Charlotte Balbier

lookbook: a lot of front

August 2nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Julie Vino 2

For our latest lookbook post, we’re taking lead from gossip mags’ favourite and reigning Brides Up North gym inspiration Pippa Middleton – seriously though, I would swap one of my legs for those biceps. Sigh.

Prior to the wedding of the year, fashion commentators consulted their crystal balls and clamoured to predict the style the Duchess’ little sister would go for – arguably it was all a bit more, well, interesting than the 2011 debate about Kate’s dress decisions because so much (length, sleeves, modest front) is set in stone for a Royal bride. Pippa however, could freestyle it a little – and so she did, surprising the world’s media with her unexpectedly classic Giles Deacon princess gown.

We’ve already fully dissected the new Mrs James Matthews’ bridal style in a Get The Look special, but today we’re zooming in on one of the key details of her stunning frock: namely, the high-neck. We’ve been thinking: what inspiration is out there (other than the £40,000 bespoke designer option, obvs) for a girl who wants a lot of front in her frock?

Main feature images from Julie Vino

Julie Vino 4

Well, first up is Ersa Atelier, with their to-die-for designs from Bucharest. Sisters Gabriela and Cristina make much artful use of the high-neck in their most recent collections and the results are just – well, see for yourself. Serena with its delicate beaded and detailed sleeved top and plain waisted frothy skirt gives the impression of separates and pulls off the almost impossible feat of being both regal and ‘fashiony’. Pea is at the opposite end of the formality spectrum and is everything its short ‘n’ sweet appellation suggests, with its dropped waist and simple crochet-style fabric. Celie, with its glorious Art Deco-style scallops, speaks of another era, and its high-neck almost looks like a little lace collar – statement and simplicity all at once. If you’re a fan of the high-neck, this collection demands closer inspection.

Julie Vino

Jesus Peiro’s current collection also embraces high-necks but takes the look in a slightly different direction. Dresses 7019 and 7002 – the first a halter-neck with a draped sash and large bow at the waist, the second a breathtakingly simple origami-style bodice with subtly slashed neckline and full-on princess skirt – are almost sculptural in design and certainly current rather than classic in feel. Dress 7074 is more conventional – delicate lace overlay and elbow-length sleeves balanced by a mermaid flare – but no less attention-grabbing. The Nanda Devi collection heads for more ethereal territory, so if a Midsummer Night’s Dream-slash-fairytale vibe is your bag, JP’s website is definitely worth a trawl: drifting skirts, pretty lace crop tops and full-length lace sleeves abound. Dreamy bridal design brilliance.

Julei Vino 3

You might be forgiven for thinking that ‘high-necked’ as a descriptor automatically aligns itself with ‘modest’ or even ‘prudish’, and that a high-necked dress is definitely a distant cousin of ‘modern bride’ and even further removed from ‘sexy bride’. Allow us to dispel all misconceptions with Julie Vino’s daring Napoli, Roma and Venice collections. Here we see the modesty of the high neck neutered with plunging backs, daring sheer panels, Swarovski and exposed shoulders – what on earth would Ms Middleton think?

And finally, in more situations than I’d like to admit I find myself asking the question “what would Vera Wang do?” and, in the case of designing a wedding gown for her Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 collections, the answer seems to have frequently been “put a high-neck on it”. Thank you, Vera, for showing us the way with the halter-neck wonderfulness of the Galilea, the all-over lace glamour of the Cecile and the wow-factor of Clemence’s peasant gown perfection. Inspiration overload.

Julie Vino 5

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dream venue: hornington manor

July 26th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Joe Stenson

Joe Stenson Photography

There’s no doubt that the setting of a wedding is what makes it, and so it’s important to think what style you want for your big day and what each venue offers when beginning your search.

For those on the hunt for a blank canvas style venue with a hint of rustic charm, we’d highly recommended putting our stunning Sponsor venue Hornington Manor, on your must-visit list. Set within rural Yorkshire, this homely venue invites brides, grooms and their guests to enjoy a full weekend of celebrations with fabulous accommodation, ceremony and reception spaces, all on site.

Having held a number of our Luxury Wedding Fairs at Hornington, we know just how special this place is and are therefore excited to be announcing another super exciting bridal event at this venue soon – so watch this space! In the meantime, the team from Hornington are taking over the blog this afternoon to fill us in on what makes the Manor a dream venue…

Hornington Manor (3)

Where is Hornington Manor located?

hornington manor say: Our venue located in the picturesque village of Bolton Percy, nestled into the rolling North Yorkshire countryside. It is approximately ten miles from the historic city of York, and less than 20 miles from the bustling city of Leeds. With easy access from the A1 and M1 motorways – great for travelling guests.

