June 20th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
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 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.
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.
There’s pretty – and then there’s today’s real wedding pretty! Just wow!
As soon as we saw the images of Claire & Anthony’s big day we fell head over heels in love. Picture perfect, we adore all elements of this stunning celebration: from the pastel pink colour palette and soft blooms to the cake, décor and Claire’s gorgeous Justin Alexander gown.
Ladies, make sure you’re sitting down for this one – it may cause weakness of the knees!
With images by Katy Melling Photography.
claire says: We got engaged during a surprise weekend away in June 2013, which Anthony had organised. He took me for afternoon tea at Betty’s in Harrogate as he knows I love cakes. This was followed by an exciting stay at Rudding Park Hotel, in Harrogate. When we got to our hotel room, champagne and roses awaited us. As I checked out the room, Anthony dropped to one knee and pulled out a gorgeous ring. He gave an emotional speech and I said yes, of course. We celebrated that evening by having a delicious steak dinner at the hotel restaurant and drinking more champagne. I later heard that he had asked my father for his approval. I thought this was lovely as I’m an old romantic.
Our wedding was on 7th September 2014. We chose this date as we had always wanted a September wedding as the weather always seems to be nicer at that time of year.
We chose Close House, in Heddon-on-the-Wall, as our venue. This was because we didn’t want a church wedding but didn’t want to compromise on the beauty of our venue. We set our hearts on Close House as it was a short drive from Newcastle, but felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, with fantastic views of the rolling countryside. Close House itself is a beautiful Georgian style venue but we felt like we had two venues in one as the evening reception was held in the golf club house.
The theme for the wedding was classic elegance. I chose this theme as it fitted in with our venue but it was also very glamorous. Our colour scheme was pinks and white, which I chose as they complemented each other well and provided a little colour, without being overwhelming.
My dress was from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. It was a fitted lace Justin Alexander Signature design. The dress was strapless with a sweetheart neckline. It had pearl and diamante beading around the bust and waist with a silver under layer. There was then diamante buttons all the way down the back of the dress and along the train. I felt like a princess in my dress. It was gorgeous, and despite the length, it was easy to wear.
arco string quartet, atlantis the plam, carolyn clayton, close house, debenhams, impact pyrotechnics, jimmy choo, joyce jackson, justin alexander, katy melling, kitty kerry, kurt geiger, michael kors, moss bros, north east wedding, real wedding, rudding park, tait2 productions, the harrogate wedding lounge, the master cakesmith, uk wedding blog, wedding flowers for you
May 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime
As much as we love to see a colourful wedding, nothing quite says class like a simple black and white themed celebration, just like the one we are sharing with you on the blog today!
Bride Katie dreamt of a timeless wedding which led her to choose a monochrome palette with little pops of pastel added along the way as a nod to the summer season.
Tying the knot outdoors, Katie and Michael’s wedding is simple, elegant and sophisticated and provides lots of lovely inspiration for those of you planning open-air “I dos”.
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
katie says: Michael proposed at home just after we watched a romantic film. To me this was the best way of proposing because it was just us two in our new home, doing what we enjoy most.
Our wedding was on 26th July 2015 at Horton Grange in Northumberland. We chose this summer date because we wanted an outdoor ceremony and the venue appealed to us because we are a private couple and so the small intimate setting was just perfect. The venue’s band stand also provided the perfect option for our outdoor ceremony.
The theme for our wedding was a classic vintage look. I am very traditional and love old things. I also handmade most items for the wedding so that it was sentimental to us.
The colour scheme was black and white which we decided on because it makes a bold statement as well as being classically elegant and timeless. I added touches of grey and pastels to complement the black and white and just gave things a more summery feel when I felt it was necessary.
arco string quartet, brides up north sponsor, charlottes house of flowers, debenhams, helen russell photography, horton grange, justin alexander, marco polo, mia sposa, moss bros, north east wedding, north east wedding photographer, ted baker, the designer cake company, the disco company, the finishing touch company
February 9th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We just love a bit of glamour here at Brides Up North HQ and today’s real wedding is delivering just that!
