Charlotte Balbier

lookbook. collars & capes.

March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jasmine - Enzoani

Several of our previous lookbook features have focused on wedding dress trends that encourage brides to flash some flesh, but today we are swooning over graceful gowns where modesty is key.

Somewhat unexpectedly dresses featuring high collars and capes (sorry Madge) have come to rule recent bridal runways promoting sophisticated styles that scream high fashion.

Capes

Though it didn’t work out for Madonna at The Brits (awkward) capes are a stylish accessory and can prove an incredibly practical choice for ladies having religious ceremonies that need to cover up that bit more, as well as brides with body hang ups that want to detract from the bits they’re less keen on.

A cape is a demure alternative to a shrug, bolero or jacket that comes in a variety of lengths and designs so brides can choose the type of style statement they wish to make.

The shorter options are fabulous for covering shoulders and the tops of arms while still showing off the main spectacle – the dress. Meanwhile long capes are particularly popular with brides looking to make a dramatic entrance on their wedding day without the use of a regular veil or train.

Solange Knowles is one high-profile bride that recently rocked this look on her wedding day, donning a cape with both her elegant gown and edgy jumpsuit outfits.

High low capes provide an option between the two either as a full coverlet or semi open design depending on how much of the dress a bride wants to be on show.
When it comes to detailing ladies opting for plainer dresses can add interest with laced and blinged-up designs. Meanwhile brides with highly detailed gowns are likely to stick to a simple sheer design though there are no hard rules to abide by.

Whichever option, caped brides can remove the additional garment for the evening celebrations giving them two different looks for their big day whilst also ensuring the all-important dress gets the exposure it deserves.

Designers that we think are executing the caped look exceptionally well within their collections include Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone, though our favourite has to be Jasmine from Enzoani, which combines modern elegance with vintage glamour for one gorgeous dress.

Collars

Moving on to another covered-up trend – collars. Overtime the wedding dress neckline has crept up and where once the strapless sweetheart gown reigned supreme there are now full-sleeved designs as well as those with illusion necklines and high-necks.

In some cases the neckline has developed into a fully-fledged collar creating an incredibly regal look, which was favoured by one of the most elegant ladies in history on her wedding day – Grace Kelly.

Similar to the cape, a collard neckline can offer that bit more cover-up for body conscious brides whilst also emitting a theatrical look that’s bound to make a statement.

Many of the collared designs feature delicate lace collars but alternatives can be found in striking shirt necklines and super cute Peter Pan collars. Designers doing up the collar look perfectly include Pronovias, Ian Stuart and Charlotte Balbier – we heart her oh so sweet Flora dress.

All gowns featured are credited in our gallery.

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lookbook: city sleek.

January 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Mae & detachable skirt - Stephanie Allin

Mae by Stephanie Allin

We were recently Highly Commended in the Wedding Blog Awards 2014′s “Best City Wedding Blog” category, and chic cosmopolitan styling is one of our favourite trends for wedding day fashion, like, ever.  goodbye meringues! A stylish city ceremony gives brides-to-be the opportunity to rock sleek attire that varies from the wedding norm.

Moving around busy urban areas and climbing staircases of grand city halls and hotels calls for a slim line, fluid number that isn’t going to slow you down or trip you up. And we’re not just talking dresses; a city centre do pushes the style boundaries wide open, inviting fashion forward brides to consider a two-piece skirt and top design, or even an all in jumpsuit, Solange Knowles style.

Those preferring to stick to tradition with a dress can always hitch up their hemline to free their feet ready for stepping out through bustling streets.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Pia by Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier has some particularly striking options for city brides, including stylish mini-length dresses and sophisticated two-piece designs.

Billie is a particular favourite of mine, not that I would be brave enough to work its cut-away silhouette. But for those that are, its gorgeous crisscross crop top and elegant illusion pencil skirt scream high fashion. Meanwhile, for those planning a more vintage affair, the pretty embroidered Charlotte top and ballerina skirt cover a little more flesh and are still easy to get around in.

Lhuillier’s short-length dresses are also incredibly swoon-worthy options, particularly the Pia and simple yet striking Zelda designs.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Billie by Monique Lhuillier

Zelda - Monique Lhuillier

Zelda by Monique Lhuillier

The princess of prettiness, Stephanie Allin boasts several slim line dresses within her collections that would most definitely stand out in a city scene.

Chicago, Eternal, Ingrid and Olivia are all stunning examples of city simplicity at its best, but for those wanting a more structured design there is the Ashlea or even Mae, which has a detachable skirt, to give brides two equally wonderful looks.

