Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

in full bloom. an elegant spring wedding in north wales – vicky & richard

October 19th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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The Isle of Anglesey on the Menai Strait provides the stunning and dramatic backdrop to the beautiful real wedding that we’re sharing with you on the blog today.

After a 12-month engagement, Vicky and Richard tied the knot on Easter Sunday in the picturesque Grade II-listed Chateau Rhianfa in North Wales.

Complete with striking turrets, exquisite grounds and stunning views of Snowdonia, we can see why the couple fell in love with this enchanting venue.

Newly sprung daffodils and white roses added a springtime-inspired splash of colour to the wedding, and as a lovely nod to Easter, guests were even treated to a little chocolate.

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

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vicky says: We got engaged on 7th March 2015. Richard took me away for a surprise weekend and proposed to me at Conwy on the north coast of Wales, overlooking the water. Shortly after his proposal, he took me to The Quay Hotel & Spa, where he had pre-booked lots of pampering treatments!

We got married the following year on 27th March 2016. There was limited availability at our chosen wedding venue, Chateau Rhianfa in Anglesey, North Wales. The Easter weekend was free though, so we chose Easter Sunday as our wedding day.

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While on holiday in North Wales the previous summer, we called into Chateau Rhianfa on our way home and fell in love with it straight away. It was actually a venue Richard had considered for the proposal, too!

We had a non-religious civil ceremony at Chateau Rhianfa and chose a yellow and grey colour scheme. Yellow to symbolise spring and Easter, with the grey complementing this beautifully.

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We had an Easter theme, too. For our wedding favours we filled jars with mini eggs and attached a Welsh love spoon pewter keyring. As for the flowers, we chose yellow daffodils – a traditional Welsh flower which also ties in with Easter and spring – and white roses, as we are both from Yorkshire, which were supplied by Acacia Flowers in North Wales.

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My wedding dress was a fairly simple design by Justin Alexander, purchased from The Bridal Path in Childwall, Liverpool. It had decorative diamanté detailing around the waistline, across my chest and the top of my back. Richard, meanwhile, wore a three-piece charcoal grey suit from Ted Baker.

I picked grey dresses from To Have & To Hold Bridal Wear in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, for my bridesmaids, and my flower girls wore ivory dresses with a yellow sash, bought from Etsy.

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fairy lights & lace. A bespoke dress for an enchanting winter wedding in york – emma & matthew

February 26th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Grays Court York (c) Andrew Keher (27)

We are totally in love with today’s bride’s stunning attire for her big day. Switching a traditional dress for a stylish top and skirt combo, we think Emma totally rocked the separates, which were made by her mum’s fair hands, no less!

And there are plenty more beautiful elements to this gorgeous winter wedding; from the bridesmaids’ mismatched lace dresses, to rustic homemade cake and the abundance of fairy lights. We love!

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Grays Court York (c) Andrew Keher (39)

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Grays Court York (c) Andrew Keher (40)

emma says: We got engaged in August 2014 in Monmouth, South Wales. We had been away on holiday to Berlin for a week, which was a non-stop, activity packed week. We had talked about having a few days wind down when we came back before going back to work. This was something Matt was very keen for us to do, and now I know why!

We booked a beautiful little cabin in the heart of the woods in the Monmouth valley, complete with a wood burner, view of the woods and a microbrewery nearby. On the first evening there we were playing Guess Who in front of the fire (as you do), when Matt proposed. It was a huge, lovely surprise. We spent the rest of the weekend talking about what we should do for the wedding.

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Grays Court York (c) Andrew Keher (42)

We got married on 14th November 2015. Both of us wanted to get married in autumn/winter, and this was the date that fell together for the venue, caterers and the return of close family moving back from America.

Our ceremony venue was Grays Court, York. This is a lovely nine-bedroom hotel which is close to the Minster. We chose Grays Court because it was beautiful, full of character, and by far our favourite ceremony venue in York. It even has gorgeous gardens for photos, and, if the weather was right, you can get married outside! The staff were lovely, and really helpful. It also provided the luxury hotel we wanted to stay at for our wedding night.

For our wedding reception we chose The National Centre for Early Music, which is a church that has been converted into a venue. It had the gorgeous features of a church, but the freedom to create the wedding we wanted. The team there was great with flexibility and assisting us.

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vintage vision. augusta jones for a sweet village hall wedding in the north west – claire & matt

August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (23)

Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!

As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.

Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (7)

claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!

We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (1)

We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (5)

We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.

We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (11)

I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (16)

To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (18)

Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.

