November 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Can you believe our pretty little corner of the internet turns 4 years old this week?! I hope you’ll join me in a glass of something fizzy as we say happy birthday Brides Up North!
It’s been another amazing year here at wedding blog HQ, and I still have to pinch myself when I think how far we’ve come from the first few tentative posts tapped out in my spare room during the summer of 2010. We “launched” – and I use those inverted commas very seriously indeed – on the day of the Royal Engagement that November to almost overnight success (ever the opportunist!), and I’ve never looked back. After leaving my job as a lawyer the following autumn to concentrate on expanding the blog and brand on a full time basis, our first events season swiftly followed in the spring of 2012. Now three years, six seasons and almost 60 events down, I think I deserve our fourth birthday cupcake!
Usually, when people look back from a milestone, they say things like “It’s flown by!” or “It seems like just yesterday that…”. Well, this is absolutely not the case for me. I’ve (we’ve, for I’ve a fabulous little team around me now) have packed so much into the last four years that it feels like forty. It’s been hard work. Writing, sourcing, editing, styling, planning, selling, promoting, producing, managing, directing… it’s been busy. But it’s been amazing.
I’m so grateful for the way in which this industry and our brides have supported what we’re all about here at Brides Up North. We love stylish weddings. In fact, stylish weddings are pretty much all that we’re about here, but we like them to be local too. We strive to support and promote the amazing local suppliers right there on our readers’ doorsteps, show off what they can do, and make them available to you for your wedding day. A wedding day that looks set to be very special indeed.
Every year at this time, I take a while to reflect at how far we’ve come, and every year I’m astounded to see the progress from the last. There are times when I’ve thought that it couldn’t get any better, but it does. I love my job, my team and my brand, and I love you, my readers, who make what we’re doing possible, and make it count.
And before I
go all get anymore Gwyneth Paltrow on your asses, I better launch right into our traditional recap of the year that was. It’s been busy, so as usual, excuse me for any omissions.
I’ve some really exciting news to share with you before our seasonal break over Christmas, so watch these pages for that. Let me just say, it looks like 2015 is going to be an even more exciting year than this one.
But first, that fizz and that cupcake please, Happy Birthday Brides Up North, this is the year that was…
We left you last in October 2013 having won a Wedding Blog Award! We took home Wedding Magazine’s prize for “Best Big Day Inspiration” and were very proud indeed. It boded well for our fourth year…
In November 2013 we wrapped up an immense events season with knockout exhibitions at The National Railway Museum and The Bowdon Rooms, before I packed my home (and 8 month old daughter) into a backpack and headed off to support my husband who was working in the Southern Hemisphere for a couple of months.
Winter tan and a spot of judging for The Bridal Buyer Awards, Wedding Industry Awards and The National UK Blog Awards under my belt, we arrived home in February 2014, ready for another events season to kick off. Columns and features appeared in regional glossies Belle Bridal Magazine, Hitched Magazine and Etc Magazine, and we hosted our first grand wedding exhibition of 2014 at Hardwick Hall Hotel.
March 2014 and we were into exhibition season proper… stops at Allerton Castle, Ramside Hall and The Mansion kept our weekends busy, and I was invited to act as Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Show at Event City, Manchester. The inspiration was going viral!
In April 2014 I styled and directed a shoot involving some of the finest wedding industry suppliers in Yorkshire, and put the final wheels in motion for our big and beautiful blog and directory rebrand. Can anyone actually remember now what the ‘old’ Brides Up North used to look like? I’m not sure I can! We also enjoyed gorgeous branded events at Nostell Priory and The Bowdon Rooms.
In May 2014 we concluded our spring season with a set of stunning shows at the lovely Hilltop Country House, The Alnwick Garden and Middleton Lodge, enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the new bridal-wear collections at White Gallery 2014 and welcomed our fabulous Features Writer Rachel to the Brides Up North team to fuel our double daily dose of wedding pretty here online. What would we do without our Rach?