The pièce de résistance has to be Allin’s Garbo jumpsuit as she dares to go where few other designers would. The fabulous sweet-heart neckline and wide-leg design also has an optional lace shrug for that extra piece of prettiness and cover-up where required.

Chicago  - Stephanie Allin

Chicago by Stephanie Allin

Olivia  - Stephanie Allin

Olivia by Stephanie Allin

Eternal  - Stephanie Allin

Eternal by Stephanie Allin

Garbo  - Stephanie Allin

Garbo by Stephanie Allin

Finally, I’d encourage city brides to consider the svetle, sleek lines of Suzanne Neville’s Novello Collection (click here to see a preview on Brides Up North), the fab and flirty frocks in Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection (click here) or some of Sassi Holford’s cute designs as big day contenders.

For city brides wanting to bring a bit of bling to their big day, well, you can’t go wrong with a beaded Jenny Packham number, can you?

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham

Rio-Jenny-Packham

Rio by Jenny Packham

Noa-Jenny-Packham

Noa by Jenny Packham

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lookbook: dip it low

September 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Nina - Jenny Packham

Wedding dress necklines have officially reached new depths.

While once an innocent sweetheart neckline was as far as designers dared to dip, there are now an increasing number of dresses reveal that much more of the chest area. But this doesn’t mean the dresses look at all cheap, tacky or tarty. Instead the designs scream high-fashion, ooze elegance and have just the right amount of sass and sexiness.

A perfect choice for confident brides who dare to bare, this style of dress can be highly flattering and incredibly striking. So let’s get the lowdown on the designers that are endorsing the new lowered neckline.

Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham, images in gallery as tagged.

Noa - Jenny Packham

Monique Lhuillier has several wonderfully dipped dresses in her collections. Clever designs such as Sylvie, Karlotta and Logan feature a lowered neckline but keep a good amount of flesh under wraps through the use of broad shoulder straps, illusion necklines and elegant lace sleeves. Meanwhile, the likes of Valletta and Teagan, which boast deep necklines but with thinner shoulder straps, give brides the opportunity to flash some extra flesh.

Claire Pettibone’s lowered necklines also retain modesty through the use of sleeves and shoulder detail. Lily is a stunning example for brides wanting to keep their arms covered. The elegant slim-line design features a highly detailed lowered neckline, exquisite long lace sleeves and a to-die-for sheer lace back. Minuet meanwhile is a much more revealing design with a dipped sweetheart neckline and pretty keyhole back detail.

Rio - Jenny Packham

Queen of vintage glamour, Jenny Packham has also jumped onboard the lowered necklines bandwagon. For brides wanting to keep their look simple but flash just a little flesh, there is Lavinia and Nina. Other brides will look to Packham for a dose of that intricate detailing that she does oh so well. This can be found in Noa and Marina, both of which feature plunging necklines as well as pretty, sparkling embellishment. Gatsby-style brides meanwhile will find it almost impossible to resist the sophisticated yet sexy charm of Rio – it’s a real head-turner!

Finally Justin Alexander, which produces perfect princess style gown, has a few lowered neckline creations to add to the offering. Interestingly, many of the dresses that feature deep necklines in the front are mirrored in the back of the gown. So for example the 8737 fit and flare gown, with heavily beaded pearl and crystal deep V-neckline also has a plunging back neckline. Similarly the 8652 mermaid style dress features a V-tank neckline in the front and is finished with a deep V-neckline in the back.

Marina - Jenny Packham

So the only question that remains is how low will you go?

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Steel The Limelight! Silver Wedding Dresses For 2014

May 26th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Cocorico, Ian Stuart

Cocorico by Ian Stuart

Back at your screen already?  We wouldn’t leave you hanging over the whole bank holiday weekend Brides Up North! Instead, here’s a pop of cool coloured eye candy to take you through till Tuesday. 

Non-traditional toned wedding dresses have gradually crept onto the scene as bold brides have ventured beyond the standard white and ivory options.  It started with just a handful of designers daring to push the boundaries but now more and more collections feature a coloured creation or two.

Violet, Monique Lhuillier

Violet by Monique Lhuillier

Last year pink was huge, particularly warm, playful blush tones which attracted a few celebrity fans, including the gorgeous Jessica Biel. By contrast, designers have turned down the heat for their 2015 collections, switching to steely, iced hues such as silver, grey and blue.

