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Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

September 14, 2017
wedding gift gadgets top ten

I have to admit, I adore a good gadget – my love for my KitchenAid Artisan toaster knows no bounds, it gently lowers the bread in and out itself with a satisfying ping, for goodness sake! – so when The Wedding Shop got in touch to share their favourite gadgets for wedding lists I knew you all deserved to know what should be on yours! Over to the gift picking pros…

Gadgets for the home are often on our couple’s lust-lists. These coveted items allow our brides and grooms to not only update their house but their lifestyle too!

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Our top gadget, the KitchenAid mixer, is a gift that will stand the test of time. In fact it has been one of our bestselling products for years. Throughout the years we have seen colour trends influencing our couples choices with the mint green mixer and pastels being the firm favourite. However so far in 2017 sleek black seems to be the hot new favourite!

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

The spiraliser and nutribullet that were hot new gadgets for 2016 are showing no signs of fading as our couples are still opting for a healthier and cleaner way to prepare meals. They are both still featured in the top 10 alongside the KitchenAid blender.

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Helping us to get our caffeine fix, Sage by Heston Blumenthal tea and coffee makers are chosen by our couples for their sleek, modern design. Why head to a coffee shop when you can be the barista in the comfort of your own home! However, the humble kettle isn’t forgotten entirely with the trend-setting Bugatti Digital Kettle just making the top 10.

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Sonos Speakers, Dyson fans and GoPro camcords are now becoming the new ‘classics’ to add to a gift list – lifestyle items that the couple can enjoy together and look great in the home.

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Top 10 Gadgets from The Wedding Shop

Planning Suppliers

Five Minutes With… Ciara Patrick Designs

April 14, 2017
Ciara Patrick Designs

Good morning! It’s the greatest Friday of the year and hopefully many of you are about to enjoy a long weekend of family time and taking things easy – I know I am! Easter weekend is such a popular one for weddings locally and really kicks starts the summer season of craziness for many wedding suppliers so today we’re sharing a quick five minutes with award winning stationery designer, Ciara Patrick from Cookstown. Ciara’s work is always stylish and with a feminine touch, we’re big fans.

Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend whatever you get up to, Em x

1. Pinterest or Instagram?


2. Belfast or Dublin?

I like both but Belfast has a homely vibe.

3. Home or away?


4. Biggest achievement? 

Child birth! And then winning my Best Stationer Award.

5. Scared of? 

Wasted opportunities.

6 Couldn’t live without?

My family.

7. Would rather not…

Diet… but sadly that’s life after kiddies.

8. Five dream dinner party guests? 

Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks and Leonardo da Vinci.

9. What would you cook them? 

Chicken Caesar salad, fillet steak, chips, garlic roasted veg and pepper sauce and lemon tart – simple tastes.

10. What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up?

Try to remember what day it is!

11. Last book you read?

Hurrah for Gin by Kate Kirby.

12. Favourite TV programme/series?

Keeping up with the Kardashians/Benidorm/Fortitude.

13. Guilty pleasure?


14. Favourite song?

Bear’s Den – Auld Wives.

15. Old or new? 


16. Bold or pastel? 

Pastels obviously!

17. Wedding dress or wedding shoes?


18. Finds inspiration from?

Fashion and nature.

19. Ceremony or reception? 


20. Random thought? 

Work hard in silence, let success be your noise.

You can view Ciara’s incredible work at

Planning Suppliers

NTK: Wedding Flowers – An Interview with Victoriana Floral

April 7, 2017
Victoriana Floral, Epic Love Photography | The Promise NI

Good morning and happy Friday – typed whilst doing a little Friday dance! Today is a great one, the kids are just about to break up for the Easter holidays, it’s my birthday this weekend and we’re introducing an awesome new series, NTK – otherwise know as Need To Know.

We really are flooded with such incredible wedding talent here in NI and I for one love to scream about some of the real stand-out stars so today I’m kicking off with floral wisdom from the lovely and super hug-giver, Kim Davies from Victoriana Floral in Whitehead. We cover everything from realistic budgeting to her favourite wedding style. I hope you enjoy, are inspired and learn something new about wedding flowers. Have a great weekend and see you back here on Monday.

TP: In season flowers, should brides choose them, and are all flowers not readily available these days? 

Kim: Most flowers are available all year round though they can vary in price depending on what’s in season. For example peonies are in season for a relatively short period of time from end of May for approx 6-8 weeks. They can start of costing as much as £8-15 per stem and drop during peak season to £1.50 per stem. I encourage my couples to use what’s in season at the time of their wedding as they can generally be locally sourced and will be better quality and may be slightly cheaper.

