Brides Up North

Twinkle, Twinkle! Tulle & Feathers For A Real Wedding In Saltburn On Sea: Sarah & Ste

May 9th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Becky Mitchell Photography

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There’s nothing I like more than meeting my readers in person during their wedding planning process, hearing their excitement, helping them out with supplier recommendations and lending an ear to any wediquette issues they might have.  Even better if they then share their beautiful real wedding, packed with contributions from fabulous local suppliers, here on these pages. 

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That’s exactly what happened with today’s couple Ste and Sarah, who I was lucky enough to meet last summer at the Brides Up North Battle Of The Wedding Bands with AMV Live Music at As You Like It.  I knew then that Sarah’s wedding would be beautiful, and these images by Becky Mitchell Photography don’t disappoint.  

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Sarah says:  Ste and I have been together for 8 years after meeting through our friends Linda and John and finally getting together thanks to their wedding when I was a bridesmaid & Ste was an usher.

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Ste proposed in December 2011 after a brilliant Kasabian gig in Nottingham. It was a perfect choice as the first gig we ever went to together was to see Kasabian (also in Nottingham!) in 2005.

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We were married on 28th December 2012 at Emmanuel Church in our hometown of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, followed by a reception at Grinkle Park Hotel, a few miles away.

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We absolutely love living in Saltburn so it was important to us to get married here and to be able to capture the beautiful town in our day. We had some great photos taken at home before I left for the church and after the ceremony down by the beach and on the pier – so glad the weather was kind to us!

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As quite a few of our friends have been married already, when we were looking around at wedding venues we wanted somewhere different that we hadn’t been to lots of times already as we wanted our memories of being there to be of our special day. We visited a few possibilities but when we went to see Grinkle we knew it was the right place for us. The staff were so welcoming and accommodating and the venue was impressive yet welcoming. We had sole use of the venue too which was a huge bonus.

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We were able to select our own menu and then guests chose their preferred dishes via their RSVP (cue an impressively complex spreadsheet to keep track of it all!) The service on the day was exceptional and the food was amazing! The staff had spent so much time before we arrived setting everything out just how we had wanted it – the attention to detail was brilliant!

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I wouldn’t say our wedding had a theme as such – I guess I wanted it to be ‘wintery’ which influenced our choice of colours (dark purple and subtle flashes of silver sparkle where we could), but mainly our day was about the things we liked and the people we love.

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We had 90 of our close family and friends there to share in our day, with more joining us for the evening reception and lots of locals waiting outside the church to wish us well. Our family were a big part of the day with my cousin and Ste’s sister being two of our bridesmaids, Ste’s brother being an usher, and our gorgeous nieces (23 months and 4 years old!) were flower girls. 

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I was ridiculously excited to go dress shopping and so I was slightly disappointed to find ‘the one’ in the first shop! I visited a few more places but nothing compared so the decision was made. My dress wasn’t anything like I had imagined getting but when I tried it on it was perfect.

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My dress was called ‘New York’ by Grace Harrington and I bought it from Elizabeth George in Middlesbrough – easily the nicest bridal shop I have ever been in! Katie, Laura and all their staff were so lovely and friendly and made the whole process so relaxed and easy.

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My friend Karen lent me her gorgeous veil as my ‘something borrowed’ and then I wore a Jenny Packham bracelet and an Amanda Wyatt tiara. Ste bought me some beautiful Swarovski earrings for Christmas, which I wore, along with an Armani watch he bought me as a wedding present.

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The bridesmaids wore dark purple dresses by Mori Lee – also purchased from the lovely ladies at Elizabeth George. I commissioned an independent jewellers in the town to make bespoke necklaces for them all from pearls and Swarovski crystals – they are all slightly different so are unique – hopefully something they will be able to treasure forever.

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The flower girls had ivory dresses from Debenhams and sparkly shoes to match the bridesmaids. They had gorgeous purple sequinned heart headbands made by the talented Katy from What Katy Did Next, who also made some sparkly clip on hearts to jazz up my shoes!

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The groomsmen wore silk tailcoats suits from 1860 suit hire by Greenwoods.

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I carried a bouquet of ivory roses beautifully put together by the talented Christine at Flowerbox in Guisborough. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet with some purple fuchsias to tie in with their dresses.

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Lovedub Cars provided the brilliant wedding campervans which (somewhat precariously!) transported us up and down the hilly local roads. My niece still raves about them and complains that she doesn’t want to go in a normal car anymore but would rather travel in a “wedding bus”!