My bridesmaids wore a dress from Debut at Debenhams – it fitted both of them perfectly and was a great find! The silver shrug was from Monsoon.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (24)

We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (37)

Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (28)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (39)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (32)

On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!

To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (42)

Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.

The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (40)

For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!

We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day!  We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (31)

At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.

In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.

For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (44)

Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (51)

We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (45)

Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (46)

We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.

Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.

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twinkle twinkle. a warm winter wedding at the belle epoque – amy & adam

February 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (47)

Hey, it’s Tuesday and baby it’s cold outside.

Let’s have another warming winter wedding, shall we?

Amy and Adam’s twinkling celebration mixes classically elegant styling with a good dose of merry and bright for their Boxing Day big day. And as you know, at Brides Up North, we love a bit of sparkle

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (1)

amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2013. The ring was on my pillow in the bedroom when I came in from my shift at the hospital. I pretended I hadn’t seen it so I could shower and change out of my uniform first and Adam played along! Adam had a speech prepared but didn’t get very far through it as he was so emotional. We opened the champagne and my parents and brother came round that evening for dinner and we told them the exciting news. Cue more champagne!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (2)

We got married on Boxing Day 2014. Christmas is a very important time of year for me and my family and we wanted to make it even more special by adding a wedding into the mix. It meant that the usual Boxing Day tradition of staying in pajamas all day had to be jettisoned but nobody seemed to mind.

We chose The Belle Epoque, Knutsford as our venue.

We wanted exclusive use of an intimate, romantic venue and the Belle Epoque was definitely the right fit. It’s lovely all year round, but particularly cosy in the winter with real fires and beautiful decorations. I have a love of all things French and the Art Nouveau feel to the venue made it even more perfect. It’s also got a great reputation for food – we’re big foodies so it was particularly important to give our guests the most delicious wedding breakfast.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (12)

We gave a nod to the 1920s, Great Gatsby style that you can particularly see in the shoes worn by Adam, the best man Andy and my dad, as well as in elements of my dress.

Since Adam and I have been together, he’s introduced me into the world of beer (I was very much a wine and cocktail girl before), especially Belgian beers which we tried plenty of in Bruges – Adam took me there for my 30th – so the tables were names of Belgian beers. Each one had an empty bottle of the beer in on the table with a candle in the middle and a coaster attached using ribbon we had made that said ‘Amy & Adam 26th December 2014’.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (17)

The venue comes already dressed – and beautifully so – so we didn’t want to do too much to it. We added in some candles, cream silk rose petals scattered up the aisle and silver snowflakes and crystal decorations.

My bridesmaid wore cobalt blue and our flower girl wore silver and cobalt blue – we wanted an accent colour to stand out.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (18)

I bought my dress from Timeless Bride, Poynton, a local bridal shop to where my parents live. It was made by Paloma Blanca.

The dress was one of the first I tried on, but not one I initially chose. Janine, the owner of Timeless Bride, suggested I try it on and it was perfect. It was the only dress that made my mum cry when she saw me and I felt beautiful and elegant in it straight away. I didn’t want white, the colour of the dress is champagne and I think this was more flattering for my complexion.

It is a strapless dress, but the dress came with a cape in the same lace that was on the dress. We had a halter neck strap made during alterations out of this. The strap was detachable and the plan was to take it off in the evening, but I loved it so I wore it all day. The seamstress also made a bustle on the dress so I could dance more easily in the evening.

We also added a diamante belt to the dress to accentuate my waist and add some more glamour.

Gemma Hallowell did my hair and make up.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (28)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (30)

Adam wore tails and a silver cravat from Freedmans in Stockport. He wore two toned shoes from Ebay which looked amazing.

My bridemaid’s dress was from Coast. My mum made the flower girl’s dress.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (33)

Our flowers were from The Flower Lounge, Didsbury.

Sian is a school friend of Adam’s and she was really helpful in the early stages of our wedding planning, suggesting a make-up artist for me, as well as helping us to find our photographer and venue, so when it came to the flowers it had to be The Flower Lounge.

I’ve ordered flowers previously from Sian and have always been really impressed. I had only a very vague idea of what I wanted: a structured bouquet with white flowers only, particularly roses, hand-tied with ribbons and pearls. We trusted Sian completely and she didn’t disappoint. I had a smaller bouquet made for my bridesmaid and button holes for the men.

The Flower Lounge won the region’s Wedding Florist of the Year 2014,

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (35)

We used Andrew Keher.Photography.

I have already recommended Andrew and he is photographing my friend’s wedding in May!

Andy did our engagement shoot earlier in the year and got some stunning images of us, which are on our lounge wall. We were so impressed with them that we had a signature book made using only Andy’s images.