Victoriana Floral, Epic Love Photography | The Promise NI

Image (+ featured image above): Epic Love Photography

TP: Do you have an all time favourite flower?

Kim: My all time favourite flowers are sweet peas. I adore their scent and colour. They are relatively short lived – maybe only a few days but are so worth growing. There is nothing quite like a vase of sweet peas for perfume and cheerfulness and the fact the more you pick the more flowers they produce has to be a winner!!

TP: Floral style, do you have a style you will always return to? 

Kim: My style I would say is unstructured and natural and is definitely the style I prefer. I am really fortunate that after four years I can choose which couples I work with and they tend to be those that love our style of design. I find it is best to let the flowers ‘do their thing’, they dictate how they are placed within an arrangement or bouquet and do not like to be made to face a certain way or be bent into a particular shape.

TP: What floral trends should we be looking out for this year?

Kim: Trends change regularly and are generally led by what’s happening in the fashion and interior design industries. This year sees a lot of greenery within floral design, a looser less contrived shape and very foliage heavy. 2018 is showing a move away from blush pinks and pastels to bolder stronger colours.

Image: Gather + Tides

TP: Your floral must-have?

Kim: If I had to advise a couple of a must have for their floral design I would say go big and bold on one aspect. A statement arch, an epic top table hanging installation, some raised centrepieces. Something to create that wow factor!

TP: Where do your flowers come from?

Kim: During the months of May to September we source a lot of our flowers from our local grower- Cherry at Kilcoan gardens in Islandmagee. Cherry has a cottage garden of over six acres open to the public and well worth a visit! She supplies our shop with a vast array of unusual annuals, perennials and foliage throughout growing season and this makes our work stand out from the rest. We also grow a lot of sweet peas and other annuals in our own one acre garden in the country where we also hold our workshops and alternative hen parties.

TP: You recently started hen party floral workshops, I was very lucky to attend one, can you tell our readers a little about them?

Kim: At Ash Tree Farm – our country workshop – we run courses for complete beginners and experienced florists as well as alternative hen parties for Brides and their hens. We offer flower crown or arrangement workshops, using beautiful flowers and we can tailor the workshop to suit the party. We can cater for up to 20 and a fabulous afternoon tea is provided courtesy of Maggies Working Kitchen.

Victoriana Floral, Laura Parkinson Photography | The Promise NI

Image: Laura Parkinson Photography

Kim’s Five Secret Floral Tips!

1. Trust your chosen florist, choose the designer whose work you love, ask to see samples of their past wedding work. 

2. Be brave don't do what everyone else has done.

3. Choose something that works with and complements the overall theme of the day.

4. Pinterest is great for opening your mind to different styles of flowers but don't become it's slave. Use if for inspiration but put your own spin on what you see. No florist wants to create someone else's work, it's creatively stifling.

5. Choose flowers and scent that mean something to you - perhaps a herb or rose that reminds you of a childhood memory.

Victoriana Floral, Navy Blur | The Promise NI

Image: Navy Blur

Choosing Victoriana Floral: How your flowers are created…

Kim: If you decide to choose Victoriana Floral for your wedding florals I will want to know the style of your dresses, body shape and height of Bride and Maids and their colouring. We can advise you on what’s going to look best with the dresses and suit everyone.

When couples contact me I generally arrange a phone or Skype call to check we are stylistically compatible, get a feel for what they are after and discuss initial ideas and then we arrange to meet. I would generally have one face to face meeting then send out ideas of pricing. Once they book I may have one further meeting prior to the wedding itself. Emails and phone calls are also ongoing during this period.

I offer package options for couples who want the overall look and feel of a Victoriana Floral style wedding but who do not have specific flower requests and are perhaps working to a tighter budget. Our bespoke options start at around £1900 and go up to in excess of £10000. A good rule of thumb is budget for a minimum of 10-30% of your overall budget depending on how important floral decor is to your overall look. Some people have said to me that they feel flowers are a waste of money because they die but I point out that you could say the same about the food! You eat it and then it’s gone, your flowers should last at least a week after the service where they will continue to give you pleasure. They appear in every photograph and can truly transform your venue to make it different to other weddings held there.

I do arrange to visit venues when it’s my first time there and it’s a bespoke service the couple have requested. It is useful to meet couples at the venue and discuss options as it helps to visualise with sketches what is possible. We travel all over Ireland from Donegal to Cork and have also provided florals in Scotland and England.