Deciding on a 1920s theme as a nod to her favourite book, the great gatsby, bride Catherine set about planning a wedding that would brim with elegance and glitz, while avoiding anything that would make her day look remotely fancy-dress like.
The result is an incredibly pretty big day, with just the right amount of Hollywood glamour. Highlights for us include the maids’ muted dresses, the fabulous blooms and also that classy sweetie table with gold-glitter-dipped liquorice, now that’s attention to detail!
With images by Jonathan Stockton Photography.
catherine says: We got engaged in Las Vegas in April 2014. On our first night we had been to see Boyz II Men and afterwards Scott took me to watch the Bellagio Fountain Show. He had been to Vegas a few times but it was my first visit and he was dying to show me the fountains because he had decided to propose there a while back. He popped the question while the fountains were in full swing. There were references to Vegas at the wedding; the table names were famous hotels there and Scott wore playing card cufflinks.
We chose the 8th August 2015, as our wedding date because we wanted to have as much of the day outside as possible, although you can never guarantee the English weather! I’m a teacher so I also wanted it in the middle of the summer holidays so I had time to relax and prepare before, and time for a honeymoon afterwards.
We married at Middleton Hall, Northumberland. We both decided we wanted a venue where we had exclusive use and where we could really have a full weekend celebration. We also wanted somewhere a bit different, where we hadn’t been to weddings before. As soon as we drove up the drive to Middleton Hall we were smitten; it had that grand look with lovely, green grounds, but once inside managed to feel warm and intimate. The venue offered the choice to marry both inside and outside which was important at first, and it had ten stunning guest rooms so we knew we could have our families and close friends with us from the Friday to the Sunday, which was perfect.
My favourite ever book is the The Great Gatsby and I absolutely loved the old-American style of the film; the long dresses, the head pieces, the glitz and glamour of the parties, so I knew that was the look I wanted for the wedding theme. When we saw that Middleton Hall had the Grand Hall, it seemed the perfect setting for this. I was really aware that I didn’t want it to be like a 1920s fancy dress though, more so an elegant, old Hollywood party with long dresses and bow ties!
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January 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Urmila and John’s two day celebration was a weekend of contrasting cultures, and a great excuse for two beautiful parties in one!
I can’t decide if I prefer Urmila’s traditional, romantic styling for the Catholic wedding day, or the colourful, bejewelled Hindu celebration that followed a day later. One thing is certain – this was one fabulouswedding!
With images by David West Photography.
urmila says: John proposed to me in a particularly embarrassing and public way at the Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh. He sent each table a note asking them to sing along to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Andy Williams at 9pm, after which he would pop the question. So at 9pm, led by one of the waiters (who pretended it was just part of a Christmas tradition), there was an impromptu sing song, just before he got down on one knee and proposed in front of a restaurant full of people. My shock (he had thrown me off the scent two weeks earlier by telling me he could not afford a ring, having actually had it made a couple of months beforehand!) was captured on camera by another customer in the restaurant and posted on Youtube. John won the ‘Most Romantic Groom’ competition for Brides magazine for his efforts.
We had always wanted to celebrate both our cultures so decided on a two day wedding celebration over the summer bank holiday weekend (24th and 25th August 2013). The venue needed to be big enough, available over that weekend, have rooms for people to stay, and allow for external Indian caterers. Redworth Hall Hotel in Newton Aycliffe fit the bill perfectly, and was beautiful to boot.
We had a lot of unusual demands; having an Indian ceremony caused complications and chaos, but Vicky Dewdney and her team there were absolutely amazing. I would thoroughly recommend them as both a hotel and a wedding venue.
The 24th was our Catholic ceremony, where the theme was classical music, champagne and opulence. We stuck to neutral colours such as pale pinks, ivory and gold, with the odd splash of dark red in order so it was not too ‘girly’. We chose classical music as we are are both keen musicians, and met through John’s father being my music teacher at school.