June and July 2014 were spent with our heads down, fine tuning the details for our site rebrand, which we were proud to unveil to much outpouring of love, encouragement and support. I love our new look, and it seems like you do to – blog hits, social media support and bridal registrations for our wedding events are noticeably much higher than ever. We also got busy launching our popular Brides Up North Facebook Group (have you joined yet) and started taking Pinterest more seriously, pinning to inspire both our readers and our future work. Our boards can be seen here.
In August 2014, a brief (and lovely) family holiday was made even better when we celebrated being nominated for not one, not two, but three coverted industry awards – we were nominated for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award 2014 (“Best Wedding Blog”), in Wedding Magazine’s Wedding Blog Awards 2014 (“Best City Wedding Blog”) and the Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”). We also won several nods in the Wedding Industry Experts Awards.
September 2014 arrived and it was time for another flurry of print features with columns and features in a host of glossies including Unveiled Magazine, and to head into event season, with Brides Up North branded exhibitions at Ramside Hall, Hilltop Country House and Hardwick Hall. I reprised my coveted role as Official Blogger for the North West Wedding Fair and I was also proud to host the launch party for our new industry venture, The Circle, with some very special industry colleagues and which remains in earnest development.
October 2014 hit the ground running, our busiest month yet, with events at The Mansion, The Alnwick Garden, Nostell Priory, Allerton Castle and Middleton Lodge, and a quick succession of cocktail fuelled trips to the smoke to attend some seriously swanky awards ceremonies. We were over the moon to be Highly Commended in the Best City Blog Category at The Wedding Blog Awards. Snaps to us!
November 2014 has started as 2014 seems to mean to go on, with parties and fireworks! This week we’re off to The Perfect Wedding Awards, and we’ve just concluded our events season with a very twinkly, very lovely show at The Bowdon Rooms. Exhibitor sales and bridal registrations are open for 2015 - with some brand new venues- and Rachel and I are bursting with features ideas for taking our online offering to the next level. Our brand new media pack lands shortly, so anyone interested should drop me a line.
I’ll let you know that ‘big news’ as soon as I’m able, and until then, raise a glass.
here’s to you.
Love you, #jointhenorthernrevolution
Images by Cat Hepple Photography
April 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Jenny Packham, Suzanne Neville, Maggie Sottero, Anoushka G, Claire Pettibone… I think I’ve died and gone to wedding dress heaven. Brides Up North HQ is currently full of tulle and sequins, glitter and sparkle, as we prepare for a very special Brides Up North shoot – on location – tomorrow.
When we do things at Brides Up North, we don’t like to do them by halves. That’s why I’ve pulled together the most fabulous team of wedding industry professionals to concoct a contemporary and glamorous peep behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ, with fantastical frocks, beautiful blooms, sensational styling elements and ideas that you will be able to borrow for your very own wedding day.
With creative assistance and input from the likes of Brides Up North Featured Suppliers and friends Cat Hepple Photography, Leafy Couture, JB Creatives, Silver Sixpence Films, Flutter, Victoria Farr, Pamella Dunn, The White Room Sheffield, The Harrogate Wedding Lounge, Dine, Marie Antoinette Cakes and more, I’m raring to get started and SO ready for my close up.
Watch these (soon to be even prettier) pages for the results soon.
This is not a sponsored post
anoushka g, brides up north featured supplier, cat hepple photography, claire pettibone, dine, Flutter, jb creatives, Jenny Packham, leafy couture, maggie sottero, Marie Antoinette Cakes, Pamella Dunn, Silver Sixpence Films, styled shoot, suzanne neville, the harrogate wedding lounge, the white room sheffield, uk wedding blog, victoria farr
April 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Never work with children or (fake) animals. You have no idea just how long it took me to style these little Easter chicks. I fashioned a teeny-tiny veil and eventually got them to snuggle up, but all they were interested in were the mini eggs.
Who can blame them?
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We’re taking a brief Easter holiday here at Brides Up North HQ, to relax and recharge, spend some time with the family and eat our body weight in milk chocolate ahead of a very busy run up to the summer.
