I have never been a fan of weddings, Kenyan weddings especially…(I fear when there’s a massive crowd of people in one place and food is involved. LOL). In fact, I think I have attended a total of six weddings in my whole life and out of those six, there’s only one particular wedding between a handsome South Sudanese man and a lovely Aussie lady that stood out for me. I loved this wedding because 1. It was on a random December Tuesday afternoon. 2. It was small and intimate (there were less than 80 guests). 3. The décor was absolutely beautiful and 4. The food was really good (it was the first 3 course meal wedding I’ve attended in Kenya). I loved it! I remember leaving that wedding and making a mental note to borrow a very huge leaf from it, if the time ever came.
I’m particularly not a fan of Kenyan weddings because:
1.They are all the same.
2.Way too many invited guests as well as gate crushers.
3.There are always too many shouting kids running around and wailing babies. Ugh!
4.Those long speeches often given in vernacular language half the guests don’t even understand by your “uncle” . “Uncle” because he lived behind your neighbor and saw you when you were born and just happened to be there when your umbilical cord stump dropped off.
6.Normally held at some dusty school’s grounds with toilets located miles away.
7. I will say nothing about décor.
As much as I know weddings are a communal thing in Kenya (or should I say in Africa), I chose to look at mine like a party of some sort-hence the dress code: cocktail attire. Of course we had a traditional-ish wedding in my rural home area that was well attended by uncles, aunties and cousins. They met my husband-to be and got to know him a little. There was good food, lovely, short speeches and happy faces.
Here, let me randomly end that awkward intro and jump straight to answering your questions.
Q: Did you have a wedding check list? Please share!
A: YES! A very unnecessarily long one! Plus coming up with it gave me long days and nights! Here is the sample:
33. Should be sparklers and other props.
Q: Were you nervous on the day?
A: Yes! I was a bag of nerves! I’m a perfectionist and so I wanted everything to be perfect! We all know that there’s nothing like a perfect wedding or perfect any event for that matter but I still stressed over it. Every bride is a nervous wreck (but it’s a good, exciting kind of nervous…like the way we would anxiously anticipate school trips when we were kids). I woke up with the shits! My stomach was misbehaving plus I was yet to finish writing my vows.
Q: When did the nerves check in properly?
A: I had it all together until 2 days to the wedding when the weather decided to change. I was also having a writer’s block and I was worried my vows would be too boring and I would get booed off the podium (See the kind of things I stressed about). I hadn’t decided on a hair stylist and I was afraid I would have to end up looking like Helena Bonham Carter on a bad hair day because I had flirted with the idea of styling my own hair and everyone knows me and hair … just NO!
Q: What particularly gave you sleepless nights?
A: I wouldn’t exactly call it sleepless nights (perhaps sleepless days and nights?) just kidding! I wasn’t ati super stressed in fact the planner mentioned that I’m probably the calmest bride she has ever worked with. But:
-Not may churches in Kenya are for garden weddings and I hadn’t known that the church I worship at officiate garden weddings. Before I found out they do, I was stressed trying to find a pastor to officiate my garden wedding. It is then that I learnt that you can’t just walk into a church and say “Hey random pastor! will you marry us on the 3rd of March? Cheers, Thanks!” You must be a member of that church! Oh and you pay more for a garden wedding.
-How to go about getting the wedding invitations that I wanted because I knew no one could pull off exactly what I wanted locally.
-Choosing the wedding gown and the evening gown.
– The wedding vows – I had/have been going through serious writer’s block for a very long time-so I wrote my vows at 1 am on the day of the wedding.
-What lip color to wear- I wanted to look as bridal as possible (you know, blushing bride and all) so I was torn between wearing a nude-ish/soft Pink lip or a popping , bright ass red lip color which I know is not very bridal but I was considering it mainly for the pictures but there was also the issue of my uncles thinking I had taken a sip from the blood bank . Decisions, decisions… I finally decided on a soft pink for the ceremony and then went all blood bank sipper for the reception which was an evening reception and red worked perfectly.
-Wedding music (I had a tough time picking THE song to walk down the aisle to but once I decided on the ONE I didn’t look back!)
-The bridal fragrance to wear and whether I should wear my hair up or down.
Q: What made you pick 03/03 as your wedding date? Is it a special day in your life?
A: There is really nothing special behind the date. I just like numbers that are easy on the eyes. You know, like doubles, triples, quadruples etc. For instance, I am very jealous of anyone whose wedding date was 12.12.12 or 11.11.11 etc. Doubles and triples are easy to remember and besides I am 33 and I think I can easily remember that when I’m old and grizzled and I can tell my grandchildren that I got married on 03.03 at age 33! March was also my Late mama’s birth month and she was the best so I decided why not March?
Q: Did you have a wedding planner?