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It was ]important to us to choose local suppliers but also people that were genuinely interested and excited about our day.

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I could rave about many of the people we used – the amazing Becky Mitchell was our photographer and she and her sidekick Chrissy put in a looooong shift to capture all the different parts of our day for us.

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Alli from Ruby Shoes Wedding made all our much admired bespoke wedding stationery and a few extras for the day. She is such a lovely lady as well as being talented and very patient (I’m very indecisive!) so I would completely recommend checking out her work and the design services she offers for brides and grooms.

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Our local chocolate shop, Chocolinis, made our favours which were a chocolate heart and champagne cork wrapped inside silver crackers.

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We had a chocolate cake with white chocolate icing from M&S – it tasted amazing and was great value for money, especially considering the cost of cakes from other specialist suppliers. Because of the dates I ended up having to collect the cake on Christmas Eve (!) along with all the people collecting their turkeys and Christmas supplies but it was absolutely fine and the staff were great helping us get it into the car safely! The staff at Grinkle assembled it for us on the day and our customised peg-doll cake toppers (also from What Katy Did Next) stood on top proudly!

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Sophie from Stitch and Glitz made the reception room look amazing with the tealight candelabras and the colour coordinated chair covers.  I also tried to keep costs down my making things myself or buying them from non-wedding suppliers. Ebay was my best friend and saved us a fortune!

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For our table numbers we had photos of ourselves at the age that corresponded to the number – which gave everyone a giggle! We even had a caption competition which were hilarious to read afterwards! We also had lots of photos of family members’ weddings framed and placed around the venue which people loved looking at. 

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There were a few surprises on the day for our guests, such as a sweet buffet (put together myself!), a retro Snaparazzi Photobooths (hilariously brilliant! ) and even a visit from Santa who gave out presents to the children and a few special guests

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We were lucky enough to be able to book the amazing Livewire who we found at the Brides Up North event ‘Battle of the Wedding Bands’ at As You Like It. They were simply brilliant – even our friends and relatives who are hard to impress musically were raving about them!

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I’m honestly not sure what my favourite part of the day was because I absolutely loved it all so much! The ceremony was so lovely – a great balance of happy and romantic – and the speeches during the reception were brilliant – fully but emotional too. Livewire playing our first dance – ‘Happiness’ by Kasabian – was pretty special too. My face ached so much by the end of the day from smiling and laughing so much – it was THE best day ever and everything we had hoped and dreamed of.

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We had two amazing weeks in Mauritius after the wedding – perfect for escaping the horrible British winter and recharging our batteries after all the excitement and hectic time of the wedding. It was horrible coming home though!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to use suppliers and businesses who give good customer service and are interested in you and making your day special – it makes it much easier to part with the cash and takes the stress away! I absolutely loved every minute of planning our wedding so enjoy this special time and I hope you have the wonderful day you wish for – we did!

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Congratulations Sarah & Ste!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North?  Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Becky Mitchell Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Sage, Sparkle & Song! A Real Wedding In The North East – Kimberley & Andrew

February 21st, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Grange Photography

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Today we join Kimberley and Andrew for their beautiful Real Wedding at Hardwick Hall HotelNow what could be happening there this weekend?

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Hardwick Hall Wedding Fair - Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza

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Oh yes!  I had almost forgotten about that!  Not really, click here for more details and to pre-register for your VIP Bride-To-Be goody bag.

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My bad. Forgive my shameless plug, and let’s head back to the sparkle and song of Kimberley and Andrew’s classic yet contemporary wedding, with contributions from lots of our favourite North East suppliers, and images by Grange Photography.

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Kimberley says:  We got engaged on 2nd January 2011.  We went for a walk around Greatham Church and he got down on one knee and asked to meet him back there on our wedding day. I was totally surprised really didn’t expect it… cue lots of happy tears!

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We were married on 25th August 2012 at Greatham Church (of course!) with the reception at Hardwick Hall Hotel, where we fell in love with the beautiful grounds and chandeliers and the staff were so helpful.

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We chose a colour scheme of sage green & ivory.

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I chose a Ronald Joyce dress from Christabel & Keats and accessories by Jenny Packham

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My bridesmaids wore floor length strapless chiffon dresses from Christabel & Keats and the groomsmen wore traditional tailored grey suits from Bakers in Middlesborough.

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We travelled in style – in my friend’s dad beautiful Bentley and I also chose a VW camper van for my bridesmaids, which they loved.