There’s wedding exhibitions a plenty, public appearances, styled shoots and a very special Brides Up North “spring clean” coming up… we’re keeping all the good stuff but redecorating with a fabulous new look, snazzier Directory and some lovely extra features to make your inspiration hunt all the better. Watch this – soon to be even prettier – space!
I’m really, really (super duper with a big fat cherry on the top) excited – and a little nervous – and can’t wait to get to work. But for now, back to those Easter eggs.
Wishing you and yours the most wonderful break. See you on the other side: fatter, but happier.
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2014 Brides Up North
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March 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
If you’re a regular reader of Brides Up North, you’ll know that last autumn I was thrilled to be a recipient of a Wedding Blog Award from the lovely people at Wedding Magazine and voted for by you, my readers.
As a lot of our “office hours” here at Brides Up North HQ are dedicated to managing our events, business admin, meetings and email enquiries, I spend a lot of long lonely hours working on the actual editorial content for the site (often long into the night when the rest of my young family is finally sleeping!) and the recognition of our contribution to the online wedding world really did mean a lot to me. In fact, it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling now! It’s nice to be appreciated!
We’ve been so busy at Brides Up North with our branded events and other exciting projects for 2014 (watch this space) that we’re a little behind recapping all our great coverage in the industry press in late 2013 and earlier on this year.
Image: Paul Cahill
I wrote an excited post from my London hotel room the day after the Awards (absolutely no hangover, that’s the high quality Ritz Champagne for you: I drank a lot of it!) and you can read my recap here, but I wanted to share the official round up of the evening from the hosts themselves and my “Five Minutes With” feature from my interview in the “Winner’s Enclosure” immediately after collecting my prize and a kiss from Mark-Francis (offa Made In Chelsea).
Once again, a huge thank you to my readers and industry supporters for your votes. Brides Up North wouldn’t work without you, and I am so grateful for your daily input and love. In my interview, I say that the ethos behind behind the blog is that “I want to spread the message that the Northern wedding industry is full of inspirational people and make their voices heard”. That will never change. This is your blog, for your wedding, in your local area. Think local, be inspired and make the most of the exceptional talent on your doorstep. That’s the Northern Revolution… and it’s rumbling on!
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March 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Things always seem to go at about a trillion miles an hour here at Brides Up North HQ, so sometimes it’s fun (and mid wedding exhibition season seems as good a time as any!) to catch breath and reflect on the stuff we’ve done, people we’ve seen, places we’ve been and things we’ve achieved. My family and I spent the first month of the year on the other side of the World (business as usual of course, just on a very different time zone) and since returning to the office my feet haven’t touched the ground. Of course, happiness is always in the journey, not the destination – and it’s great to look back on my snaps from the first few months of the year.
In my experience, planning a wedding is similar. It’s all to easy to solely focus on that one day. And yes, that’s important, but what’s crucial is the fun you have getting there, and the good times that you create afterwards. I hope, like me, you’ve had a great start to 2014… and I’m sure the best really is yet to come.
Here’s a look behind the scenes here on the wedding blog.
All images snapped at random by IPhone.
1 Team BUN ready to mingle!
2 G’day Syndey Harbour!
3 Paradise found in Noosa, Sunshine Coast
4 Holiday over… it’s back to work. Doors just open at at first show of the season and the madness begins!
5 Our catwalks are never dull! Dance it out girls!
6 Celebrating 50 fabulous years with the team at Ramside Hall Hotel (the rest is a blur… I blame the Long Island Iced Tea!)
7 The “Brides Up North” Mani Pedi if you please…
8 Getting ready for a special day at our Allerton Castle Luxury Wedding Exhibition.
9 Just a selection of the glam gowns (Curvy Bridal) on display at our sensational Allerton Castle event.
10 Popping Brides Up North pink from Leafy Couture at Allerton Castle. Too much in my front room?
11 Getting ready to host the visitor video for the North West Wedding Fair as #officialblogger
12 Getting ready to go FROW
13 Meeting our Pinterest competition winner at The North West Wedding Fair as #officialblogger
14 5 banqueting spaces packed with over 80 fabulous exhibitors at our Ramside Hall event – what a day!
