Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Smell The Roses: Remember To Enjoy It

March 27th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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David Lawson Studios

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I woke up early to streaming sunlight this morning. 

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It’s funny how light mornings, a drink outside the pub after work and an open window by your desk can cheer the spirits, isn’t it?  This lifting of sprits has made me realise that I’ve been in a little funk lately. 

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I’ve always been told that in life it’s important to “enjoy the journey” to your goals, but must admit that this is the one goal that I have put rather on the back burner of late.

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In a recent personal post, I recapped to crazy first three months of 2012, running Brides Up North and the brand’s related events, speaking engagements and styled shoots.  I’ll not go over old ground, but boy has it been busy!  A lot of people have commented that they “don’t know how I do it”, so I’ll be honest:  I hate it when women in lifestyle magazines (and online) seemingly glide through life like a serene swan with perfect nails, hair and clothes, juggling their five perfect children under seven, two dogs, a demanding husband, high flying career and who still have time to write about it make out that it’s easy.  It’s not.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog    Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Memories of my own wedding planning process:  lunch with the girls and dress fittings

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The past three months, and indeed the past year and a half since Brides Up North went live, have been the most stressful, terrifying, upheaving, nail biting, ageing and fraught of my life.  I gave up a solid career to pursue my dreams, launched a full programme of wedding exhibitions in one year across three regions, have spoken to rooms packed with my peers and industry friends, whilst still finding time to write about it all.  Oh, and maintain a successful marriage and healthy friendships. 

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This swan is a demented duck.

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But then something happened.  A chance meeting with an old colleague plus a few much needed days away with my husband allowed me time to reflect on how far Brides Up North has come over the past 18 months.  I am so proud of this Northern Revolution and thrilled at the way my message has been supported.  I am proud of myself for following my dreams when my friends and family thought I was crazy (I could see it in their eyes).  I am proud that I can contribute equally to our household by doing something I love.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog  Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Memories of my own wedding planning process: ring shopping and suit fittings

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And there it is:  I love it.  It might be stressful, terrifying, upheaving, nail biting, ageing and fraught, but hell, it’s fun.  The process of running a blog and business is dynamic, exciting and I am constantly learning.  Plus I get to write about weddings all day long, work with amazingly talented people and meet loved up couples on a very regular basis. I just need to check myself when it all feels too hard or the clock says 3am (and I’m still working for the third night running) and remember to enjoy it!

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There is a point to this personal post this morning (it’s not just a demented duck’s ramblings after all!) which is that the need to “remember to enjoy it” is never stronger than when you are actively engaged in planning your own wedding.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog   Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Memories of my own wedding planning process:  centrepiece making and bridal bootcamp

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I say “actively engaged” because no one realises how hard it can be, and how different the process from how you imagined it, until you are actually there: wedding magazine in one hand, budget in the other, wedding blog on the screen in front of you, a diary full of other people’s weddings (they all happen at once) and your mother and/or mother in law on the phone.  Again. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog   Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Memories of my own wedding planning process:  the hubby home from his stag do (!) and music practice

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It can be tiring, confusing, stressful and even boring to plan a wedding, and sometimes when your bridesmaids can’t make any of the fittings, your gran wants to dictate the table plan and you wonder how you’ll ever afford it all, you wonder why you bother. 

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 Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog   Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Memories of my own wedding planning process:  invitation writing, more bridal bootcamp & hair trials

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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The clichéd answer here would be to say that you bother because you love the man that you are marrying and want to spend the rest of your life with him, which yes, is a factor (if its not, you need a serious word with yourself), but in truth, I think you bother because of a combination of things:  love, because you are supposed to and because it’s your turn for a piece of the fantasy.

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If it’s your turn, it’s important to enjoy it, because you’ll regret it if you don’t! The most regular tip the brides who star in my Real Wedding features give is something along the lines of “take time to enjoy it, because it all goes so fast” or “it’s over before you know it, I wish I could do it all again”.

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When I look back on all these iPhone images of my own wedding planning process, I realise just how lucky I was and although at times I grumbled, argued and yes – was bored of it all – I wouldn’t change it for the World. 

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   Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Memories of my own wedding planning process:  RSVP counting!

