NTK: Bridal Makeup – An Interview with S.A.K.Designs

May 18, 2017
Bridal Makeup Artist, Northern Ireland, SAK Designs, Stacey Kilpatrick | The Promise NI


You’ll have to forgive my lack of blogging over the last little while. Being pregnant is a weird one, being pregnant and a freelancer is another thing all together, I have this constant feeling of living in limbo and my decision making and concentration has gone out the window. Anyway, we had the loveliest weekend in London and it has taken me until today to get my life together and get back to work!

Today we’re getting down to the business of wedding day beauty and makeup with Stacey Kilpatrick from S.A.K.Designs. You’ll soon be armed with everything you Need To Know about choosing your makeup artist and a few of Stacey’s makeup secrets.

I’ve had such a great response to this series of posts – you can catch up on flowers here and grooms tailoring here – and can’t wait to bring you more, very soon. If there’s any area of wedding planning you’d like me to cover just drop me an email or PM over on Facebook.

Bridal Makeup Artist, Northern Ireland, SAK Designs, Stacey Kilpatrick | The Promise NI

TP: For brides who don’t know about S.A.K can you introduce yourself… 

I always wanted to be a makeup artist but will be honest, I never knew the right direction to go and it wasn’t a known career choice when I was studying for my A levels. Instead I studied a degree in Fashion Design and Event Management alongside Beauty Therapy in the evenings. Working in the fashion industry on placement I then met Oonagh Boman and decided to follow my dream of becoming a makeup artist and initially studied at the Oonagh Boman School of Makeup on her Fashion and Photographic makeup course. I then went to London and completed several courses and masterclasses with big industry names. I’m also a face and body painter and set up my initial company in 2003 which I then rebranded when I completed my makeup artistry training. In such a fast paced and ever-changing industry, I believe you should always develop your skills and I invest in my training on an annual basis either 1:1 or at masterclasses with international makeup artists.

TP: Who is your dream client? 

I don’t have a dream client as such but I do love working on our typical Irish complexions of pale skin, freckles and red hair.

I adore Holly Willoughby and would love to do her makeup. Patsy O’Neill, Holly’s makeup artist regularly actually uses Delilah cosmetics on her and I’m delighted to have taken up the role of regional educator for Delilah cosmetics in Northern Ireland so I like to tell myself I’m technically a step closer!

Bridal Makeup Artist, Northern Ireland, SAK Designs, Stacey Kilpatrick | The Promise NI

Image: Bradley Henderson Photography

TP: What should brides think about before booking their MUA? 

There are a lot of makeup artists to choose from and it’s important you do your research to get the correct match. Firstly, I would recommend going on word of mouth recommendations from friends/family and other wedding professionals. Do your research, look at real-life brides created by your makeup artist and be careful to look at unedited photos were possible to give you a realistic view of the artist’s skill with no added filters or post production work. Choose an artist who works in the bridal industry as it is a specialist skill. Lots of communication is by email especially if you are planning from afar however sometimes picking up the phone and having a chat with an artist can help you decide if you feel a connection and can warm to the person as it is vital you get on and can trust your choice. Look at a makeup artist’s location as if they have to travel a distance they will need to factor this into their costing which may need to be factored into your budget. Timing as to when to book an artist is also key; most popular and experienced artists will book 2-3 years in advance, especially for weekends and bank holidays, so do be a step ahead of the game and secure your artist as soon as you have made your decision.

TP: What should brides expect to gain from their bridal trial- do you offer a trial for all the bridal party etc? 

A bridal trial is exactly that, an opportunity to try different ideas whilst deciding on your final makeup looks. I always ensure my brides have an intensive trial approx. 4 weeks prior to their wedding. All makeup artists will be different however my trials are approx. 2 hours and are a step by step process with the bride ensuring she is happy throughout and helping create the most enhanced version of herself. My advice is to be honest during this process. If your makeup artist is going in a direction you aren’t sure of it is better to say and have this altered than leave feeling unhappy and nervous about the wedding day itself.

