July 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re cracking open the bubbly here at Brides Up North and taking the afternoon off!*
*Ok, we’re not really doing that, we’re actually stuck at our screens working on our re-launch, but if we could, that’s totally what we’d be doing.
We’ve just had word that (thanks to you, our lovely readers!) Brides Up North has been shortlisted to win the Wedding Blog category in The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014.
Now, this is just a bit of a big deal. First up, Cosmo is a market leading lifestyle magazine, not an industry title, so to have been recognised outside of our little bridal bubble for our hard work is pretty immense, and puts our wedding blog in front of a much wider audience. Secondly, we were nominated for the shortlist by you, our readers: brides to be and industry supporters, and we love that.
We love you.
But lets not let that (imaginary) Champagne go to our heads… we still need your votes to take home the gong! Let’s show the rest of the UK that Northerners do it best!
We’d be ever so grateful if you’d head over to the awards site and cast the deciding vote in our favour (and check out some other fab blogs across the board while you’re there – we’ve already added a few to our reader). 50% of the votes are cast by readers and the other 50% is made up from the panel of Cosmo Editors, and voting closed on 29th August 2014, so we need your help to be in with a chance.
Click here to support Brides Up North. #jointhenorthernrevolution #CosmoBlogAwards
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May 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
In my role as editor here at Brides Up North, I’m honoured to be invited to sit on various judging panels for some very prestigious awards ceremonies. Since our launch in 2010, I’ve clocked up a fair few judging credits including; The Wedding Industry Awards 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015; The Wedding Ideas Awards 2013; The Bridal Buyer Awards 2012 & 2014 and headline sponsor & one time host of The North Of England Wedding Awards 2012 & 2013.
I haven’t yet been asked to judge a wedding cake competition… but here’s hoping!
My most recent engagement was close to my heart, and I was thrilled to be asked to act as a judge in Wedding Blog Category for The National UK Blog Awards 2014, alongside my colleagues at Wedding Ideas Magazine.
The National UK Blog Awards 2014 are the only Blog Awards recognising a multitude of industry professional talent across the UK. The awards provide a unique opportunity for individual professionals and organisations from their sector to be recognised for their social media achievements through blogging, with the chance to network and be inspired by other industry bloggers.
From over 900 entries overall, the awards were narrowed down to 10 shortlisted blogs in each category. I was overseeing both the Individual and Professional categories in the Wedding section, so spent a good few days immersing myself in the content of the twenty hopefuls and getting to grips with their websites. The judging process itself was rigorous and time consuming (I got through a lot of Yorkshire Tea, let me tell you!) but very thorough. Each and every site was judged on specific scoring criteria and commentary, before the final scores were tallied across the board and the winners announced.
As a wedding blogger myself, choosing the winners was both a very hard and a very easy job. The structured scoring process made things easier, but as well as ticking the right useability boxes – was the site easy to navigate, fun to use, do what it said on the tin – I had to follow my heart: was the blog beautiful, was it interesting, would I come back to read in my spare time? Two different judges might reach two very different sets of conclusions, but the job was mine, and I had to choose as best I could.
Becki, from The National UK Blog Awards says: These awards were put on to recognise the best in UK blogging industry […and] in our eyes, everyone is a winner. Your blog is your personal brand and each and every one has its own uniqueness which makes them truly great! 900 bloggers entered the awards so to reach the final alone is a great achievement [showing] talent, passion, dedication and commitment. You are all truly inspirational. We did, however, love announcing the highly commended and winners of each category. It was a true delight to see everyone’s reactions and great smiles (and in some cases tears) across the room!
The judges don’t confer, so although I had an idea of who might do well based on my own scoring, I purposefully didn’t find out until the night itself who the overall winners were. I’ve never been all that good with secrets!
Over 300 attendees from bloggers to judges, sponsors and brands celebrated with the team at The Grange Hotel, St Pauls, London on Friday 25th April 2014. Due to the constraints of a small family and our very own event that same weekend (our fabulous Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Bowdon Rooms – no way I was going to miss that!) I couldn’t attend the awards ceremony itself, but loved following all the action on Twitter from the comfort of my sofa. You could have cut the tension in my living room with a knife that night!
So, Brides Up North, if you’d like to add a few more blogs to your reader (always!) here’s our winners and runners up in the Wedding category. Congratulations to all our finalists.
So You’re Getting Married
Gavin Forster Photography Wedding Blog
Ishari De Silva Ishari
De Silva Weddings
And now the tables have turned. Brides Up North has entered two categories in The Wedding Industry Experts 2014 Awards…
…and we’d love your vote in both!