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So here’s some homework Brides Up North.  This week, whenever the “wedding stress” sucks you down, shrug it off, remember your reasons to be cheerful and take some time to smell the roses.  Do things your way, but try not to upset your mum or his mum, remember why you are doing this and most of all, have some fun!

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Let me know how it goes. 

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David Lawson Studios

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You can see all the images from our wedding here, here, here and here

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I’d love to hear your top tips for staying sane and enjoying the planning process.  What have been your highs and lows so far? Leave me a comment below and get the discussion started.  

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  – Images © 2012 Brides Up North, first and last images by David Lawson Studios 

This is not a sponsored post

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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D.I.S.C.O: If Music Be The Food Of Love, Mosh On!

January 27th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North/ Charlotte Gale

Rocking out on the dance floor at out wedding- all my hair having come undone!  What a party!

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When I recently swapped my iPhone 3 for an iPhone 4, the whizz kid in the Apple store said to me:  “Just sync the new phone with your existing iTunes and all your music will copy over”.  Er, what iTunes?  What music? Yes, I hadn’t even realised that my iPhone doubled as an iPod.   

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I’ll admit – music is a joy, but it’s not a passion of mine.  I need a few cocktails to get on the dance floor, I studied piano for three years and never even made it to Grade 1 (seriously!) and I prefer Rhianna to… er… something cooler that I, clearly, cannot name – because I don’t know about it!

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The task of choosing our wedding music filled me with dread.  My hubby isn’t very musical either, and we couldn’t listen to Dire Straits all day! It was my least favourite job and luckily I had a team of helpers to guide me through, not least my brilliant friend Chris who helped with the hymns and even played the organ (without music!) on our big day. At one stage he told me that if I chose that the choir sing “You Raise Me Up” he would walk out.  It was my one defiance, and luckily, he kept playing!

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Brides Up North/ Charlotte Gale

My father in law and brother in law giving some great air guitar!  Dire Straits eat your heart out!

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Chris’ talents aside, the most memorable musical moment of my wedding wasn’t our first dance (although that was lovely – and, if you are interested was “Moondance” by Michael Buble – although I told my hubby it was the Van Morrison version – Alan, I’m sorry, it wasn’t) but requesting that my DJ play my very favourite song of all time “Two Princes” by The Spin Doctors twice in a row whilst I played air guitar on my train in the middle of a big mosh of friends.  My only Bridezilla moment of the day – and one I wouldn’t change for the World!

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I’ve digressed, but my point is:  Music is not my speciality, and neither is it my regular Friday morning guest blogger, Alison’s.  But we both love a good D.I.S.C.O! 

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HEART

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Over to Alison: When I look back at our wedding day, there are many memorable moments – and our wedding disco is right up there with the best of them.

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After the build-up to the big day and then the emotion of the day itself, when you reach the disco and nothing has gone wrong and everyone’s having a brilliant time, you finally feel like you can relax, cut loose and make some shapes on the dance floor.

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Being a bit of a control freak, I’d thoroughly briefed John at The Nightshift Disco. In addition to a play list – there was also an ‘under no circumstances do not play list’ which included Motown. Absolutely no Diana Ross, Billy Ocean or Lionel Richie. There was going to be no “Chain Reaction” at our wedding!

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Instead I asked John to include an 80’s School Disco set, a *ock Rock and Grunge set and a Madchester set. If you want to check out our wedding disco list in its entirety, click here and feel free to plunder.

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It’s an odd feeling, being at your ultimate disco in a dress that cost the same as a small hatchback and in shoes that weren’t designed for break dancing or moonwalking. You know you should be chatting to guests who’ve travelled from across the globe. You think “I’ll just have a quick boogie and then I’ll circulate”. But then the next tune starts and you think “Oh b*gger, I love this one too – oh just one more.” It was a long night.

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So here are some of our more memorable moments:

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Our first dance – ‘I Love It When You Call’, by The Feeling.

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Six months after Tris (my husband) and I met, I went travelling by myself around the world. My friends clubbed together and bought me an Ipod and filled it with motivational tunes of significance. Tris’ addition was ‘I Love It When You Call’. I think it was a hint. So I did call – a lot. In fact I become one of Orange’s most valued customers.