My dress was bought from the ever inspiring Wendy at Bridal Wish in Corbridge. Named ‘Balira’ by Pronovias, it was strapless and lace, customised with extra lace and crystals through the bodice. I had tried several gowns on but was particularly assured and impressed by Wendy’s customer service and brutal honesty! This was teamed with some very contrasting blue leopard print Christian Louboutins and a cathedral length single tier veil with crystal detailing by Joyce Jackson. The bridesmaids wore dusky pink Twobirds dresses (with my sister wearing a bespoke necklace by Emma Hedley jewellery bought online and the guys wore contrasting navy blue morning suits hired from Waltons Formal Menswear Hire in Newcastle.
We got married at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Wycliffe (John’s family’s church for a number of years). Each pew was dressed in a dusky pink chiffon material, with candles, lamps and petals by the side of each, while our aisle consisted of a white runner. The altar was dressed in the same pink chiffon with white roses around the base. The church and venue decorations on both days were designed entirely by Zoe Pierson and her team at Kelly’s Event Boutique. Her imagination and commitment are second to none and She and her team put everything together, listening to our thoughts and bringing them to life, down to the most intricate details. We could not have picked anyone better for the job.
Our ceremony was both emotional and fun. We had personalised poems and a lot of emphasis on music. John arranged the diverse music for Arco String Quartet, a small band including guitars and drums and Cantoris choir led by Stephen Pettitt. We even high fived when the priest said we were now husband and wife!
Our stationery was bespoke and based on the Moet and Chandon label. Everything, from the order of service to the menu plan was created by the extremely talented and committed Stef Chambers at Squarepeg Design. She even put together the comical ‘Hoy Wuh’ confetti packets.
Our wedding breakfast was held in the truly magnificent Great Hall at Redworth Hall Hotel. It was decorated in different kinds of chiffon, numerous candles, flowers and mercury tea lights. The mixture of high and low centrepieces and carried on our musical theme thanks to Kelly’s Event Boutique. The table names were our favourite classical composers written on manuscript, but bearing the Moet and Chandon crown, and we even had real miniature violins and tiny pianos as some of the centrepieces!
Each guest had an individual fact about them tucked into their table napkins (which bore bespoke luggage tags with their names in the champagne theme), to encourage mingling between everybody. It took a lot of arranging beforehand, but really got people talking!
Our best man’s speech featured a room change and was delivered by Jamie Miller and the very creative James Craggs of Roundhouse Productions. It featured a slideshow, a hilarious ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ style audience Q and A, and even had personal messages from Eamon Holmes, Edith Bowman and Alan Shearer (to name but a few!)
Our beautiful cake was a four tier creation by Mrs Robinson’s Cakes based in Manchester and we partied into the night with Andy Nesbitt from AM DJ Services as our DJ. Our first dance was choreographed by Neil at Newcastle Dance Centre.
My sister made a guestbook with individual envelopes for people to write messages. We also had a beautiful personalised knife with which to cut the cake, bearing our initials in English and Bengali and made by one of our wedding guest, Henk of Henk’s Woodwork.
As favours guests were given a ‘Recovery Bag’. In each bag was a mixture of painkillers, hangover food and a personalised NHS ‘prescription’, made by SquarePeg design (as I am a Doctor) with humorous instructions on how to combat Saturday’s excesses, and then prepare for more of the same!
Our second day was our entirely different Hindu wedding. The theme was based around fuchsias, purples, blues and fun, loosely termed ‘Bollywood Bling’.
We started the day with the ‘Gaye Holud’ ceremony where the bride and groom are covered with turmeric to make their skin ‘glow’. Traditionally the bridal party wear yellow saris to this function, and the bride is officially ‘given’ to her new husband’s family. This proved to be extremely emotional for my mum and I. Thereafter the girls went to get dressed into our saris whilst the boys had a football match in the grounds.
The bridal party wore saris purchased from Kolkata. Mine was a particular Banarasi silk popular in West Bengal, and eschewing the traditional red colour was violet and adorned with real gold jewellery. The bridesmaids wore contrasting turquoise saris. The groom’s side wore purple Indian outifts, while the guests loved the opportunity to dress up in something different.
Our ceremony began with a grand and noisy entrance by the groom’s family along, to the beat of the Indian Dhol performed by Apnabeat Entertainment. John however was quickly stopped however by the bridesmaids who demanded a bribe to let him into the venue.