Please use the links above to show your support. All it takes is a click, and I’ll love you forever.
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April 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Away from the pages of the wedding blog, I’m frequently commissioned to write freelance pieces for various glossy magazines (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out, eh?) and quite often like to share that content again here when I think it might be interesting or relevant to my readers. Or genuinely because I’m just really, really proud to see my work in print.
Loved Up Magazine, to whose pages I’ve been contributing for – goodness! – actual years and years now got in touch to ask me to compile a feature sharing my “top clicks” for online wedding planning content, a subject close to my heart.
Yes, I’m a first and foremost a blogger, but I’m also a consumer. Shock horror! I read other blogs. And I’m a prolific consumer of wedding media especially. I like to keep up with the industry news, the creativity of my peers and to be honest, it’s still fun for me. Yes, even after four years of blogging about weddings twice a day and 40+ branded bridal events and exhibitions under my Brides Up North belt… I still love it. I’ve a full blog reader, test out any new bridal app going and don’t even get me started on social media. 39,394 tweets down at the time of writing, I’m well aware that that’s my unwritten novel, right there on Twitter (hey, come follow me, I’ve clearly a lot to say!)
So, here’s my current top picks of the online wedding World – emphasis on current there: trust me, I could have filled the whole magazine with links. So, have fun exploring, but come right back again afterwards y’hear?!
I said: In my role as editor of one of the top wedding blogs in the UK I spend a whole lot of time at a computer screen. Mostly its bonafide blog business, but I also spend some time every day keeping on top of what’s new in the online bridal world. It’s as much about checking out the latest cyber products for my bride-to-be readers as staying ahead of the competition, and I’m here to share some of my favourite online resources with you.
Wedding blogs are a dynamic, easy to access and free source of wedding planning know how, with a personal touch. There’s a blog out there to suit almost every bride, so bookmark your favourites and return daily for a rapid turnover of ideas, inspiration and tips.
My Top Clicks
Brides Up North (well, obvs.) – our site and branded bridal events are a must for local ladies who want to see just what the fantastic wedding industry suppliers on their doorstep can do. Every fabulous feature on Brides Up North is sourced from the regions, be it a supplier showcase, styled shoot or real wedding.
Rock N Roll Bride – a cute and colourful site packed full of diverse and different wedding inspiration. If you fancy trying your hand at blogging yourself, creator Kat also runs courses for aspiring writers at her worldwide Blogacademy.
Festival Brides – if you’d rather host your own “wed-stock” party under canvas than hire a stately home, this is the blog for you. Focusing on outdoor and festival weddings, the site is a little bit of summer sunshine delivered to your blog reader daily.
There are apps galore for wedding planning on the move. From finding your dream dress to keeping track of your gift list, a few clever downloads can make the whole process a little less daunting. Take a break from Candy Crush and try out some bridal apps that might just save you time and money.
My Top Clicks
WedPics – An alternative to disposable cameras, this nifty tool gathers all your guests’ pics and videos in one private place – and gives you a record of your big day through your nearest and dearest’s eyes.
AppyCouple – A fully personalised online space that your guests can access to obtain all the key details for your celebration including addresses, gift list info, directions, dress code and timings. They can even RSVP and make menu choices, leaving all the information to hand when table planning hysteria sets in.
Find Your Dream Wedding Dress – A fashionista’s fantasy – browse different design features and come up with a selection of gowns that meet any given criteria, then find the shops that stock them. The dress hunt made easy.
Use social media to network your way from engagement to altar. Here you can get real time responses to your queries and supplier searches on a no obligation basis.
My Top Clicks
Facebook – Most industry professionals keep their Facebook page more up to date than their brochure or websites, making it easier for you to get a sense for their current work.
Pinterest – If you love a mood board, you’ll adore this image sharing site, also available as a smartphone app. Build online boards by pinning your favourite wedding inspiration images to build up a visual idea of your wedding style. And if you don’t want to spoil the surprise – simple – you can now make secret boards too!
Twitter – You’ll find that the wedding industry is live and loud on the Twitter airwaves: keen to offer advice, sell their services and attract new customers.
