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Beautiful skin = Beautiful makeup

July 1, 2016
S.A.K.Designs Beauty Expert | The Promise NI

Our lovely beauty and makeup expert, Stacey Kilpatrick is back today with her advice for getting your skin wedding ready, and sharing her top skincare products.

Your wedding day is without doubt the day you want to look your absolute best! Having a professional makeup artist will ultimately ensure you are the best version of yourself but most importantly you should be following a good skin care regime to ensure your makeup is radiant and long lasting.

It is never too early to start looking after your skin in relation to your wedding day but also I would recommend not trying to do anything too harsh or trying anything new too close to the wedding. I am also a believer that if your current regime is working and you aren’t experiencing any concerns then keep with your routine as it is clearly working for you.

To ensure you follow the correct regime it is important you understand your skin and its needs. I love and recommend Dermalogica’s face mapping process which is fantastic for anyone not sure where to start. Your trained Dermalogica skincare therapist will divide your face uniquely into fourteen zones; examining each zone and drawing up a customised face chart illustrating where any concerns are present such as congestion, breakouts, dehydration and hyperpigmentation. They will also provide you with a targeted prescription home care regime. This process only takes 5-10 minutes and is free of charge by a registered Dermalogica salon.

S.A.K.Designs Beauty Expert | The Promise NI

Your beauty therapist will also be able to put a skincare plan in place for you including a series of facials and homecare products to suit your budget. Facials are a fantastic way to kick-start your skincare routine however unless you are maintaining this at home you will not fully benefit from this service.

First and foremost you want to ensure you have a good cleanser and moisturiser to suit your skin type. To help brighten your skin and remove any dead skin cells an exfoliator will allow your makeup to sit more flawlessly. If you experience dehydration a combination of drinking water and introducing a hydration booster or serum will help eliminate the signs. Those with oily skin types will benefit from an oil control lotion and also a matt makeup base before makeup application. Do not skip moisturiser if you are oily, carefully select one specific for your skin type otherwise your skin will overproduce oils to lubricate itself.

Another important factor to consider in your daily routine is sunscreen, especially on the final weeks leading up to the wedding, even if you are a winter bride. A minimum of SPF 30 is recommended on a daily basis during summer, minimum of SPF 15 in winter, this can be found in some skincare products or as a standalone facial sunblock.

The basic principles of a good skincare regime are as follows twice daily:

  • Cleanse
  • Tone (not compulsory)
  • Serum (to target concerns)
  • Eye cream (if preferred)
  • Daycream
  • Sunblock
  • Makeup

If exfoliation is needed do so after cleansing (2-3 times a week).

To get the best results from your bridal makeup it is always a good idea to have a few makeup free days in the lead up to the wedding day itself.

Top tips: 

  • Start thinking about your wedding skincare regime sooner rather than later, a year in advance is perfect.
  • Don’t forget your neck and décolletage in your skincare regime.
  • Prep the skin well in advance of your bridal day spray tan to avoid any mishaps.
  • In the lead up to the wedding day be particularly careful not to get burnt.
  • Look after your hands; these will be photographed a lot so do consider an intensive hand cream in preparation for showing off your stunning wedding ring.

A few of my favourites:

You can follow Stacey on Facebook: s.a.k.DESIGNS and Instagram: @sakdesigns, and visit her website at:

{Featured image: Sara Dalzell // Natural look image: Glenn Norwood}


Promise Picks: Hanging Arrangements

June 29, 2016
Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

This wedding season something very exciting is happening… reception decor is hanging! Not only does it mean guests don’t have to strain around an arrangement to speak to each other, but they are completely beautiful and create a big statement! We’ve chosen some of our favourite hanging arrangements to prove just how lovely they are…

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Finch & Oak via Hello May

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Gather and Tides, Floral arrangement: The Stables Flower Company 
Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Rebecca Yale Photography via Wedding Sparrow

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Katie Nesbitt Photography via Inspired By This

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Jasmine Jade Photography via Lauren Conrad

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI

Image: Studio Castillero, Flowers: Honey and Poppies via Green Wedding Shoes

Hanging Arrangements Wedding | The Promise NI


Image: Bliss by Blue Sky’s Photography via The Vines Leaf

{Featured image: Samuel Docker via Rock My Wedding}


Promise Picks: Flower Inspired Table Plans

June 1, 2016
Flower Inspired Table Plans | The Promise NI

Morning brides-to-be! Can you believe we are still basking in the summer sun – awesome!

