Charlotte Balbier

The Life & Times Of A Wedding Blogger: Behind The Blog

January 19th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Wow.  It’s been an action packed couple of months behind the scenes here at Northern Revolution HQ.  A busy, but fabulous blur, with a blink and you’ll miss it family Christmas.  I’m still catching my breath from 2012 as we forge ahead with our best laid plans (and some exciting new challenges) this month. Have you checked out our action packed Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition schedule, starting at Allerton Castle on Sunday 17th February?!  Click the big pink banner at the top of the page!

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As well as the usual action packed writing, work and events schedule, whilst everyone else was hibernating we’ve thrown in the launch of a rather fabulous stately pile and brand new wedding venue at Thorp Perrow in North Yorkshire, styled some beautiful Brides Up North inspiration shoots, submitted a raft of freelance articles for the biggest and best regional and national bridal titles, completed a spot of judging for The Wedding Industry Awards and The Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards, welcomed some fabulous new Featured Suppliers to our Directory, packed up and shipped out for a long overdue huge home and office move to the (currently in a state of drilling, painting and dodgy server disarray) new Brides Up North HQ and the most important job of all: been cooking this brand new baby!

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Something tells me that the next few months are going to be the most interesting of all… eep! I am so excited.

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1  Welcome to the weekend!

2  A beautiful and snowy Allerton Castle

3  Brides Up North in print

4  Startlingly good Christmas decorations at The Dome in Edinburgh

5  Some Brides-Up-North-Pink Christmas cards, ready to go!

6  Celebrating the season with friends

7  A Scottish thistle sporting the prettiest purple shade on a work trip

8  Deserts on the conveyor belt at the Harvey Nichols Forth Floor Cafe – genius!

9  Pink crystal chandeliers at Thorp Perrow – equally genius!

10 Decorating chaos

11 A glitter mani – becoming a style staple

12 Joanna of Twisted Willow Floristry working her magic

13 Our beautiful, alternative tree

14 Making plans

15 Merry Christmas, deer!

16 The hubby, hard at work

17 Brides Up North leads the un-vintage rebellion in Wedding Magazine 

18 Have trailer, will travel!

19 Not a fashion shoot: my life, on rails

20 Discarded tulle and sequins

21 On location with Curvy Bridal 

22 Some baby buys…

23 Bed shopping, method style

24 First night pizza!

25 Let it snow

26 Keeping up appearances… my chill out time!

27 A cheeky spot of preggers DIY

28  5,000 Brides Up North VIP Goody Bags, ready for filling

29  So excited for our luxury bridal exhibitions this season!

30 A tiny patch of new baby yellow on the stripped nursery wall…

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  – Images © 2013 Brides Up North

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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Behind The Blog: The Life & Times Of A Wedding Blogger – Autumn 2012

October 24th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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1  Have you been bitten by The Wedding Bug?

2  There’s more!

3  A record attendance at our beautiful Wedding Exclusive at The Mansion

4  And the sun was shining on us too!

5  Say hello to my little friend!

6  Rainbow cranes for a village hall celebration

7, 8, 9, 10  Practising my camera skills at the Caroline Castigliano event at Lace Bridal (stunning)

11  My beautiful gown by Phil Woodhead for The North Of England Wedding Awards

12  Relaxing at the end of a surprisingly hard day shooting on location in Cyprus for Thomson Weddings

13  Primping and preening before taking to the stage

14  My office is a Yo Sushi between exciting meetings in Manchester City Centre

15  They are multiplying!

16, 17  Stunning displays and busy shows at The Mansion and Rise Hall

18  Allerton Castle or Downton Abbey?

19  Another column in Wedding Magazine

20, 21 Little surprises for my brides and goody bag chaos at Brides Up North HQ

22, 23, 24 Stunningly dressed venues at Rise Hall, Allerton Castle and Nostell Priory for our shows

25  Ready to enter the spotlight at The North Of England Wedding Awards

26  And a pretty table to relax at afterwards!

27  More goody bag mayhem ahead of our massive Super Showcase event

28  Column inches…

29  Bliss. .

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It’s been a while since we delved behind the scenes here at , so I thought that a catch up post was well overdue.  There have been quite a few ‘developments’ here at Brides Up North HQ over the past few months… not least a sell out season of super successful Brides Up North wedding exhibitions, becoming the host of the inaugural North of England Wedding Awards, adding new talent to the team in the form of a brand new regular guest blogger and a full time member of support staff (hello Kate!), more fabulous Featured Suppliers joining the Northern Revolution and swelling our ranks, many meetings about brand new Brides Up North projects in 2013 and some very exciting new venues for some huge wedding shows next year.  All whilst maintaining and (I think) improving upon our daily schedule of twice a day wedding inspiration, features and a real variety of stunning Real Weddings.  Oh, and a growing baby bump

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It’s been one helluva ride!