Tell Brides Up North about the venue, what is its history?

Hornington Manor was built in 1770 and is set on a beautiful 300-acre working farm. The Grade II listed farm house was lovingly restored when farm was brought back to life in 2009 by local bed-makers Harrison Spinks, with the aim of growing some of its own natural mattress fillings. The 18th century Hornington Manor wedding barn was, until very recently, nothing more than a lambing barn.

Mark J Hillyer

Mark J Hillyer

Is Hornington Manor licensed for civil ceremonies and, if so, what areas of the venue are available for weddings and what capacity can they cater for?

Hornington Manor is fully licensed to hold civil ceremonies at a number of remarkable locations around its grounds to suit couples’ individual preference. Hornington Gallery has huge floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the sheep grazing in the fields outside and is wonderfully bright and airy, holding 120 guests.

Our most popular place to hold wedding ceremonies is in the infamous Hornington Wedding Barn. The original 18th Century rustic barn can comfortably house up to 150 guests and is beautifully decorated with huge external doors opening onto the Manor courtyard.

For more intimate ceremonies, the lavish ballroom in the West Wing of the Manor could be perfect. Alternatively, couples may wish to take advantage of the stunning surroundings and hold their ceremony outside. Saying their vows under the charming Lych Gate in the Manor Courtyard, or facing the gentle fields on the Manor Lawn.

And what areas are available for the reception?

The beautiful wedding barn is available for wedding receptions, and can seat 150 guests comfortably. Other than boasting a stunning bar and relaxing snug areas, the wood panelled walls and exposed brick is a blank canvas for brides and grooms to style as they wish.

Kate Cooper

Kate Cooper

How would you describe the look and feel of Hornington Manor?

The Manor has a rustic feel to it whilst also being the perfect untouched setting. Brides and grooms can choose to draw on the organic features of the venue, or alternatively use the blank backdrop for a more glamorous theme – anything goes! We’ve seen some amazing ideas; some of which can be seen on the blog section of our website.

What makes Hornington Manor a special wedding venue?

Hornington Manor is so special due to its unique surroundings and its magical element of exclusivity. Not many people can say they’ve married with a flock of sheep as members of the audience! If you’re lucky enough to wed during lambing season, some guests have the extra bonus of feeding pet lambs before the wedding begins! Our team endeavour to do all they can to make each wedding day special, unique and seamless.

Hornington Manor (1)

What sort of bride would be a Hornington Manor bride?

A Hornington Manor bride is excited by the chance to create their very own dream wedding – brides can be as creative as they wish. A Hornington Manor bride also appreciates the time before and after their wedding – being able to spend the whole weekend with their family in the house and grounds of the Manor.

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

Our wedding co-ordinator Jo and her assistant Hayley will be on hand from the moment you have your first viewing, to the moment you leave Hornington Manor as a married couple. Their nothing-is-too-much attitude means our brides and grooms can plan their wedding with peace of mind that everything will run smoothly. On call throughout the big day and in the lead up to a wedding, they will go the extra mile to make sure every couple has the wedding day of their dreams. We also have a number of trusted and recommended suppliers, many of which are regulars at Hornington weddings; and are featured on our website under Recommended Suppliers.

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contemporary, caring & cutting-edge: fantail designer florist

July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (9)

As regular readers of the wedding blog will know, we’re suckers for beautiful wedding day blooms and love to see florists pushing the design boundaries in order to deliver something that is both impressive and individual.

One such florist who does just this is Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, proud owner of Fantail Designer Florist. Supplying dream bouquets, centrepieces and styling for weddings in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire, Samantha enjoys nothing more than meeting new couples and translating their personalities and ideas into show-stopping arrangements.

This afternoon on the blog, we’re super excited to be catching up with this talented lady at her Sheffield-based shop to her learn more about her designs, service and style…

With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (7)

Can you tell us a little about your background and how Fantail first came to fruition?

samantha says: Originally hailing from New Zealand, I came to Sheffield to peruse in a career in Interior and Furniture Design. Succeeding in this, and in the meantime having two children, a dog and a cat, I then retrained in floristry and set up Fantail doing freelance wedding floristry from my home studio in 2008. The business outgrew the house and when the local post office moved premises the opportunity arose in the village to open a shop, which I couldn’t allow to pass me by!

How has the business grown since that time?

