What We Wore to a Wedding

This past weekend, we attended the wedding of our sweet friends Joe and Cheryl in Newcastle. It was a fantastic do at Wylam Brewery (which is a great wedding venue if you’re in the market for one), and our first with Benjamin, who was an absolute champ all day and basically just slept throughout. 

It was extra fun picking out an outfit for Benjamin to wear, rather than just focusing on my own glad rags (he wore a matching outfit with his best friend Walter, who is a few months older – the cuteness was almost too much to handle). One day he’ll have his own opinions about clothes, so I’m making the most of being able to dress him up how I like – and I like to think that he’s quite a stylish baby as a result! I could have bought all of the tiny suits in Mamas & Papas but since he’ll grow out of it in a hot second, I saved a few pennies and just went for this adorable polka dot shirt and flat cap combination. He already had a little pair of navy trousers from John Lewis, too, and so the outfit was complete! 

Just a few weeks after having a baby is not the best time to be searching for an outfit to wear for a wedding and I found it a little traumatic to try and dress my new shape. It’s not so much that I’m hating my post-partum body (although I also wouldn’t say that I *love* it, either) but just that it is new to me, so I’m not sure how to dress it to its best. A little extra softness around the stomach is all well and good when you’re wearing loose fitting tops and jumpers, but all of my previous wedding outfits were bodycon so I had to search for something new. I have always thought of myself as someone who can’t wear yellow, but it is my favourite colour – so whilst it’s maybe not the most flattering ever, it makes me happy so I decided to just go for it and I’m so glad that I did. This ASOS dress was super fun to wear and dance in, and helped me feel confident when I could easily have gone the other way! 

I’ll admit it was a little stressful to have a baby with us all day; although he was super well-behaved, it meant that you couldn’t just flit off to the dance floor or to grab another drink without checking someone was watching him. It was also rather stressful getting out of the house in time (although we then got lost and missed most of the ceremony – much to my dismay!) when you’re not only dressing yourself but also a tiny person. But, as always, it was lovely to be at a wedding with so many of our friends; weddings are where I have made some of my happiest memories and I am sad that we are coming to the end of a run of them. But… not before I am a bridesmaid for the first time at the end of October! 

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One Whole Year

Leeds City Wedding

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

One whole year and one day. That’s how long we’ve been married. A lifetime and no time at all. 

How wonderful, truly, it is to be loved. In any capacity. Our wedding was not just about the love that I have for Paul, and that he has for me, although that is part of it. It was also about the love that we have for and from our families and friends. 

But how ridiculously lucky I have been, and still am, to love and be loved by Paul. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to look after my heart and to be on a life-team with. That has been proven to me time and again over this year, at times big and small. People say that marriage is hard, and that the first year of marriage is the hardest – but for me, the opposite is true. It is easy to love and be loved by Paul, and I attribute that far more to his spirit than to mine, which is high-maintenance at best.

Leeds City Wedding

I have no doubt that there are far more storms in our future for us to weather than there have been in our past. Sometimes I worry about what is to come – at times it feels like I’m using up all of my quota of happiness all at once, and that stressful times are just around the corner – but I’m hoping that’s just my general anxiety trying to spook me rather than a real premonition of the future. That said, life is full of things both trying and truly wonderful, so we can only hope that the latter outweighs the former. 

I often think about the way that Paul and I met, and it weirds me out that we ended up here. For him to read my blog all those years ago and to take a chance on sending me an email, and for us to end up married? I could never have imagined it, but I am so grateful for it. The Internet has brought me so many things, but Paul is the best one of them. 

wedding at left bank leeds

I can only apologise for the soppy nature of this post – it’s certainly not my usual fare. I want to share some wisdom on a year of marriage, but what can I possibly share? It’s a lifetime but also no time at all – and I feel I’ve learnt nothing, really. Nothing that will be of any interest or help to you, anyway. I hope to stand here (or stand somewhere – who knows how the Internet will look by then?) in fifty years and really have something to share, but until then I’ll just think about how lucky I am. 

