Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Probably The Best Hen Party Game In The World.

February 5th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Party time!  Green diamante sunglasses, optional. 

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Are you a panicked chief bridesmaid who has wandered this way looking for hen party planning inspiration?  No worries.  My guest blogger, Alison, has got one fab party game in the bag for you.  With a little planning, you’ll be the toast of the table!

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You can also read my top ten tips for planning a hen party here.  Now relax – it’s Sunday after all! 

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On 6th May last year, a group of 20 ‘respectable’ women made their excuses and exited their daily lives. They left behind their husbands, boyfriends, children and responsible jobs. Hungry for fun, laughter, hot tubs, wine (lots of), karaoke and the opportunity to wear a boob tube, they made their way by road, rail and air to Bakewell in Derbyshire for my hen weekend. A group of 30-40 (and shhhh – up to 60) something ladies, hungry to be Bakewell Tarts!

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Alison's Hen Party

 

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.A truly beautiful and glamorous weekend where the sophistication was only briefly marred by the hen sweating on the first evening over vats of home cooked chilli (meat and vegetarian options). No one would choose to be greeted by a purple bride-to-be, but at least I could be described in some languages as ‘glowing’!

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The whole weekend floated by in a haze of chatter and spa treatments. However, the real highlight of the weekend was our evening of glitz and glamour, fully catered by the professionals.

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And the real highlight of the evening was our ‘pass the parcel’ – with a difference.

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It was so beautiful. The stories shared so personal, hilarious, poignant and touching. It’s funny what your friends and family remember about you, what special stories they have squirreled away where yours and their back stories collide. And its strange how two people can remember exactly the same stories, but ever so slightly differently.

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Alison's Hen Party

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The game goes a bit like this:

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1. Put a CD of 80’s school disco hits in the CD player.

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2. “I’VE NEVER BEEN CLOSER, I’VE TRIED TO UNDERSTAND, THAT CERTAIN FEELING, CARVED BY ANOTHER’S HAND, BUT IT’S TOO LATE, TO HESITATE, WE CAN’T KEEP ON LIVING LIKE THIS (LAAA – LA LA…)”

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3. Realise that the music has stopped – and that you’re still singing.

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4. Watch your friend left holding the parcel rip wildly into the wrapping paper like an origami version of Edward Scissorhands! Clearly she’s been to many parties recently with pass the parcel, but this is the first time she’s actually been allowed out of the kitchen long enough to participate. There was nearly a fight!

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5. Watch said friend, triumphantly hold aloft a RED CANDLE IN A JAR which was hiding between the first two layers of wrapping paper.

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My job now was to guess who the candle was from – and why.

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Alison's Hen Party

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In the case of the red candle, the story relates to the time that I set my head on fire at a friend’s fancy dress party. I was dressed as Maid Marion at the time in and inadvertently dangled the scarf on the top of my pointy hat into a candle while talking to Lady Penelope. Luckily Wayne Slob came to my rescue – which was a brave act indeed as he was wearing a nylon shell suit at the time which was without doubt highly flammable.

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Another gift was a teddy from my sister – memories of family holidays and the time when I was six and dropped my teddy in a lily pond. I was trying to baptize him ‘Stuart’, after my favourite uncle who had just bought me a transistor radio (made in Taiwan), until I was rudely interrupted by two old women sitting on a bench. Jolted back into the real world from my private moment, I was mortified – I dropped teddy in the pond and ran away in tears. He spent the rest of the holiday drying out on the radiator!

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But probably the most touching gift was a packet of strawberry bonbons.

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This gift was a reminder of a sunny afternoon spent in Central Park with my friend Diane, feeding bonbons to the squirrels*. The date was the 8th September 2001. We spent an amazing weekend together in The Big Apple, flying home on the morning of 9/11. We were in the air as American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the Twin Towers:  towers we’d been standing on the top of a few days earlier and been photographing from the top of the Empire State Building exactly 24hrs before the impact.

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It’s funny how some decisions which you think are minor at the time turn out to be massive. I remember the conversation about which day we should fly back. Luckily on that occasion we got it right.  It was horrendous – but it’s a special and cherished shared memory which Diane and I will have forever.

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And so the evening went on – with 20 different stories. All of them incredible memories from some truly beautiful friends.

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If you are looking for a game to play on your (or your best gal’s) hen night, I highly recommend it.

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

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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*no squirrels were harmed in the writing of this post

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2012

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Honeymoons – Just The Two Of Us!

