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Blogging Bride: Lorraine’s Planning Update

April 6, 2016
Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

Good morning! Oh, it’s so cold this morning – where have you gone to, Spring?! We’re catching up with Lorraine today – with only six months until her big day to Aaron, she has this wedding planning business pretty much under control! 

Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

Well, there are just under six months to go, and boy has it been busy! Since our last update, things have come on leaps and bounds, and our wedding is really starting to take shape.

Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

Our one year engagement anniversary was on 20th February so we decided it would be a good time to meet our amazing photographer, Paula Gillespie and get comfortable in front of the camera. I won’t lie, I was SO nervous about it but I’m glad we did it. Not only do we now have some amazing photos, but we’re both much more relaxed and confident about having a camera follow us all day at the wedding. We headed to the Titanic Quarter with our dog Bea and had the best time – if this is something your photographer offers I would definitely recommend it.

Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

The last few weeks have definitely been about the clothes! It only took one visit to Red Groomswear to find the perfect suit for Aaron and the rest of the boys (and my bridesman, David). The guys in the shop know their stuff and styled Aaron to perfection. Easy as pie. In total contrast, it was a bit of a headache with bridesmaid dresses. With so many styles on offer it was proving difficult to find something everyone liked so my wonder-aunt has stepped in to save the day. Lily has been making wedding dresses for as long as I can remember and she’s known locally for her talents! I’m so pleased she agreed to make our dresses using the most gorgeous fabric that we’re getting from a shop in New York, so they really will be special!

We’re very lucky to have some of the best friends and family around who’ve been helping out with various parts of the wedding planning, and who’ll be helping us on the day. Along with my sisters, two of the girls I’m most grateful for are my friends Sharon and Alana. Not only are we BFFs but they are two of the most talented people I know! Both girls are making it big in the world of TV and Film, styling celebrities’ hair and working on Game of Thrones, so we’re in safe hands when it comes to wedding hair and makeup. I got to do a trial makeup run with Alana for the pre-wedding shoot and I loved my makeup. Because we’re all friends, hair and makeup trials will be a total hoot and I can’t wait!

Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

Talk has turned to hen and stag parties– neither of us are getting too involved in the planning of these so we’re trusting our friends and families to do a good job. We’ve also been looking for honeymoons – one of my least favourite tasks! We know we’re doing a ‘mini-moon’ this year and a bigger holiday next summer but there’s still so much choice.

I’ve also stepped up the DIY recently. I’ve been tinkering in the garage for a few months now on a few secret projects – all I’m going to say is PVA and 1KG of loose glitter! I know lots of people warn about the massive task of DIY projects, and I’d agree but I’ve been working on bits and pieces since we got engaged last year, so it’s all been manageable and fun! I’m a bit of a crafty person anyway – Aaron always jokes that when he walks into the house he’s never quite sure of what I’ll be doing! One project that’s being taken care of is our invites, which we won in a competition. I met with Sinead from Roco and Miley a few weeks ago and we’ve chosen a design. Sinead is a very talented designer and I’m sure our invites will be fab!

Blogging Bride 2016 I Lorraine & Aaron I Paula Gillespie Photography I The Promise NI

It’s not all been glitter and holidays, this month we did Wedding Admin! We’ve put in the formal application for a marriage license and we’ve chosen the people we’d like to have as part of the wedding. We’ve also started thinking about the personal touches we’ll be adding as well as choosing readings, flowers and finalising the guest-list but for now, we’re going to put our feet up and relax!

L xx

You can read more about Lorraine and Aaron here.