 

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Leeds Wedding Suppliers

leeds town hall wedding

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Part of the reason why I wanted to share our wedding snaps on the blog is so I can show off the incredible people who helped make the whole day happen, in the hopes that someone else who is looking for wedding suppliers will stumble across my recommendations.

If you are planning a wedding in Leeds or Yorkshire, then all of these wonderful people and companies come with my highest praise so I hope you do check them out! 

Photography – Jenna Woodward Photography 

wedding flowers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times more, but hiring Jenna and Ewan to take our photos was the best decision that we made for our wedding. It was the first thing we sorted because I knew as soon as I saw her photos that I wanted Jenna on board Team Wedding! We are so thrilled with all of the photos (almost all 800 of them!), and I hope you’ll agree with how beautiful she made everything look! 

Wedding Dress – The Bridal Emporium 

wedding dress

Claire at The Bridal Emporium designed and made my beautiful dress for me, from a handful of Pinterest pictures and my vague ramblings about tutus and sparkles. She made the whole process feel really fun, and made my dreams of pink and sparkles into something beautiful and classy. Her shop is absolutely gorgeous, filled with vintage treasures and pretty pieces, and she is an absolute dream. My wedding dress was still one of the most expensive things that I have ever bought, but it was exactly what I wanted and I felt so much better giving all of that money over to Claire, who designed and made the whole thing herself here in Leeds, than I did to a big name wedding brand. 

Wedding Rings – Tiago Jewellery 

rings by tiago jewellery

This is the only non-Leeds supplier on the list but I wanted to give a little shout out to the company that made our wedding rings. Paul was adamant that he wanted a ring made of Sheffield Steel, and this was the only place I could find that could guarantee that the steel was Sheffield born-and-raised, as it were. He was obviously passionate about his job, and about Sheffield, and we got to meet his amazing dog, which made the whole process a total win. Our rings were exactly as we wanted them, and we couldn’t be happier. 

Wedding Food – El Kantina 

el kantina

I wanted our wedding meal to reflect some of our favourite food. Too often wedding food can be a little bland and forgettable, which is the curse of trying to cater for a large number of people, but I was adamant that I wanted something a bit more exciting. As we both love Mexican food, it was definitely a no-brainer. We initially approached our favourite restaurant, Pinche Pinche, to see if they could help us out but when that sadly proved impossible, we sought out El Kantina. They couldn’t have been more helpful and, having worked with our venue before, made the whole process so easy. The food was delicious and although I didn’t each much myself (having too much fun!), some people went back for seconds, which is always a good sign! 

food by el kantina

Wedding Cake – The Sunshine Bakery

wedding cake by sunshine bakery

For a while I toyed with the idea of making my own wedding cake, but in the end I’m glad I decided against it as our cake from Sunshine Bakery was totally delicious and super reasonably priced. They really are lovely in there, and made my dreams of a naked chocolate wedding cake adorned with fresh berries into a tasty reality. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’ve barely ever eaten the cake at other people’s weddings, and most people I’ve talked to have said the same. People definitely got stuck into this one though, probably because it looked so gosh darn beautiful. If you’re after any sort of cake, I have no doubt that the Sunshine Bakery can sort you out! 

Wedding Cheese Cake – George & Joseph 

cheese cake by george and joseph leeds

What is a wedding without cheese? That was a question that I didn’t want to answer, so of course we headed to our friendly neighbourhood cheesemonger to craft us a wonderful, Pinterest-worthy cheese cake. It was made up of all Yorkshire cheeses, and came in at around £100 – which is a bargain for anything wedding-related. The cheese cake was one of the best parts of the wedding – everyone was raving about it, and it was almost entirely demolished by the end of the day. 