Words: Brides Up North for Loved Up Magazine Spring/Summer 2014
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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 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s still light outside (wahey!) and I’m whizzing by with a late post this first day of Spring (hope you’ve managed to get out in the fresh air to smell the daffodils today!) to bring news of a wedding event near you – if you’re a North East bride to be that is – this weekend, from my friends at etc. Magazine.
etc. Magazine, your luxury lifestyle magazine for the North East – and home to my monthly Bridal Buzz columns – is set to host a wedding show this weekend at the Radisson Blu in Durham. The free event will take place this Sunday from 12-3pm and will feature more than 30 hand-picked exhibitors from across the region.
etc editor Georga Spottiswood says: If you’re planning on getting married then make sure you head along. We’ll be featuring everything you need to make your day extra special.
From wedding cars and cakes to dresses and suit hire, the day will cater for all your wedding needs. Models from Miss 24 Carat Beauty Pageant, in Sunderland, will be strutting their stuff in a dazzling catwalk show. They’ll be wearing wedding dresses from bridal shop Opal, in Coxhoe, and First Glance, in Sunderland, along with bridesmaid gowns from Middlesbrough-based Kate Fearnley boutique and accessories.
It’s the second wedding show etc has held this month, as loved-up couples headed to Seaham Hall last Sunday. More than 200 people filled the five-star venue, on Durham’s Heritage Coast, for the extravaganza. etc launched its popular wedding shows more than three years ago, but it is the first time the magazine has worked with Seaham Hall.
Georga says: What a day, what a venue! Brides and grooms were in awe of the place when they walked through the grand entrance, and I’m not surprised. With its glistening chandeliers, stunning courtyard room with glass ceiling and beautiful grounds, it’s the perfect place to wed. I am really looking forward to welcoming brides and grooms to our wedding event at the Radisson Blu in Durham this weekend, which I hope will be as equally as busy.
It’s in the diary Georgia!
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March 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
The start of every season always begins with a flurry of freelance commissions here at Brides Up North, and days spent with my head buried in my laptop feeling like “a proper writer”. Of course, the end product is rarely very different from producing features for my own blog, but when it’s for someone else’s publication (and they’ve entrusted you with one, two or even four of their precious editorial pages) and it’s actually going to be “in print”, the stakes somehow seem higher.
Respected North East bridal title Belle Bridal Magazine celebrated their fifth birthday this season, and so, when they bestowed upon me the honour of selecting the hots and the nots of the wedding world for spring 2014, I was thrilled. But oh, the pressure!
So, with a lot of industry knowledge behind me, and a little bit of crystal ball gazing, these were my predictions for the trends that’ll be topping the charts (and sliding off the scale) at a wedding near you soon. Tell me, are you incorporating any of these trends into your big day?
Blame Jay Gatsby, but flamboyance is back in a big way. A little party never killed nobody, but why do things by halves? After these mean recession years, we’re ready for some fun. Expect heavy embellishments, cascading blooms and excess all areas.
Image: Katy Melling Photography
It started with the tipi, and now there’s an outdoor option for almost every theme. Whether it’s a Scandinavian hat, Mongolian yurt or Bedouin tent, it’s still chic to say I do under canvas. Just remember to budget for a generator too!
Image: Gerrard Photography
Image: Jo Bradbury
Amongst all the usual layers of lace and tulle a new breed of wedding gown is emerging: clean lines, sharp edges and super cool. Closer to catwalk trends than a Royal Wedding, these frocks are for the slick chicks who don’t want to leave their personalities by the church door. Choose bold shapes and structured satin (not a sequin in sight) for strut-your-stuff wedding day style.
Image: Astral Sundholm Circa Brides
Image: KMR Bridal
Platinum will always be precious, but all the best dressed ring fingers are going for gold this season. Romantics should try rose gold and pave diamonds for an on trend look that’s forever timeless.
Image: Helen Russell Photography
Colour Me Pretty
Adding a touch of complimentary colour to your wedding day wardrobe is nothing new, but this is a trend that refuses to fade. Pastels are huge on the catwalks and in the bridal boutiques for 2014 and designers are upping the ante with all over washes of warmth or layered ombre lace effects. Go on, live life in colour! If a dip dye wedding dress isn’t for you, you can still give a nod to this pretty trend with colourful stationery or blushing blooms.
Image: Ian Stuart
Forget the humble tiara, 2014 is the year that bridal headwear gets big and bold. From glittering bunny ears and feather head-dresses to vibrant flower garlands, the fashion forward bride will dare to decorate herself in colour and originality. Still not sure? Stick to simple for the ceremony and style things up for the after party!
Image: Katy Melling Photography
Image: James Melia
Image: Cat Hepple Photography
Words: Julia Braime for Belle Bridal Magazine, S/S 2014
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Brides Up North/ Belle Bridal Magazine/ as credited where relevant
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January 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s time for another online/ offline catch up folks. The Editorials is a series I run occasionally here on the wedding blog, bringing the offline bridal freelance writing that I do on a monthly basis for numerous glossy magazines online.