January 20th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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I think it’s time to inject a little sunshine onto the swirly silver pages of the wedding blog, don’t you?  This morning, my guest blogger Alison is back from a winter sojourn in Morocco, fired up on the vitamin D and ready to talk honeymoons – both mini and mega.

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Your wedding day comes with a massive added bonus:  the holiday at the end of it.  Whether you choose to visit balmy foreign shores, staycation in the UK or, like my hubby and I, go to some really really cool places that have always been at the top of your wish list, with a little forward planning, haggling and compromise, your trip of a lifetime needn’t cause you too much stress or debt. My top tips: check the weather at the time of year you want to go, compare DIY prices to complete packages for the best deals, shop around and start saving now.  

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

The hubby and I on our triple centre self planned tip to NYC, Vegas and LA! (Baby!)

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You can officially begin looking forward now…

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Over to Alison: Having just returned from the mayhem that is Marrakech (I raised a glass of mint tea to each and every one of you) – and with frost on the ground it seems like a good time to tackle ‘Honeymoons’!

Tris (my husband) and I both owned our own places before we finally took the plunge and moved in together – so when we got married we decided against a traditional wedding list.

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We put the usual on our wedding invitations, “Of course, having you at our special day is present enough”.

But I knew that people would still want to get us something. Not wanting to risk a mountain of Jamie Oliver cheese boards, we agreed that what we wanted most of all were amazing memories, so went for an on-line wedding list where people could buy treats for us on our honeymoon to New England and New York.

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But which one to choose?

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In the end we came up with a short list and ranked them on cost (many will charge a set-up fee, % of gift value and a transaction fee depending on payment. And don’t be caught out by PayPal fees), flexibility, and which looked the best.  We chose ‘Bliss List’ (www.blisslist.co.uk) but do shop around and find the right one for you.

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Finding the right product was just the start. You then have to fill it with exciting treats – describing them in a way that people almost feel like they are coming with you. ‘Bliss List’ gave us the option of adding a web link which was really handy, so guests could check the treats out for themselves.

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I tried to include a range of price options, from £5 up to £100. In addition to contributions to flights, car hire and campsite fees, we had treats such as:

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“Whale Watching at Cape Ann – Nothing beats the thrill of getting up close with these amazing creatures. Help us have a whale of a time!” (2x£30).

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“Cocktails on the Lower East Side – Very Sex and the City” (4x£7).

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“Carriage ride through Central Park – It’s cheesy, its 30mins, but it’s our honeymoon. Bring on the romance!” (2x£50).

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If you want to check out the rest of our list for ideas, click here (www.blisslist.co.uk/viewlist/Natural)

It worked like a charm. Our guests found it really easy to use and were ridiculously generous, filling their virtual shopping baskets with multiple treats. In fact it was so successful we ran out and unfortunately had to add a minimoon to Paris – damn!

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“Keep us in croissants – Help us start the day with a proper petit dejeuner!” (4x£5)

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“The Louvre and galleries of Paris – I bet we can make the Mona Lisa smile! Paris is one of the most artistic cities in the world. There is so much art to see it is a Monet away from ridiculous.” (2x£20)

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With ‘Bliss List’ our guests paid the web site directly. They held the money which we were able to transfer into our account at any time. We found that most people bought their gift as soon as they received their invitation which really helped with cash flow.

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Of course I was really careful not to over promise. I didn’t want ‘achieving our wedding list’ to overwhelm our honeymoon. The temptation is to overfill our days with treats – I had visions of screaming at Tris “But we can’t sleep yet – we’ve got a unicycle workshop from your Auntie Beryl and ice fishing from Una to fit in before bed time!”

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While we did do most of the things on our list, there were a couple of occasions where we were thwarted. So we made sure we did something else instead. When we couldn’t get to see a Boston Red Sox baseball game, we spent that gift on watching it in a bar while having dinner.

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Alison and Tris on their Bliss List Honeymoon(s!)

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It was fantastic to text people from the top of the Eiffel Tower and send post cards from Moosehead Lake to thank people for treating us. Then when we got home I made a montage of photos and e-mailed people with stories.

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But despite all the treats and excitement – at the end of the day our honeymoon was about the two of us. After the build up to the wedding it was fantastic to be just us again. I can remember sitting opposite Tris in a café in Paris in the sunshine three days after our wedding. We’d moved onto the next stage in our life together and it was like falling in love all over again! Ahhhh!