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

March 23, 2016

Have you been chosen to be your BFF’s bridesmaid? It’s time for you to take charge and make sure that the wedding day goes off without a hitch, so we’ve compiled a bridesmaid to-do list that will help you to be the best right hand woman any bride has ever seen. Check out these ten ways to help a bride in need…

  • Assist the bride in picking the perfect dress – Choosing a wedding dress can be a stressy time for any bride, and having her bridesmaids there to restore some calm will be totally necessary. Make sure she isn’t pressurised into making the wrong choice, just because she’s on bridal shop number 28 and is fed up. Keep positive and reassure the bride that her perfect gown could be just around the corner!
  • Offer your organisational services – In the run up to the wedding, the bride will have so many things to do that she could probably do with a helping hand. Offer to scout out the perfect bridesmaid dresses and accessories, or if it’s closer to the wedding, offer to help with sending out invitations or packing her bags for her honeymoon.
  • Emotional support – Your BFF would be the luckiest bride in the world if she doesn’t need even just a little emotional support in the run up to the big day. Offer a supportive ear when the planning all gets a bit too much and show the bride exactly why you’re the perfect girl to have in her bridal party.
  • Hen Party – It’s the bride’s last night of freedom and it’s up to you to make sure it’s a good one! If the bride isn’t into feather boas, L-plates and boys taking their clothes off then stay well away. You don’t want to give her a send-off that she would rather forget. It can be a big task to organise a large group but if done properly, you’ll give the bride a weekend to remember!
  • Last minute errands – Be on hand to run any last minute errands for the bride on the day of the wedding. Whether it’s meeting the florist, organising last minute transport details or satisfying any junk food cravings, the bride will really appreciate your help with those last minute tasks!
  • Wedding Day Gift – Purchase a gift for the bride between you and the other bridesmaids for the morning of the wedding. Choose something sentimental such as a framed photo of you all together as the perfect keepsake to remind her of her best girls on her wedding day.
  • Wedding Day Survival Kit – No matter how much planning is done for a wedding day, hiccups can happen. Create a wedding day survival kit for the bride and the other bridesmaids to fix any issues that might arise on the big day. Pack a mini-sewing kit, a nail file, tissues, a mini first aid kit, paracetamol, deodorant, a handy snack, a packet of mints, and some extra hair grips to cover every eventuality.
  • Take Pictures – It’s a great idea for the bridesmaids to take plenty of photos on the wedding day. The bride will be too busy mingling with guests and generally just enjoying her day to take any of her own photos, so it’s up to the bridesmaids to get snap happy! Professional photos will take a few weeks, so it will be nice for the bride and groom to see a sneak peek of how their big day looked to everyone else!
  • Dance-Off – It’s a well-known fact that an empty dancefloor at a wedding is just not on. Hit the dancefloor once the music starts and drop down and get your eagle on!  Be on the lookout for any sneaky foot tappers that might need some encouragement to join in!
  • Be a trooper – No matter how stressful the day becomes for you, be a trooper and paint on the biggest smile you’ve got! Try not to complain about your bridesmaid dress, even if you’re in head to toe ruffles, be gracious and tactful. Nobody likes a bratty bridesmaid.

{Image: Megan Saul Photography via Bridal Musings}


Promise Picks: DIY Place Settings

March 4, 2016
DIY Place Settings

Good morning lovelies. It’s the weekend, and we’re so happy to see it’s arrival after the busy but seriously fun and inspirational photo shoot on Wednesday!

We’re always on the lookout for cool, quirky ideas to make sure your wedding has you written all over it. Dabbling in some DIY is a sure fire way to make sure your wedding has that personal touch firmly stamped on.

We covered ceremony back drops a little while ago, so today we thought we would show you some of the most gorgeous DIY place settings – guaranteed to be a hit with your guests but that won’t break the bank. Happy crafting!


DIY Place Settings

Left: Who doesn’t love a game of Scrabble? These letters can be bought in bulk and are relatively inexpensive yet a really quirky alternative to the traditional place settings. Image by Nato Welton via Brides Magazine.

Middle: These adorable heart shaped name card holders will allow you to create your own place setting without breaking the bank. Take inspiration from BHLDN and cut your card into shapes before writing your guests name.

Right: We love this idea for any Spring or Summer wedding – florals will always go down a treat. Hand pick some flowers and use a personalised peg to keep everything secure. Image via Boxwood Clippings.


DIY Place Settings

These place settings are so simple to recreate with some bunting and a trusty Sharpie pen and will give your wedding day a really rustic and laid back feel. Image by Caroline Talbott Photography via The Knot.