For years, brides have ranked sorting their table plan at the very bottom of fun tasks before the wedding. Auntie Shirley won’t sit next to Cousin Suzie because of something that happened ten years ago – we get it, not a fun game.

Once you’ve decided where everyone is going to sit (even Auntie Shirley), now the fun part can begin! Table plans can allow even the least artistic of brides to get creative along with their florist. We’ve found some of the most gorgeous flower inspired table plans to share with you that will hopefully help spark some DIY inspiration for your big day!

{Featured images: Caro Weiss via Love My Dress // Gypsy Jane Photography via Exquisite Weddings Magazine // Anneli Marinovich via Rock My Wedding}


15 Things Not To Forget Before Your Wedding Day

May 6, 2016
15 Things Not To Forget Before Your Wedding Day I The Promise NI

15 Things Not To Forget Before Your Wedding Day I The Promise NI

After months of planning your wedding to perfection, it’s only natural that you might worry about forgetting something on the big day. Never fear brides-to-be, we have compiled the ultimate list of things that can easily slip even the most organised minds, helping your wedding day go exactly to plan.

  1. Get your engagement ring cleaned – On your wedding day, all eyes will be on your brand new bling so it’s a good idea to get your engagement ring cleaned a day or two before you get married. It’s only fair that your engagement ring looks just as fabulous as your new rock!
  2. Music – A wedding day playlist is a great way to help you and your bridal party relax on the morning of the wedding. A mix of chilled out songs and some of the bride’s favourite hits will create a great atmosphere for the day ahead.
  3. Appoint your second in command – On the morning of your wedding, it’s important to appoint someone to take care of any behind the scenes tasks throughout the day. Your second in command should be responsible for duties such as giving people directions should they need them, accepting and taking care of gifts; transporting floral arrangements from the ceremony to the reception or resolving any issues should they arise.
  4. Something old, new, borrowed, and blue – If you are carrying out the old tradition of having something old, new borrowed and blue, it can be easy to forget which items to use until the last minute. Don’t be afraid to ask a family member or one of your bridesmaids to source these things for you – it will add a really personal touch to your day.
  5. Touch up bag – Unless you are lucky enough to have your makeup artist on hand throughout your wedding day, a touch up kit is essential. Air kisses will be flying all day, so it’s only natural that your makeup will need retouching. Pack a few of your favourite products so you look flawless from morning to night.
  6. Snacks – While the rest of your guests are indoors, no doubt enjoying the drinks reception and some nibbles – you and your bridal party will be having photos taken. It can be a long time from the ceremony until you get your meal, so packing some handy snacks is a great idea to keep those tummy rumbles at bay.
  7. Bridal party gifts – Giving your bridal party a special gift is a lovely way to say thank you for all of their help in the run up to the wedding day. Gifts for the bridal and groom’s party don’t need to be expensive – so why not buy something sentimental to remind them of the day? A bouquet of flowers for the bride and groom’s mums and grannies is a great way to let them know you appreciate them and everything they do.
  8. Comfy shoes – Okay so you’ve convinced your groom that you absolutely 100% must have the Louboutins, and that they’re an investment for the future. All true of course, but after a long day on your feet, your tootsies will be crying out for your converse. Pack a pair of your favourite flat shoes so you can dance the night away in comfort!
  9. Ring box/cushion – It seems almost too simple to forget, but no matter whether you have a ring bearer, or a groomsman taking care of the rings, don’t forget to bring the ring box or a pillow to keep your bands safe until they are firmly on your finger.
  10. Guestbook – A guestbook and pen can be an easy thing to forget to bring on your wedding day. It would be a shame not to have a way for your guests to leave their well-wishes, so why not assign someone in your family the task of bringing your guest book to the reception or if your décor is being left at your venue the day before, ask if your guest book can also be left overnight.
  11. Feed your suppliers – It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle bustle of a wedding, but don’t forget that there are people there that you have hired to make your day run smoothly and they get hungry too! It’s a long day at work for a wedding supplier, so don’t forget to include them in the numbers for your meal.
  12. Chargers – While we highly recommend unplugging from social media and all things technology related on your wedding day, your phone will be a useful way to take those all-important bridal party selfies, and to capture your guests enjoying themselves so a charger can be a useful thing to pack!. Make sure your phone is charged on the morning of the wedding, so you can make any necessary phone calls to vendors or so they can contact you should any issues arise.
  13. Bathroom baskets – Arranging some care packages to put in the bathrooms of your venue can be a lovely touch for your guests. Make up some baskets filled with useful items such as deodorant, baby wipes, safety pins, a sewing kit, aspirin, breath mints and hairspray. That way, should any accidents happen every eventuality is covered.
  14. Cater for the kids – It’s hard to beat the sound of a laughing, happy child at a wedding, but a tired, cranky or bored child at a wedding is something else. Keep the kids at your wedding entertained by arranging some child-friendly activities to keep them out of mischief! Colouring books and pencils, a sweetie table, or some giant outdoor activities are great ways of keeping the little ones smiling all day long.
  15. Passport – If you are planning on going on honeymoon shortly after the wedding, it’s likely that you will be travelling using a passport with your maiden name. Don’t forget to book your holiday using the exact name that is stated on your passport. A honeymoon at home would be one to remember for all the wrong reasons!