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As you do, I tend to take pictures of the *fun stuff* rather than the hours days spent hunched over VAT returns, contracts and spread sheets, but that’s what a wedding blog is all about isn’t it?  The fun stuff… and as it would appear, the use of a great under eye concealer to mask all those very late nights and almost as early mornings that go into making a growing business a success. 

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I’m also pleased to report that whilst all this has been going on, our exhibition attendances and blog hits have been reaching new record highs (that’s what it’s all about after all!) and that Brides Up North is happily sitting right up there at the very top of the charts with the other top wedding blog names for Great Britain popularity rankings on Alexa.com. The Northern Revolution is in full swing!

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When I look back at how much fun it’s been, how much this brand has achieved and where I hope I can take it in 2013, it’s all worth it!  Some exciting times are coming up…

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I hope you enjoy this peek into my World!

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Brides Up North – Images © 2012 Brides Up North – by iPhone and iPad

This is not a sponsored post

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

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The North Of England Wedding Awards: The Movie!

October 10th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Regular readers of the wedding blog (hello you!) will know that I was recently thrilled to be invited to host not one but two glittering gala dinners in Yorkshire and the North East on behalf of The Wedding Guide at their inaugural North of England Wedding Awards

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Its pretty nerve wracking standing up in front of your assembled colleagues, peers and industry friends – the great and good of our wonderful Northern wedding industry – and playing hostess with the mostess for the evening (in the full glare of those spotlights) but I managed to channel my inner Holly Willoughby *indulge me* and the show went on!

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Wedding Awards 2012 from Sarah MacVean on Vimeo.

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I genuinely am happy to see Northern wedding businesses getting the recognition they deserve for being bloomin’ brilliant at what they do, and I talked about this from my soapbox as part of my role as host.  Here is a little excerpt from what I said:

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When the ladies at The Wedding Guide told me about their plans for this inaugural awards ceremony, I was

truly thrilled. What has taken so long?

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Through my Brides Up North blog, brand, directory, wedding industry networking parties and wedding exhibitions – both on and offline – I have spent the past two years campaigning hard for recognition on behalf of our regional talents. You might say that I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder.

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All too often – be that in magazines, the media or online – the focus is so strongly on the South of the country that I feel the quality of skills and services provided by our wedding industry in the North of the UK are overlooked.

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It’s become a catchphrase of mine, but through my brand and the mouthpiece it allows me I’ve been urging Brides to support their local businesses {amazing businesses like those represented in this room tonight} by Joining The Northern Revolution and choosing to work with the wonderful suppliers right on their doorstep. And it’s working.

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With higher unique hits to the site than ever, record attendances across the board at the Brides Up North events and an inbox bursting with couples looking for local recommendations it appears that the message is getting across.

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Finally, with an awards ceremony not only recognising but dedicated to bridal talent in the North, and voted for by your customers, I feel like we have taken a big step in the right direction. Let’s celebrate our achievements because things are truly fabulous up North.

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I meant every word. 

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Massive personal thanks must go to Phil Woodhead of Grace The Weddings Company who dressed me (and a growing baby bump) for both gala dinners, in head to toe “” pink lace – shoulder pads, peplum, train and all.  This man is a design legend (and when I heard that he had every back issue of Vogue from the last 20 years in storage I just knew that we were going to get on!).  You can see him getting a huge clap on our video clip! Contact him to discuss designing your dream gown.  Like, now. 

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Drawing (c) Phil Woodhead Grace The Weddings Co

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Huge congratulations once again to all the winners and finalists in every category!  I’ll be back soon with all the official photographs from both events, but for now, enjoy this little film - courtesy of Macvean Videography  – which should give you just a little insight into what the night is all about. 

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North East Winners

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Graphic Embers – Stationery

Kelly Ann’s Cakes – Cakes & Sweet Treats

CWC Malings Ltd – Catering Company

Make-Up by Jo – Health & Beauty Provider

Fern – Floristry

Rosina Brown Bridesmaids- Bridal Party & Accessories Retailer

Rosina Brown Bridal – Bridal Gown Retailer

Webbs Special Occasion Cars – Wedding Transport Provider

Dandy Events – Wedding Enhancements

Alexander Lomas – Music & Entertainment

North East Wedding Planners – Wedding Services

One Digital Image- Videography

Figment Studios – Photography

Beamish Hall – Joint Winner – Venues

Longhirst Hall – Joint Winner – Venues

Beckwith Events – Judges Choice Award

Pansy Potters – New Business Award

The Wooden Ladybird Company- New Business Runner Up

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Yorkshire Winners

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Butterflies & Snapdragons – Stationery