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I remember sitting staring wistfully out of the window of ‘The Atomic Shuttle Bus’ on a journey from Queenstown to Franz Josef in New Zealand, plugged into my Ipod, imagining us dancing to it at our wedding. That was back in 2007 – four years later to the day we actually were. I don’t think it was my finest dancing moment as we free-styled with minimal practice. But I threw in a few twirls and I think we got away with it.

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Sadly DFS have started using the song in their adverts, which has taken the shine off. But it provides a regular reminder of a wonderful moment.

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‘Call Me’, by Blondie.

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I vividly remember dancing in the middle of the floor surrounded by all my family and friends belting out the words at the top of my lungs:

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“CALL ME, I’M ALIVE…”

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Our wedding so very nearly didn’t happen. Rewind 12 months and I’d just come out of hospital after high dose chemo, a stem cell transplant and a month practically in isolation in my local cancer hospital (t-cell non-Hodgkins Lymphoma – and so far so good, thanks for asking). I had no hair, no energy and I couldn’t eat without throwing up. Fast forward again to our wedding day and there I was, I’d done it. I’d organised an amazing wedding to my fabulous man and never did being alive feel sweeter. No wonder I was singing.

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FourT4 Photography

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‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain.

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I’d just come back from a 10 minutes of quiet – in time to see the whole room – including my Dad pogoing to House of Pain. It was one of those ‘observer moments’ where you feel like you’re spying. The party was banging, everyone was laughing and it felt amazing to have helped make that moment happen.

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Street Tuff’ by Double Trouble & The Rebel MC.

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Tris has known his best man and ushers since they were in the cubs together. The image of grown men in formal dress dancing to ‘Street Tuff’ like 17 years olds in a Marmaris club was a thing of great beauty.

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FourT4 Photography

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Our last dance, ‘Moon River’ by Henry Mancini.

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At 11.50pm, as ‘Moon River’ filled every corner of the room, Tris and I danced in the middle while our friends joined hands around us and swayed in time to the music. Just as Carrie and Mr Big in Sex and the City had danced to it on their last night before he left New York, we savoured our final moments. As the choir joined in, creating a sublime crescendo, right on cue we left our wedding – on our way to find our own Moon River – the Seine in Paris.

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What’s on your wedding day playlist?

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Honeymoons – Just The Two Of Us!

Santa Baby- A Bride’s Letter To St Nick

Christmas Weddings In Soap Land – Some Very Un-Real Weddings!

Up For Discussion- Money Can’t Buy You Love – Bringing It In On Budget

Up For Discussion- Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2012 Charlotte Gale/ Four T4 Photography 

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: I’m Yours! Reflections on Marriage, One Year On…

October 13th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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I don’t normally write too many personal posts here on the wedding blog, such is the vast amount of real wedding loveliness and wedding inspiration gorgeousness flooding my inbox on a daily basis, but today, a year minus three days from the day I said I do, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on my first year as a newlywed. 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

Taking in the Grand Canyon, Top Gun style, in Las Vegas on Honeymoon

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On a (sunnier) Thursday this time last year, we would have been just about to meet our closest family and friends for our wedding rehearsal at Durham School chapel.  This holy place would be packed to the rafters with friends, flowers and song just a few days later, but on that Thursday night it was all about taking the time to practice, saying our lines and thinking about what we meant to each other.

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And that, brides to be, is kind of what the first year of marriage has been about for me: taking the time to practice being a wife, adjusting to this huge promise that we have made to each other and reaffirming how I feel about the person I call my husband.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

With my new in-laws on our Wedding Day

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The people make the marriage, no question about it, and you both have to be in on the deal.  As no person (with the exception of perhaps Pippa Middleton*) is 100% perfect, no marriage will be 100% perfect.  A year is made up of 365 days and a lifetime is made up of a whole lot more.  There will be bad days and good days, up days and down days, happy days and sad days.  It’ll be how you face each day and the sum of those days that make a happy marriage.  You need to decide: are you together, or are you apart?   

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I’ll be honest with you.  Sometimes I can be a bit selfish, self centred or whatever you would call it.   I blame my parents (not really Mum!).  I’m an only child, an independent spirit… a lone wolf.  Hmm, I like that, maybe I could get that on a t-shirt?  Anyway, I digress, but you see what I mean!  I’m easily distracted by pretty things, fun and games and new adventures.  I have been programmed to think for myself.  And now there are two of us.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

Adventuring in Malibu

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It’s not really ok to carry on partying till 4am, forgetting to charge my phone, buying fashion like its going out of fashion, eating all the Rice Krispy Squares in the pack, making plans for the weekend on a whim and booking girls holidays. 