Huge thanks to Kim at Victoriana Floral for sharing her floral knowledge and inspiring us with her incredible work! To view more visit or call 028 9337 2519. 

Planning Suppliers

Behind the Lens: Sarah Bryden Photography

February 1, 2017
Sarah Bryden Photography, Behind The Lens | The Promise NI

Good morning and welcome to February! I read yesterday that January is only a practice run for the year, and I think I’m going to embrace that and start this month with a fresh outlook and some new dreams.

Today we’re welcoming back a much loved feature that we haven’t had on the blog for over a year – Behind the Lens – which today comes from Omagh based wedding photographer, Sarah Bryden.

How did you become a wedding photographer, Sarah? 

I had always wanted to be a journalist from a young age. I loved to write and tell stories so I did my qualifications for that and then used it to move into PR. It was in my job with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company that I found my love for the camera. I began photographing the dancers in rehearsals and wanted to do more and more. So now, I feel like my background in journalism, the arts and dance has all made me the photographer that I am today. I’m still a storyteller except now it is with a camera instead of a pen!

Sarah Bryden Photography, Behind The Lens | The Promise NI

What are your favourite things about capturing special wedding memories through a lens? 

For me it’s the people that I meet. I love getting to know my couples and I really feel like part of the family by the end of the day! After all, it’s a happy occasion so it’s important that everyone enjoys it! And that really comes across in the photographs.

Tell us about your wedding day…

We had snow! I’m a November bride and expected rain but woke up to a blanket of snow. Thankfully it was the very first day of the horrendous snow of 2010 so all my guests still managed to come but it did mean we didn’t get on our honeymoon. I wore a Sassi Holford dress of my dreams and we got married in my husbands little country church.

Thinking back to your own wedding, would you do anything differently or approach planning in another way? 

I think we nailed it. We had the best day, full of laughter and really just a good party! We kept it simple and focused on making sure everyone had a good day, and that’s what I tell my couples. Don’t get hung up on the little details, they don’t really matter. Just enjoy it all!

Sarah Bryden Photography, Behind The Lens | The Promise NI

What do you think are the key ingredients for a great wedding day? 

Good food, good music, good people! And just do it your way, have a day that represents you both.

Have you any secrets you share with wedding couples that you’d like to share with us? 

It’s not really a secret but I tell every couple the same thing. If you get to your ceremony and you’re both there and you come out married then it has been a perfect day! It doesn’t matter if your flowers aren’t right or the cake falls over (yes this has happened!), the most important thing is each other and the commitment you are making.

Sarah Bryden Photography, Behind The Lens | The Promise NI

Do you think there is any secret formula to a successful marriage?

Communication. You have to talk to each other and that’s never more important than when times get tough. Never be afraid to have the difficult conversations because they will keep you connected and close.

What wedding trends are you loving at the minute?

I’m loving the focus on back detail in bridal dresses and seeing more sleeves. I also love the understated bridal look that is becoming more popular. For me, its fantastic that couples are putting a lot more emphasis on their photographs. They’re really thinking about locations and details which makes my job more fun. I’m also so impressed with the use of technology, recently a wedding had their own snapchat filter!


Is there anything you haven’t done that you would like to? 

There are lots of venues that I haven’t shot in and would like to. I’d love to shoot in Orange Tree House or Virginia Park Lodge for example. Other than that, I would love to shoot an alternative outdoors wedding, like in a forest or somewhere. Epic locations are always beautiful regardless of weather!

What’s in the pipeline for Sarah Bryden Photography?

I’m working on a new website – not sure if that is considered exciting? But I will be doing more helpful blogs for my couples and their wedding planning. I’m also doing a 52 week personal photography project this year. I think it’s important to always be loving your photography, working on your skills and creativity outside of the business and paid work. It always makes us better photographers for our couples in the end and that’s so important to me. Happy clients equals happy me!

A huge thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share her world with us. To see more of her work visit, and follow her Instagram photography project at @sarahbrydenphotography.


Popular First Dance Songs & How to Choose Yours with Help from Dance ‘Til Tomorrow

January 5, 2017
Dance Til Tomorrow first dance song

It might seem like a long way off, especially if you’ve just got engaged, but choosing your first dance song can be a long and hard-fought slog! Today we’ve teamed up with the musical supremos over at Dance ‘Til Tomorrow to find out how exactly you choose without falling out… 

To even write about choosing a first dance, never mind actually choosing one, presents its own kind of problem. Life is a rich tapestry, and even before contemplating the practically limitless wealth of choice in the universe of recorded song, the main observation I’ve garnered from many couple’s weddings is that there is a full spectrum of motivations involved in making the choice. Some are keen to impress their guests or partner on a whole range of levels, perhaps with the originality of the choice, the sentiment contained in the lyrics, humour, a dance routine, whatever. The list is endless, and this assumes that the first dance is something that’s high on the priority list of the couple. For some folks the idea of a first dance conjures up at best ambivalence and at worst, and I can speak for myself here, complete trepidation at even being involved in the act of dancing with other people watching.