The Hindu wedding itself was conducted under a ‘Mandap’ with plenty of colour, laughter and involvement of the audience by the priest. We provided beautiful, bespoke orders of service, which explained the ceremony, produced by Angela McGurk at Graphic Embers. She created all the Hindu stationery, based on purple, blue and pink Paisley design, but with a twist.
The wedding breakfast decor was a mixture of purples, gold and pink. Each guest’s name tag was written in both English and Bengali. We had tanks of flower petals for the top table and the centrepieces were mixtures of floating flowers and tall vase arrangements. Our seating plan consisted of individual place cards on top of a table with an adorned bronze Ganesh.
Our Indian meal was provided by Saibal Maitra at Vujon restaurant in Newcastle which we would thoroughly recommend.
We also wanted to give the guests some Bollywood bling, so we gave them ‘Bindis’ and bangles. They were so much fun that even the boys got involved!
As we had already done a first dance the previous day we instead decided to do a first ‘tune’. We therefore did a comical piano duet which consisted of plenty of hand swapping and running around.
The evening party kicked off with a wrestling match between the men from both sides (a bit unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyed) egged on by our Dhol players, before we went onto a Bhangra workshop (again provided by Apnabeat entertainment). We then danced the night away with a DJ and the band Funk Conspiracy (who were particularly good sports as we were running very late and their drum kit almost got destroyed by two people wrestling!).
All in all, it was a two day wedding full of contrasts, surprises, colour, tears, laughter, love and a hell of a lot of fun!
Our photographs were captured by David West of David West Photography along with Kristin Moat who were simply astounding in their commitment and enthusiasm. Their pictures are just beautiful and their professionalism and hard work were just amazing.
Our video was captured by hdmoments.com and can be found here. I had not met the team until our wedding day and was highly impressed with their work in capturing all those special moments. If your budget can stretch to a videographer, I would definitely recommend one!
Our honeymoon was to Bali where we literally lay and baked for ten days; after that weekend, we certainly needed it!
We were so delighted with how our wedding went. There were lots of small things that went wrong, but the reality is that none of them spoiled our days, and things that would have bothered me at the time I cannot even recall now. My top tip for other Brides Up North is if you have plenty of food and drink, good suppliers and most importantly awesome family and friends, then everything else will just fall into place.
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November 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple, Tracey and Steven, know it pays to keep things classic. Their celebration at the soon to reopen fire ravaged Crathorne Hall (click here for the full story) with traditional detailing, fabulous florals and one killer frock, is a masterclass in elegance.
With images by Phil Smith Photography.
Tracey says: Steven proposed on our two week road trip holiday through Europe, travelling through Germany, Austria, Italy and France in May 2012.
Whilst in Austria we spent some time camping and trekking in the Alps. On the day of our engagement we trekked up one of the most beautiful mountains in Austria. On the way back down the mountain, surrounded by the most stunning Alpine scenery, Steven paused to tie his laces and asked me to take some photos. Whilst I was taking some photos of the amazing scenery, Steven sounding startled asked me to look at the lump that had appeared in his walking socks. He then revealed a personalised wooden ring box and proceeded to ask me to marry him. Of course I was overwhelmed and completely shocked, of course I said yes!
Unbelievably Steven had driven from Sheffield to Alpendorf two months earlier, a 35 hour, 2000 miles round trip, just to find the perfect location to propose! Once he had found the perfect setting, he dug a parcel into the mountain, behind a tree, containing the Champagne, flutes and a little note in German, asking if found, for the parcel to not be removed!
As you can imagine, I was astonished at the time, trouble and effort Steven had gone to, to make our engagement so special. I couldn’t believe someone could have done this for me. The final surprise came from Steve’s back pack, when he revealed a brochure of a 5* spa hotel in Alpendorf for that night! This made a refreshing and romantic change to the Camping.
We were married on 11th July 2014 at Crathorne Hall Hotel. Crathorne Hall Hotel was the venue of one of our 1st Weekends away and after view dozens of other venues it was clear that we had been comparing them all to Crathorne Hall. Its such a beautiful building in superb surroundings. The staff had also always been to friendly and professional.
