Find the brand and level of tan that works best on your skin well in advance. It’s all part of the research!

3. Gently exfoliating the skin really does help with radiance. This is the time to treat yourself to some good serum and moisturiser to nourish the skin too.

4. Eat healthily, drink water, exercise, sleep well and avoid stress. Basically -look after yourself!

5. On the day, allocate plenty of preparation time. Listen to your favourite playlist to help relax you. I usually ask the bride’s best friend to help keep our zone free of too many interruptions. You’d be surprised how many people pop in to say ‘hi’! The last thing you want is someone bringing in their last minute drama whilst the bride’s getting ready. Don’t forget to eat either, as fainting at the aisle isn’t a good look (as a make-up artist, I’m likely to be the one force-feeding the bride).

Here Ciona shares three of her beauty videos to help brides-to-be achieve that perfect wedding day look: Golden, Hollywood and Romantic.

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Next month Jane will be bringing us all the gossip from her hen do. She and the gals are off to a friend’s 18th Century farmhouse in France. Sounds fabulous!

Follow Ciona Johnson-King at @CionaJK or for more information visit www.ciona.co.

Follow Jane, at @Janeyspoon.

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flowers, food & festivities: our real life bride and celebrity columnist jane takes some tips from michelle keegan

June 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Jane Witherspoon meets Michelle Keegan  (3)

Last month on the blog Jane Witherspoon, our real life bride and celebrity columnist, shared with us details of her early wedding planning, including the reasons behind deciding on North East venue Brinkburn Priory, for her upcoming wedding in October.

As a celeb reporter for the likes of Good Morning Britain, Jane also made us green with envy as she told us about her latest red carpet antics which included interviewing a certain Mr Clooney. And she’s been at it again! This time though she’s been rubbing shoulders with a big girl crush of ours here at Brides Up North, actress and newlywed Michelle Keegan.

So we’ll let Jane give you all the goss on what Miss Keegan had to say about her lavish ceremony to Mr Wright, whilst also bringing you up to date with the plans for her and beau Alex’s impending wedding.

Jane Witherspoon meets Michelle Keegan  (6)

jane says: So we’re on a train to see Alex’s parents as I write this blog. “Why don’t you write about invitations?” he says sarcastically. Oops, we really need to get on top of this ‘wedmin’! I can see why some people would hire a wedding co-ordinator as it’s hard to find the time to get organised. That said, we have got the bones of our wedding nailed down.

Wedding season is well and truly upon us. I’ve even been chatting nuptials on Good Morning Britain this month following Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan’s big day. I thought they both looked stunning. In fact I’d go as far to say that Michelle is the most gorgeous girl I’ve ever met!

They tied the knot at the beautiful Hengrave Hall in Suffolk in front of 120 guests. The same number that will be attending ours at Brinkburn Priory. I interviewed her a few weeks ago and we were swapping bride-to-be tips. She told me once the venue is booked that the most important thing was to get your flowers sorted. Having since seen the reports that she spent £60,000 on flowers I now understand why she thought it was a big deal!

Jane Witherspoon meets Michelle Keegan  (4)

We’re still undecided what to do about the floral aspect of our day but we definitely won’t be splashing out to that extent on them. I love that our venue was a medieval monastery. It’s so magical. There was talk of us putting flowers in the priory itself but the more we chat about it I like that its old stone and atmospheric. We’re leaning more to the idea of filling it with candles. Our reception is being held in two tipis on site that have pit fires in them. The tables will have eastern style lanterns on them and lots of tea lights so flowers will be minimalist.

We’re working with a lovely florist called Christine at Lavenders Blue in Northumberland. She’s got some great ideas which will add elegance and simplicity to the day. Simple glass cubes with a single ivory hydrangea and greenery. The poles of the tipis will be decorated with green foliage and have fairy lights around them too. I’m a typical magpie (had to get the Newcastle United reference in) and love anything sparkly.

Jane Witherspoon Floral Ideas

Next, glorious food. What do you serve up at a wedding that’s going to satisfy everyone with different tastes? Let me introduce Wilkins Fine Dining. Neil and his team are just amazing. We’re still to do our tasting session which Alex can’t wait for. Everyone I talk to says that the food tasting session is one of the highlights of planning a wedding. We’re thinking of serving Roulade of Ham Hock and Piccalilli for starter followed by Slow Cooked Shoulder of Wingate’s Lamb, Fondant Potato and Rosemary Sauce. For dessert it’s warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce. There will of course be a vegetarian option and no doubt once we sample all of Wilkins’ taster menu this could all change!