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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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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 Brides Up North/ Alison Staples

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Its 2012: Don’t Panic!

January 6th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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…advice that this very busy is trying to take as we storm ahead into an action packed new year, an inbox brimming with wedding inspiration and real wedding gorgeousness, even higher hits and a bigger subscriber count than ever before.  I think I need a lie down!

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Have you survived the first week of 2012? To me a New Year means a fresh start, new challenges and a chance for Brides Up North to be bigger and better than ever.  Check back here on Sunday evening when I’ll be announcing some plans to shake up the wedding blogging schedule in 2012.  It’s out with the old and in with the new!

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Meanwhile, back with her words of wisdom, our very own newlywed and guest blogger, Alison.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Image via Wake Up Mr Singh

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Over to Alison: This time last year I’d been merrily drifting along. When people asked me about our wedding, I’d say “It’s next year”. I was confident, I was relaxed, everything was in hand and I was on top of it all. I’d go so far as to say I was smug!

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But as I stood on Vauxhall Bridge at midnight last year, watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks pour out of The London Eye I felt a cold chill run right through me. It wasn’t next year any more. It was 2011 and our wedding was now THIS YEAR!

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DON’T PANIC – DON’T PANIC!

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Count to 10.

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Now breathe.

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If like me, you’ve started the year of your wedding on the cusp of a melt-down – let me introduce the cavalry. As the voice of experience (kind of) I’ve got some top tips to help guide you through the start of this, a new and very special year.

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Some New Year’s Resolutions for the 2012 Bride:

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Image via The Itsy Factor

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And also…

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HEARTIf you haven’t already, set up a spread sheet. Fail to plan – plan to fail. You don’t have to go mad (like I did with 22 separate sheets) but make friends with Excel. It will help you control your budget, mail merge your invitation address list, keep track of acceptances and manage your ‘to do’ list. People mocked my love of a good spread sheet. However, they were the first to coo that it was the best wedding they’d ever been to. So I guess the proof is in the pudding – which thanks to my spread sheet came out precisely on time and in the correct quantity!

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HEARTNo time like the present to get into shape. You will never have an incentive like this ever again.  Don’t do what I did and start the year with good intentions and then do nothing about it until a month before the wedding. To say my wedding dress at that point was snug is an understatement. There is only so much ‘panic pilates’ can do. If I’d only had the Brides Up North Bootcamp in my corner I could have worn much more comfortable knickers!

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HEARTEmbrace the New Year sales. There are bargains galore. The only person who will know its last season’s stock is you and you can save yourself a packet. People traditionally do ‘sorting out’ between Christmas and New Year. It’s a national obsession which means we don’t have to speak to our relatives. Get yourself on e-bay and pick up some bargains. Remember – whatever you save now you can spend on yourself later – in my case my beautiful Jenny Packham wedding dress.

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HEARTSend out your invitations. At the very least make sure everyone has the date. While you are busy organising your life, so is everyone else. Now that Christmas is over people are busy booking holidays and mini-breaks by the barrow load to make themselves feel a little less depressed about grey January days back at work. Don’t give them a dilemma later on because a previously booked holiday to Disneyland may well win out.

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HEARTRemember, no matter how fraught and stressful things get – don’t panic – enjoy your wedding year. Throw yourself in and roll around in the whole wedding experience. Take every opportunity to make choosing flowers and cakes and dresses and wines as much fun as possible. Believe me, when the excuse has gone, you’ll miss it. Which leads me to a question – is your first wedding anniversary too soon to renew your vows?

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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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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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  © 2012 – Image via Wake Up Mr Singh & The Itsy Factor both found at Pinterest

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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

December 16th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Morning all!  Just one week to go till Christmas proper!  This weekend I’m hitting the road and heading further North to slip into a bridesmaid’s gown and do the duty for my best friend Rachel.  I can’t wait for a good old Christmas knees up, North East style.  Oh, and the wedding bit, of course… 

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Christmas is a popular time of year in this industry and no where more so than on the box.  Today our resident Friday morning guest blogger, Alison Staples, recaps her favourite soap celebrations of all time.  Recognise these corkers? 

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Alison writes: “Anyone can fall in love” sang Anita Dobson to the Eastenders theme tune.

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“That’s the easy part you must keep it going.”

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Too right Anita.

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There are many twists and turns when it comes to soap opera weddings, with the bride and groom often making it down the aisle just in time for Christmas Day. A good cliff hanger of a wedding is always a ratings winner.