With such an amazing venue, we wanted to best complement Crathorne Hall and so went with an English Country Rose theme. The flowers were really important in accomplishing this. We chose a colour scheme of dusky pinks, green foliage and champagnes.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero gown, Ivanka Marie. I chose this dress because I wanted a statement dress. The dress has a sweetheart neck line, fitted corset, huge fluffy layered tulle and a very long train with Swarovski detail. When I first saw the dress on a mannequin I didn’t like but when I tried it on I knew it was the dress for me.
Steven wore a grey three piece suit from House of Fraser in Birmingham.
My adult bridesmaids wore dusky pink maxi dresses from House Of Fraser in Meadowhall and the flowergirls wore ivory embellished dresses from Debenhams in Sheffield.
Phil Smith was our photographer. Choosing the right photographer was one of our most important decisions, when planning our wedding. We had decided that we would sacrifice having a professional videographer to ensure we could have the perfect photographer and the best quality photo album we could. Phil certainly was the perfect photographer.
From the first time we met Phil at a wedding fair at Crathorne Hall, we knew he was the man for us. Phil was such an easy person to talk to and nothing seemed too much trouble, but more importantly it was Phil’s portfolio of work that really caught our eye. Phil’s ability to really capture the mood in his shots stood out from the competition. This was really important to us, as we didn’t just want traditional shots.
I carried a bouquet of pink peonies, mixed English garden herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, finished with large oyster pearls and pink blush German lace. All flowers were supplied and designed by Michelle Meehan owner of The Grange Wedding Flowers from Sheffield. The help and guidance Michelle provided was second to none, she really is a superb florist, that’s willing to go the extra mile.
During the ceremony and also outside for reception drinks we had Arco String Quartet playing personally selected tracks, including my entrance music ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri from the Twilight Saga.
During the reception drinks we also had Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, this went down very well with all the guests, especially as we had keep this a secret. The Class Laser Clay Team were ultra-professional and extremely friendly, I would certainly recommend them.
We also had a selection of garden games, such as lawn darts, croquet and French boules.
As we had a lovely summer’s day, we had Strawberry Daiquiris and bottles of Peroni for welcome drinks served with a selection of lovely canapés.
For favours, we had lemon drizzle butter cream cupcakes, iced in the colour scheme of the flowers with a Alice In Wonderland style eat me flag. These were placed inside vintage tea cups and saucers on the table. We used Kiss Me Cake Bakery, based near Holmfirth. They allowed us to keep our own vintage tea cup and saucer as a memento.
I choose an Alice In Wonderland inspired three tier cake, two tiers were toffee and the middle tier lemon. The cake was made by Angel Cakes in Rotherham. The cake design was even better than I had imagined. We tried many cake samples at wedding fairs and Angel Cakes was by far the best, extremely moist and lovely flavours.
It’s so difficult to pick a perfect part to our wedding. The ceremony was amazing and the speeches were great fun but the quiet times when we went off with our photographer for some couple shots were a nice way to break up the day and help it all sink in.
We left for our honeymoon the morning after the wedding. We had breakfast with our guests and set off to the Airport at 11am. We flew to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to the Masai Mara for 3 nights safari at the Kicheche Bush Camp.
The Camp was amazing, with zebra and wildebeest coming right up to our tent at night. We literally saw everything whilst on safari, including lion, cheetah and leopard. An evening watching two lionesses and seven cubs play only 20 metres away, whilst the sun went down was a real highlight.
From Kenya we flew to the Seychelles and stayed at the Constance Ephelia Resort on Mahe Island. Rather than just spending our time on the beach, we managed to explore the Island, with some trekking and even managed to try the local delicacy of Fruit Bat Curry!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to visit and research venues, it is so important to get the perfect venue for you. Similarly ensure you find the right photographer for you, your photographs along with your memories are the items that will last the longest. It’s so important to be happy with them.
For our First Anniversary we plan to visit the spot of our engagement in Austria. I wonder if Steven will be planting anything in the Mountain this time!