15 Demolishing the hubby in the ten pin lanes…
16 Party time! The tiniest member of our team turns One!
17 Where did the year go?!
19 #bunbugwatch – our Brides Up North Bug at large in Roundhay Park
20 My big girl’s first pair of shoes…
…what’s next 2014?
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Brides Up North, by IPhone
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March 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Usually you can set your watch by our twice week day features, but if you’re a regular reader of Brides Up North you’ll have noticed that our blogging schedule has been a little quieter this week. I’m making no apologies, as this week I’m spending some much needed downtime with my little family celebrating our baby daughter’s very first birthday! Annabella Robyn is one today!
Annabella has brought so much joy and happiness to our lives since she joined us (13 days late!) a year ago today. Every day is an adventure and every second a pleasure with our inquisitive, happy and spirited little princess. We love her so much and are so proud.
We’ll be back this afternoon with some Real Wedding pretty to inspire your Thursday, but I couldn’t let the moment pass without wishing the youngest member of the Brides Up North team a very, very happy birthday!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2014 Rob Freeman Photography
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February 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’ve some very exciting news to impart this Monday afternoon folks! And I’ve been dying to tell you about it for weeks! You see, I’m not very good at keeping massive secrets…
A while back, I was approached by the organisers of the ma-hoo-sive North West Wedding Fair and invited act as their “Official Blogger”. Quite the compliment! Now, you know that we run our own Luxury Wedding Exhibitions here at Brides Up North – including two very special events in the North West this spring – so at first I wasn’t sure… partner with the competition? Hmm.
But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. The North West Wedding Fair is this season’s largest premium show for brides from the North West. Visitors love that every one of their Exhibitors and Partners are dedicated to serving the North West region. Isn’t that what Brides Up North encourages: thinking local? Also, whilst our events are bespoke, exclusive (and perfectly formed… are they in your diaries yet?) I wouldn’t want my North West readers to miss out on the biggest juggernaut of a bridal event to come your way this season either. There’s plenty of room in the diary for us both.
So I asked around, and it turns out that my fellow industry professionals and you beautiful brides to be rate this event too. So, I thought to myself cunningly, what better way to get my brand in front of thousands more Brides Up North and fuel this Northern Revolution even further?
Our position as one of the top wedding blogs in the UK – and the only one specifically for Northern Brides – is extremely valuable, so alliances like this one need to be right for us. It is Mercury Events’ excellent reputation in the market that gave me the confidence to join up with The North West Wedding Fair.
Plus, I get to ponce around on camera as I host the show’s official preview video, live from site (err… nervous, me?) Sold. I’m looking forward to contributing to a great show!
Turns out that it’s going to be a bit of a love-in all round! Mercury Events, who host the fair, said some verrrry nice things about Brides Up North too, in an “official release” that went out to special press and partners last week: “This fantastic new partnership with Brides Up North reflects our focus on delivering shows to the market which are high on quality content specific to the regions they serve. Brides Up North… is established as an essential resource for brides and grooms planning their wedding in the north of England. Julia’s vast experience and indispensable creative advice and tips will add tremendous value to our overall show offer.”
So watch this space – and the show’s official blog, where I’ll be posting all that indispensable creative advice they talk about about above, as well as exciting updates, exclusive competitions and insider info – for more updates soon, but for now, all you need to do is mark this in your diaries:
Oh, and you might just want to enter MW61 at the ticket checkout to save 1/3 off usual prices. Just ‘cos I love ya baby!
I can’t wait to get the party started!
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December 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime
1 Gift Voucher & Complimentary Consultation at Emmy Shoes
The interwebs are awash with Christmas wish lists at this time of year and (given my love of an online shopping browse) I couldn’t wait to add my own picks to the mix. My list is an eclectic mix of price points, with plenty of treats, more than a dash of bridal influence and lots of luxury. This season it seems like I’m obsessed with sparkle, unusual proportions, Kate Spade, pops of pink and shoes. Does anything ever change?
Now, if someone could just email this to
my husband Santa Claus, that would be great…
Have a very Merry time…
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited
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November 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Well, would you look at that? This little wedding blog is growing up fast! Fire the confetti cannons and wheel in the cake…for today, Brides Up North is three!