{Featured image: Gillian Williams via Love My Dress}


Promise Picks: Pretty Peonies

April 26, 2016
Promise Picks: Pretty Peonies I The Promise NI

Good morning you lovely lot, it’s peony season – yippee!

Today we are lusting over one of our many floral obsessions and we hope you agree! With their soft petals, totally lush shape and romantic ruffles, it’s easy to see why peonies are right up there with our favourites for the perfect bridal bouquet. The peak peony season is from early Spring right through to the end of June, so if your big day is during this time of year, you will have no shortage of brilliant blooms to choose from. Peonies come in a wide range of colours, from soft hues to bright bold shades, making them perfect for any vintage, traditional or quirky wedding. We are in love!

Promise Picks: Pretty Peonies I The Promise NI

Image via Ana-Rosa Tumblr

Promise Picks: Pretty Peonies I The Promise NI

Image via Flowergirl LA

Fallen in love with the peony? We knew you would! 

{Featured image: Les Divas}

Planning Suppliers

Favourite Wedding Cakes of Local Cake Designers

April 19, 2016
Local wedding cake favourites I The Promise NI

Good morning! Woo hoo, productivity has returned to The Promise HQ!

You all loved our feature on favourite flowers from a couple of weeks ago, so we thought it was only right to continue on and share glorious wedding cakes. Oh yes, they are incredible works of art and we are so lucky to have these incredibly talented ladies on our doorstep. Don’t be afraid to give them a call/email if anything takes your fancy 🙂

Designer: Gillian from The Little Cupcakery, Bangor

Gillian’s favourite: I adore this buttercream cake. I just loved the way it was such a simple cake transformed completely with some pretty flowers, albeit Floralearth flowers!

Trends for 2016: I think trends we will still see lots of buttercream cakes with fresh and sugar flowers. They are timeless, pretty and co-ordinate so beautifully with the rest of the wedding, they are yummy to eat and perfect for those who are having a summer wedding or a who don’t like sugar paste! They’re also very affordable!


Designer: Kathryn from Candytuft Cakes, Newtownards

Kathryn’s favourite: I love this bench swing cake for its simplicity. It is of the moment. It is exactly the kind of thing I am being asked for in 2016 but with a Candytuft twist. I love rethinking the traditional wedding cake table and using decorative items for an eye catching display. The display includes one tall semi-naked cake dressed with fresh flowers and macaron and two fully iced cakes with a gold metallic drip and again dressed with macaron. It also features a few sweet, little, decorative, mini cupcakes to match. Metallics are still on trend and the soft pink is ever so pretty, and with rose quartz being one of the Pantone colours of the year for 2016, you can’t go wrong. I feel this kind of display would be very appealing and also very versatile.