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I copied Kate Middleton’s bouquet, as I loved it!  It had lily of the valley, gypsophila, small roses and a few crystals.

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I loved every second of the day and wish that we could do it all again.  It really was the best day of our lives.

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We love music, so had a table plan based on our favourite bands.  In the evening we chose to have a live  band called The Lizards, as well as a retro photo booth from Snaparazzi Photo Booths.

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We chose a vanilla sponge, fruit and chocolate praline cake with ivory fondant from Celebration Cakes.  We added a sage green ribbon and a gorgeous brooch.  Beautiful and delicious!

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After the wedding we went to Thailand. Bangkok, Koh Samui & Phuket. We seriously didn’t want to come home – it’s such a beautiful country! 

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure your organised and well prepared so you can enjoy every moment. Don’t stress about the small things it all comes together on the day.

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Congratulations Kimberley & Andrew!

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Fancy seeing your Real Wedding on these pages?  Get in touch!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Grange Photography will be exhibiting at the Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza Grand Wedding Exhibition at Hardwick Hall Hotel, this Sunday. Come along and say hello – the event is FREE ENTRY and is open to the public from 12pm – 4pm.

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Click here for more information about the event and to reserve your VIP bride to be goody bag, packed with treats, exclusive discounts and magazines.

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– Images © 2013 Grange Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Love Birds! A Real Wedding In The North East – Sameera & Harry

November 30th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Northumberland Wedding by GS Studio

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Ok, so it’s Friday afternoon, and we are just about to tick over into Advent. The season of mince pies, late night shopping, day time sequins (ok, they are always in season at Brides Up North HQ), mulled wine, twinkling light, log fires, Quality Street, Christmas parties, winter weddings, acceptable two day hangovers and Santa Claus is almost upon us. And that’s a very good reason to be cheerful.

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As is a last bit of Real Wedding eye candy to complete a week of loveliness here on Brides Up North!  This afternoon’s celebration was sent to me by Gemma of GS Studio, and takes place at a Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue – and one that I had the chance to visit recently to give my personal seal of approval – the gorgeous and perfectly formed Woodhill Hall.  Let’s hear from Hong Kong based real bride Sammy about the inspirations behind her big day. 

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Woodhill Hall Wedding by GS Studio

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Sameera says: We got engaged in a little French private kitchen in Hong Kong, where we live, on September 12th 2010. Harry took me out for a birthday meal: it’s one of our favourite, special occasion places to go. The tables are all partitioned with beautiful hanging fabrics, so you’re unaware of any other diners. It’s definitely the best birthday present I’ve ever received!

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North East Wedding by GS Studio   Wedding in the North East by GS Studio

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We were married on August 15th 2012 (I’m a teacher so it had to be in the school holidays) It was either that or summer 2013, and well, we just really didn’t want to have a long engagement, and 11 months was plenty of time to plan. Harry works in events and as an art teacher, with a design background the task of planning a wedding was more exciting than daunting.

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We got married at Woodhill Hall in Otterburn, Northumberland. It had to be Northumberland, growing up in Newcastle, I couldn’t have imagined getting married in any other part of the world.

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As we were planning our Wedding from Hong Kong we had to base out decision on internet searches, and the rest was on price and instinct, and the vibe we got from the venue in their response to us. We thought Woodhill Hall looked like the perfect home away from home venue, and Corinne who owns Woodhill, came across as warm and accommodating, and reassured us that she had worked with overseas couples and it would pose no problem at all. The price was unbeatable and we were able to bring in our own caterers, and a very reasonable corkage. We didn’t visit the venue till a month before the wedding, but when we walked in it was like Christmas Eve… we were so excited, it was perfect!

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A ‘Love birds’ theme ran throughout the styling of the wedding and the saying ‘happily ever after begins here’ was a huge part of creating the magic of our wedding. I’ve always had a thing for birdcages, they had to be part of my wedding!  We chose a colour scheme of gold, white and wood, with a touch of dusky pink and blue. 

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I found my dress in a little boutique in Hong Kong. Finding a dress in Hong Kong was not a nice process. Boutiques were rude and unfriendly with either a huge deposit to put down to to try on, or a fee for trying on each dress – once place was nearly 30 pounds per dress! But I stumbled across a boutique called Hitched, the owner was amazing, and I found the dress! Beautiful full length, fully beaded and embroidered, with a key hole back. The cut wasn’t quite what I wanted but she sent me to a wonderful tailor who customised the dress to suit my needs.