Couture Cake Design – Cakes & Sweet Treats

CWC Malings Ltd – Catering Company

Gel Bridal Studio – Health & Beauty Provider

Twisted Willow – Floristry

Forevermore Bridalwear – Bridal Party & Accessories Retailer

Yorkshire Menswear – Menswear Retailer

Curvy Bridal – Bridal Gown Retailer

Reece Wedding Cars – Joint winner, Wedding Transport Provider

The Yorkshire Heritage Bus Co Ltd – Joint winner, Wedding Transport Provider

Chair Covers Yorkshire – Wedding Enhancements

Alexandra Parker – Music & Entertainment

Love To Marry – Wedding Services

Know Media – Videography

Marmalade Photography – Photography

Hazlewood Castle – Venues

Duncan Mansfield Photography – Judges Choice Award

Rebecca Downes Designer Dressmaker – New Business

Buttercup Boutique – New Business Runner Up

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Brides Up North – Video © 2012 Macvean Videography

Brides Up North sponsored The North Of England Wedding Awards

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

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Behind The Blog: The Life & Times Of A Wedding Blogger #3

June 16th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Following the conclusion of a successful season of Brides Up North Wedding Exclusives and a fabulous Super Showcase (click here for news of new dates for Autumn 2012 and to put them in your diary – you won’t want to miss out!), things have still been busy behind the scenes at the wedding blog.

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As well as planning ahead for the new season and organising three wedding industry Tweet Ups,  I’ve carved out time to pursue new projects (more news on that very soon!), catch up on all the admin on the business side of the blog (almost!), contribute to some amazing styled shoots, carry on with my freelance submissions for Wedding Magazine, Wedding Ideas Magazine and Hitched Magazine amongst others – watch out for Brides Up North popping up as a regular columnist in some other titles soon too – and take some much needed time out with the hubby, whilst bringing you a double dose of wedding lovely every day.

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I’m starting the second half of 2012 brimming with excitement and some huge plans for the future.  With an ever growing Directory of fabulous Northern Suppliers and better blog content than ever (contact me if you would like to make a submission) the Northern Revolution is picking up the pace.  It’s been fun so far, but I have a feeling it’s going to get even better.

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Here’s a sneaky peek behind the scenes, courtesy of my iphone. 

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From the top:

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1  Blogger having issues using a camera

2  At the Derby for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

3  Will work for Pic n Mix

4  Join The Northern Revolution!  The fabulous Brides Up North limited edition totes

5  Will work for Champagne – late night editing

6  On location with Curvy Bridal and Joe Dodsworth Photography 

7  Will work for puppies

8  Festival flowers at the Brides Up North Tweet Up North East

9  Oh what a night!

10 A messy BUN HQ

11 A messier BUN HQ, as the pink takes over…

12 Valued downtime with the hubby

13 If K Middy can, so can I!

14 My holiday office

15 My real holiday office

16 Designs for something special

17 Draped in bunting and ready to rock the Brides Up North Tweet Up North East

18 Will work for wine – more late night editing

19 An audience with The Dotted Crochets

20 My great friend Chris ready to get wed!

21 Bridal hair, Marie Antoinette style

22 Beautiful blooms by Twisted Willow Floristry

23 Calm chaos

24 I’ll be having the Brides Up North pink please!

25 A new do for Summer

26 The perils of a life constantly on the go (off to the Apple store I go then…)

27 Football’s coming home?

28 Have laptop, will travel – a temporary cafe office on the go

29 Isn’t it all urgent?

30 Can you come to live with me Baked Cupcakery?

31 Blinging it up with Swarovski and shellac

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Have a brilliant Saturday Brides Up North. 

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Let’s have a head count! Hands up – who is saying “I Do” today?  Eeek!

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Good Luck!

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  – Images © 2012 Brides Up North

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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This Crazy Little Thing Called Wedding Blogging

March 19th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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It seems like this has been here there and everywhere over the past couple of months, whilst still somehow finding the time to share gorgeousness like this, this and this here on the wedding blog.  I’m pleased to report that all this hard work seems to be paying off, as visits to have never been higher than in this first quarter of 2012.  So I guess I’m doing something right!

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You can’t ride the rollercoaster of starting and developing your own brand and business without the odd pit stop though, or you might go crazy (or more crazy)!  So, weary of mind, body and spirit, I thought it was high time for two things.  Firstly, a little break to have some “real life” fun, hell, just to have a real life!  And secondly, a long over due personal post to recap just some of of what I’ve been up to behind the scenes.

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I always find writing my more personal posts slightly more daunting than say, a Real Wedding or fashion feature, but you guys seem to like them and it’s a nice way of reflecting on all my hard work – and proving that bloggers don’t just spend their days on an extended holiday or lazing on the sofa.  Not this one anyway!

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So here goes.  An insight into the crazy World here at Brides Up North HQ.  Excuse the limited and rather rubbish selection of iPhone pictures, I’m no professional!

