Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Wedding Palava

With all the venom in me I’m writing this, as I am very burnt. Some inexperienced fools made my very close friend’s wedding more or less a flop, to be precise the guests were hot and hungry!
I know people say nothing really matters except the two people getting married but that is a big lie! Except it’s only the bride and groom present with the minister, then by all means it’s all about you. Otherwise, my dear friend, it’s about your guests if you want a successful wedding ceremony. So here are a few key things (which I have observed over the course of all the weddings I have attended/participated in) to make sure are properly sorted out to keep your guests

Planning ahead is the Secret to a successful wedding ceremony. It will keep you from turning into a Bridezilla (Crazy bride) and your guests will have a swell time. Research as much as possible. It really helps. You can ball on a budget. Patience is also very important.
  • Budget: Don't overspend,with adequate planning and budgeting, you can v a fun and fab wedding ceremony, honeymoon and marriage thereafter instead of going bankrupt for a 1/2-day ceremony. Also put this in consideration when picking your 'aso-ebi' (family/friends attire) and bridal trains outfits, they will be paying for such items so be easy on theeir pockets as well.
  • Coordination: Make sure the important people (Flower girl,groomsmen,bridesmaid,best man,etc) participating in the ceremony are well coordinated and know where and how to meet you on the wedding day. You may choose to have them sleep at your house and transport them to the wedding venue, if otherwise let each person be properly informed so they can plan accordingly.
  • Hall: size and temperature has to be put in consideration when picking a hall, it must either have many windows and proper cross-ventilation or enough high powered air-conditioners to cater to your guests and have enough spacing between tables. Test their equipment, don’t just take their word for it.
  • Catering/Food: is the most important of all!! The food must have taste at the very least! (Tasteless food is just as bad as no food), it must be properly portioned and come as quickly as possible to meet seated guests. If the caterer is serving small portions of food, a small plate should be used so the guests don’t look at the food as small when looking at it on a huge plate. Depending on the seating arrangements (no. of people you plan for to attend your wedding), you should have a proportional no. of people serving food and it also helps to delegate at least 2-4 trustworthy and mature people from both sides of the family to oversee the catering and direct the servers (before your nicely dressed guests end up doing the serving and washing plates instead of enjoying the ceremony which was the case at this wedding I just got back from). Another way to tackle the food issue is by making small chops (snacks) available on each table, especially those that can be eaten @room temperature such as spring rolls, samosa, meat balls, puff-puff, etc. This will keep guests busy and not too hungry while the bride and groom take pictures and prepare to dance in. Drinks especially water should be made available to all guests and should be chilled.
  • MC: This as just as important as the first two, a boring coordinator or MC will kill the crowd’s morale and make your guests leave earlier than planned. Get an MC that can relate to the tribe of both the bride and groom (I once attended a wedding where they spoke Yoruba throughout and the groom and his people were from another tribe and did not understand a word!! not cool!). He/She must be able to carry the guest along and crack cool jokes and basically keep everyone or as many people as possible involved in the event and entertained.
  • Seating Arrangement: I cannot emphasize enough how important this is!! You may say it doesn’t work for Nigerian weddings but the truth is you can make it work, just find a way to categorize your guests into groups (colleagues @work, classmates from university, friends of the parents, etc) that they will love to slip into and make the table signs as visible as possible. This will allow conversation to flow during the event, and although some may argue that it will stop the guests from mingling and meeting new people, it should be taken into consideration that some of these people may have been out of touch prior to that day. The most important categories that seats should be reserved for and close to the stage I may add, in my opinion are Bridesmaid & Groomsmen, Bride & Groom’s Family, after these, others can be mingled as the couple wish. Important guests should also be accounted for when preparing seating charts. You can place a long sign with a bold card indicating the different categories, so guests can sight them from afar and fin their places quickly. Ushers can also be given the list of categories so they can help guests to their appropriate table.
  • Music/Dancing: I love musc!! Everyone who knows me knows that. lol. That said, you have to do your best to carry all your guests (both young and old) along. For instance I am a Yoruba gal, I intend to play some old school Yoruba and English jamz for the benefit of the parents and elderly people there so they will be motivated to come out and dance with the couple, enjoy themselves and spray money (:D). Up next is me and the youths, we can rock our azonto jamz and go back in time with some naija and international jamz. I intend to have both a band and DJ, you can’t just beat bands @a Yoruba wedding,the beating of the drums, improvised hailing of the couple and their parent, etc. You can make a playlist of songs you want played and the DJ and band can take it from there. You can also spice up the event by choreographing a song with friends for your guests. The guests should have a sensible amount of time to dance with the couple.Some important songs you have to pic are (else you end up dancing to songs you don’t like or know):