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I also had a diva like dress change! During the Wedding Breakfast I wore a fully beaded and sequined Wedding Saree. It was so heavy! Harry changed at this point too, his outfit was almost as bling as mine!

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Three out of four of my bridesmaids live in the UK (two in Newcastle and one in London, with the fourth living in Hong Kong as well) so this posed quite an issue initially, as we were not going to be in England until the run up to the wedding. So I decided on sarees: one piece of fabric fits all and the perfect way to tie in my Pakistani culture. I couldn’t find anything suitable in Hong Kong, so sent my mum images of what I liked, and she found the perfect match in London– using whatsapp to keep checking with me! The girls then went to my mum to get their blouses fitted, and on the day, Mum and my Aunt dressed the girls. They looked stunning!

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I had a beaded bouquet of white hydrangeas and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were small versions of mine. 

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We used Katherine’s florists. I used silk flowers for the table centrepieces, which we chose in Hong Kong from what can only be described as a department store full of silk flowers. I then made an appointment with Katherine’s Florists for as soon as we arrived in Newcastle to match the bouquets to the silk arrangements. Katherine’s was the first florist I contacted, and they were fantastic!

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Our photographer was Gem Smith from GS Studio.  Despite having recently been hit by a car, Gem brought such a fantastic energy to our day. If you meet her you’d find it impossible NOT to smile when she points her camera at you.

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Straight after the ceremony we had an Indian Dhol band, Bombay Baja during the champagne reception. They came on again in the evening as evening guests were arriving, and as our band for the evening were setting up. We hired Funk Conspiracy. As You Like it is my go to bar when I’m back in the North East so I googled their regular acts!

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I pretty much hand made everything:  invitations, order of service, menus, table plan and decorations. The favours were hand made tea bags, combining both our favourite teas, with our ‘love bird tea’ labels. A basket full of tea bags was left out for evening guests as well. Working in a school, I made use of the DT department, with laser cut wooden hearts for the name cards that I used a wood burner to hand write/ burn names into, the centre pieces were hand made and we bought the bird cages from Hong Kong’s famous bird market.

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We wanted to add as much fun to the day as we could, so I designed chalk board speech bubbles to amuse guests at their tables (two of my art students were desperate to be involved in my wedding so they helped paint them!)

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To keep with my background, and also Harry’s Dad was born in India, we used Asian caterers Saffron, from Glasgow, and everyone was well fed! Can’t beat a curry!  For the evening meal we hired a pizza oven, The Woodfire Wagon, a new company in the North East. Freshly made stone baked pizza, and they even did gluten free bases (for me and some G/F guests). We really wanted to keep the day fresh and different, but without being to ‘fussy’.

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My friend Laura made absolutely beautiful cup cakes, with a small cake top. She did the most amazing job. She’s so creative, I simply sent her the colour scheme and pictures of the flowers. She had the invitation too of course. What she came up with could not have been more perfect!

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It may sound clichéd but I really loved every second from waking up, with my bridesmaids, till going to bed with my husband… I didn’t want the day to end. The most special moment was a moment after the ceremony when I looked at Harry and thought, wow, you’re my husband, and I looked around the room and it was full of all the special people in our lives. It was magic.

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There was a surreal moment on the dance floor when suddenly Harry was crowd surfing, and every man in the room had their tie around their head! The day was the most fun I have ever had! I’m still buzzing.

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We had Snaparazzi Photobooth, which brought such a buzz to the evening, with a trunk load of fancy dress, and bizarre props, we’re still getting comments about how much fun people had in the booth!

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As we spent a month in England for the run up to the wedding, we were out of holiday time, so we’ll go on our honeymoon, to Sri Lanka, at Christmas, something to look forward to!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be take the time to share a moment with your new husband, leaving our guests to have our photos taken was a great way to do this. Make the most of that time, and keep stealing moments together, in between being a good host.

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I guess the other thing is follow your instinct, if having to hand tie 200 favour bags is what you want to do to add that special touch, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I don’t regret a second of the time I spent on what people might say are ‘unnecessary details’ Do the things that you think are important because it is your day, and if it’s important to you then it IS important! And after all that planning is done, on the day hand it all over to someone else and let them deal with the logistics so you can enjoy being a bride!

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Congratulations Sameera & Harry!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on the blog. Here’s how

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  – Images © 2012

GS Studio is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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