The only celebrity I’ve known to recently wed in such a shade is actress Helen Worth, yes that’s right Gail from Corrie, but please don’t let that put you off. While Mrs McIntyre is no style icon, steely tones can dazzle on the aisle for all the right reasons.

Alicia, Jenny Packham

Alicia by Jenny Packham

Tipped as a top trend for the coming year, frosted frocks are favoured by several designers, notably Jenny Packham, Ian Stuart and Monique Lhuillier.

Caracas, Ian Stuart

Caracas by Ian Stuart

Vivaldi, Ian Stuart

Vivaldi by Ian Stuart

Boudoir, Ian Stuart

Boudoir by Ian Stuart

Although fantastically flamboyant, many of Stuart’s designs are available in a pale blue hue, offering a quiet alternative that won’t rock the traditional boat too much. His Frill Me collection has some particularly stunning steely options. Boudoir and Coco Rico are slim-line, structured designs with stand-out detailing while Caracas and Vivaldi are two larger silhouettes, featuring another top trend for the coming year – ruffles.

Grace, Jenny Packham

Grace by Jenny Packham

Packham meanwhile gives brides the opportunity to sparkle in her embellished silver gowns. Both Alicia and Grace are simple yet striking designs with intricate detailing, perfect for brides who want to add a touch of glamour to their steely themes.

Floressa, Monique Lhuillier

Floressa by Monique Lhuillier

A further sterling option comes in the form of Monique Lhuillier’s Violet frock with a structured, high-detailed bodice and soft ruffled skirt. Those set on stealing the limelight however may prefer Lhuiller’s Floressa dress. An icy blast of blue, this dress packs a punch with its dropped waist bodice and full A-line floral skirt.

Raven, Claire Pettibone

Raven by Claire Pettibone

For me personally, if it’s a steely dress with a difference that you desire, Claire Pettibone’s Raven design is hard to beat. Combining last year’s top hue of pink with this year’s on-trend grey tones, this dress combines the best of both worlds – warm and frosty shades. A stunning example of the exquisite detailing Pettibone is renowned for, Raven boasts a dramatic black tulle overlay embroidered with pink and red roses complete with silver sequins, pearl silk and long flowing train. Perfection!

Raven, Claire Pettibone

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All White Now! A Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Hayley & Matt

January 3rd, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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You know the old saying, right? “One beauty of a Real Wedding deserves another.” 

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Ok, so I made that ol’ saying up, but you’ll be glad I did, as move to East Yorkshire this Thursday afternoon for another dose of Real Wedding super prettiness, sent to me by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning (who are responsible for this super prettiness) and real bride Hayley (also a culprit).  This time, it’s a stunning late Summer white out. 

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With images by Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Hayley says:  In June 2011 at the time of our engagement I was still living in the UK and had travelled across to NYC for the weekend. Matt proposed during a surprise weekend stay in The James Hotel in SoHo, Manhattan.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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We were married on 8th September 2012 at St Mary’s Church, Cottingham and the reception at Rowley Manor, Rowley, East Yorkshire.  We now live in New York but I am from Cottingham originally and my family all still live there. St Mary’s is my family’s parish church and I used to ride horses at Rowley Manor as a teenager with my Dad and so both venues had sentimental value.

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When we were first looking at reception venues in the area some of the other venues had very strict policies on what we could and couldn’t do but Rowley Manor were open to whatever we wanted to do and the staff were fantastic. We also felt that Rowley Manor had the English old-world charm we were looking for – the manor itself is set in acres of private land with an old chapel, roaming horses and croquet lawns. We ended up booking the entire estate for the weekend and putting up a big marquee on the grounds.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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My dress was a Monique Lhuillier, Candy dress in ivory. I didn’t want a princess style gown but sleek, silky gowns just didn’t suit me. This dress was the perfect mix of soft elegance and glamour.  I bought the dress from Martin Ingram bridal boutique on Park Avenue, Manhattan.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Our groomsmen live all across the US so it would have been difficult to arrange for the groomsmen to have matching suits. We just asked them just to wear a black suit and then we handed out matching ties.

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The bridesmaids wore a simple, cocktail length dress from Dessy in a pale rose-bronze colour.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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My bouquet was white hydrangeas, peonies, anemones and cabbage roses. The bouquet was tied with a simple black grosgrain ribbon.  My bridesmaids carried simple bouquets of white cabbage roses and my flower girl carried a mini-pomander of white roses held by a black grosgrain ribbon.  All our flowers were by Serendipity Florist

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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We had a lot of guests come from the USA so the theme was ‘English garden’. We played croquet on the lawn, ferried the guests in a vintage double-decker bus (from East Yorkshire Coaches) and served Pimms cup cocktails.