Wedding Venue – Left Bank Leeds

left bank leeds

If you’re looking for a slightly quirky wedding venue in Leeds, then I can highly recommend Left Bank. It really was beautiful once it was all lit up, and was so unlike the many marquees, hotel rooms and barns we’ve been in for weddings before. The team there were really helpful and had lots of contacts to make the decorating/setting up/catering process easy. The space was really flexible and comfortably accommodated our 120+ guests both day and night. The bar stocks local beers and organic wines, and were able to add some specific beers and spirits that we wanted without a problem. The ceiling was my favourite, it really is stunning, and the stained glass windows were a sight to behold. 

wedding at left bank leeds

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Our Leeds Wedding – The Party

wedding party 2

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Okay, now we’re gonna get to the good stuff. As well as ‘it will be the best day of your life’, the other thing that people tell you about weddings is that it will go by in a flash. Oh boy, is that ever true. It felt like every time I blinked we had somehow skipped forward a couple of hours. From arriving at the venue to the final song felt like a surreal blur.

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I was genuinely pleased as punch about how the venue looked all lit up – we’d set everything up the day before but it looked SO much better with everyone there, and with the fairy lights twinkling. As soon as we arrived, I quickly lost Paul as we tried to say hello to everyone – a nearly impossible task. It was wonderful to have so many people celebrating with us, and I couldn’t turn around without seeing someone else I hadn’t yet spoken to that day. It was magical and very slightly stressful – when everyone has made such an effort just for you, you want them to feel loved and appreciated. Plus, I really DID want to speak to everyone, and hug them and hear their news. I love how the lines between my friends and Paul’s has blurred over the years, and since we’re both so popular (!) it so often means that there are big gaps between catching up with people over time, and this was the perfect opportunity to see everyone that we loved! 

Leeds City Wedding

wedding party 5

I managed to grab a canapé or two, was handed glasses of Prosecco by anonymous hands (thank you!) and then it was time to sit down for dinner. I was pretty excited about that – I’m a show off at heart and I knew that I had picked an absolutely excellent feast for everyone. Although I was so excited I could barely eat a thing (the tight dress didn’t help matters…), El Kantina did a stellar job serving up delicious Mexican food for everyone. I’ll be posting some details of suppliers on Friday, so do check back if you want something a little bit different for your party or wedding, they come highly recommended from me! 

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wedding party 6

wedding party 7

And then… the speeches. I think I felt every emotion in the space of half an hour. Long weddings speeches are THE WORST, right? Unless you’re the bride and groom, and are hearing lots of praise about yourself, for guests it is kinda dull, so I was strict on my speech makers – including myself. I managed to keep it together for the most part during my parents’ speeches, and through most of Paul’s. My own speech was more difficult – it is one thing for someone to tell you they love you, and quite another to tell everyone how you yourself feel about them. Thankfully I was followed by our fantastic Best Man, Ashley, who regaled the audience with tales of Paul’s drinking exploits (with some added details provided by Paul’s Mum!). 

wedding party 9

wedding party 10

Things seemed to move even more quickly after that, with cake cutting followed by bouquet tossing and first dancing all in fast succession. I was super pleased that so much of the cake (and the cheese cake!) got eaten, as I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the cake at someone else’s wedding, and, like with the Mexican food, I was pretty smug about my excellent food choices! My sweet niece helped me with the bouquet toss (the most pressure I’d felt all evening – it is difficult to throw something behind your head at the best of times!) and, although there was nearly a scrum, my lovely friend Cheryl reined victorious! I lost Paul just as the first dance was starting, but he turned up eventually and it was one of my favourite moments of the evening (as well as producing some of my favourite photos – that dress was made for twirling!). Seeing my gorgeous bridesmaids descending onto the floor halfway through the song was one of my ‘choked up’ moments, for sure. 