Jane Witherspoon meets Michelle Keegan  (5)

We’ve booked the entertainment for the night too. An old friend from school put us in touch with a band called Purple Cloud of Funk. They’re incredible. In my business I get to go to a lot of gigs and these guys really stand out. They’re fun and play tunes that will have everyone on their feet. Guests can expect a mix of the latest pop tunes mixed in with some classics and lots of Northern Soul and Motown. We’ll be asking guests to suggest a song as part of their RSVP and that will make up the play list. That reminds me, those invitations!

Jane Witherspoon meets Michelle Keegan  (7)

In my July blog post I will be talking dresses and makeup. I bumped into Hunger Games actor Sam Claflin at the Burberry show at London Men’s Collection last week. We have a mutual friend – Ciona Johnson-King. She’s the best makeup artist in the business who’s worked with him since he started his career as well as Hollywood A-listers including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Craig. So next month I’ll be bringing you some of her top beauty tips!

Follow Jane on Twitter @janeyspoon

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by george (clooney)! a catch up with our real life bride and celebrity columnist, jane

May 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jane at Tomorrowland premiere

Last month on the blog we introduced you to real life bride & celebrity columnist Jane Witherspoon, who is sharing her planning journey exclusively on Brides Up North in the run up to her October wedding.

If you recall Jane has a pretty cool but extremely busy job as a showbiz TV reporter and presenter for the likes of Good Morning Britain. And while that does mean rubbing shoulders with the celebs, it also means a hectic schedule full of early starts and late finishes, making finding time to plan a wedding all the more challenging.

In this month’s post Jane brings us up to speed with her glitzy TV work (which includes chatting with a certain Mr Clooney – jealous, much!) and she also spills the beans on the gorgeous venue for her big day. Over to you Jane…

Jane at Tomorrowland premiere (3)

jane says: As I sit down to write this month’s blog the panic sets in. I keep telling myself we’ve got loads of time to organise our wedding but it’s now just over four months away – 17 weeks to be exact (I’ve just read the last line out to Alex and his reply was ‘Oh thanks for that, you’ve got me worried now’)! I’ve discovered as time goes by that Alex has been approaching the organising of our day very cleverly. Let’s put it this way – he’s a great project manager! Then again I can be a bit of a control freak so it works.

May has been a crazy month workwise. It started with a charity ball with the cast of Downton Abbey followed by the General Election. No matter how much I do it, waking at 3am is never easy. It was a buzz hanging outside Conservative HQ waiting to grab the first shots of the Prime Minister to arrive from his count in Whitney.

Jane at General Election

And then there was George! Clooney that is! I’ve been lucky enough to interview him a few times over the years and he’s always a dream interviewee – so charming and professional. When reporting from the red carpet of the premiere of his new film Tomorrrowland in Leicester Square I seized the opportunity to ask him a bit of advice for that first year of marriage. His reply: “I would say, your husband is always right…just a thought.” That’s apart from when he’s wrong of course George!

Jane at Tomorrowland premiere (2)

It’s quite full on trying to organise a big event around our work schedules but we’re getting there. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that we decided on a venue very early on. Alex is from a very small family which is just as well as mine is huge. Speak to any bride and groom and I’m sure they’ll tell you the most stressful thing about organising a wedding is deciding who to invite. It’s the most awful thing having to whittle down a list of friends and family. In fact, it’s quite brutal. Everyone tells you to just invite who you want and people will understand. That’s all well and good but they’ve never met my Mum. She had her own list from the off!

Brinkburn Priory 4

Luckily the venue pretty much dictates how many people can be accommodated so that does help in deciding numbers. When choosing where to get married there were only two choices for us, Wigan (where Alex is from) or the North East (my roots).

Just after the New Year we decided to visit two potential venues in Northumberland: Short Flat Tower in Belsay and Brinkburn Priory near Rothbury. We went to Brinkburn first. We never made it to Belsay. From the moment we pulled up to Brinkburn we were sold on it. It is the perfect place. Emma, Jan and the team there are so welcoming and totally got us and what we wanted from the day from that very first meeting.