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Or is it?

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I am a wife.  I should be baking, fluffing pillows, fetching his slippers, mixing him a martini… or at least making sure there is food in the fridge. 

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Or should I?

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The thing is, I’ve been a little confused this past  year.  I’m not sure if I was expecting domestic goddestry, but I at least I thought that things would be a little more rose tinted.  Except they’re not.  Every thing is normal, it still rains, we still don’t have a house deposit, I don’t own a single pair of Jimmy Choos, he still leaves piles of coins and parts of the Sunday paper everywhere, I still can’t cook and we still have our little arguments.  Add to that a burgeoning career as a on top of my old job as a lawyer with barely enough time to eat, blog and sleep and for the best part of the year our living space has been chaos.  Ok, our living space still is chaos. 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

Our first Christmas

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In getting hitched, I’ve also tied myself down.  I’ve given up any chance of being editor of New York Vogue, marrying Leonardo Di Caprio or living in a hut in Bali.  Instead, I’m to be the wife of an accountant and factory owner from West Yorkshire (albeit a hot one) FOREVER.  It’s a big commitment. 

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The thing is though, I really really love him.  I love him more a year on than I did at our wedding rehearsal.  I love our life together, our geeky in jokes and our private world.  I love that we both like crap tv and junk food.  I love that I can be myself around him, that he doesn’t mind me going away with the girls, wearing the same jogging bottoms for a week or paying for my false eyelashes addiction.  This past year he has shown me what real love is: unwavering support, belief and affection.  

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

Valentines Day in Bangkok

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I would say that nothing changes when you get marrried.  But something really has: now we are committed.  Properly committed. 

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What I have learned this past year is that marriage isn’t this perfect romantic dream.  It’s real life.  Or it’s two real lives, bonded together, with (metaphorical) warts on.  I like that.

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And on balance, we are very, very happy.  That’s all I ever wanted.  I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring…

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Love you hubs  x

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Copyright Julia Braime

Summer in Spain

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Ten tips for marital bliss from a very undomestic goddess  – to be kept under review:

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1.  Let him watch sport.  But only when you are out or sleeping.  Sky Plus is your friend ladies.

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2.  You’ve heard it all before, but a date night once a week is just lovely!

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3.  Talk to each other about it all – the big stuff, the little stuff.  Share your life.

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4.  Plan things to look forward to together like holidays, big purchases or even just a cosy night in so that you are working towards a common goal.

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5.  Try not to have the default switch set to nag.

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6.  If you are constantly finding fault in your other half, hold a mirror to yourself and take a good long look.  Pobody’s nerfect, after all. 

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7.  Sexy time.  Never overrated. 

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8.  Do not criticise his driving or navigational skills at the start of a long road trip.  You have no where to run.

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9.  Merge the finances and prepare to be accountable.  It’s time to grow up.

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10.  Take some time apart now and again.  No matter how much I was looking forward to some me time, I always want to be home in our bed after one sleep apart. 

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Have a lovely evening.  Please, leave me a comment and some of your own tips!  I think I might need them…

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*p.s.  I was joking about Pippa Middleton.  She’s a bit too posh and bony to be perfect. 

.p.p.s We’re not always on holiday, that’s just when I’m carrying the camera…

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  – Images © Julia Braime, Nicola Perrott and Carly Elliot

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Super Sunday!

October 9th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Morning all!  It’s been a busy week.  I’ve been a guest of the UK Wedding Shows, a guest of Leafy Couture at the Harewood House wedding evening and a guest speaker at the Forward Ladies Positive Women’s Day in Sheffield, talking about “Blogging For Business”. 

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If you would like to come along to a similar seminar in the future please contact me to let me know.  If the demand is there I will get something arranged!

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Today I’m at The Wedding Affair at Newby Hall, Ripon from 12pm – 4pm.  Drop by and say hello!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: My Wedding/ David Lawson Studios

Photograph of our wedding day by David Lawson Studios

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So, guess what?  This time next week I will have been married for one whole year!  Time really flies (especially when you spent the best part of that year juggling two lives as a lawyer and – if you don’t know the story behind that, click here). 

