Charlotte Balbier

floral fairytale. charlotte balbier for a beautifully styled wedding in scotland – allanah & andy

September 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Stylish Wedding in Scotland (c) Kitchener Photography (51)

Though today’s bride Allanah didn’t want an obvious theme or colour scheme for her wedding, the details of the day harmonise together so well that you could be forgiven for thinking this is a styled shoot rather than a couple’s big day.

The clear clue that it’s not a shoot however, is the genuine expressions of joy, excitement and love upon the faces of the bride, groom and their guests.

I’m certain I’d have been smiling from ear to ear if I was present at this wedding too. Just look at the venue, those flowers, that cake and Allanah’s stunning dress, designed by sponsor and friend of Brides Up North no less, the fabulous Charlotte Balbier.

So sit back and allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty!

With images by Kitchener Photography.

allanah says: We got engaged in April 2014 while on holiday in Japan. We were visiting Daigo-Ji in Kyoto and Andy proposed in a garden on the grounds. Cherry blossom season was just starting and the temple itself was very quiet, it was beautiful. That night we celebrated with a special dinner in the Geisha district and we saw the elusive Geishas. The proposal was much unexpected and we enjoyed the rest of the trip keeping the engagement a secret, apart from telling our parents.

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Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We had wanted to get married in the summer but there was only a few dates left at our venue so we ended up with April, which in the end was perfect because we had a really sunny, warm day!

We got married at The Byre at Inchyra in Perthshire. We had gone to a wedding in tipis and loved the idea of having the venue somewhere a bit different. The Byre was still a building site when we went to view it but the space was perfect and we knew right away it was the venue for us so cancelled all other venue appointments! We loved how it was rustic yet had all the mod cons so we didn’t have to worry about adding kitchens or toilets!

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We didn’t choose to have a theme but words that came up often when talking to suppliers were rustic, elegant, and informal. We wanted to capture a feeling so directed lots of attention to making our guests have a great time and making it really personal to us. Flowers, dancing and food probably captured the day pretty well!

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I love the Sofia Coppola Miss Dior adverts so I was inspired by those where everything looks beautiful and polished but you’re having so much fun, it doesn’t matter if the dress gets dirty or your hair falls out or you forget to do something. If there had been a fountain, I’d have probably gotten in it!

We didn’t really have a colour scheme either, we just went with what we liked. We were definitely led by the flowers and they were whites, pastel pinks and light greens. The crockery was all mismatched and we just went with plain white linen so everything popped against it.

In terms of matching bridesmaids to groomsmen, we just did our own thing and I think it turned out for the best. The bridesmaids wore navy and the groomsmen had dark green ties. Nothing was too ‘matchy matchy’ but the colours blended well against each other.

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I wore the Iscoyd dress from Charlotte Balbier, bought at Kudos in Edinburgh. It was the only dress that I felt myself in, the neckline especially reminded me of my favourite LBD and I could dance in it, which was very important (I did a lot of pretend dancing in bridal stores)! I also liked how it had the gold detail and swiss dot lace, lots of little details. I can’t rate the service from Kudos enough, they really provide a 360 degree service and nothing was too much trouble. I would also recommend Charlotte Balbier wholeheartedly, from personal emails from Charlotte to custom making a veil to match the colour of the dress in a length I wanted, plus it’s made in Britain and a sense of ‘buy local’ was important to me.

On the wedding day I also wore a delicate flower crown in my hair made by an artisan crafter in Paris, I trawled for ages looking for something that wasn’t sparkly and came across Lysa Creation. The flowers are made from Japanese resin and they also supply French couture houses with these flowers so if it’s good enough for Chanel!

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Andy is a Yorkshireman but chose to wear a tweed kilt from Nicolsons Kiltmakers of Edinburgh. He also wore a buttonhole of ranunculus and eucalyptus. The groomsmen all wore matching kilts with a different tweed jacket to Andy. And the same buttonholes.

The bridesmaids wore navy strapless dresses with a sweetheart neckline from French Connection, which suited all of them. Our flower girl, who is my sister Scarlett, wore the Estelle dress from Monsoon with a little cardigan and a flower crown in her hair – so sweet!