Andy went the extra mile throughout the process, driving to meet us at the venue when we had our menu tasting so he could weigh up best places for photos and get an idea what the venue was like. The ceremony room is candle-lit and very intimate and the whole venue is dimly lit, so it is known as being a difficult place to get excellent wedding photos – we were really touched that Andy came to see it beforehand and feel that this is partly why we got such fantastic shots on the day. He had agreed to stay until the first dance, but ended up staying much later, continuing to work hard to capture some beautiful moments.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (40)

Our wedding stationery (invitations, table plan, menus and name cards) came from Wedding Paraphernalia. A very personalised and excellent place which I’d highly recommend. As the tables were Belgian-beer themed, we sent the coasters for the beers to Jo at Wedding Paraphernalia and she put the table plan together for us.

My mum found little Christmas tree bauble table decorations and had ribbon made that said ‘Amy & Adam, 26th December 2014. These acted both as favours for people to hang on their tree in the years to come and as place cards. Wedding Paraphernalia made name cards for each person which we attached to the bauble with tiny silver pegs (my mum had to hand paint these silver as she couldn’t find silver ones!).The children had finger puppets which went down really well.

We used silver snowflakes and table crystals as well as tealights and tealight holders too. We had Mr and Mrs cushions on our chairs as well as a wooden Mr and Mrs sign on the top table. We also had little chocolates that had wedding quiz question on the wrapper in little silver gauze bags.

My mum took great pleasure finding all of the little extras and organising these for us, for which I’m really grateful as I don’t have a particularly good eye for the little details, nor the patience!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (42)

Before the tasting at the venue we had a good idea what we wanted, but were blown away by other options when we tasted them and changed the menu completely!

My dad makes the most amazing Christmas cake each year, so we asked him to make one for the wedding. He made it double the depth and it was delicious.

My Aunty Iris made a fantastic Victoria Sponge (my favourite cake) and a beautiful mocha cake which made up the other layers… although that’s not entirely true – the bottom tier of the cake was real, the top two were faux.

My mum decorated all of the tiers. We wanted all aspects of the wedding to be personal to us and were very lucky to have such generous and talented family members who offered to make the cake for us. The time and effort they put into it was incredible and we are truly grateful.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (13)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (7)

I lived in Quebec for a year, memories from which I hold dear – I wanted some music from there playing, so created playlist of songs for during the drinks reception.

Afterwards, we had an acoustic singer and a DJ.

We heard the singer, Danny Clarke, perform in a local pub and were really impressed with him so booked him pretty much there and then. He played a mixture of indie and well known classics which suited us perfectly. He played 2 x 45 minute sets during the evening.

Our DJ was Nick Campbell, a regular at the venue. He managed to find some pretty obscure songs requested on the night and he was very professional, making none of the typically cheesy wedding DJ announcements.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (52)

We bought my parents a present each to thank them for their generosity, time and patience in the run up and during the day – my dad wore his cufflinks proudly. We bought my mum and engagement ring charm for her charm bracelet.

For our own jewellery, we used The Ring Workshop, Oswestry. We had been into several high street shops and found them most unhelpful, focussing on the sale rather than finding wedding bands we liked and that sat well with my engagement ring. Mark at The Ring Workshop provided a personal service, talking us through available options and helped us decide on the most suitable rings.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (45)

We were really impressed with The Belle Epoque. It is the perfect venue if you want an intimate and romantic setting.

They did all they could to make the day run smoothly and be so memorable, including being flexible in amending running orders, menu options, and sourcing additional beers of our choice for behind the bar.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (46)

I was most looking forward to walking down the aisle with my Dad, to see Adam waiting for me and looking so happy, surrounding by our closest family and friends. This definitely lived up to expectations and we were all very emotional.

The icing on the cake, and something we couldn’t have planned if we tried, was that it began to snow whilst we were eating our meal! Under Andy’s direction, we braved the cold to get one of our favourite shots of the day. Apparently snow at a wedding is good luck too!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (53)

We went to Mexico for our honeymoon.  The first week we stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres in a beach front bungalow, and the second week at Excellence Playa Mujeres where we were upgraded to a two storey suite with plunge pool upstairs on the roof terrace. Both resorts were 5 star adults only all inclusive, service was impeccable throughout, pampering us and making sure we were well fed and topped up with cocktails. Our favourites were the iceburg (beer topped with frozen margarita), and the guava and tamarind margaritas.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early and don’t be afraid to relinquish control of the smaller things to family and friends. Decide which things are most important to you and then be willing to compromise on others.

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