August 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime
I’m such a tease aren’t I?! After pressing publish on Monday morning’s blog post, I knew that it would be cruel not to share the rest of the gorgeous shots from Sam and Kenny’s beautiful Real Wedding at The Alnwick Garden on the blog. After all, it’s one of the prettiest days I’ve seen. Could these two be any more photogenic?
So, the purpose of yesterday’s post was to alert you to a very special event coming up very, very soon – opening our autumn season, in fact – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden on Sunday 1st September 2013. To get the full lowdown and register for completely free VIP Bride To Be entry and your goody bag, click here.
Once you’ve been there, done that, some back to share the rest of Sam and Kenny’s big day. With images by the ever talented Sean Elliott Photography (who’ll be joining us on September 1st too), this is one to remember.
Sam says: We got engaged in Dubai, in September 2009. Kenny wrote ‘Marry me?’ in rose petals on the bed whilst I was at the pool sunbathing… quite the romantic!
We tied the knot in June at The Alnwick Garden in the Pavilion Room. We felt that the Garden was somewhere different, with stunning grounds for the perfect photos. It’s also a memorable venue for people who hadn’t been before – the grand cascade as the main viewpoint throughout the ceremony, the rose garden, bamboo maze, the tree house and all of the water features gave guests that little something extra, over and above a wedding in a hotel or stately home.
We didn’t have a theme, we just wanted to keep it simple and relaxed – a bit like us! We chose a colour scheme of black and white with pinks and whites in the bouquets and button holes adding a splash of colour.
I wore the Maggie Sottero “Reece” dress from Blush Bridal Boutique in Uppermill, Saddleworth and Kenny wore a kilt, in Morrison Clan tartan… sticking to family tradition. He had it hand-made at Nicholson Kiltmakers in Edinburgh.
The bridesmaids and I had peony rose bouquets with a mix of pinks and some white roses and Kenny had a pink peony buttonhole (to match my bouquet) with Scottish thistles.
Getting ready with my mum and the bridesmaids was great fun, very relaxed and involved quite a lot of champagne!
Guests were taken to the venue by Dreadnought Coaches in the 1952 Leyland Titan. The guests and groomsmen travelled in more style than the bridal party! When boarding the bus, the groom, best man and ushers gave everyone a glass of fizz to get the celebrations started. I think it’s fair to say the journey for the guests was a real social event!
Arco String Quartet played some beautiful music for our guests’ arrival, my entrance, signing the register and at end of the ceremony – including Elbow – One Day Like This – and The Beatles – All You Need Is Love.
Kenny’s father made all of the ladies’ favours by hand – strawberry and champagne preserve, with little poem on the labels: “A spoonful of sugar and two sweet kisses, now Kenny and Sam are Mr and Mrs”.
The best man’s speech was brilliant, one of the best I’ve ever seen. He used a video to really take the mick out of Kenny and had everyone in fits of laughter. ‘Mr Lover Man, Shabba’ was the song of choice for the video… very entertaining! It was also great to have all of our nearest and dearest in one room together as it doesn’t happen all that often!
A friend of ours, DJ James Cummings provided the evening entertainment. We had a small part of the night dedicated to a ceilidh too, which went down really well and Sean Elliott got some great action shots!
After the wedding we did a road trip through California – Vegas, San Francisco, Route 1 with various stop offs including Santa Barbara and Carmel, finishing off in LA, going to the Standard Hotel for their famous rooftop party on the last night of our honeymoon… the perfect end!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be: don’t get stressed, don’t have massively high expectations that you may find impossible to meet, make sure your wedding reflects you as a couple, no-one else (i.e. don’t try to imitate anyone else, or do something just because you think your guests will like it – if you don’t), and just relax and enjoy every single moment, from planning, right through to sending out your thank you cards!
Congratulations Sam & Kenny!
Get the date in your diaries – I might have mentioned it a few times (too many?) but our opening event of the season – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden is on Sunday 1st September 2013 from 11am till 4pm. Pre register now for free entry and your VIP Bride To Be Goody Bag!
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