Dance Til Tomorrow first dance song

The Rules

With the above in mind, the rules are that basically there are no rules. Except one. Read ALL the lyrics. You would be surprised to hear that some couples quite obviously don’t do this. Sometimes the chorus line or main lyric can be a little misleading. So when I was asked to perform Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me” for a couple, and despite my hint that perhaps they should at least have a very close listen to the song or reconsider, I will never forget the look of confusion in the audience when I launched into a song about a one night stand where one party is “kicked out the door” the next morning. Similarly with Train “Drops of Jupiter,” a song that sounds a little like the female, after getting bored with the singer, leaves him for a good look around then decides to cut her losses and return. Not really the sentiments we are looking for me thinks.

An important Choice

One important functional consideration is whether to have the band play the first dance or play it from a recording. Most couples go with the band, and I normally encourage this for several reasons. Firstly, I think many couples place a high importance on the band they choose for their wedding and to me that obviously makes a lot of sense. I feel that discussing, learning and the performing a significant song for a couple gives me a feel for them and a gives us a connection. It also introduces the band to the rest of the audience in an intimate way, and sets the rest of the night up to be very special. Another major advantage, especially for couples who are quaking in their boots about dancing in front of their friends is that I can, on cue invite folks up to dance and take the heat off, or edit the song down to a shorter version if necessary. One particularly clever couple asked me to replace a particularly raunchy line in their song to something a little less likely to make the bride’s father faint. That said, some songs are almost untouchable in their own right and, no matter how good the band, a cover version might not be what the couple wants to hear. I would advise couples to suss out their band’s capabilities, not only in ability, but also logistically. If you want a Phil Spector sized orchestral wall of sound and you’ve booked 2 guys on acoustic guitars – well that won’t cut the mustard.

Dance Til Tomorrow first dance song

So, with functional advice dealt with – here are some rudely categorised first dance choices from 2016 to get you thinking.

The Timeless Classic

Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon. Says it all with class and has a brass solo. Boxes ticked.

The 90’s Dance Floor Filler 

Donna Lewis – I Love You Always, Forever. A lovely couple who had obviously met as teenagers on on a Kelly’s Portrush dance floor equivalent. This came complete with a whole dance routine and started the evening off with a bang.

The Top Pick

Yes I have indeed conducted some research into what songs I might be likely to play, and top of all first dance song lists on the inter-web is Christina Perry, “A Thousand Years.” As predicted it wasn’t long before our Rachel was winding her vocal cords around this unabashedly emotive heartstrings tugger.

The Country HoeDown

Tennessee Whiskey. Again with a rather strange sentiment about giving up the booze for the love of your life only to write a song about how she reminds you of every type booze you used to drink. But hey, whatever works. The dance floor was electric and I’m fairly sure the groom was anything but sober.

The Indie Banger

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition. Tune

The Indie Swoon

The National Fake Empire. Easily my favourite choice of the year.

The Giggler 

Designed to give the audience a laugh, express some pop culture based romantic sentiment, and to imbue me with strange existential ponderings – “Grow Old with You” from the movie the wedding singer was a brilliant choice on many levels.

Dance Til Tomorrow first dance song

The Luck of the Irish

Since the choices are almost unlimited, why not give your sanity a chance by imposing some arbitrary limitations. So many couples decide to go with songs written on our own emerald island. And, with bardic blood running in our veins its not surprising that the choices have been inspiring. Signing off with a few from last year to whet your appetite.

Van Morrison – Into The Mystic

Van Morrison – Someone Like You

Sinead O’Conner – 4th and Vine

Thin Lizzy – Dancin’ in the Moonlight

Good luck, and remember, if there are differing opinions, well, good luck grooms.

For more info and performance videos from Dance ‘Til Tomorrow visit


{Featured image & image 2 by Simple Tapestry}


Happy New Year & Hello To New Readers!

January 3, 2017
wedding blog northern ireland

Happy New Year! I hope your 2017 has arrived with its positive pants on – so far so good here.

With Christmas and New Year being the most popular time of the year for popping that big question, I thought before we crack on with the normal schedule I’d say a quick hello to you all – an even bigger HELLO to any new readers – share a little of what you’ll find in this corner of the Internet, and a little bit about me.