DIY Place Settings

These are the ultimate wedding keepsakes! Your guests will love trying to find their hand drawn portraits in these adorable mini frames. These place settings could also double up as favours for your nearest and dearest. Image by Josh Strauss via The Knot.

DIY Place Settings

These feathers with dipped glitter are a totally stylish yet simple option. Attach your guests name to the feather and leave it on their place at the table. Image by Kaysha Weiner via The Knot.

DIY Place Settings

Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective. A trip to the beach is absolutely necessary for these fab place settings. Image from Once Wed via Paper & Lace.

DIY Place Settings

These gorgeous dipped glitter place settings would be the perfect DIY project for any beginners out there. All you need are luggage tags, some glue, some glitter, a marker and you’re good to go! Image by When He Found Her via Ruffled Blog.


Planning Real Couples

Blogging Bride 2016: Introducing Jess & Andrew

March 2, 2016
Blogging Bride 2016: Jess & Andrew

Life will take you to unexpected places, love will bring you home.

Meeting my Mr Wright (literally)

Hi, I’m Jess and my fiancé is called Andrew. I am 21 years old and study in Edinburgh.

Andrew and I have known each other since we were little toddlers. It was not love at first sight however. We spent our years growing up in church together but barely ever spoke. His family was full of boys and I was the shy girly-girl so I tended to stay clear. I used to sit in with the adults when the other church children would head out for adventures with Andrew as the leader. I actually really disliked Andrew, he was loud and assertive!

Fast forward around 14 years and that was when the real story began. Andrew and I ended up randomly chatting after church about the movie ‘Shutter Island’. A few days later Andrew messaged me on MSN (remember those good old days?) and we didn’t stop chatting for 5 months. It slowly moved onto Facebook but never once did he ask for my number. He used to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy so he would have a reason to talk to me whilst I kept myself online continuously (but of course I signed in and out once he was online so my name came up). I thought it was just friendship because we never even continued to talk at church, so no one knew. However, after a lot of prompting and hinting, during a game of ’20 questions’ the last one asked if I would go out with him. Of course I excitedly accepted.

I knew all of his family and even led a children’s club with his mother….so it came as a surprise to the whole church. However, the second I snuck out to the car for our first date I knew this guy was the one for me. I was only 16 at the time but very strong willed. It was like I was spending time with my best friend all day.  The next 6 years have flown by and the rest, as they say, is history.

Blogging Bride 2016: Jess & Andrew

Moving Away

The one thing I love about our relationship is laughter. We laugh all the time. We also bicker continuously (he deserves it!). We are polar opposites. He loves computers and graphs; I study language and love shopping. He is a farmer; I wear white converses on the farm.

After 2 years together, I found out I hadn’t got into University in Northern Ireland so I packed my bags and headed for Bonnie Scotland. I knew I was about to spend 4 long years away from Andrew. We cried on the phone when I told him I was going but then a few minutes later he said “I am going to visit every 3 weeks”, and you know what? He has!

Being away from each other is different. You don’t get to see each other when you want and when you do it is for a couple of days. I could not think of a more supportive guy to be by my side. He has never complained about me being away but instead encourages my education. He has never complained about the money he spends on flights but books them when I need him. We have good night calls and Skype dates to watch TV shows together! Being apart has shown how pure and purposeful communication can strengthen a relationship.

Blogging Bride 2016: Jess & Andrew


Andrew and I love travelling and doing adventures together. We flew off to Thailand in May 2014 to see more of this beautiful world. Everyone said he was going to propose there and I started to get so nervous. I even searched his luggage once we got there. Turns out he had the ring in his pocket the whole flight…I was 2 inches away!!

3 days into the 3-week holiday, we went to a place called Surin Beach. Andrew decided that day that the beach was perfect. We went back to the hotel that afternoon and Andrew went indoors to do some computer programming. I got really angry as he was leaving me alone and he wasn’t even stepping outside. Later that day, we decided to go see the sun set. He was acting so strange but it never clicked with me – I knew there wasn’t a ring in sight.