What’s exciting me for 2016 cakes? I am looking forward to each and every cake I will have the pleasure of making, being unique and personal; whether it be a tidy rustic semi-naked cake with fresh florals; a fully iced, themed and decorated, masterpiece; or indeed a combination of both. I have such a mixture of styles and finishes of cakes coming up and love the excitement in creating every single one.

Contact: / tel: 07890 698619

Designer: Emma from Truly Scrumptious Cakes By Design, Omagh

Emma’s favourite: It’s not very often that you find a bride who knows exactly what she wants for her dream day, let alone have a clear vision of her perfect wedding cake. My bride Samantha is an event stylist specialising in weddings. When she approached me with her idea to create an entire wedding with an enchanted garden theme, I was immediately hooked. She gave me the freedom to work with the design brief and more importantly the resources to get creative with.

Her cake was certainly a challenge from start to finish… from experimenting with textures, colours and techniques to attaching the amazing garland of fresh flowers (created by Skea Flowers) to the cake…which I might add took four people! The whole experience was like being involved in a very glossy photo shoot and to see the final results…wow! I still pinch myself that I was involved in creating such a breath taking piece of art. This cake will forever hold a special place in my heart.

For 2016 I am loving: Metallics! Combining them with textures and detailing drawn from wedding dresses and invitations, as well as lots of flowers both, sugar and fresh.

Contact: / tel: 07904 480920

Local wedding cake favourites I The Promise NI

Image: The Lous

Designer: Catherine from Cake Couture NI, Bangor

Catherine’s favourite: The theme for this winter wedding was festive red and gold. The centerpiece was a contemporary two tier cake in white and gold, also a semi naked gold edged cake and a buttercream ruffle cake all finished with fresh flowers supplied by Floralearth. There were lots of little treats in addition to the cake: cake pops, cupcakes and mini cakes, decorated with touches of red and gold to complement the colour scheme. Grace and Saviour provided the decorated screen backdrop and gold glitter table linens. Floralearth added the lovely foliage runner and dressed the table with cinnamon sticks, candles and pine cones. This is one of my favourite recent wedding cakes because, after endless hours of preparation, everything came together so beautifully- styling, flowers and cake! I love the clean contemporary style mixed with a little bit of rustic which was perfect for the stunning venue- The Carriage Rooms at Montalto. As a cake maker, it’s a joy to create a display that is a strong feature and focal point of the day, as well as being able to cater to all tastes with a wide range of flavour options.

This year I’m excited for: The Pantones colours for 2016 – my personal favourites are Rose Quartz, Serenity and Iced coffee and I’ll be incorporating these into new designs for 2016. I’m also delighted that metallics are still going strong.In terms of trends, I think there will be a move towards pared back, immaculately finished, contemporary designs. Rustic style remains popular but now with a more polished edge. If 2015 was the year of the Naked cake, 2016 looks set to be the year of the Nearly naked cake!

Contact: / tel: 028 9127 7146

Designer: Gail from Airy Fairy Cakes, Lisburn

Gail’s favourite: This cake was created for The Promise styled photo shoot where the brief was bright, industrial and modern. I have a bit of a passion for anything industrial as my house is filled with that sort of decor and I knew straight away I wanted to do a marble effect cake, it’s everywhere at the minute but has yet to hit the wedding scene in a big way. I also wanted to take the colour scheme of blues, pinks and peach tones and make those my stand out colours rather than a typical grey marble stone effect. It gives this cake a really  modern feel with the square tiers, sharp edges and I love it for this reason, I could see it in my head and the end result was even better.

This years key trends: We have seen metallic cakes around for a while now and these will be taken to the next level this year. Geode cakes are starting to come through as are marble effects with flecks of metallics, stone finishes and cakes adorned with precious gems to look like rocks.