So hello, I’m Emma, creator, brains (?!!), accountant, emailer, writer, editor and general everyone behind this blog. I live in County Tyrone with my husband, David and our three darling children. Once upon a time I edited a local bridal title, but after introducing three kids to the world, with a thirst for a handier life, I hung up that hat and went freelance, which resulted in a. always, always, always having work to be done and b. the creation of The Promise, so not handier at all, but all totally worth it!

wedding planning blog northern ireland

The Promise focuses mainly on sharing local real weddings and talent from this great wee country, we are so lucky to have incredible talent on our doorstep. I share lots of inspiration from further afield as well, but NI will always take priority.


Blog scheduling wise I’m going to go out on a limb and say we feature two real wedding stories every week, on a Monday and Friday (because seeing how other people did it is the best sort of inspiration for you!) and in the middle of the week you’ll find a little taste of everything else weddings – Promise Picks, planning and advice, inspiration and fashion.

If you’re a newbie here’s a few past features that might help get your wedding planning off to a good start.

11 Things You Should Know Now You’re The Bride To Be!

How to Kick-Start your Wedding Planning

15 Things Not To Forget Before Your Wedding Day

Oh Ladies! It’s the Bridesmaids Big To-Do List…

Ten tasks for the Groom to do

I love to hear of things you might be struggling with, and try to help, so if you fancy getting in touch, please drop me an email on You’d make me very happy if you signed up for our monthly Love Notes newsletter, over to the right in the big orange box!

If you’ve stuck around this long, thank you, I don’t go on about myself that much you’ll be pleased to hear! Later today we’ve a super stylish wedding from Marc Lawson so get yourself back here at 2pm.

(Photo’s from my wedding day captured by the awesome Kat Mervyn)


Promise Picks: Winter Wedding Cakes

December 6, 2016
winter wedding cakes | The Promise NI

I absolutely adore winter. Everything about this season is appealing to me, even the frosty mornings, and especially the weddings.

Today is a big day at The Promise HQ, it’s officially the day my eldest turns ten, right now life is revolving around cake, so what better time to share a host of incredible winter wedding cakes from some of the best local talent we have. Go grab a cuppa and get scrolling!


Black, white and gold three tier cake with hexagonal lace adorned bottom tier and rich floral accents, created by Cake Couture NI, Bangor.


Square semi-naked cake dressed with seasonal flowers, created by Cake Couture NI, Bangor.


Winter wonderland white and silver cake with feature ball topper created by Candytuft Cakes, Newtownards. (Photography by Shoot For The Moon).


Ornate ivory and gold woodland themed cakes, created by Candytuft Cakes, Newtownards. (Photography by Shoot For The Moon).


Incredible wooden cake tree with stunning individual cakes created by Candytuft Cakes, Newtownards. (Photography by Shoot For The Moon).

We adore the simplicity of this all white creation and the little hint of sparkle, created by Lough Erne Cakes, Enniskillen.

Or add some warmth to the day with a subtle pearlescent shimmer of this statement five tier beauty, created by Lough Erne Cakes, Enniskillen.

winter wedding cakes | The Promise NI

Keep your design simple with a white base and layer hanging lace accents for a chic finish. Cake created by Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design, Omagh.

winter-weding-cakes-sugar-flower-cakesSilver and white will always work for a winter wedding, simply choose the finish you prefer, we love this oversized ruffle effect on this creation by Sugar Flower Cake Company, Moira.

Handpainted cakes are incredible and really make a statement, we love the winter scene created on this cake by The Cakery NI, Dromore.


Dress a simple semi-naked cake with fruits and foliage of the season, figs, cinnamon sticks and fern work beautifully. Created by The Little Cupcakery, Bangor. (Photography by Paula O’Hara).


Don’t forget you can add colours and textures of the season on your cake toppers, just like this floral and pine cone idea, created by The Little Cupcakery, Bangor.


Clemintines and berry are also a winner! Created by The Little Cupcakery, Bangor. (Photography by Paula O’Hara).


Navy and white will always look great when combined with a touch of gold. Cake created by Airy Fairy Cakes, Lisburn.

winter wedding cakes | The Promise NI

Three tier simply iced cakes displayed on a cake tree and decorated with seasonal flowers, created by Sugar Flower Cake Company, Moira.

And finally, add some Frozen magic to your day with this incredible masterpiece by Barbie Bakes Cakes, Belfast!

{Featured image: Cake Couture NI}