“It’s All In The Detail” was a piece penned by moi and first published in National Glossy, Wedding Magazine as a part of my Trend Alert series of columns (although it’s contents have been tweeted a few times since then)! I hope it inspires you to accessorise wisely…
I said: No longer content with just the church, dress and swish wheels, trendsetting brides and grooms are thinking outside the box when it comes to the finer details of their big day.
This isn’t about following the crowd and installing a job lot of teacups, typewriters and the prerequisite bird cage table centres, but selecting unique props and decorating details that say something about the your individual tastes and interests and using them as a backdrop to your celebration.
Dan Jones Photography
A plan is essential. It’s all too easy to get carried away at the car boot sales and lose sight of your initial vision. This isn’t an episode of ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’. Before the great rummage begins, consider your theming carefully and arm yourself with a wish list to avoid expensive mistakes. Consider enlisting the services of a prop hire or event styling specialist who will help you to bring more ambitious ideas to life.
A Personal Touch
Whatever decorating details you add to your big day, the most effective schemes will be those that really mean something to you as a couple. Travel mad? Vintage suitcases, picture postcards and grand old maps in place of table runners can add nostalgia and romance to your celebration. Love cycling? How about a bicycle made for two?
Some of the more popular grand schemes like festival or circus themed weddings need commitment to work. If in doubt, add bulk and colour – reams of rainbow streamers or paper pompoms en masse are a cheaper alternative to filling the room with flowers, and in some scenarios more definitely is more!
Before embarking on a decorating extravaganza, remember to do your sums. Props and detailing should really be somewhere near the bottom of your budget and an optional extra rather than essential expense. Decide what’s more important to you – 100 Greek urns or your Santorini honeymoon (and I’m not judging!) and budget accordingly.
Jonny Draper Photography, Shelley Hughes Photography
Nothing For The Sake Of It
Often, the most stylish weddings are the simplest affairs. Don’t feel pressured to over-style your day if a themed celebration just isn’t your bag. You can still add personal touches with your favourite flowers, photographs of loved ones or a carefully chosen playlist.
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited
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November 20th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Kelly by Stephanie Allin
In the wedding blogosphere, things move at breakneck speed, and you can be sure that any wedding blogger worth her salt will have discovered, dissected and disseminated any trend worth trying at least a season before it hits the mainstream. Earlier this year, I visited White Gallery London – a huge exhibition and set of catwalk shows at which the big name bridal designers launch their new season collections to the trade and press – to take a sneak peek at the gorgeous gowns that will be landing in bridal boutiques near you this autumn. Let me tell you, if you are in the market for a wedding dress this season, you are in for a treat!
What followed was a collection of high profile designer interviews, right here on the pages of this wedding blog. The collections have now landed in a boutique near you, so if you missed the previews and interviews, I’ll be republishing these to Facebook over the next few days. Click here to like our page and stay updated.
As well as online, I wrote about the beauty and drama of the new collections in my regular column for Loved Up Magazine. Here’s my summary of the season. Limited by word count, let me tell you, it doesn’t even touch the sides of all the fabulous frocks you have to choose from. Make sure to revisit our Designer Series interviews at the earliest opportunity too!
Brides Up North in Loved Up Magazine autumn/ winter 2014
The collections this year had something for everyone with glitz, feathers, embellishment and lace, as well as simpler styles too. Skirts were either voluminous (with a nipped in waist) or sleek and swishy. Many designers drew inspiration from bygone eras – with the 1920s and 1930s being popular influences – and whatever your hemline preference: short, long or even trousers, there was something for you. Favourites included Suzanne Neville’s Vintage Rose Collection, Stephanie Allin’s fairy-tale gowns and boho styling from Terry Fox Couture. Check them out soon at a Northern stockist near you.
Cuvee Rose by Ian Stuart
The craze for adding a pop of colour to your wedding gown continues for spring/ summer 2014 with a watercolour wash of pastel shades on the catwalks. Fashionista Ian Stuart led the way with his candy coloured Frill Me! collection.
Where the silver screen leads bridal fashion follows, with drop waists, beading and gemstones more prevalent than ever for the new season. Add a bejewelled feathered headdress and some dancing shoes to complete the look. Daisy Buchanan, eat your heart out!
Gatsby by Suzanne Neville
Celeste by Naomi Neoh
Contrasting with all that Hollywood glam, other designers like Sassi Holford, Charlotte Balbier and Caroline Castigliano stuck to what they do best – British beauty. If you favour the English rose look, their floaty skirts and frothy lace confections will be a dream come true.