Couples are a lot more open to experimenting with colour too, they know their cake doesn’t need to be iced white and in fact doesn’t even need to be iced, the naked cake has been very popular and now people are moving towards the semi-naked cake where the cakes are partially frosted with a crumb coating only and then adorned with flowers, berries, meringue kisses, toppers, painted metallic finishes – really whatever they fancy.


Local wedding cake favourites I The Promise NI

Designer: Helen from The Cakery NI, Omagh

Helen’s favourite: I have chosen my own wedding cake! It was a sentimental thing making my own cake and it’s not something I will hopefully ever do again! People told me I was mad, but I don’t think I was. I’m a bit of a control freak and work best under pressure, so I figured doing it myself meant I got the result I was after. The most stressful part about it was trying to find room for the cakes in the fridges. My vision for the cake was a big showstopper but nothing too fussy at the same time. Keeping the detailing basic helped in the end. My husband and a few guests are gluten free so I made half the cake gluten free. We had lemon, chocolate, caramel, chocolate and orange and white chocolate and raspberry flavours, there was definitely something for everyone!

This years trends: I will be creating quite a few big cakes, again showstoppers! I’m seeing lots of metallics, either pearl lustres, silver leaf and of course the 24ct gold leaf, also. They are my favourite as I love all things bling! I’m also seeing the semi naked cakes become extremely popular, overtaking the naked cakes. Both suit the rustic theme a lot of people choose and can be cheaper in price which helps. The ruffle cakes for me are getting more and more popular. They are a labour of love as they take hours to create, but are very rewarding when complete. Also I see a few people going back to traditional routes and having fresh flowers on cakes, it looks fab, simple and classy!

Contact: / 07756 222737

Designer: Natasha from Sugar Flower Cake Company, Moira

Natasha’s favourite: I call this cake the Enchanted Garden Cake! I love it because it encapsulates the magical air of a dreamy enchanted garden. The owls represent a bond created by being the only two who know what lies behind that door!

This wedding season I’m excited for: Semi-naked cakes where some tiers are iced and others are naked, 1920’s or Art Deco themed cakes and berry colours!

Contact: / tel: 07798 655855


{Featured image: Ten21 Photography}

Planning Suppliers

Favourite Wedding Flowers of our Local Floral Designers

April 7, 2016
Local wedding florists favourites I The Promise NI

We’re an inquisitive bunch here at The Promise, we like to know things, it helps us work better and deliver more relevant and local inspiration to you all. I was delighted when seven local floral designers and artists agreed to share their favourite designs with us. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect person to create your wedding day florals, take note, we may just have found her – yes, they’re all lovely ladies!

Designer: Hollie from The Rosehip and Berry Floral Studio, Belfast

Hollies favourite: I think to date my favourite sort of arrangements have been simple, asymmetrical, free flowing arrangements like this one. This particular arrangement was made using Ivy berries, wild Clematis, Cherry Blossom, burgundy Ranunculus and Astrantia. I like the natural, simplicity of it, with subtle pops of colour.

This year I’m excited for: Stripping back my designs, mixing lots of different types of foliage, and focusing on more natural shapes. I am looking forward to some brave, vibrant colour choices, as well as the classic ivory and greens – which I will never tire of, along with lots of lovely foliage heavy weddings! I’m also excited to use some contemporary techniques I learnt during my time in Melbourne last month as well as experimenting with a few ideas of my own!

Contact: / tel: 07885 782164

Designer: Kim from Victoriana Floral, Whitehead

Kim’s favourite: I love this for so many reasons, it was so organic, so natural, so textured and the most beautiful contrasting colours of peach and burgundy. It was all about bringing the outside of Lusty Beg island inside.

This year’s trends will be: Bigger bouquets both cascading and asymmetric, less rounded compacted flower bouquets, and a lot more variation of flowers used, looser and loads of texture, more country garden style bouquets. A big push towards locally grown and seasonal, scent and a lot of foliage and perhaps, dare I say, in some cases less flowers?