He brought me down to Surin Beach and onto the rocks. Everyone else seemed to clear away then. I was taking pictures with my camera when Andrew got really quiet. I had never seen him nervous before and that was when I realised he was going to propose. He slowly got down on one shaky knee, told me he loved me, and asked if I would become Mrs Jessica Eve Wright. To be honest he said more but I can’t remember – I was too hysterical. In true ‘Jess’ style I actually couldn’t wait for him to put the ring on my finger so grabbed it myself! I then continued to hyperventilate for the next 2 hours. The second Andrew proposed I just realised how unbelievably happy I was, how wonderful Andrew continues to be, and that being a wife was exactly what I wanted. I have never felt so happy.

He picked out the ring himself and I just loved it. I stare at it every single night even nearly 2 years on. We spent the next 3 weeks in engagement bliss with only family and a couple of close friends knowing which was the best decision. It made the engagement so about ‘us’.

Blogging Bride 2016: Jess & Andrew

Blogging Bride 2016: Jess & Andrew

Do you hear the wedding bells?

I knew I wouldn’t be home for another 2 years after he proposed. I had picked out a date when I was still in Thailand, the 16th July, and stuck to it. I graduate the week before as well which is going to be hectic but wonderful!

In my student flat, all of us are engaged (5 of us in total) so it has been an extremely exciting time with magazines, blogs, and pinteresting. I am a wedding fanatic. My dream job is to be a bridal shop owner or wedding planner. I loved weddings far before I was even engaged. Therefore, I knew it wasn’t going to be a small event. I also have a massive family which meant a larger venue.

We started looking at marquees, caterers, etc. But wow, the cost was more than my student loan so it just didn’t seem right.

We want everything in the wedding to mean something. We chose the Lough Erne Resort because we spent our summers up there with my family and Andrew taught me to wakeboard. My church, Omagh Baptist, was where the whole story began and my sister was the architect for it. There isn’t really a theme but we are just putting in everything we love. I want our friends and family to have a fun, relaxed, exciting day but most of all great food! I want to celebrate being home for good and promising to spend my life with my favourite guy.

Anyway, I have said more than enough.


Jess x

{Featured image: Adam & Grace Photography}


How To Be A Budget Savvy Bride!

February 16, 2016
wedding budget

Good morning! It’s half term time here at Promise HQ and blogging has taken a back seat for a day or two in favour of enjoying lots of giggles from my little people! So far we’ve had a dash to a&e with a split chin (no fun, but all grand) and a sleepover for six nine year olds (fun, but hard work!). 

Lynne has been keeping this boat afloat and today she’s sharing some budget advice with you all, and if you got engaged over Valentine’s, Congratulations! 

If you’re currently knee deep in wedding plans, your bank balance may look like it might be on its last legs! Starting out married life drowning in debt is the last thing any newlyweds want so take a look at our top tips on how you can cut costs and be totally budget savvy.

  • Off peak weddings – Many venues will offer great deals on their wedding packages in off-peak times of the year, as well as mid-week days. Booking your wedding for November, early December (not Christmas), January and February will allow you to save yourself a fortune!
  • Sample sales – Be a budget savvy bride and join the queue at a local sample sale. Many bridal shops will hold an end of season sample sale in order to make way for new stock. You could save yourself up to 70% off on the designer dress of your dreams!
  • Use family member’s talent – Do you have an auntie that can make or alter dresses? Or how about a family friend that can bake a cake to rival Delia? A great way of saving money is to call on your nearest and dearest, and exploit their talents! By doing this, not only will you save yourself some money, you will create a really personal and memorable day for everyone.
  • Cut the guest list – Not the nicest job in the world, but if you’re really serious about cutting costs, reducing your guest list can be an effective way of saving money. Paying for the meal will undoubtedly be one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding day, so have another look at your guest list and see if there are any people who could be invited to your evening reception. Weddings can be expensive for guests too, so chances are they’ll understand your decision.
  • Do it yourself! – There are lots of ways that you can put a personal stamp on your wedding day which will help you to save some precious pennies! Making your own invitations, getting crafty with your décor such as bunting, or making favours for your guests will save you hundreds and you’ll get a great feeling of satisfaction when you see it all coming together on your big day!
  • High street shoes – It’s pretty inevitable that you’ll spend quite a large amount on your wedding dress, but one thing that you can cut cost on is your shoes. Most brides go for a long gown, so your shoes won’t be on show most of the time and therefore a high street option is perfect! You won’t have to compromise on style either; there are some really reasonable beauties out there just waiting to be snapped up by a budget savvy bride! fb9f6759fcc955f6dc00bc906913d74d
  • Ask about layover facilities – When you are paying for various aspects of your wedding, whether it is bridesmaid dresses, suits, transport or flowers, check with your supplier to see if they offer a layover facility. This will mean you can stagger your payments over a period of time, allowing you to budget in the run up to your wedding.
  • DIY Photobooth – Photobooths and sweetie tables are really popular for keeping your guests entertained, but they can be expensive! Why not create your own by buying some photo props and creating a hashtag so your guests can share their snaps!
  • Reuse ceremony flowers at reception – Don’t be afraid to reuse the flowers from your ceremony and transport them to the reception. Assign a groomsman or a reliable friend the task of decorating tables or the entrance of your evening party venue.
  • Family heirlooms – Ask around your family members if there are any antique family heirlooms that you could use in your wedding. Vintage photo frames, table cloths or crockery will give your wedding a really authentic feel and the best part is you won’t have to spend a thing!