I personally do not think it’s necessary for everyone to have a trial. It is easy as a makeup artist to create bridesmaids looks on the morning of the wedding once you see the girls and their dresses. However, if you have anyone in your bridal party particularly nervous about having their makeup done, someone prone to allergies or just someone you’d like to treat then a trial is a good option.

Bridal Makeup Artist, Northern Ireland, SAK Designs, Stacey Kilpatrick | The Promise NI

Image: Francis Meaney Photography

TP: How many people can you make up on the morning of the wedding? 

I am comfortable with bridal parties up to 8 people on the morning of a wedding. If there are more people or time is tight I can bring a fully qualified makeup artist along with me to assist.

TP: What is your favourite thing about being at the bride’s house on the morning of her wedding? 

Doing bridal makeup is so incredibly special. Being part of the bridal preparations I get to share laughs, tears, nerves, excitement and am one of the first to see the bride in her dress so it is such an honour to be invited into a bride’s home or wedding prep location. My favourite thing is simply being there and being trusted to help create lifelong memories.

TP: Do you have a typical bridal makeup look that most brides request?

My brides typically request a flawless natural bridal look which I am best known for and I encourage them to be the most enhanced version of themselves on the day. I like foundation to look like real skin, skin to glow in the right places and feel makeup shouldn’t be a mask.

Bridal Makeup Artist, Northern Ireland, SAK Designs, Stacey Kilpatrick | The Promise NI

Image: The Campbells

TP: How can a bride make her wedding day makeup look her own? And how can it differ from her maids look?

I create my bridal looks with my bride, not for my bride. I listen to her loves, to her concerns, her daily routine, her evening regime and create a look to with her. As a professional makeup artist, I create individual looks for my brides based on their preferences and taking their face shape and colour analysis into consideration. A professional will know exactly the right amount and application of product to last at least 15 hours and will be perfect for photography in a variety of lighting situations. I do like my bridesmaids’ makeup style to compliment the bride but I feel it should be slightly different even if it’s simply a different lip colour or style of false lash. With bridesmaids, I take into consideration the bride’s preference, the dress style/colour and the individuals I’m working on. It is also important for bridesmaids to be consistent, if they’re are wearing a nude lip then someone with a red lip will look out of place so it’s best to have a common theme unless the bride specifically requests otherwise.

TP: How would you deal with a wedding day beauty disaster such as a large breakout on the face due to stress? 

Being in the industry for over 8 years professionally I have come across a few mishaps. With this experience, I am confident I am well prepared for any given scenario. Breakouts are common and a professional makeup artist can confidently cover any blemishes. A professional artist will also be prepared on how to deal with contagious skin conditions and keeping a safe and hygienic working environment.

I have also assisted with a few non-beauty related ‘disasters’ too but my mornings tend to run very smoothly and I always ensure my brides are ready with plenty of time to spare.

TP: Do you have a pet beauty peeve? 

No pet beauty peeves I’m afraid. I do recommend not to try anything new on the lead up to the day, get all waxing done at least 5 days prior to wedding and if you plan to have a false tan prep well and have a trial run with the same person who will be doing your bridal tan.

TP: What’s your desert island beauty product and why? 

My personal beauty style is very minimal. It would either be my Aveeno moisturiser, Bobbi Brown eye opening mascara or Carmex but Aveeno would probably win if I had to choose.

Stacey's Top five hero beauty products for brides
  1. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – a fab product for exfoliation and leaving the skin looking and feeling bright.
  2. Carmex - it is vital to prep lips and keep them well moisturised and hydrated on the lead up to your wedding.
  3. No. 7 Beautifully Matte Makeup Base – fantastic for anyone who is prone to shine on the skin.
  4. Delilah Underwear Future Resist Primer – a beautiful serum with an extremely fresh and silky feel, enriched with peptides, lines and wrinkles instantly appear plumped and smoothed.
  5. Senna mineral powder compact – my top selling product for touch ups throughout the day and can be worn alone as a foundation therefore great to bring on honeymoon.


A huge thanks to Stacey for sharing some of her secrets and inspiring us! To view more of her work visit

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