So here I am now as Mrs. Ndichu! It is amazing because I have only ever been called Ms. Mbugua for decades, but I like how my new title feels. It is like a clean slate, a new identity but I am still very much Janet.
I have never been a fan of wedding talk or all the fuss and pomp that comes with it. But I had my wedding (with the same pomp and I colour I had often found over-the-top!), loved my wedding and learned a lot from it.
THE TEN THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY WEDDING:
1. Budget – Have a budget and try as much as possible to stick within its bracket. Point to note: if your budget supersedes what you or your partner earn in a year, you're not being very smart about cost. Think of your life BEYOND the wedding day. There'll be tones of expenses to deal with, so don't go broke planning a wedding, in a way that will make you struggle to get by for the rest of the year.
2. Wedding Planner – Choose your Planner wisely! A Wedding Planner coordinates all the different aspects of the Wedding with the help of a Committee. A disorganized Wedding Planner can easily ruin your Wedding Day. Take time to ask your Networks for likely Candidates and interview each one to ensure that they meet with your expectations.
3. Pregnant and Planning a Wedding – If pregnant and planning a wedding, be sure to have a great team around you in case you're too fatigued to carry out some of the planning yourself. The one thing that I feel a bit bad about is that I was sick throughout most of the planning for my wedding day, I let a lot of things slip because I just didn't have the energy to attend key meetings or run around to ensure certain things where running smoothly (thus the importance of getting a great Wedding Planner!). Alternatively, wait until you've had the baby, settle down a bit and then plan the wedding. Do what works for you!
4. Committee? Yes? No? Maybe? – Decide early on if you want a Committee or not. Some people prefer to just go with a Wedding Planner, which is fine, but a Committee can also help you keep check of what's happening on the ground on the day, particularly if you have a large wedding. We had a great Committee and are still so grateful to them for helping us make our Wedding day a success!
5. Bridal Wear – There are quite a few local Designers who are making Wedding Gowns. We went with local designers (in Kenya and abroad) for our Gown as well as our Bridal Party wear. On the up side, if you choose a local Designer you can constantly make changes and keep check of how the outfits are progressing and you also end up empowering our Creative Industry. You can however go with a Gown and Suit from aboard and make the changes at home. Either way, do what makes sense for you.
6. Destination or Not – Choose early on if you want to have a destination wedding or one where you live. I always knew I'd have a destination wedding, as did my husband. There are pluses and minuses to this. On the plus side, you get to choose a scenic venue that sums up your dream destination. But that depends on whether or not you'll be inviting many people. Remember that a destination wedding can also be expensive, especially if you're inviting many people.
7. Handling Family Drama – Now it goes without saying that most weddings have a lot of drama going on behind the scenes. Think about it; two families are coming together, with their different value systems, views on life, levels of exposure. This can get heated. Bottom line is, from very early on, learn what each side of the family is willing to bring to the table. While it's tradition that the Groom's side should foot the entire bill, times have changed. It's ok for the Bride's side to chip in. But this SHOULD be agreed upon early on so as to manage expectations. If from very early on you can see that certain family members are not particularly keen on helping out financially on the day, then decide whether you'd rather keep it intimate so as to manage finances, or find financing from somewhere else. But this is VERY crucial.
8. Grooming and Vendors – Be sure to have done hair and make up trials early on to decide who you'd want to work with on the day. Be fussy and specific. It's your day so don't compromise or listen to people trying to tell you how you should look. Regarding vendors, agree early on on the rates and agree on when you'll clear their payments. It's not fun to have your honeymoon interrupted with people asking when you'll clear their balance. You tell them to give you a week or two, even more, to reconcile the payments. Alternatively, you can organize your finances and pay them immediately after the wedding. To all vendors; the well being and peaceful state of mind of the Couple is very important and the day is about them. If they've wronged you or made you unhappy for one reason or the other, wait until AFTER the wedding to talk to them about it. Do NOT settle scores with the Couple before their wedding. It can throw them off.
9. Pray – A friend of ours gave us this advice; as a Couple, the day before your wedding, hold hands and pray with each other and for each other. Reassure each other and ease each other's anxiety. It made a world of a difference for us. We were really relaxed and on the same page on our wedding day and I know that prayer gave us that perspective.
10. No matter what, smile. Be happy. Those pictures and memories are for life so don't let the fact that your decor wasn't the sky blue you had in mind or that the center pieces you ordered didn't come out as you'd wanted, affect your day. Yes, these are terribly unfortunate situations, given that you may have spent so much time planning and putting your vision together. But that morning, make a decision to be happy no matter what. That's truly what got me through my day.
- Wachira Waruru for being such a gracious Host and inviting us to hold our Wedding Ceremony and Reception at Chaka Ranch, Nyeri. www.chakaranch.com
- The Staff of Chaka Ranch led by Reuben Kagai for providing wonderful and timely service during the Pre-Wedding planning and Wedding Day.
- Pastor David Kabibi of Nairobi Chapel for officiating over our Wedding Ceremony in such a lively and honest manner.
Christopher Kirwa – Master Of Ceremonies for our wedding
- Dickson Ngunjiri of DENT for providing Public Address System, Stage, Truss and Lighting for our Wedding. http://www.dent.co.ke/
- Emmanuel Jambo and Emms Studio Team for Wedding Photography and Videography Services. http://www.emmanueljambo.com/
- DJ Adrian and Team for providing outstanding entertainment for our Wedding Reception and Evening Party. http://deejayadrian.com
- Loky Zee for Design, Tailoring of the Groom's Grey Whistle Handmade Tuxedo.
- Boutique Mahali loacated on Wood Avenue, Kilimani – Nairobi, Kenya for Design & Tailoring of Bridal Party Outfits and Suits. Mobile: 0705262214
- Muthoni Njoba's Team led by Kayte Macharia and assisted by Ruth Kinuthia for providing Makeup Services for the Bride and Bridesmaids. www.muthoninjoba.com
Leo's Salon, Barber and Spa headed by Leonard Kimiti Ngugi for providing Hair Styling Services for the Bride and Bridesmaids. Leo's Salon, Barber and Spa, Garden City Mall, Along Thika Road, Exit 7.
- Ibis Hospitality Consultants for providing outstanding Catering Service for our Wedding. http://ibishospitality.com/
- Mudi's Cakes and Pastries located First Floor, Adams Arcade, Nairobi for preparing the delicious Wedding Cake and Cupcakes.