{Featured image: Audrey & Rose Shop / Love image: Adria Peaden via Style Me Pretty}

Planning Real Couples

Blogging Bride: Lorraine’s Planning Journey

February 5, 2016
Blogging Bride: Lorraine's planning journey

Hey Friday! Are you pleased to see the arrival of the weekend? I sure am, with laptop break downs and a packed to-do list, this week has been busy! I’m ready for turning the alarm off and taking it easy. 

This morning we’re welcoming our Blogging Bride, Lorraine back. With eight months until her big day, she has her wedding to Aaron pretty much sorted, here’s how she’s been getting on… 

When I first got engaged, I thought I was being Punk’d (and you’d have been looking for the hidden cameras if you had seen me too – still in bed, with a cat and bad hair) and it took a few days for the excitement and nerves to settle down! In my previous post, I mentioned how we chose our venue and booked a date for the wedding. After that was done, there were a few other ‘big’ things to sort, before I could take it easy and enjoy being engaged for a few months!

When I’m not planning our wedding, I work in marketing, so I’m lucky to have the experience of organising events and working with lots of suppliers. My first job was also in the bridal industry, so I think I had a good idea of what I should expect.

Blogging Bride 2016

The first and most important thing to sort out was our bridal party. I have two sisters, Claire and Lynne and I asked them straight away if they’d like to be bridesmaids. I also decided to ask my BFF, David. While not your typical bridal party, I thought it was really important to do what was right for us. A few people have been deeply concerned that David will be wearing a bridesmaid dress, and while I think he’d look fetching, he’ll be wearing the same suit as the other boys! Aaron’s two brothers, Colin and Jack are best man and groomsman, along with one of his best friends, Joel.

Blogging Bride: Lorraine's planning journey

Our next task was choosing a photographer, and this was a daunting one! I had a wish list of what I wanted our photographer to be able to do, and high on my list was to have a second shooter, and get some late night shots, when the dance floor is packed. After reading countless blogs I remembered seeing cute engagement shots of a couple I went to school with so we contacted their photographer. When I got the first email back from Paula Gillespie, I knew she was exactly what we wanted. I’d describe Paula’s style as quirky, fun and utterly gorgeous, and I’m so excited to have her take some pictures of us!

Picking the band was a hard one for me, as it dictates the tone of the evening. Without loads of free time to head to gigs, and a lack of friends getting married meant we had to do lots of research online. We listened to endless samples and discounted bands for all sorts of reasons, from dodgy suits to bad setlists. When we stumbled upon Blacktye, a band from Dublin we knew we had struck gold. The band have a massive set list covering so many genres that it was impossible to pass them by, so we’ve booked them for the whole day. Any band that includes Rhythm is a Dancer in a set is ok by me!