Since we opened the shop back in November 2016, the business has grown ten-fold. It has given us the opportunity not only to offer more in the everyday bouquet market, including deliveries, but has also allowed us to expand our wedding portfolio. In addition to this we’ve been offering seasonal floral making classes, which have been over-booked to the extent that we had to double the dates! As well as flowers we also supply other, locally made, products, such as Sheffield Honey, Burgon & Ball gardening items, Nathalie Bond organic skincare and cards for all occasions. We’ve also taken the idea of a florist further beyond flowers by offering house plants in designer pots, with our own unique twist.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (1)

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings and what is your favorite part of your job? 

I love weddings and take pride in being involved in one of the most important days of a couple’s life.  I enjoy everything about creating for a wedding. The initial consultation is great – you get to find out how the couple met, what are their likes and dislikes, their honeymoon ideas and by working together with them I can begin to suggest floral designs that work and create something unique that reflects their personality, the venue and the theme. The best part is when we meet them on the day to deliver the designs and they see the venues transform to the vision we created together.

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from? 

We are contemporary florists, with classic style and dip into vintage. We use a range of different textures and tones and try to include something different.  We like to think that we are thorough and consider all the details, such as wiring succulents so they can be planted after the wedding and incorporating plants dependent on the time of year for the same reason. We take inspiration through the seasons, which sounds pretty obvious, but we always like to encourage seasonal availability. Yves Saint Laurent said: “fashions fade but style is eternal” and I think that’s as true for floristry as anything else.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (4)

What process will a couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

We like to invite couples into the shop for a chat. We like to get to know our couples and I think jelling with each other is another key to the success of the relationship. We’ll go through all the nitty gritty things from floral bouquet style, the pins colours on the buttonholes to the length of a trail based on the height of the bride to the height of the candles used on a candelabra.  We then come up with a plan going forwards that suits that couple and their budget.

Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

Most brides will have an inkling as to what they think they would like or want to achieve in the venue for their wedding day. That might be a colour or a favourite flower or style, including bringing along magazine cuttings to the meeting. We can generally get to a finalised design by the time we’ve finished. Pinterest is a massive influence and is helpful for both brides and grooms as well.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (8)

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

We source flowers from a range of suppliers including UK-grown flower farms, the Dutch auctions and even as far afield as southern Africa.

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real wedding recap 2017: a french inspired wedding at le petit chateau, northumberland – rachelle & liam

July 2nd, 2017 | Julia Braime

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (55)

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

From the venue’s name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an overseas wedding, but in fact the stunning French inspired venue can be found in rural Northumberland.

Cheerleaders Rachelle and Liam fell whole-heartedly in love with its unique styling and charm, planning a big day with French shabby chic touches to complement their surroundings.

So, let’s get straight into the pretty. Ready? Ok!

With images by Sean Elliott Photography

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (51)

rachelle says: We got engaged in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2013, while we attended the seventh World Cheerleading Championships, in which we both were competing together as part of Team UK.

We set the date for 30th July 2016 – the beginning of the school holidays as Liam is a teacher and we wanted to make sure we had time to fit in a good honeymoon before he went back to work.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (58)

Our ceremony took place at St. Peters Church, Harton, South Shields at 12pm as it had sentimental value to Liam. We then held our reception in Le Petit Chateau, Otterburn. We originally booked a different reception venue when we first got engaged but when we discovered the plans for Le Petit Chateau, we fell in love and decided to lose our previous deposits and change to Le Petit Chateau, despite never actually seeing the venue until a month before our wedding. After seeing the venue, it looked a million times better than what we’d expected from the plans and knew we had made the right decision to change our wedding

We didn’t have a theme as such but it was almost aimed towards French shabby chic. We incorporated old books and watering cans into our centrepieces. Our table plan was a mannequin with French inspired shabby chic labels pinned to it containing the table plan to incorporate the French fashion scene. We added a cheerleading bow to this as that was how we met and how we’d got engaged. We picked our favourite looks from Pinterest and the shabby chic appealed to us the most. When we found our new venue, we tailored it more to suit the style and it worked perfectly.

We chose a coral colour scheme, as it was a very summery colour that we thought would brighten the photos. When we first saw the venue, we were excited to see that the same colour was used on the external walls of the Belle Epoque!

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (56)

I chose my dress – an ivory Mori Lee gown – from The Bridal Factory Outlet, and had a wonderful shopping experience there. My dress was a full A-line dress with a slight sweetheart neckline. The bodice was covered in a heavy lace with pearls and crystals. It had a lovely crystal belt that tied into a lovely flowing tulle bow at the back. The skirt kicked out at the waist into layers of tulle. I picked the dress to show off my waist and as a cheerleader, I wanted sparkle but I didn’t want to go too overboard.