On the day my bridesmaids and I had our makeup done by Emma Motion, who made everyone look exquisite and has a really calm presence. I fully endorse Emma! Our hair was by Gillian of Pin Up Hair Glasgow. Again, Gillian was so much fun to have there on the day and all the girls looked great with subtle braided updos with a hair grip from Anthropologie. For myself I wanted it quite loose, inspired by Katherine Ross in the Graduate with some Priscilla Presley vibes thrown in so we did an epic bow dry.

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We chose Kitchener Photography, a husband and wife team, Joanna and Dylan who live in Edinburgh. They’re really known for their stunning elopements and dramatic landscapes so we were thrilled to have them for the day. We both loved their use of natural light, there’s no flash photography, and their documentary style captured so many wonderful moments.

We also had the day filmed by Joe from Edinburgh Wedding Videos who did a fantastic job, we’ve had so many compliments on the highlight reel.

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I carried a hand tied bouquet of white anemones (my favourite flowers) alongside eucalyptus, pink ranunculus, pink chrysanthemums and white astilbe. They were made by Hannah of Vintage Gathering based in Edinburgh, who was fantastic. We met with her and shared all of our ideas and we shared a lot over Pinterest.

The alter where we got married had a floating flower wall and Hannah dressed the room with lots of foliage, garlands and scatters of daisies and gypsophila. I had no idea she was going to do anything like that. She also made garlands for the Byre pillars and floated flowers in the original stone troughs in The Byre, which were also filled with floating candles.

On tables we had glass jars collected and decorated with antique lace by Andy and myself two nights before the wedding. I wanted to do a little of the flowers myself so my bridesmaids and I, along with my mum and stepmum, arranged them the day before sitting out in the sunshine. We bought buckets of flowers from the Country Garden Company, you provide a colour palette and get flowers to fit – we got anemones, tulips, ranunculus and so many more!

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We weren’t really fussed about favours having been to so many weddings where they are left on tables so went with pairs of macarons in glassine bags for everyone – a sugary pick me up!

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Our cake was made by our caterer, Lazy Sunday. I was initially going to bake my own cake but decided against adding one more thing to the list and Carole was happy to do it. We didn’t want a traditional cake, instead we had a lemon sponge with buttercream icing and jam filling, covered in buttercream. The cake was beautifully decorated with flowers, and Sepia Smiles from Etsy made the cupids arrow to ‘shoot’ through it.

Carole from Lazy Sunday really had the measure of us! We met her and within days she sent us a sample menu which was perfect. Andy is a really good cook and I come from an Italian background and love to eat family style so Carole put together sharing platters of Scottish charcuterie meats, scallops, langoustines and breads and salads. Followed by the tenderest lamb over lentils – it melted like butter. We then had a dessert table filled with individual posset, meringue, macarons, cheesecakes and brownies!  The food was certainly a talking point! I can’t recommend Lazy Sunday enough and I’m bothering her about doing supper clubs just to eat her food again!

Carole also put together an evening snack of macaroni and cheese and pies – which Andy, as a diehard Yorkshireman, insisted upon, though he never got one in the end!

My friend and bridesmaid Kirsty, organised the all wine as she works for a wine merchants. Kirsty also designed the personalised wine bottles for us.

A Stylish Wedding in Scotland (c) Kitchener Photography (6)

To entertain our guests, we chose a band called Daytura. We did a long trawl for a band and really liked how they made songs their own. They did an excellent job of performing the first dance for us, The Vaccines, I Always Knew.

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We did a lot of DIY to make the day all the more personal. I tea-stained luggage tags and crumpled them up to make place settings – my poor hands were stained for days!

Because The Byre is so big, we wanted to be creative with use of space so we created a mini area on the dance floor so people could join in with the band and take a break from dancing. We also had giant gold foil balloons spelling out ‘dance’- a subtle reminder!

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The photo table plan was Andy’s pride and joy. His mum sourced the antique gold frame and Andy put it all together. We liked how it made the wedding a bit more intimate rather than names on a piece of paper and had a lot of fun choosing photos. We found Square Snaps to be a really fast supplier!

Andy also made the signs directing people to the wedding with his dad and they even had an appearance at my bridesmaid Jennie’s wedding a few months later and I think Andy’s sister might use them too!

We also had a Polaroid guest book, we just left the camera with lots of film and props in the Stable Room seeing as the flower wall would make a nice backdrop – it’s one of our favourite parts of the wedding, the photos are so funny.

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For stationary we used Teri of The Lovely Drawer. Teri was incredibly patient and creative and everyone should follow her blog for home design inspiration! We had everything printed via to reduce stationary costs and put towards more wine instead!