Contact: / tel: 028 9337 2519

Local wedding florists favourites I The Promise NI

Designer: Janice at The Flower Studio, Dungannon

Janice’s favourite: This bouquet was a big favourite of mine from last year. The soft palette of colours, the mix of textures and of course, the focal flower, the anemone! You either love this flower, or you hate it – I adore it! It’s lovely to create a bouquet without the old faithful rose included.

For 2016 I am excited for: Two key looks, the glam formal look with lots of full open blooms in soft shades, and the loose rustic look (the new vintage), which features lots of texture and varying colours for a laid back fun day.

Contact: / tel: 07884 180098

Local wedding florists favourites I The Promise NI

Designer: Jude at Floral Temptations, Omagh

Jude’s favourite: This bouquet of South african proteas stands out as a favourite as its been so so different to my other bouquets which have trended on the vintage themes and traditional themes. The bride was South African and we added Irish heather to it to represent the local groom. Part of theme included baskets of berries which guests threw at the bride and groom as sign of fertility.

Designs I will be creating this year: I’ll be using a lot of teal with flowers in this vibrant colour. Pastel pinks and lilacs are still very much on trend too as is gyp bouquets.

Contact: / tel: 028 8225 0505

Local wedding florists favourites I The Promise NI

Designer: Jil at The Stables Flower Co, Coleraine

Jil’s favourite: My all time favourite wedding flower is Stephanotis. It has an incredible fragrance, its notoriously difficult to work with but so pure and beautiful looking, this bouquet was a marathon of construction!

Trends I am most excited about in 2016: Installations! Hanging installations like beams and floral chandeliers, freestanding installations like arbours and flower walls! Another exciting trend is the brides new awareness to luxury wedding flowers. We see that more of the budget is being allocated to flowers so more top end budget designs filled with lush full flower heads and luxurious foliages are being requested. Brides all want their weddings to look like it could be on a stylish wedding blog and they see the flowers can do that!

Contact: / tel: 028 7035 7109

Designer: Victoria at Tortraits Floral Design, Portglenone

Victoria’s favourite: This floral crown really stands out in my memory as it was very unique to the bride and captured the brief she gave me in which lots of foliage was to be used with accents of flowers. The crown completely complemented the style of her dress, sculpting her head – it was simple yet so very eye-catching – what made it even more special was that I d never met the bride before her wedding as she lived abroad so it was created from images and a few measurements yet it fit perfectly! The design uses several foliages – namely danae & seeded eucalyptus with accents of delicate ivory rose buds and lisianthus flowers.

In 2016 I am loving: The continued enthusiasm for freestyle/unstructured designs especially in terms of bridal bouquets. The popularity of floral arches and hair flowers is also exciting – as a florist I naturally believe that flowers are an integral part of any wedding, they bring personality and warmth – the more they feature the better! In terms of colours, we are once again polarised between subtle ‘neutrals’ and bold colours – I enjoy working within any colour palate, blending tints and tones to create unique floral designs.

Contact: / tel: 07775 744906

Local wedding florists favourites I The Promise NI

Image: Clay

Designer: Gillian at Flowers By Mee, County Down

Gillian’s favourite: Relaxed, informal bride’s bouquet using deep burgundy carnations, rose hips, alstroemeria, eucalyptus and greenery. This is one of my favourite bouquets because of its relaxed feel, it’s simple and natural in styling and structure. I definitely was drawing inspiration from a wild garden for this look..bringing the outside in!

In 2016: There is lots to look forward to! I think with floral wedding designs its really about telling a story, I really love bringing personality into the designs, it makes for a more effective overall look. I’m obsessed with all things geometric, copper and glitter….. offset these with more natural floral designs, whites and greens – it’s a real wow factor. Very excited to be creating lots of cascading floralscapes this year too, a big feature of creative space styling!

Contact: / tel: 07753 123669


Thanks for taking part ladies! The featured image is from our contemporary and colourful photo shoot, with flowers from The Stables Flower Co and photos by Photography by Marc Lawson. It’s well worth a look if you love colour! Just head, here