Blogging Bride: Lorraine's planning journey

The other major thing I wanted to get off my list was The Dress. Now, I won’t lie – I didn’t find it enjoyable or easy and it took lots of patience. I tried on over 50 dresses before I found the one in Forever Bridal on the Lisburn Road. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can’t wait to put it on again! I found there were so many incredible dresses available, in numerous bridal shops across NI that looked gorgeous on, but didn’t suit my personality, so I’m glad I held out and found perfection!

Blogging Bride: Lorraine's planning journey

With around eight months to go, I feel like I’m relatively in control of everything. We won a competition on Facebook to have our invitations designed, so I’m looking forward to getting creative with Sinead from Roco and Miley in the next few weeks. One of the other things we wanted to do was build a wedding website to share all the information in one place. There are lots of different options online for this, and I found to be the most useful and easy to use. At this early stage, we’ve mainly used the site as somewhere to hold information about accommodation options near or on Lusty Beg, but closer to the time; we can use the site to manage RSVPs, gift lists and to share information with our guests.

Throughout the planning process, I’ve often felt overwhelmed, whether it’s with opinions or choice but I’m a strong believer in knowing when things are right, and standing your ground until you find what you’re looking for!


Ten tasks for the Groom to do

January 28, 2016

Unfortunately for you modern grooms, the days of “just show up on time and make sure your shoes are polished” are over. We’ve compiled a list of ten ways for the groom to assist in planning the  wedding day. Contrary to popular belief, the boys can get involved too!

1. Honeymoon: Your honeymoon can be the light at the end of the tunnel after months, maybe even years of wedding planning so it’s vital you are both happy with your choice. Ask your groom-to-be to look up potential destinations and find the best deals before you both settle on the perfect honeymoon. Leaving this task up to the groom will allow him to arrange any surprises along the way, without you knowing his plans.

2. Budgeting: Budgeting can be a really important aspect of your wedding day. Nobody wants to go so overboard that they’re starting their new life off in debt. Ask your groom to set up some wedding spreadsheets so you can keep an eye on what you’re spending, and rein it in if you’re going over the top.

3. Guest Accommodation Options: Depending on your venue, it’s possible that not all of your guests will be able to stay in the same place. Ask your groom to source alternative places for your guests to stay that are close by to your venue so you can include these suggestions on your invitations.

4. Quality Time: It’s important that in the run up to your wedding, that you don’t let the planning and organisation take over. Ask your groom to organise a weekend, or even just a day away for the two of you to spend some quality time together before the big day. A spa break might be exactly what you both need!

5. Suits and Accessories: It can be a time consuming task contacting everyone in the groom’s party and organising a day that will work for everyone to try on suits. Ask your groom to round up his nearest and dearest on a day that is suitable for everyone so that the only thing the bride has to do is show up and either say yay or nay.

6. Wedding Band: There are so many potential wedding bands to choose from, you can spend days or even weeks researching the perfect choice. Ask your groom to assist with choosing a band and make a shortlist of the best ones before making your final decision together. YouTube is full of wedding band videos, so he won’t even have to leave the house!

7. Speech: This task is probably the most traditional of them all, but is one that will stand out in people’s mind if not done properly. The groom should start to write his speech early so he has plenty of time to work on it and make any necessary tweaks along the way.

8. Transport: Depending on the size of your wedding party, and also your budget, a number of cars will need to be hired for the journey from the bride’s house to the ceremony and then to the reception. Ask the groom to work out how many cars will be needed, and then to source the best places to hire from. It’s important for the bride to see her mode of transport before it is booked so she can make sure it is suitable for her, depending on the style of the wedding and also the size of her dress.

9. Table Plans: Ask your groom to help with your table plan. While you might have met all of his family members, your groom may have insider info on who speaks to who, and who would cause a scene if they were sitting at the same table. Keeping the drama to a minimum will be high on your priority list on your wedding day, and this way you will be able to keep everyone happy.

10. Surprise your bride: Let your bride-to-be know you’re thinking about her on the morning of your wedding by organising a surprise to be sent to her house. A simple bunch of flowers and a card letting her know you can’t wait to see her walking up the aisle will earn major brownie points and get your new married life off to a flying start!

{Featured image: The Lous}