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wedding party 13

Leeds City Wedding

After all that, it really was party time! There really wasn’t enough time to dance with all the people I wanted to dance with or chat with all the people I wanted to chat with – including Paul! At one point I had to choose between the final call for evening food or Taylor Swift. Taylor won – I never did get to try the pulled pork cones we had! Before long, people were leaving and it was time to do it all in reverse and say goodbye to everyone. We were almost the last to leave, sparkly shoes in hand, and fell asleep as our heads touched the pillow. I wouldn’t change a thing. 

wedding party 12

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Our Leeds Wedding – The Ceremony

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Since we’ve just got back from our honeymoon, now seems as good a time as ever to finally share our wedding photos. It’s a difficult thing to write about – it’s such a huge day and I want to do it justice without being schmaltzy and cliched. The thing is, our wedding went pretty much like every wedding in the history of time. We got ready, we said our vows, we got covered in confetti, we ate, we laughed, we partied. Everyone says that it’s going to be the best day of your life, and it’s impossible for it not to be. Everyone you love in one place, and you get to wear sparkly shoes. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Nothing can prepare you, though. I’ve been to so many weddings, but it’s very surreal to be walking the aisle and saying those words yourself. I didn’t sleep the night before, I was too full of nervous energy, and with the hairdresser arriving early doors to beautify my bevy of bridesmaids, there was no time to waste. There was no risk that this bride was going to be anything other than on time! 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

The morning is a bit of a blur, if I’m honest. Usually getting ready for a party is my favourite part of the evening, especially when there’s Prosecco involved, but it’s hard to relax and enjoy it when there’s so much going on. The pressure for everything to be perfect is a problem for me at the best of times, but my beautiful bridesmaids did their best to calm me down and make sure I ate something. I was inundated with texts and phone calls all morning – some logistical, some sentimental. 

Leeds City Wedding

Meanwhile, across town, Paul was getting ready with his groomsmen before heading to the pub for a pre-wedding pint with the more punctual of guests! I really wanted the day to be filled with people at every opportunity, so I love seeing these photos of everyone gathering beforehand. 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

A few finishing touches for me, including finally getting to step into my sparkly wedding dress, before we headed to the Town Hall ourselves. I originally wanted to walk – we were staying less than 5 minutes away – but the heavens opened just as we started to leave so taxis it was. The lovely people at the hotel lent me these cute umbrella, too, which definitely came in handy. 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Fun fact: in that photo, we’re watching my friend Steve valiantly hobble up the Town Hall steps in a full leg cast. He was a trooper with it the whole day – you’ll catch some photos of him dancing in Wednesday’s post. 

On arrival, we were ushered into a back room to wait for go time. I’ll admit to feeling pretty tense, especially with the registrar let slip that Paul was particularly nervous. We all practiced our walks and then the music struck up! I couldn’t stop smiling, and Paul couldn’t stop shaking, so we were a right pair. It’s a blessing and a curse that non-religious wedding ceremonies are so short – it definitely helps quell nerves but it’s also difficult to soak it all in. You want to remember all the details, but also you really want to get to the party so you can relax and actually talk to your new husband (or wife!). 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

And just like that, we were married! All that waiting, all that planning, and it was done. I practically skipped out of the room, and exhausted my face from smiling as we greeted all of the wonderful people who had come to celebrate with us. A flutter of confetti, an efficient group photo and some posed photos later and we were finally ready to drink champagne and dance on the tables! 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

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What I Want to Remember

wedding

(Photo by Emma

My phone going off about a million times in the morning with congratulatory texts (and some organisation bits). 

My Mum crying when the flowers were delivered. And then pretty much constantly all day! 

Michelle and my Mum blowdrying my dress after I accidentally spilled water on it, just before we left… 

A lovely lady from the hotel lending me her pink, spotty umbrella. 

Feeling all that nervous energy, waiting to go into the ceremony. Nothing prepares you for that. 

Having a Vicar of Dibley moment whilst repeating the vows, cutting off the registrar. Clearly been to too many weddings – I know them off by heart! 

Taking selfies on the Town Hall steps with Emma. 