I also picked a shorter knee length dress for the evening, which was a white Sherri Hill dress that had a bodice full of pearls and a full tulle skirt with lace detail at the bottom.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (28)

Liam wore a grey three-piece suit from Slaters with a white shirt and black Ted Baker shoes also from Slaters, and a coral and ivory paisley silk tie and pocket square that I’d found on Pinterest and sourced from Amazon. They matched the colour scheme perfectly and were such much nicer than a block colour.

I won my bridesmaids dresses from Brides Dream in Newcastle, from a wedding show in 2014 and picked them from a wide range at their store in summer 2015. I picked a coral floor-length gown with an illusion sweetheart neckline. The top of the dress was a coral mesh with a lovely delicate lace detail on the shoulders. The dress also had an illusion low back, that accented my wedding dress.

I had a man of honour in my bridal party too, my best friend Ben Pardey, who helped my maid of honour, Olga Crehan. They were my two best friends from university and I couldn’t have got married without them both by my side with a main role in the wedding.

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real wedding recap 2017: rosa clara for a pretty blush pink wedding at didsbury house hotel – aimee & oli

June 25th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (46)

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

Today’s couple are one after my own heart making the main focus of the day all about food!

Treating their guests to a six-course tasting menu at their favourite French restaurant, plus maroons as favours and an incredible multi-flavoured wedding cake, there’s no way that anyone went home hungry from this big day.

In addition to the banqueting, there are plenty of other fine elements to feast the eyes on, including Aimee’s elegant Rosa Clara gown, the maids pretty blush multi-ways and is that a sweet table that we spy? Time to indulge…

With images by Mike Plunkett Photography

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (49)

oli says: I proposed to Aimee at The Savoy Hotel in London. I had gone down the day before to drop the ring off with the hotel and asked them to place it in our suite under a silver cloche with flowers and champagne in the room. Aimee thought they had given us someone else’s room by mistake and was reluctant to lift the cloche and find the ring – after some encouragement she did so and was very surprised!

We chose 29th June as the date for the wedding due to a couple of reasons. The first being that the restaurant we wanted for the wedding meant we could only have exclusive use on selected days. The second reason was that one of the groomsmen was playing for Wales in the European Football Championships so the date was supposed to be well planned for when we thought they may get eliminated – unfortunately they got to the semi-finals and he missed the wedding!

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (23)

We held or ceremony at Manchester Town Hall as we met at the Christmas Markets in front of the Town Hall, and in fact, in front of the Lords Mayors Parlour where we got married. Once we had a closer look at the venue we fell in love with it even more. We then went onto The French restaurant at The Midland Hotel, for the wedding breakfast as we love fine dining and this is our favourite restaurant in the city. We chose Didsbury House Hotel for the reception.

We also used Eleven Didsbury Hotel for the night before the wedding and Aimee stayed at King Street Townhouse in the city centre the night before. We love the hotels, the interiors and touches in the rooms are fantastic. The fact we could also take some of them over exclusively for us was great.

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (39)

We didn’t have a theme for the wedding – we just wanted great food and fantastic venues.

The colour scheme was blush pink. We based this decision on what flowers would be in season that we liked at the time of the wedding.

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (43)

Aimee wore a Rosa Clara wedding gown, which she purchased from Knutsford Wedding Gallery.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were multiway designs from In One Clothing.

A Pretty Wedding in Manchester (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (50)

Myself and the groomsmen wore Sandringham morning suits from Debenhams hire department with white shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt. I had a patterned pink Hermes tie, while the groomsmen wore plain pink ties. On the day of the wedding we also had our hair styled by MR.SE who is the owner of a leading men’s hair styling range in the UK.

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summer shutdown & top tips from real brides up north

June 16th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

An-Intimate-Wedding-at-Hipping-Hall-c-Rachel-Joyce-Photography-33-580x411

Rachel Joyce Photography.

Here at Brides Up North HQ our features schedule is fully charged, so that we never knowingly miss an opportunity to bring you beautiful wedding inspiration twice a day, every weekday (and sometimes bonus blog posts at the weekends too).  The only exception to this rule is our bi-annual break, to re-charge, re-assess and re-focus our efforts to keep bringing you the most precious wedding pretty from our corner of the internet.

We’ll be taking our leave for the next fortnight, leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule that will make sure that you still get your daily dose of #weddinggoals, recapping some of our favourite real weddings of the 2017 so far. Check back daily for the most beautiful, unique and inspiring celebrations, and if you’re a Brides Up North bride, to see if your day was one of our top picks!