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I’m so excited as my lovely hubby is planning on whisking me off for a few days away to a secret location.  How I love him!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: My Wedding/ David Lawson Studios

Photograph of our wedding day by David Lawson Studios

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I actually have an admission to make – we still haven’t chosen the final edit for our wedding album.  Who would have thought it?  I’m a bad wife (but a good wedding blogger!). 

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To rectify things, I have decided to devote some blog posts next week to my reflections on a year of marriage, what marriage means, looking back at the past year and my hopes and dreams for the future.  I would absolutely love it if you would chime in with your own comments and help to get some constructive discussion going here on the wedding blog

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In the meantime – if you so desire, you can see my wedding pictures here:

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Click here to see the girls getting ready

Click here to see the boys warming up

Click here to see our wedding service

Click here to see our wedding reception

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It’s not all going to be my personal memoirs though… you’ll also find the usual mix of bridal fashion, real weddings, news and supplier showcases gracing these silver swirly pages, and boy do I have some corking wedding inspiration to share with you, like this bridal shoot that I styled last week at Rockliffe Hall, that’s in today’s Sunday Sun! (North East). The full set to come soon on the wedding blog so just a sneak peek for now…

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Stan Seaton Photography

Photograph by Stan Seaton Photography, styled by Brides Up North

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Let’s catch up on what you might have missed on the wedding blog this week…

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andy Hook Photography

Photograph of Laura & Rufus by Andy Hook Photography

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Gorgeous real Brides Up North…

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Pony Club! Sophie Rocks Her Dress

Happy Feet! A Real Wedding, Anna and Paul

Sweet Like Chocolate, A Real Wedding – Laura & Ashley

On The Beach! A Real Wedding, Laura & Rufus

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Nathan Combes Photography

Photograph of Anna by Nathan Combes Photography

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Amazing Northern Talent…

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Are You Ready For Your Close Up- Supplier Showcase- Ashley Tyrrell Make Up Artist

All Wrapped Up Presents An Upcycled Wedding Challenge…

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Lorna Roberts Photography

A Bowie inspired bride by , photograph by Lorna Roberts Photography 

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Eye Candy Interview- The White Room Bridal Boutique

At One- Pagan Handfasting – Supplier Showcase- Cat Treadwell

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: India Hobson

A White Room bride works the Stephanie Allin well, photograph by India Hobson

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And BOOTCAMP… 8 inches lost and counting…

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Brides Up North Bootcamp- Week 6 – Negative Energy!

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  – Images © 2011 as credited

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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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Mum’s the Word!

March 29th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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It’s not just the bride who has to look radiant on the big day!  With that in mind, prior to my wedding my lovely mummy went along to Fenwick in Newcastle Upon Tyne for a day of pampering.  Makeover!

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Her styling session was featured in the Autumn issue of Hitched Magazine.

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Hitched Issue 3

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Hitched Mother of the Bride

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Want a closer look?

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Hitched Mother of the Bride

Hitched Mother of the Bride  

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Hitched Mother of the Bride

Hitched Mother of the Bride  

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Want to see what she actually went for? 

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David Lawson Studios   David Lawson Studios

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David Lawson Studios

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David Lawson Studios 

Dress from Aria in Cleadon Village and hat from Quills Millinery.  Photograph by David Lawson Studios.

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Good choice Mum!

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In honour of Mother’s Day Mum and I will be spending a day at Rockliffe Hall Hotel and Spa this weekend. I can’t wait!  Make sure to spoil your mummy too!

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Kate Smith is head of wedding planning at Brides Up North Wedding Planning ServicesContact Brides Up North to see how she can help you to make your wedding day extra special.

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Brides Up North Wedding Planning Services is affiliated with Brides Up North

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We’re Hitched!

March 22nd, 2011 | Julia Braime

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My Real Wedding was featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Hitched Magazine (alongside a great article on Brides Who Blog – missed it? No worries – just click here).  Without further ado, the details of my big day…

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Hitched Real Wedding

Hitched Real Wedding

Hitched Real Wedding

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To see more photographs of my Real Wedding, click here…

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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 Logo

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