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We chose a colour scheme of black, white and green. Our marquee was decorated in white drapery with open sides facing onto the green countryside and the horses in the fields then there were touches of black and green in our decorations, stationery and flowers. Inside the marquee we had a variety of tall and low arrangements to create visual impact and follow the theme through. We had a lot of flowers – that was one of our must-haves. Thankfully we had a sunny 25 degree day which made everything that much more perfect.

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Instead of having place cards set out on the table we had them printed in a leaf shape and hung on branches within the marquee to carry on the garden theme.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Given that a lot of our guests were travelling a long way we put together a welcome pack for each of our out of town guests. The packs contained local tourist info brochures, crisps & snacks (all with a British theme – roast beef & mustard flavour, Curly Wurly, Brit Kat etc), notepad & pen, paracetamol, water, polo mints and some Pimms cup cans, all put together in a jute bag with a union jack printed on the front for them to keep as a memento. Each of the bags also contained a welcome note, a map of events so they knew where they were going and a wedding day schedule so everyone knew when they were getting picked up and so on. 

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Instead of numbering our tables 1, 2, 3, each one of our tables was given a number that was significant to us and the table number card then had a little explanation. For example, we had a table 15,000 which represented the height in feet of our first skydive together and a table 16 which was the most number of days we’d ever spent apart despite that we started out living on different continents.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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My Dad made us some lovely wooden signs to use in the wedding. One said ‘Hayley and Matt’ and then below there was an arrow pointing to the church saying ‘I Do’ and then another pointing away from the church saying ‘We Did’. It meant a lot to us to have those little personal touches.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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We had an entirely white three tiered traditional cake decorated with white peonies and petals to add texture by Bloomsbury Wedding Cakes. The top layer was the traditional fruit cake and the other two were Cointreau and orange and lemon curd.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Instead of a guest book we bought a polaroid camera and asked guests to take a funny picture of themselves using the props we had and write a message to us. The photos were hung on string secured into a wooden frame and so it became part of the decoration by the end of the night and was a real talking point for our guests. At each place setting we had a ‘smile’ card which told guests about the camera and made suggestions about what funny poses they should do etc. This was a huge hit!

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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The Vernon Sisters performed throughout the day at the Church, the reception and dancing. In the evening they were joined by a live 8 piece band that really helped set the atmosphere. When we first started planning our wedding we said that the band was one of the things we cared about most.  We also had a fantastic DJ (Hi Life DJs) who played a great mix of songs to suit everyone. We couldn’t have been happier with him – best DJ we’ve seen.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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Perhaps our favourite thing about the whole day was to see all of our friends and family from across the USA and Europe come together for what will probably be the only time.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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After the wedding we spent ten days in the Maldives at Huvafen Fushi which was amazing – a complete paradise island – followed by three days in Dubai to break up our long trip back to the US.

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Pomp & Ceremony Wedding Planning/ Gareth Humpage Photography

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I have three top tips for other Brides Up North:

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Get a wedding planner! Planning a wedding (especially from abroad) is pretty daunting and hiring a wedding planner was the best decision we made throughout the process. From the start our planners (Pomp & Ceremony) took everything off our plate and made us feel completely reassured that everything would be perfect. Their vision and creativity helped us to decide what kind of a wedding we wanted and from there they went above and beyond to make our dream wedding become reality.  They were with us every step of the way – recommending bridesmaid dresses, arranging photographers, managing all of our suppliers, picking up the cake, managing issues with the stationers, decorating the marquee etc. etc. – On the day itself our planners took care of everything so we and our parents were able to completely relax and enjoy ourselves. Our planners even managed to secure discounts with our suppliers to save us money.

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Try not to spend too long posing for your photographs. Time flies and we ended up missing a lot of our drinks reception which is our one regret.

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Get a wedding video. Going up to our wedding everyone told us that the day would pass in the blink of an eye and they were completely right. There’s so much happening that it’s hard to take everything in and a video helps you to relive it and remember the details you missed.  We used The Big Day Film Company who were flawless, professional and make every wedding look like a movie.  

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HEARTCongratulations Hayley & Matt! HEART

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Would you like to see your own Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North?  Here’s how.

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  – Images © 2013 Gareth Humpage Photography

Pomp & Ceremony is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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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