Finally, our natural confetti was from the Confetti Cone Company and it was definitely top quality for a really reasonable price.

A Stylish Wedding in Scotland (c) Kitchener Photography (60)

We would most definitely recommend our choice of venue. You can really put your stamp on it. There’s so much flexibility with how you can set it up that no two weddings look the same. You do need to be well organised since there isn’t an event manager and it is a blank canvas venue but Caroline and James are always on hand to answer your questions and were incredible in the lead up to the wedding.

A Stylish Wedding in Scotland (c) Kitchener Photography (61)

The highlight of the day for me was getting married to Andy and having everyone we love and care about there. We had a humanist ceremony and being able to totally personalise every aspect of the ceremony made it really memorable. Also, spending the day with all our favourite people was amazing. I’ve never laughed or danced so much – we have the best friends and family. People are still telling us how much fun they had and how the food will go down in history!

A Stylish Wedding in Scotland (c) Kitchener Photography (68)

For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka first, for a few days of intense sightseeing, then onto The Maldives for intense relaxation.

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After my wedding I was bridesmaid for two of my best friends and my one bit of advice to them, which I would pass on to other Brides Up North, was not to worry about it if things don’t go to plan because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter and you’re too busy having a good time to really care. Also, one thing we did which has inspired a few others is to request that no-one takes photographs during the ceremony apart from the official photographers. It really makes a difference as everyone is enjoying the moment and not attached to phones. Finally, when planning, record every single pound you’re spending into a spreadsheet.

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pretty lovely. willa rose 2016: the full collection.

August 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime


You know we love charlotte balbier’s beautiful gowns, right?  ^^^ Could we be more obvious?!

Well, if you hadn’t already guessed that we’re gaga for our friend and colleague Ms. Balbier’s beautiful work, look no further. After sharing some sneak peeks from Charlotte’s stunning Willa Rose collection for 2016, we’re back… and this time with the full – and extremely lovely – look book. Here, the designer talks us through each look in the collection.

Eyes down ladies, Wednesday afternoon just got interesting.

(…and very pretty).


charlotte says: The 2016 Charlotte Balbier, ‘Willa Rose’ collection captivates a bride’s imagination with bohemian free spirited designs to take my brides on a magical journey.


Willa Rose is the signature gown from the new collection. This dress features a soft flowing chiffon skirt with a delicate floral cotton lace bodice. This gown is the ultimate boho gown for the free spirited brides.


Alexandria is a beautiful lace off the shoulder gown with button detailing down the back.  The lace top-half opens into beautiful A-line layers of chiffon giving the Alexandra a fabulous shape.


Aliona has been cut into a lovely deep-plunge neckline.  The back of the gown is sheer with lace detailing flowing downwards into the main body of the skirt.


Amba is one of the collection’s super playful gowns. Layers of tulle plunge into a v-neckline at the front and the back.  We love the sequin detailing around the waistline.


Beth embraces the boho free-spirited bride with gorgeous floral straps embellished with hand-cut flowers.  The hand-cut flowers run through the whole gown, decorating a sheer lace back and around the lower back of the gown.


Camille is all about accentuating a bride’s decolletage with a striking Queen-Ann neckline. The diamond cut adds a further wow factor to the back of the gown with delicate buttons embellishing the silk full skirt.

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Cara comprises stunning sequin patterns decorating a beautiful V-neck and short-sleeved dress.  Silver and ivory sequin detailing runs right down the mermaid shaped skirt.


Erin is the figure-hugging gown halter-neck gown of the Willa Rose collection.  The back is finished with a lovely art deco silver embellishment.

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willa rose. a charlotte balbier launch at jean jackson couture

July 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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My job isn’t always as glamorous as it might seem.  Editing Brides Up North and Unveiled Magazine as well as managing and producing over 20 Luxury Wedding Exhibition events and all the copy writing, art direction, event management and business development that comes with is a more than full time job (for a team of people).  For every swanky industry event requiring sequins and Champagne, there’s a lot of long, lonely screen hours juggling emails, contracts, floor plans and all the admin that comes with being the #girlboss of a busy business.

Luckily for me though, one of those swanky industry events always seems to come along just as you need it!