A: Yes! Sunflower tents and events and they were wonderful!
Here’s what you need to know: Choose an established planner who owns their own tents, chairs, centerpieces etc and not a planner who has nothing and therefore operates by leasing everything from other planners. The latter ends up being waaaay expensive for nothing.
Q: Who helped you pick your beautiful gown?
I picked my own China-made wedding gown. I took a HUGE risk and had it made in Hong Kong by someone named Vicky. It looked 60% like the picture I had sent Vicky and when it arrived I absolutely HATED it! I had to do quite a lot of adjustments on it but I loved how it looked in the end. The train weighed a ton and they missed a huge detail which I might show you later in my insta stories!
PS: I wouldn’t advise anyone to do as I did (I had a plan B dress to fall back on which by the way I didn’t end up wearing because it was too sexy! the officiant would have sweated buckets!).
Also, Hong Kong has all sorts of wedding dress fabric to choose from. They even have a very huge mall dedicated to wedding gowns alone! I bet even the designer wedding gowns that cost millions get their fabric from China.
Q: If you could change anything about the day what would it be? Eg venue, any vendor used? Menu, lineup, music etc
A: I wouldn’t change much, I would definitely choose not stress over anything.
-I would also use a different cake person and pick a more hype DJ. The DJ we had didn’t play the kind of music that sends everyone to the dance floor. He was boring!
-I wouldn’t change my makeup person but I would lie to her about the timing so that she arrives earlier or on time. My makeup person was almost 2 hours late which cost me some pictures…like pictures of the bridal party getting ready together, popping champagne and fake laughing and whatever.
I would also get a wedding coordinator and not try and be a hero and do everything myself.
Q: Can you give a list of the songs you picked for the day?
A: I was so random by the way. This was my random list of songs:
*Wedding party procession – When we were young by ADELE
*Bride entrance announcement – 20th Century Fox intro
*Bride walk – Pachelbel’s Canon
*Certificate signing – Stay with you by John Legend
*Recession – I choose you by Sara Bareille
*Wedding party reception entrance – Baby na yoka by Mr. Flavour
*Cake cutting – Sugar by Maroon 5
*First dance – At Last by Etta James
*Bouquet toss – Dear future husband by Meghan Trainor
*Garter toss – Pink Panther theme song
Q: what was the major highlight of the day?
A: After I finished saying my vows, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man mouth the word “Wow” and wipe something from his eye that to me looked like a tear? It was at that point I knew I had nailed it with my last minute scribbled vows so I dropped the mic, picked it up and dropped it again! Of course I’m kidding about dropping the mic bit but I was so proud of that moment.
-Also that I didn’t fall flat on my face at any point on that day. Plus!
-A little girl came to me all wide-eyed and said “Wow! You are sooooo pretty!)”Little girls’ opinions matter the most in these things you know! 😀
PS: The heavy downpour ended up being a blessing in disguise. I will explain this in the next post.
Q: Any random tips for a bride-to-be
A: Be random and have fun! I dabbed, fist bumped, stuck my tongue out at the groom… I was so random!
*Stay away from your partner for at least 5 days to the wedding. Days leading to the wedding are the most stressful. You are both bound to piss each other off and snap at each other over very trivial issues. You can see each other briefly at the rehearsals and speak briefly over the phone. Stay. Away. From. Your. Partner!
*Mind your angles and your facial expressions for pictures on the day. Chances are that as the bride or groom you are going to be photographed a lot! You will appear in 85% of the pictures and you will like very few of those. Pray that you like at least 30% of those which will go on the photo album. Depending on the angle the picture is taken, there will be pictures where you will look like you’re recovering from Meningitis, those in which you will look like your mother’s brother’s son and those where you will look like you’ve just seen a bunch of ghosts. Also, laugh with style…fangs appear from nowhere and for some reason you might end up looking like a velociraptor.
*Mind your arms especially. Taken from a bad angle they may look like thighs. You don’t want that!
*Ensure that the planner and your other suppliers give you what you want and not what they want. You are paying for it anyway!
*GET A COORDINATOR!! This is different from the planner. A coordinator will make sure that everything will happen as it should. He/she will call your suppliers and terrorize them on your behalf! He/she will have a special program of how things are supposed to run behind the scenes. He/She will liaise with the ushers and will just make things run smoothly.
I didn’t really have one. I was sort of my own coordinator which was a bit stressful because I kept being asked for things. Where is this? Where is that? And so some things ended up in the wrong places because I was busy getting ready and couldn’t be on ground. For instance, the confetti ended up in the reception area, the certificate signing pen as well and the guest book reached only about 30% of the guests and some people took too much space on the book with their huge handwriting. It looks a mess! I also had to coordinate the sparklers shoot myself etc.Get a coordinator!
*You want to pray that you do not have a fat day on your wedding day!