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“Let’s get married at Christmas – it’ll be all cosy with log fires and candles, holly and ivy and hot wine. We can have our reception in The Vic.”

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I know that for many, the idea of a Christmas wedding is just too romantic to miss. However, I’m a girl who feels the cold.  I’d need a vest!  Anyway, in tribute to the soaps and a good old Christmas wedding, here are my top five. See how many you remember.

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5. Hollyoaks Christmas 2008 – Warren Fox & Louise Summers

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Warren and Louise get engaged – despite the fact that he murdered her first husband and buried him in a forest. Louise doesn’t know this. However, she does know that Warren has been having an affair with Mandy (who hasn’t). When it comes to the day of the wedding, Louise plans to kill Warren, frame Mandy and run off with all his money. However Warren rumbles her when he finds a gun hidden under the pillow in their hotel room – I ask you – what a dozy place to hide it. He then uses said pillow to smother her, which is a good job because she’s wearing probably the worst wedding dress I’ve ever seen… in a very Shining-esque corridor!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Hollyoaks

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Hollyoaks

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Picture source: Daily Mail

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4. Emmerdale Christmas 2000 – Ashley Thomas & Bernice Blackstock

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Ashley, Emmerdale’s local vicar has the hots for Bernice, the landlady at The Woolpack – despite the fact that she is engaged to Gavin. When she finds Gavin in bed with Jason, Bernice goes to Ashley for comfort. Ashley tells her how he feels but she rejects him (the cow!) Nevertheless their feelings grow and after getting permission from the Bishop, they marry in a fairy tale ceremony on Christmas Day 2000, with Bernice in a wedding dress big enough to hide a giant toilet roll underneath.

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3. Neighbours Christmas 1993 – Beth Brennan & Brad Willis

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These two have got to be, by far and away the best looking couple in Soap Land. Double barrelled Beth – simply known as ‘Beth From-Neighbours, played by a very young Natalie Imbruglia, is a construction worker. Beautiful and able to build a barbie, Beth From-Neighbours is every young man’s dream. Forced to spend a night together in a caravan Beth and Brad finally do-the-do, fall in love and get engaged. Their first attempt to wed falls foul when Beth uncovers a lurid affair between Brad and her best friend Lauren. But it’s second time lucky as they finally tie the knot – probably in Lasseters.

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2. Coronation Street Christmas 2004 – Ashley Sibelius Peacock & Claire Casey

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Ashley, along with Uncle ‘Ah say – ah say’ Fred Elliot run the local butchers shop. Ashley hits the ‘ching ching jackpot’ when he marries foxy hairdresser Maxime, only to have happiness cruelly ripped away when she is murdered by evil Richard Hillman. Who will look after baby Joshua? Enter supernanny Claire who is just so damn good, how can Ashley resist dropping down on one knee and proposing in the Rovers? Personally I’d have said “no – take me somewhere nicer” but Claire isn’t put off and marries him under an archway of butchers and meat cleavers – which is ironic really considering how his first wife met her end.

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Coronation Street

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Coronation Street

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Picture source: corrieblog.tv

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1. Eastenders Christmas 2003 – Kat Slater & Alfie Moon.

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It had to be really didn’t it!

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Barmaid Kat and charmer Alfie are meant to be together. But it isn’t as easy as that. Before they could say “I do” Alfie has to burst in and stop Kat’s wedding to local gangster Andy Hunter and then try and get a quickie divorce from his first wife. She digs her heals in while Alfie tells Kat that it’s all “sorted”. Alfie then decides to cancel the minister and get his friend Ray (played by David Walliams) to pretend to marry them – Kat will be none the wiser. But Alfie can’t live a lie and fesses up to Kat who promptly cancels the wedding…

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DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM… just as Alfie’s solicitor bursts in with the decree absolute. He then sweet talks the vicar into leaving his Christmas lunch to marry them, there and then in The Vic.

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Eastenders

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Eastenders

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Picture source:  BBC

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So there you have it, my top five Christmas Soap Opera weddings.  I gather this year we are to be treated by Corrie to our first civil partnership – by all accounts, things are not destined to run smoothly!

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Coronation Street

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Picture source: ITV

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HEART

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What will be on your box a week on Sunday?  What would be your Christmas No1?

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For this , the Downton Abbey Christmas special is right in at the top of my chart.  I can’t help it.  I love it.  