Happy Birthday to us!
Taking stock following our #WeddingHourLive party last month, I counted up the number of luxury wedding exhibitions and industry networking parties that I have personally organised and hosted since the site went live back in November 2010. Not ten, not twenty. Thirty six! Thirty six fabulous, jam packed, buzzing events for my readers and industry friends in just under three years. No wonder I’m knackered!
It may be hard work – and the arrival of our baby girl in March this year has certainly upped the ante on that – but the late nights, early mornings, thirty six exhibitions and parties, 1,858 blog features, 37,943 tweets (yes you read that right… that’s the novel I’ve never had time to write, right there on Twitter) and constant updating of the Brides Up North Facebook feed have been absolutely worth it.
I love my job. I love championing the brilliant wedding industry suppliers that I meet on a daily basis. I love sharing the celebrations of our readers past and present. I love scouting out the latest bridal collections and meeting the wonderfully creative people behind them. I love meeting my readers and their families at our bridal events. I love writing, talking, living and breathing weddings… all day, all week, all year long.
Here’s where it get gushy, as I couldn’t do it without your support. It’s your daily visits (hello you!), your shares and re-tweets, your submissions, sponsorships, freelance commissions and friendship that keeps the Brides Up North engine functioning. And I love you for it. Thank you.
The Northern Revolution continues to grow. Our Featured Supplier Directory is ever increasing – swelling with the best wedding talent in the North – and about to get a whole lot more interactive, so watch this space. We have 18 luxury wedding exhibitions, plus a few contracts ready for review, in the diary for 2014 across three regions already. Our bridal columns and freelance features appear in pretty much every regional or glossy magazine worth reading. Our Twitter and Facebook following is growing daily (if you haven’t already, do head over and follow and like, those pages really are the place to stay updated with all our breaking news and the most fabulous bits of our features) and we are gradually cultivating a very pretty Pinterest presence. Happy days!
It’s become a bit of a tradition to do a whistle stop tour of the year that was at this stage, so here we go… it’s been a busy one. And if I leave anything out, I blame baby brain.
In December 2012 we gathered round roaring fires at the stunning Thorp Perrow for the Brides Up North Christmas Party and celebrated with canapés and cocktails (virgin ones for me as I was sporting a rather huge baby bump). In the same month Brides Up North also coordinated a brilliant team for a romantic and opulent styled shoot at the same venue.
In January 2013 we welcomed in the New Year with a few judging engagements. We joined the panels for The Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards and The Wedding Industry Awards 2013 and were overwhelmed by the talent of some of the finalists and winners. I also reprised my popular monthly columns in Etc Magazine and National glossy Wedding Magazine for another year.
In February 2013 we had features published in Loved Up Magazine, Mosaic Brides and Darlington Weddings, as well as kicking off a brand new spring season, with the added excitement that my waters might break at any second (!). Fantastic luxury exhibitions at Allerton Castle, Hardwick Hall Hotel and The Mansion followed.
In March 2013, whilst the team held the fort at our largest bridal exhibition of the season – The Brides Up North Super Showcase at Ramside Hall – I packed my hospital bag and handed over the reigns to my mother, and brand new assistant at Brides Up North HQ, Kate. At 10:37pm on 13th March 2013 Alan and I were overjoyed to welcome our beautiful baby daughter Annabella Robyn into the World.
In April 2013, it was back to business as we held two more events at Nostell Priory and the National Railway Museum, York, the latter being an absolute triumph in terms of styling and footfall for our first event in this stunning setting.
In May 2013 we returned to Thorp Perrow for a bridal garden party style exhibition in their lakeside marquee, then headed over the Pennines to The Bowdon Rooms for our most unique and authentic vintage bridal event yet.
In June 2013 Brides Up North was profiled in Fabulous Magazine’s Careers Issue to over 8 million readers, and we completed our Spring season with our final bridal show at Sarah Beeny’s Rise Hall. I had a brief lie down as we took our family holiday to Spain. Bliss.