Brinkburn Priory 3

The priory was a 12th Century Medieval monastery built on a bend on the River Coquet. It’s beautiful. The priory church is like a mini cathedral and the converted stables mean there’s lovely spacious accommodation on site for family. We’ve decided on welcome drinks on arrival and then our 120 guests will take their seats in the Priory before dinner, drinks and dancing in the tipis which will be erected on site. I love that we don’t have to move location throughout the day and that it’s all confined to this beautiful English Heritage site.

The food on the day is being organised by Wilkins Fine Dining. Their menus are incredible and we’re actually off to the North East next weekend for a tasting session. This is surely one of the fun points in organising a wedding! Wilkins source and use local produce for their meals which I’m thrilled about. It’s great to support local businesses.

Jane at Tomorrowland premiere 4

There’s one question that I keep getting asked about the wedding and that is ‘What’s your theme?’  I didn’t realise how important this is to some people. I still don’t have a theme as such but I know it will be a classic, fun day and night. There’ll be lots of laughs, candles and fairy lights to enhance the already magical setting.

I’d love to know: have you picked a theme for your big day, and if so, what?

Follow Jane on Twitter @Janeyspoon

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bridal style icon: olivia palermo

April 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Olivia Palermo 1

If you’re anything like us girls at Brides Up North HQ you love a celebrity fashion steal, whether you get your inspiration browsing online, flicking through a magazine or watching an episode of Made in Chelsea. While this can be a great way to piece together daytime and evening wardrobes, ladies can also look to wedded stars to help inspire special attire for their big day.

No matter what your style preference, there’s bound to be a celebrity bride that’s rocked the particular look you’re after, whether it’s classic 1950s Elizabeth Taylor, elegant Kate Middleton, dip-dyed Gwen Stefani or short and sassy Cindy Crawford.

Today we focus on a celeb bride who opted for a controversial two-piece while still remaining within her comfort zone and true to her individual taste. It is, of course, stunning American TV star and model, olivia palermo.

Wedding her beau Johannes Huebl in an intimate New York ceremony last year, stylish Olivia broke the mould of bridal wear as we knew it by opting for a Carolina Herrera romantic tulle skirt and soft cashmere jumper.

Taking note of how the effortless ensemble worked beautifully for bride Olivia, more and more designers have begun experimenting with two-pieces within their collections, giving ladies an option away from the norm.

So let’s take a closer look pretty Palermo’s wedding day style.

the dress (or in this case skirt and jumper)

Olivia Palermo Dress

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Jana Williams| image source, photography by Steve Eichner| image source, photography by Campbell Photography| image source, via Magnoliarouge.com| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Cathleen Wolf| image source, photography by Joel Bedford Weddings

I’m a strong advocate that comfort is key and so salute Olivia for her brave move to shun a traditional structured gown in favour of a floaty, fairy-like skirt and comforting knit.

There is no razzle dazzle embellishing in sight as Olivia keeps her look simple from top to toe for a flawless appearance that simply says ‘natural beauty’.

The silhouette of the jumper with three-quarter sleeves and classic round neck sits on her small frame beautifully before the light, playful skirt adds volume and interest with a hint of detailing and tasteful leg slit. To finish Olivia adds her something blue in a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels (very Carrie Bradshaw, as is the whole outfit – think Sex and the City opening credits) and some simply jewellery.

Brides-to-be can choose to mirror the look in its entirety or take just bits of inspiration. Most two piece options are cropped top and full skirt combos that follow a similar shape to Olivia’s outfit – fitted on the top and fuller on the bottom. For those not keen on showing their midriff there are also options with dainty camis, sophisticated shirts and capped sleeve t-shirt style tops.

Olivia’s thought appears to be to express your individual style and go for a top in which you feel comfortable, no matter how un-bride like that may be (although we would perhaps draw the line at a bikini top – keep it elegant ladies).

Meanwhile for brides that just can’t stray away from a dress there is still the option to include a little Olivia with the addition of a soft knit in the form of a cosy cardigan (also incredibly practical for winter brides).

the hair

Olivia Palermo Hair

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Spotted Photography| image source| image source, photography by Erich McVey| image source, photography by Alyssia B Photography and Brooke Bakken Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Tessa Barton| image source| image source.