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HEART

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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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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 © 2011 as credited

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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

December 9th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Love Is Greater Than Money

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Times are hard.  But you still want to have your dream day.  What to do?

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As a I often receive emails from Brides to Be asking for advice on budgeting.

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The first thing to note is that absolutely every couple is different.  A must have for you might be a must not for the girl next door, but the biggest advice that I could give you is make a list of your personal absolute non negotiables, whether those be an amazing live band, a designer frock, individually crafted favours to say thank you to your nearest and dearest, Jimmy Choos, a great photographer, a castle venue, a massive chocolate cake, letterpress stationery, a bouncy castle, whatever. 

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Then work out how the things that don’t feel quite so important can be done without, sourced more cheaply or home made.  That way, you only compromise on the compromisable.

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Be realistic.  Keep some money in the kitty for contingency.  Pray for a lottery win.

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Today our fabulous guest blogger Alison Staples tells us how she balanced her own books to afford the wedding day that she had always dreamed of – Jenny Packham frock included.

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“Why do we have to do all this wedding stuff so far in advance?” asked Tris (my husband to be). I took a deep breath – it was after all 10 months to our big day.

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“So that we can get exactly what we want, at the best possible price,” I replied.

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Hells bells, weddings can be expensive. Especially at this time of year when you’re juggling finances to accommodate Christmas.

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This year the average cost of a wedding is £18,605, with the majority somewhere between £15,000 and £25,000.

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Last week, a TV programme, The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching featured bride to be Rebekah organising her £1,500 wedding. While she didn’t quite go to co-star Jonathan’s extremes and feed her guests on ‘usable roadkill’ (honestly, who keeps a heron in their freezer?), she was very creative when it came to saving pennies.

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While I can’t lay claim to Rebekah’s crown, I did manage to bring our wedding in June at Chester Zoo, in on budget and well below the national average.

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I know from experience just how easy it is to get carried away with your credit card when planning a wedding.  I had to be really tough with myself. The ‘biggest day of your life’ can justify anything when it comes to splashing out.

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So Tris and I agreed a total amount and prioritised what was important. This will be different for every couple, but for us it was to have as many guests as possible at a really unusual child friendly venue for a thoroughly fun day. At its height we had 170 guests at Chester Zoo, including 50 children.

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Once we’d agreed priorities, I itemised everything I could think of, set an amount and then tried to beat it. It became a competition – no saving too small. I called in favours, scoured the sales and ebay and embraced my inner craft goddess.

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These are some ideas from my own experience for bringing it in on budget. No one wants to start married life with an overdraft!

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We gave our guests afternoon tea immediately after the ceremony with scones, jam and clotted cream. We saved £54.00 by buying packets of animal biscuits (very zoo wedding appropriate) from the supermarket for the under 7’s – which they all loved.

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I never realised how low maintenance I was until I had to be high maintenance! To cover the costs of manicures, pedicures, facials and body glows, I asked for vouchers from my favourite beauty spa for Christmas and birthday presents, saving £180.00

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We wanted to add a personal touch to the men’s outfits, so instead of hiring the ‘suit package’ for Tris, best man and two dads, we skipped the cravat and hanky and bought our own designs on e-bay, saving £38.00.

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I bought my four bridesmaids dresses, accessories and page boys outfit in end of season sale (Dec 2010), saving £49.50.

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We were very lucky that our wedding venue was already dripping with hanging baskets and surrounded by ornamental gardens. Plus, flowers for the registrars table and big containers of foliage were included in the hire cost. Although I otherwise would have spent on gorgeous flowers, in our case additional flowers would have been lost.

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When it came to choosing a cake, we chose a sacher torte, a full on chocolate extravaganza which we served with cream, meaning that other deserts would have been overkill after our massive BBQ.  This saved £683.00 on desserts.

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Tris and I had already been living together for a couple of years, so didn’t need anything for our house. Instead we asked guests for contributions towards our honeymoon. Our ‘Bliss List’ included everything from whale watching to hotel accommodation and contributions towards flights. Our super generous guests not only sent us to New England for 2 ½ weeks, but on a four day mini-moon to Paris, an incredible saving of £3,500.

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As a result, I saved enough money to pay for 40 extra guests, a wedding bus and a couple of child minders, which made a massive difference to our day. It also paid for an (essential) overspend of on my beautiful Jenny Packham dress and Flo & Percy accessories. Well, it was the most important day of my life after all!