In July 2013 and August 2013 it was down to business once again, completing freelance projects and booking in our amazing exhibitors for the Autumn season. We also put plans in place for some changes to these pages which will be debuting on a screen near you soon. We can’t wait.
September 2013 seemed to arrive super quick, and our luxury wedding exhibition season began once again. As well as being listed for another year in Bride Tide’s Top 100 Wedding Blogs in the World, Brides Up North was also listed in Channel 4’s 10 Best Wedding Blogs scrapbook, and nominated for a Wedding Blog Award by Wedding Magazine. Whoop whoop! Shows at The Alnwick Garden, Ramside Hall, Allerton Castle and Hardwick Hall Hotel kept us out of trouble, and features appeared in Loved Up Magazine, Unveiled Magazine, Belle Bridal Magazine and Mosaic Brides as well as our regular monthly columns in Wedding Magazine and Etc Magazine.
In October 2013 we hosted events at Nostell Priory and The Mansion, and only went and won a Wedding Blog Award! We took home Wedding Magazine’s prize for “Best Big Day Inspiration” and are very proud indeed… what a way to end it all!
So here’s to the end of our toddler years! Have a cupcake on me and join the party over on Facebook today.
The Northern Revolution rumbles on…
This is not a sponsored post
October 17th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Three years on… now we are three!
If you’re of a beady eyed nature, you may have noticed that we were lacking a blog post this morning. Hey, every wedding blogger needs a break sometimes – and I have the most valid of excuses: the hot tub was calling my name.
Yesterday my (now long suffering) husband Alan and I celebrated three amazing years of marriage. Where’s the time gone? Three years: a busy blog, new business, a new house, a new baby… and lots of fun (and yes, the odd argument!) in between. Taking stock this morning I really do appreciate how lucky I am to have built such a happy little family unit: a warm, loving environment that allows us both to be fully and comfortably ourselves, totally honest with and completely supportive of the other. I am thrilled that we have got this far and can’t wait to share plenty of wonderful years ahead, both as a couple and with our children too. A wedding is one fabulous moment in time, but a marriage is what it’s all about.
You can quote me on that.
The art of the selfie. Still working on that.
With the grandparents installed at home and a license to chill, we headed off to the gorgeous Feversham Arms in Helmsley, North Yorkshire for a day of pampering (I am pounded to a pulp after a luxurious full body massage), prosecco and fine dining. A midweek stay meant an easy upgrade to one of the hotel’s glorious suites – not one but two bathrooms and a sitting room with a log fire, thank you very much – and a hot tub just for two. Back at home, I’m feeling refreshed, ready to get on with our busy Autumn schedule (including one hell of a Halloween party for #weddinghourlive next week – are you on our guest list?) and very, very lucky indeed.
Whilst I count my blessings, what better time for a peek behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ? Both personally and professionally, it’s definitely been our busiest year yet!
Schmoozing with Mark Francis of Made In Chelsea at The Ritz
A Bridal Bonanza at Hardwick Hall Hotel, September 2013
The Expert Opinions in Belle Bridal Magazine
Beautiful blooms by Flowers By Anderson at our Nostell Priory Luxury Wedding Exhibition
A sneaky getaway…
And sneaky cocktails…
He’ll wear anything I tell him to!
A royal baby is born. Annabella takes note.
Celebrating a brilliant first year in business with my great mates at Love Bridal Boutique, Cheshire
Talking dream careers in Fabulous Magazine
A fleet of fabulous at our Ramside Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition, September 2013
Ellie needed a good night’s sleep after our record attendance Ramside Hall show with over 1,500 visitors!
…and Leafy Couture do Brides Up North Pink at the same show!
Our Great Gatsby catwalks went down a storm in the North East. Hello chandelier headdress!
Hens on tour. With my girls in Barcelona.
Getting snap happy in the brand new Unveiled Magazine
One for my personal portfolio
Getting down to details in Wedding Magazine
Bringing home the bacon with a Wedding Blog Award for “Best Big Day Inspiration”
I can’t wait to see what’s in store till we ring in 2014.
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Brides Up North
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