Once again Olivia chose to keep to her personal preferences when it came to her wedding hair and opted for a wispy ponytail rather than a fancy bridal take-up.

Other than a simple band to secure her hair in place, there were no glitzy hair accessories or even a veil, making this an easy do for brides-to-be to duplicate.

The low maintenance style looks incredibly chic but is also practical in the way that all of Olivia’s brunette locks are swept up out of the way and as the look is natural if a hair or two was to come out of place nobody would even notice.

Ladies can choose to go for a high ponytail with soft romantic waves like Olivia, or lower the pony tail to the nape of the neck and even pull to the side for a slightly different take on the look.

the makeup

Olivia Palermo MakeUp

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Christie Graham Photography| image source| image source, photography by Laura Marii Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source.

Olivia’s au natural makeup finishes off her flawless look perfectly with the main focus on her smoky brown eyes and full lashes.

The trick is to work with tones that naturally complement your skin tone, eye colour and hair colour. Olivia’s perfect complexion is warmed with a little peach blush on the cheeks forehead and chin, plus a little highlighter on her nose.

Finally Ms Palermo adds a slick of deep pink matt lipstick to complete her radiant look. Pure perfection!

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

August 13th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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I featured Kate Moss’ wedding to Jamie Hince a little while ago on the bridal blog (to see the feature and all the images click here) however, it’s time for an update, as the official photographs are out!  I think I was excited to see these as my own wedding photographs (which, if you are interested, you can see here – but I’m no supermodel!).

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Kate and Jamie’s official photographs were taken by Mario Testino and feature in the latest issue of American Vogue.

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How gorgeous are Kate’s little flower girls and pages?! She looks like queen of the fairies. 

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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Kate Moss Wedding Photographs, By Mario Testino for American Vogue

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All these gorgeous images, and more, are in the latest issue of American Vogue.  Don’t know about you, but I think this wedding blogger will be having a flick through!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Mario Testino/ American Vogue

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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Newlywed Style Crush: Kate Middleton

July 29th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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So.  I am off to London this weekend (in fact I’m just about to jump on the train as you read this).  I’m meeting some people, seeing some friends for a long overdue catch up and queuing up for a very special exhibition.  Yes!  I’m off to see the Royal Wedding dress on display at Bucks House.  I can’t help it.  I can’t stay away.  I can’t wait!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Kate Middleton Wedding Dress

Vanity Fair

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Alas though, the friends I am visiting happen mainly to be stinky boys.  They will not entertain the idea of coming with me.  I have tried to reason with them that nay, this isn’t a dress, it’s a piece of history!  To no avail. They see through that argument.  After all, I’m not exactly suggesting (nor ever have ever suggested anything even similar to) a trip to the Tower of London, am I?  Nor am I really all that interested in the rest of the exhibition…

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So, my friends, this wedding blogger is going it alone. 

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And you know you what?  I’m rather looking forward to it.  A morning jaunt to the Palace will be topped off by a swift sprint down the King’s Road and a stop off at Topshop Oxford Circus.  When in Rome!

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I shall report back.

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Meanwhile, it has not escaped my attention that the Duchess formerly known as K Middy has been dressing up a storm on her recent trip to the USA.  If this is the new “newlywed” dressing we Brides Up North had better be prepared.  Lucky for you, I’ve done some homework.  Here is how to throw some fashion shapes, Royal style. 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Kate Middleton Erdem Blue Lace Dress

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ASOS Lace Bodycon Dress LK Bennett Shilo Shoe £160

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ASOS Lace Body Con Dress £45

LK Bennett Shilo Shoe £160

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Kate Middleton Reiss

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Reiss Shola Bandage Dress £175 Dune Octave PA - Platform Round Toe Court Shoe £80

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Reiss Shola Bandage Dress £175

Dune Octave PA – Platform Round Toe Court Shoe £80

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Kate Middleton DVF

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River Island Green Pussy Bow Shirt Dress £40 New Look Leopard Print Clutch

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River Island Green Pussy Bow Shirt Dress £30

New Look Leopard Print Clutch £7

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All prices were correct at the time of going to press

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011 as credited

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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