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I was thrilled to be invited along as a special guest as Brides Up North Sponsor bridal boutique Jean Jackson Couture in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was transformed into a secret rose garden to mark the official launch of Charlotte Balbier’s WILLA ROSE collection and brand at Jean Jackson Couture’s two boutiques, earlier this month.

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Charlotte Balbier is our headline Sponsor for 2015 and now a dear friend of mine, so it was lovely to join the Jean Jackson Couture girls – they are a very stylish bunch – in toasting our talented designer friend and debuting Charlotte’s new 2016 Willa Rose collection (which you can see featured on Brides Up North here).

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Brides Up North was joined by Manchester brides-to-be, other industry professionals and national press to celebrate this beautiful new partnership.  The boutique was transformed into a magical space filled with beautiful blooms and a gorgeous swing by The Vintage Swing Company to re-create the Charlotte Balbier ‘Willa Rose’ campaign images.  We were also treated to rose pink lemonade, pink champagne and delicious cakes.  I told you it was a hard job being me, didn’t I?!

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The new 2016 ‘Willa Rose’ collection was modelled in a salon style throughout the evening along with a special guest appearance by the face of Charlotte Balbier, the beautiful Verity.

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charlotte says: I am so excited and thrilled to be welcoming Jean Jackson Couture as a Charlotte Balbier brand partner.  Working with a well-known and established boutique that has a long heritage in bridal and are also a family business is wonderful and mirrors my family also and business so is the perfect partnership. It’s amazing to have the gowns stocked in both boutiques and can’t wait for our next event!”

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Jean Jackson Couture is now taking appointments for brides to try the Willa Rose collection. See for more details and to book your appointment. 

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Images by Hayley Baxter

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eye candy. charlotte balbier willa rose collection 2016

June 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime



One of our favourite bridal designers at Brides Up North HQ, and now a good friend of mine, I’m proud to share the 2016 Charlotte Balbier willa rose collection with you this afternoon on our pretty pages, marking 12 years in British Bridal fashion for this talented lady.





Charlotte amazes me year on year as her brand continues to evolve whilst ever maintaining her beautiful signature style. The new Willa Rose collection captivates the imagination with bohemian, free spirited designs to take Balbier brides on a magical journey.



For 2016, Charlotte’s ethereal, soft flowing chiffon gowns are adorned with exquisite beading, pearls and crystals, delicate rose details and her signature hand cut flower designs. There are daring low backs and, as always, graceful straps and sleeve details. The colour palette includes rose pink, antique gold and rich ivory shades.

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Personally, it’s my favourite Charlotte Balbier collection yet, and standout styles for me include Harlow (bling a ling!), Lilac and the eponymous Willa Rose.  Get stuck in…



Charlotte Balbier is making a personal appearance at Brides Up North Sponsor Boutique Jean Jackson Couture in the Northern Quarter Manchester on the 2nd July between 6pm-8pm.  Charlotte will be on hand to meet with brides and chat over their wedding gown ideas while sipping on Rose Pink lemonade and being treated to yummy treats.  The full details of the event can be seen here

For more visit

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flying high. supplier showcase: lovebird brides

May 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (11)

This afternoon I am thrilled to welcome the gorgeous Laura to Brides Up North.  Laura is the beauty and brains behind the gorgeous new bridal boutique in West Yorkshire, lovebird brides, which opened to much excitement (and twinkle!) last autumn.  Laura is already flying high as word of her stunning new boutique, bespoke accessories and top labels spreads, and now it’s time to introduce her on these pretty pages.

First things first, I have a special date for your diaries: Lovebird Brides are holding their first ever Lovebird Accessories evening on Thursday 7th May 2015 from 5pm until 8pm, where brides can visit the boutique for a glass of fizz, try on their accessories, enjoy 10% off the range and see their special guest designers. To join them on the night or for more information email them at

Is it in your diary? Great.  Now let’s meet Laura.

Images by Photography By Kathryn.

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When did Lovebird Brides open and what is your background?

laura says: Lovebird Brides opened its doors with an amazing launch party in October 2014.

I’ve had a varied career working within the creative industries, starting with a degree in design before working in interior design, event planning, teaching and then jewellery making. The problem is I’ve always got to be making something even when just relaxing in the evening! Whilst on maternity leave I took this time to focus on my love of making jewellery and when my baby was old enough, I opened my studio in the World Heritage Site of Saltaire. It turned out this decision paid off, I began making statement pieces but soon had brides visiting me to make them bespoke bridal jewellery.