Paul trying to fish out the confetti that had got caught between the layers of my dress. Keeping it classy… 

Being told over and again that it was the most organised and on time wedding that people had been to. Everything went smoothly, and for that I am so grateful. 

Getting a round of applause when we arrived at Left Bank. It looked so beautiful all lit up! 

Glasses of Prosecco being handed to me all night long. What generous guests we had. 

Helena rushing over to give me a touch up halfway through the official photos. No shiny T-Zone for me. 

The bridal party posing boy-band style on the LOVE letters. 

Jumping both the food and the bathroom queue. There are definitely privileges to being a bride! 

Climbing into the pulpit to do my speech and being met with an almost-standing ovation. If I wasn’t crying before, then I certainly was then! 

Stu doing an airpunch whenever Stu Casa was mentioned in the speeches. 

Paul doubled up with embarrassment during the Best Man’s speech. It wasn’t all that bad… 

Having delicious cuddles with baby Lydia, who made it to the wedding at just 2 weeks old. We were totally matching (she was wearing a pink onesie). 

The rush towards the cheese cake as soon as we had cut it. It was a bit of struggle to get through the layers… 

Spying people wearing our ‘Team Groom’ and ‘Team Bride’ badges. 

Throwing the bouquet to a very willing group of people (and witnessing the minor tiff that the outcome caused…). 

Seeing my beautiful bridesmaids descending on the dance floor during the first dance. They were total stunners. 

Watching my Great Uncle Jim spinning some moves with various bridesmaids throughout the night. 

Singing Let It Go very loudly with Paul and my two nieces. 

Deciding to dance to Taylor Swift instead of taking advantage of the evening food. I’m a little bit sad I didn’t get to try anything, but sometimes you’ve just got to Shake It Off! 

Teresa unsuccessfully trying to convince my brother to dance all night. 

Doing a tequila shot with my University friends. 

Twirling endlessly to Don’t Stop Believing, as the final dance of the night. 

Paul wearing his wedding ring to sleep, because he didn’t want to take it off. 

Waking up to a million Facebook notifications and photos – they’ve not stopped coming since! 

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Our Leeds Engagement Photos

Paul and Amy by Jenna Woodward Photography

Photos by Jenna Woodward Photography

 

Paul and Amy by Jenna Woodward Photography

My love for Paul and my love for Leeds feels inextricable. I would love both of them separately, I am sure, but they are so tied together in my heart. Without Paul, I would never have even thought to move to this amazing city, and my life would be so different. I fell in love with Paul in Leeds; I fell for him first and the city second as it became a backdrop to everything we did together. Neither of us is from here, but the city suits us so well and I sometimes think we could never move from right here, this flat, this place. I know that we will, but I doubt it will be far. I’m too in love with Leeds. So it was super important to me that our wedding reflected both us and our city. 

Paul and Amy by Jenna Woodward Photography

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So, you can imagine that I am absolutely head over heels for these gorgeous photos that Jenna and Ewan took of us. Aren’t they just dreamy? We started off at Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, making the most of their picturesque, hipster roof terrace, which afforded endless nooks and crannies to snap away in, before wandering down Briggate (to some weird looks…) and through the Victoria Quarter. We couldn’t have taken them anywhere other than Leeds city centre – and whilst it’s lovely to have nice photos of the two of us, it’s equally fantastic to have photos that make the city I love look so amazing. I don’t know whether we’ll live here forever, but Leeds has been such a big part of our story, and I’m so happy we have these photos to remember that. 