We’ll be back soon with a shiny new features edit; to announce some exciting finishing touches to our upcoming autumn events schedule; finish off what looks set to be the super glossiest issue of our print baby, Unveiled magazine, to date and oooh… maybe, just maybe, a whole new look for Brides Up North!

Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017, and in the meantime, you can contact us here.

A-Rustic-Wedding-at-Priory-Cottages-c-Fossca-Photography-80-580x387

Fossca Photography.

But we wouldn’t just stick the out-of-office on and leave it at that. At this halfway point through the year (yes, we can barely believe it too), we’re looking to our fabulous featured brides from the first half of 2017 to share what they consider to be the best pieces of advice with those of you soon to be walking down the aisle.

After all, these ladies have been there, done it and got the ring, so can offer words of wisdom on everything from dress shopping, suppliers and venues to emotional advice and tips on how to remain composed (Bridezillarma can strike at any moment!).

So ladies, grab a notebook and pen as these clued-up brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…

love, the team x

Click on the links to see each wedding in full. 

Chloe & Tom

Maggie Sottero for a relaxed countryside wedding at High House Farm Brewery, Northumberland – Chloe & Tom

Chloe says: Think about what you want and try not to get sucked into the ‘wedding must-haves’. Lots of people asked why we weren’t ‘having this’ or ‘doing that’, but we stuck with what we wanted our wedding to be and we were so glad we did! Also, use Pinterest to collect lots of ideas, but don’t feel too disheartened when you can’t use them all.

Niamh & Pete

Oh My Gorgeous! Pronovias for a chic city centre wedding – Niamh & Pete

Niamh says: Remember that making a wedding your own doesn’t have to cost the world. Small touches are often what people remember. Some of the nicest touches we had cost next to nothing.

Sarah & Matt

Botanical Beauty. Jenny Packham for a natural wedding at Trafford Hall – Sarah & Matt

Sarah says: Visit your venue lots and take photos; I found the hardest thing was dressing the venue. Also, buy what you can and do some yourself; it’s very satisfying seeing it all on the big day and knowing you did it.

Katie & David

French fancy. Jewel tones and jam jars for a creative wedding at Le Petit Chateau – Katie & David

Katie says: Firstly, find your bridesmaid dresses early! We planned and delivered our wedding in nine months flat and the fact that I wanted different dresses and colours but couldn’t get them on the high street as I had hoped made it more complicated. Next, stick to your guns/gut. I’m not saying be a birdezilla but be really clear about what you want, this is too special and over too fast to not be the way you want it. Also, make lists of the photos that you want and try to ensure that they are taken, and perhaps have the day videoed. I didn’t think I was bothered about that but then there’s so much you just don’t remember when you look back on it because it is such a blur or emotion and adrenaline. Finally, chill and enjoy it.

Rachel & Josh

Rose gold rapture. An Ellis dress for a pretty wedding at Ness Botanic Gardens – Rachel & Josh

Rachel says: If you want to save some cash and do some DIY décor, have a crafts party with friends – things can be done so much quicker in groups and it’s lovely to involve your mates!

Rowena & Edward

Roses & lace. Pronovias for a relaxed wedding at Soughton Hall – Rowena & Edward

Rowena says: Make sure you find the time in the day to spend a few moments together – it would be very easy to barely talk to each other after your vows! We had a ‘sweetheart table’ instead of a traditional top table, which meant we got to spend some time just the two of us during the wedding breakfast, and could watch and take in all our family and friends enjoying themselves!

Samantha & Mark

Pretty pink perfection. Stella York for a romantic wedding at Newton Hall – Samantha & Mark

Samantha says: Enjoy the planning and preparation leading up to your special day, it all becomes part of your fond memories of your wedding. I am a very organised person and began planning almost immediately after setting a date. I really enjoyed the planning stages of the wedding but my husband knows that I am very indecisive. He suggested that once I had made a decision, I was not to change it, and not to look for an alternative. And that is exactly what I did. I have no regrets.

Charlotte & Tom

Magic in the Air. Diane Legrand and all-white blooms for an elegant fairy-tale wedding at Peckforton Castle – Charlotte & Tom

Charlotte says: Don’t be scared to go a bit crazy and have everything you want. You will (hopefully) only get married once. It will be one of the most important days of your life and you shouldn’t hold back. A little bit of extra saving and making small sacrifices is totally worth it so that you can have no regrets. Also, don’t get too stressed out about anything. Take each stage in your stride and treat each bit of the planning like a mini-experience in itself – oh and, make sure you enjoy the free champagne everywhere you go!

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