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Let me take you back.  Way back, to a snowy week at the start of February.  We thought that we were home and dry, Winter was over, and then all of a sudden – flurries of the white stuff.  In my previous life as a solicitor, an unexpected snowfall and the very possibility of a snow day would have been met with unprecedented glee – but the week before my very first Brides Up North Wedding Exclusive (and in a fairly remote castle location too?) – No thank you very much. 

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Lets just say that there was a lot of weather forecast watching, prayers being fired upwards left right and centre and a few expletives that week.  But, just as I had accepted that what would be would be, the snow suddenly disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and we were in the clear!

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All ready to go!

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The first ever Brides Up North events team!

AKA The hubby and my dad – cheap labour, but a bit too much back chat Winking smile 

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The inaugural Brides Up North Wedding Exclusive at Allerton Castle ended up being a roaring success – way beyond my hopes.  Beautifully decorated by our 40 fantastic exhibitors, this stunning venue really came to life and the day saw a record attendance.  I couldn’t have asked for more, and my thanks must go out to each and every exhibitor, visiting bride and the Dine and Allerton teams for making the day so excellent.

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Never one to take much of a breather, there was no lie in for me the next day and it was onwards and upwards, as the next Brides Up North Wedding Exclusive – this time at The Mansion in Leeds – followed a very short two weeks afterwards.  One record attendance event in a fortnight would have done it for me, but the turn out at The Mansion exceeded all expectations and it was another truly fabulous day.  Yorkshire, you rock.

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And then, the hat trick!  Brides Up North rounded off a very busy three week period with the Brides Up North Super Showcase Wedding Exhibition, this time in the North East, at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham.  This one was a biggy to say the least – in fact it was the largest free bridal event in the area this Spring – with over 100 exhibitors, two professional fashion shows and nearly 1000 visitors.  Woah mama!  That’s a lot for one gal to coordinate!  Luckily I had a team of fabulous helpers and each and every exhibitor really worked hard to make it a knock your socks off show.  To say that it was a good day is a complete understatement – and this first Super Showcase has to be the highlight of my Brides Up North career thus far.  Thank you to everyone who supported this huge event.  I can’t wait till the next one… and here’s a clue – you might want to save Sunday 9th September in your diaries now!

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A little Snaparazzi action with the boys from AMV

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After a few glasses of bubbly and a twelve hour sleep, it was time to boogie all my cares away.  In the week following the Super Showcase I moved back into my old bedroom at my parents’ house for a few days and awaited the eagerly anticipated AMV Live Music and Brides Up North Battle of The Wedding Bands at As You Like It Jesmond.  The first event of it’s kind and oh what a night it was!  The whole of the downstairs venue was packed to the rafters with lovely couples looking to book their wedding band whilst six amazing acts performed some classic party hits and more contemporary tunes.  AMV Live Music were flooded with bookings and I just drank some vino, bopped about chatting to brides and grooms and had the time of my life.  It was so much fun to let off some much needed steam but also to take the time to get excited with my readers about their forthcoming weddings.  When can we do it all over again?

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It’s been back to the desk since then, catching up on admin – all the boring bits about running your own business – plus planning the next two Brides Up North Wedding Exclusives in Yorkshire in just under a month’s time (have you noticed the new banner at the top of the blog?  You can register for your VIP Goody bags now! GO GO GO!), plotting some really rather fabulous blog content including one SERIOUSLY kick ass competition – coming up very soon – and finalising details for the next set of Brides Up North Tweet Up wedding industry networking events.

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I’ve also found the time to attend The British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate, including the twinkling Bridal Buyer Awards where I was thrilled to be part of a panel of “web experts” (who, moi?) judging the Best Retailer Website Award, delivered a webinar and three seminars to the Forward Ladies and The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners on blogging for business and even been nominated for a little award of my own – for Best Wedding Directory at The Bridal Magazine Awards in just under a month.

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Told you that I’d been busy. 

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So one of the most nerve wracking, exciting, thrilling and dynamic periods of my life was wrapped up beautifully this weekend with a break in London with my hubby, and then joining my family and friends to watch my great friend (and honorary little bro) Nick wipe the floor at the Top Model UK competition – winning both the top prize and the public vote.  Nick’s a Brides Up North model, so I’ve been campaigning hard for votes here on the wedding blog and it seems that your votes really did count!  Thanks to each and every person who voted for all of your support.  I can’t wait to see where his career might go, and we discovered him ladies!

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There’s been a fair bit of bubbly consumed this weekend, but I’m starting the week fresh and bursting with new ideas.  I’m never one to rest on my laurels for long, so what’s next for Brides Up North?  Well, just you wait and see…

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A couple of bottles of bubbles later…next year’s winner?  Working it Zoolander Style on the Red Carpet!

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Brides Up North – Images © 2012 Brides Up North/ Snaparazzi

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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