Paul and Amy by Jenna Woodward Photography

 

 

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Mr & Mrs Hayward

sarah and ste 1

I spend a lot of my life at weddings. It’s one of the benefits of being so popular(!). Having a big family helps. So far this year we’ve been to four, with two more to come and one we can’t attend due to it being all the way in the US of A. It’s been so wonderful to watch some of our closest friends tie the knot and last Friday was no exception. Sarah and Ste are some of the loveliest, warmest, funnest people that we know. They are excellent party guests but also fantastic friends and just brilliant people. It turns out that Ste is also a very good speech maker, and he had us all in tears. We’re going to have to start working on our speeches now…

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sarah and ste 4

The whole day was totally joyful – from singing ‘I’m a Believer’ at the ceremony right through to finishing the night to ‘Africa’ by Toto (a bit of an anthem in the group, for some reason). I got to talk and dance and spend time with some of my favourite people in the whole world and I really can’t wait until it’s our turn. I’m a sentimental drunk, as I’ve said before, and I always get a bit overwhelmed at weddings as a result. Something about the fact that everyone has so much love to share and give is astounding to me. It makes us human and it makes our lives meaningful, and weddings just epitomise that. It’s not just about the love that two people share – that’s just one part of a much bigger web of family and friends. How amazing is that?

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sarah and ste 5 sarah and ste 2

ste and sarah 3

sarah and ste 9

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Save the Date

save the date 1.jpg

Okay, can we talk about the fact that I’m getting married in less than a year?! That feels both too soon and too far away for any sort of comfort. Can I be honest with you? I’m not enjoying wedding planning. I thought it would all be Prosecco and Pinterest but instead I feel a bit overwhelmed trying to juggle everything. The hardest part is having to be kind of selfish; I know they say that as the bride and groom the day is all about you, so you get to make (some, reasonable) demands in the planning process – of people’s time, their resources and their ideas. I’m not really comfortable with that, so it’s causing me some stress – god knows what it’s going to be like when I’m begging people to come and help us set up the day before because otherwise there will be no wedding reception.

It feels like the most privileged problem in the world, though. I can hardly complain – someone that I think is awesome also thinks I’m awesome so now we have to have a big party and declare that we plan to be awesome together, forever. It’s a blessing and a curse that between us we have a helluva lot of friends and family – I feel so grateful that so many people love us, and to love so many people, but catering for that many is turning out not to be cheap! Even scaling back on pretty much everything else (vintage wedding car, who needs it? Amber Cars will do…) just feeding and watering almost 150 people is expensive.

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I think it’s just that it feels so out of my comfort zone – I’m the first of my close friends to get married so I feel like I’m kind of stabbing in the dark right now. Everyone has advice – some better than others – but I’m unsure which to take. Our wedding is going to be pretty non-traditional (you know, other than the boy marries girl part) so a lot of the problems that our friends have come across are not the same as we’re facing.

We’re lucky that our parents don’t really want a say in how the wedding goes. They’re pretty chilled about the whole thing – as long as they get to come, they’re happy, which I’m grateful for. I don’t think I could deal with another set of expectations above and beyond our own – I don’t envy those people who have that to tackle on top of the logistics. Not that I’m really tackling the logistics – I’m the Creative Director of this wedding, Paul is the Operations Manager. He’s doing most of the liaising with vendors and making sure stuff actually happens, I’m just thinking of the ideas and doing the research. It’s kind of how things always go with us, and we’re both happy to split the work in that way. But don’t even get me started on the dress…

On the other hand, despite that feeling of unease, it is fun to see some of our plans coming together. I am so incredibly happy that Jenna Woodward is going to be our wedding photographer – her work is beautiful and I feel quite smug having snapped her up. We’re also in talks with a really awesome caterer. That part is cool. It’s also pretty cool to be planning a life with Paul – although how can you plan a marriage? Everyone always says that the marriage part gets forgotten about when people are planning weddings, but I think that might be because it’s easier to choose place settings than to imagine how you’re going to tackle Life (with a capital L) together.

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So I’m focusing on the little things right now – like these adorable Save the Date cards. They were made for us by Nichole from PaperholicWorkshop on Etsy. She was an absolute dream and was totally patient with me when I went back with tonnes of revisions (mostly because I’d spelt somebody’s names wrong…). They’ve had lots of lovely comments from our guests, as well – so if you’re looking for something a bit quirky and fun then I can highly recommend hitting Nichole up for some bespoke save the dates!

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