Annie by So Sassi
Cute & Quirky
Rarely seen in the past, there’s now a flippy little short number in nearly every designer’s collection, as well as jumpsuits and shorts making an appearance at the most cutting edge design houses. If you still favour a frock, check out flirty t-shirt sleeves, deep pockets, daisy detailing and polka dot lace to bring the cutest dresses right up to date.
Jesus Peiro 2014
Don’t despair if you like your styling fuss free. Many designers kept things clean this season with a focus on structure and tailoring. Watch out for the new collection by Astral Sundholm Circa Brides for a refined and fresh look.
Tallulah by Astral Sundholm Circa Brides
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited
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November 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime
So. Recent press for this little wedding blog, eh? It appears that there’s quite a lot to cover.
2013 has been one busy year. (I wouldn’t have it any other way).
“Here Comes The… Bridal Business!” Brides Up North is profiled in Fabulous Magazine’s Careers Issue
(to over 8 million readers no less!)
“It’s All In The Detail” – an inspirational three page spread on decor and details in Wedding Magazine
“Snap Happy!” A three page guest feature in brand new Unveiled Magazine
“Catwalk Queen” – getting excited about the 2014 bridal collections in Loved Up Magazine
“Picture Perfect” – more photography talk in Mosaic Brides
“Wedding Venues – The Expert Opinions” in Belle Bridal Magazine
“Bridal Buzz” Catching up on a year’s worth of columns in Etc Magazine
That’s where all the magic happens, first. Get involved!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Brides Up North
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October 9th, 2013 | Julia Braime
I’m waking up this morning in an apartment just off Leicester Square with a slightly tingling head, a huge goody bag (adding to the Christmas morning effect) and a lovely little Wedding Blog Award, courtesy of Wedding Magazine, their gorgeous judging panel – including industry greats Ciara Elliott, Ian Stuart, Emily Johnston and Stephen Moran – and YOU my dear readers and supporters.
It was a brilliant day yesterday and to win an Award was really just the icing on what was already a very lovely cake. We were really just there for a very Ritz-y night out! After lunching in Covent Garden and getting our Shellac on courtesy of the Spa at the W Hotel, Ellie – who you may have met if you’ve attended one of our luxury bridal exhibitions this Autumn – and I headed back to the apartment to put our glitz on. A quick taxi ride down the Mall (our heels were too high, darlings!) took us to the famous Ritz Hotel.
Now, I worked on Old Bond Street in a former life and walked past The Ritz every day on my way to the office, but I’ve never actually been inside. What a treat! The hotel’s private dining area had been dressed to the nines and my fellow bloggers, Award sponsors, judges and magazine mavens gathered under the ornate cornicing for delectable canapés and absolute vats of champagne.
I was concentrating on catching up (hello to the Bespoke Bride lovelies, Kat and Gareth, Wedding Sparrow, Nu Bride, Gemma at Ian Stuart, Sophie from Paradox London, the Sandals girls, Charlie at London Bride, Sonia at Want That Wedding and Editor Ciara and her team at Wedding Magazine – you gals and guys rock) and getting stuck into the bubbly when the Awards ceremony began, so to say that I was surprised when Mark Francis read out my blog’s name as the winner in the Best Big Day Inspiration category was an understatement. A very lovely surprise indeed.
After collecting our Award I was whisked off for photographs and interviews to camera, then headed back to the main area to cheer on the rest of my colleagues.
What followed next is a bit of a blur – far more champagne, goody bag looting and a totter to Whisky Mist where a lack of ID (and at 31, being asked for ID is never a bad thing, even if everyone else was being asked for it too) meant that Ellie and I decided to bail out and find food. Cue a slap up Chinese, lots of laughs and a happy night’s sleep. As new mum, I’ll never knock a lie in, either!
London’s been exciting, but I’m off to catch the train back ‘Up North as we’re busy in the office this week planning for our Luxury Bridal Exhibition at Nostell Priory this weekend (click here to pre-register, we’d love to see you there) and I can’t wait for some cuddles from my baby girl too. Beats a whip around Harrods any day!
But, before I go – and I’ll be back on these pages later on with more wedding pretty for you – a huge, huge thank you to each and every one of you who voted for Brides Up North. Your support means so much to me and my little team, as we strive to keep this Northern Revolution marching on. We couldn’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t want to either.
So, Brides Up North – this one’s for you!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2013 Brides Up North
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