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Are you worried about budgeting for your big day?  What would be your on personal tips? What saves and splurges are you planning?  Would you be having a different wedding if money was no object? 

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

December 2nd, 2011 | Julia Braime

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During my new husband’s speech at our wedding, he took some time to thank me and my Mum for all our hard work in planning the big day.  He commented, and I quote: “Wedding planning seems to involve lots of hours spent on the sofa watching Formula 1, rugby and football whilst the girls are out dress shopping.” 

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Whilst it got a laugh from the crowd, I don’t actually think he was joking.  I have the evidence:

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

The groom (centre) with the best man, father of the bride and dog.  That’s the rugby they are watching, not Wedding TV.

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Its not quite fair to say that he didn’t get involved (he had some very controversial opinions on hymns, cars and reception drinks), but it was definitely me (and Mum, thank goodness for her!) that bore the brunt of the planning (and loved it).  No appearance from Bridezilla or Groomzilla. Smiles all round. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Image by Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott

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But what if you want your Groom to play a more active role and maybe, just maybe would like a little help and input planning the most important day of both your lives?  This morning, my fabulous guest blogger Alison Staples addresses that very issue. 

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Over to Alison: Like lots of brides to be, whilst planning our wedding I became an avid follower of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’, the TV series where the groom gets £12,000 and three weeks to organise a wedding. The bride is kept completely in the dark until the big day.

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See all the images from a recent episode of Don’t Tell The Bride by Emerson Photography by clicking here

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I know it’s all about making good TV, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to sit there thinking “If that were me, he’d know exactly what to do and what to choose – because I’d have briefed him.”

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However, nine times out of 10, despite it not being the venue or the dress that the bride would have chosen, the boys generally organise an imaginative and interesting wedding day that blows their bride away.

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Other than Vegas.

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Yeah – best not to mention Vegas!

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When it came to our wedding, I had a pretty good idea of the kind of day I wanted, but a wedding involves two people. I didn’t want to be a bridezilla and I knew from ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ that boys can have hidden talents when it comes to pulling off a wedding. This needed to be a team effort.

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I was lucky that Tris (my new husband) was pretty easy going, however I did want him to feel involved and he wanted to pull his weight – after all it was his wedding too.

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However, I soon learned that we approach things very differently – in order to survive, I needed tactics!

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You’ll probably have gathered from my previous blogs that I love a good spread sheet and like to give myself plenty of time. Tris however tends to operate in a different time scale and prefers to go running.

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I remember early into the planning taking Tris for a drink in Alderley Edge, getting my blue A4 file out of my bag and spreading out my papers on the table in front of us. I must have talked for 40 minutes, barely stopping for breath, methodically going through all my ideas and plans.

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I was expecting some discussion, alternative suggestions or interrogation, but when I’d finally finished – there was a pause – and a silence – before Tris said “Well, that all seems very thorough.” There was nothing he wanted to change.

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Oh – OK!” I’d expected a much harder sell.

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So this how we did it.

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While I like a big list with deadlines I know it’s not for everyone, so I was the one driving things forward. But Tris was always there as a sounding board and on hand to help with the big decisions.

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In terms of jobs I made sure I drip fed him the ‘to do’ list. There were never more than three things on his list at any one time and we reviewed new things to add on a monthly basis. My role was to get the jobs in the right order at the right time, generate short lists and ideas for him to work from – and once I’d delegated the jobs, not to take them back if they weren’t done immediately.

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Tris’ tasks included researching and setting up our wedding ‘Bliss List’ of honeymoon treats, choosing the beer for our reception, organising the boys outfits and presents, liaising with our photographer who was an old university friend, stuffing the envelopes with invitations and double checking addresses and names of children, writing his vows and speech (well I couldn’t really do that for him could I) and generally coming with me to see venues, hotels and helping to choose a wedding bus from my short list of two.

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography     John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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By drip feeding Tris jobs and then trusting him to do them, he never felt overwhelmed and I didn’t feel like everything had been left to me.

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It’s so easy to feel swamped when you are organising a wedding and while it can be really hard to relinquish control – try!

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I personally wouldn’t recommend going to ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ extremes, but do consider a little delegation and you never know, your boy might just surprise you.

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How do you plan to involve your man in the planning process?  Is he hands off, hands on or a complete groomzilla?  Leave a comment and let us know.  It’s officially up for discussion. 

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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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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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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011 Brides Up North, Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott, Emerson Photography and John Roach at FourT4 Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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