One thing led to another and my other obsession for vintage dresses combined with brides telling me they were struggling to find the dresses they wanted, gowns that reflected their personality and style led to me opening Lovebird Brides. I wanted to fill this gap for brides concentrating on selecting designers that offered designs that were fashion forward, well made and practical but still maintained that beauty and elegance that a wedding dress should offer.

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Which wedding gown designers do you stock?

Lovebird Brides houses a large selection of Charlotte Balbier’s wedding gowns. Charlotte’s designs are timeless, elegant and fit perfectly allowing a bride to feel comfortable on her wedding day.

We also stock Maria Senvo, I was instantly drawn to the embellishment and detail on these beautiful gowns, definitely one for the fashionista brides!

With a busy year ahead planned, you need to keep your eyes peeled for a new designer or two being introduced to the boutique.

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What bridal accessories designers do you stock?

Lovebird Brides is the home of Lah De Da Accessories. I hand make this beautiful range of accessories in my studio within the boutique where all my sample pieces are available for brides to see and try on. I love that we can create a completely unique look for a bride whether it’s a headpiece, belt, statement necklace or adding beading to the dress. The finishing accessories are so important as a bride can put their own stamp on a gown and feels that they have given their own creative input into the design of these bespoke pieces. I feel this is something they will struggle to get anywhere else.

We are also very lucky to stock the amazing Charlotte Mills bridal shoes that are so pretty, beautifully made and super comfortable but what is even better is they can also be worn again and again after your wedding day!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (10)

What makes you different?

At Lovebird Brides we focus on fashion forward brides with wedding dresses that break away from tradition, gowns that reflect their individual style and personality. As a boutique we feel it is important not to crowd the shop with too many dresses overwhelming the bride. Instead we concentrate on handpicking strong designs each very different from the next.

It is important to us when a bride first visits the boutique that our style and the layout of the shop not only reflects the individuality of our gowns but is a place where our brides can feel comfortable making the most important fashion purchase of their lives! From our zebra print rug and fuchsia pink chandelier to our Victorian clothes airer rails we want to make it an experience that our bride will never forget.

One major factor adding to our uniqueness is that we hand make all our accessories to compliment our brides dresses right here in the boutique. Even for the bride who has already found their gown we can offer them exclusive accessory appointments to create bespoke pieces for their big day, for their bridesmaids or for mother of the bride.

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Where are you located?

We are located in the beautiful Yorkshire village of Addingham, just outside the centre of Ilkley. Many of our brides choose to make a day of it, celebrating with a cream tea or pub lunch in the village or nipping round the corner to view the beautiful sights of Bolton Abbey.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our dresses start at £990 and go up to £2550.

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What can Brides Up North expect when they come in for an appointment?

As a luxury boutique we work by appointment only. It is important to us that a bride gets the attention she deserves without any interruptions. We like to gain an understanding of the whole theme of the wedding and listen carefully to what the bride is looking for. Dress appointments are an hour and a half long and forty-five minutes for accessories. Brides can expect to have exclusive use of the boutique for their bridal party and we always have a bottle of prosecco and cakes at the ready, sometimes even homemade by me!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (30)

What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?

With so many it’s really hard to pick a favourite dress but if I was pushed I would say I have a real soft spot for Lucy-Lou by Charlotte Balbier, with all its lace it is just a timeless and elegant gown.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (41)

What trends do you see being popular this year?

I think the trends in bridal this year will be blush dresses and gold accessories, which I love! Embellishment on dresses seems to be what brides like so I think we will see plenty of this in new bridal collections.

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Who would be a Lovebird Bride?

A Lovebird Bride is a lady who wants to look the best version of herself. She wants a dress that is elegant but shows her sense of style too. She is a bride who wants some creative input in the overall bridal look and wants to feel comfortable and classic on her most special day.

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Are you married? What did you wear on your wedding day? What would you choose to wear now?

I have been married for almost four years now and wore a Maggie Sottero wedding dress that was strapless with a corseted back in dark champagne. At the time this style was definitely everywhere and although I loved it I don’t think it really reflected me. Now I would definitely either wear a dress with sleeves and a low back or perhaps separates with a bolero jacket and definitely a statement necklace!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (25)

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more? 

Brides to be call call us on 01943 839720, visit our website at, email or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (2)

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