        I.            BRIDAL ENTRANCE »
Wedding songs to escort the bride down the aisle
      II.            WEDDING RECESSIONAL »
Music to play as you walk back up the aisle after you take your vows
    III.            BRIDE’S PARENTS ENTRANCE DANCE SONGS » (optional)
Wedding songs to escort the PARENTS and their friends to their seats
    IV.            GROOM’S PARENTS ENTRANCE DANCE SONGS » (optional)
Wedding songs to escort the PARENTS and their friends to their seats
Music to play as the couple, bridal train & friends dance into the reception arena
    VI.            CAKE CUTTING SONGS » (optional)
Fun songs to cut your wedding cake to
  VII.            FIRST DANCE SONGS »
Wedding songs to commemorate your first dance as husband and wife
Popular Father-Daughter wedding dance songs or fun songs to mime to
    IX.            MOTHER DAUGHTER SONGS » (optional)
Chosen fun songs that both of them can dance or mime to
      X.            MOTHER SON SONGS »
Popular Mother-Son wedding dance songs fun songs to mime to
    XI.            FATHER SON SONGS » (optional)
Chosen fun songs that both of them can dance or mime to
  XII.            BOUQUET TOSS SONGS »
These songs will cue the bridesmaids that it's time to vie for the bouquet
End your wedding night with one of these memorable songs
  • Order of Photographs: i absolutely love pictures!! Please invest in an experienced/creative ‘wedding’ photographer and try as much as possible to follow the order of photographs you make asides the other random pictures that will be taken before, during and after the ceremony, depending on how you categorize your guests. All guests love to be captured with you after making out time to be there for you and it can be annoying when you don’t get to take pictures with the couple. Delegate a mature person to coordinate the guests to take pics turn by turn as it is most times tricky for the photographer to handle. You can make some printouts of poses you will like to have with your bridesmaid and groomsmen and the photographer can also give his own poses. Its best to leave the pictures with your bridesmaids and groomsmen for last as a lot of different poses may be explored. Run through the order of photographs with the other guest and while they go in you can take your couple poses and with the bridal train. Also bear in mind not to waste too much time and end up keeping your guests waiting. Remember Pictures and Videos are the only physical memories that you will have after that day for future reference.
  • Souvenirs: This can be a tricky part because you will be on the high table and can’t oversee that all your guests take home at least one gift. I believe the best way to handle this is to package together the souvenirs meant for every single guest and delegate a trustworthy family member to ensure that all guests get a package. It’s best to start from the seats that are completely filled and flow to the seats that are not filled. Souvenirs are a sort of thank you gift from the couple so it’s always nice when each guest gets something to take home. In my opinion, the best time to share them is after serving food to guests as that’s when majority of the guests will be seated.
  • Makeup: It’s your day. You have to look your best, use an experienced/expert ‘wedding’ make-up artist who must have done a trial of the look you desire prior to your wedding day to ensure that you are satisfied with the person’s handwork and you don’t end up looking like a clown, dripping and smeared in makeup. You can also do your makeup yourself (I intend to this) by practicing the look you want daily and months before the wedding to perfect your desired look. If you are doing your makeup yourself you should do a lot of research on products best suited to your skin and for a wedding day. There’s a wealth of information on YouTube and other sites. Dive in, explore and experiment.
  • Colors: This may seem trivial but the truth is most couple’s omit this. Be sure to inform your guests in their invites of your colors for the day. Let them know which is your main color and the compliment so they don’t look odd amidst other guests at the ceremony. Some people put 3colors on their invite and you are confused which color to wear for the event.
  • Cake: I hate those tiny box cakes!! Especially when I see the couple cutting a massive cake on the stage. Why tease me with this tiny piece in my mouth and that massive one only my eyes can behold?! What do couple do with all that cake after the ceremony? As for me I’m going to have sensibly sized cupcakes served to my guests and they’ll also have the same in a box to take home and I’ll have a three tier cake, one for me and my husband to take home, one for his family and the other for my family. Shikena! No waste and you save money. And if I find a nice looking dummy cake I can put that beside my 3-tier cake for the sake of pics. I once saw a wedding where they had like 21 cakes on the stand!!! (the groom’s mum is a baker but regardless!) and the guests still got the tiny box cakes.
  • Video: Wedding videos have been said to revive the love in some marriages when the couple watch it years later and re-live their day. Please invest in a good wedding videographer to capture your wedding and you won’t regret it. You can also do a pre-wedding themed video just for the sake of it. I hope to do this if my fiancé agrees. I want to do our version of Tiwa Savage’s ‘Ife wa gbona’ vid (old skool tins).
  • Wedding Rehearsals: Rehearse whatever is routine for that day with the parties involved, so everyone knows their part and no one is lost/confused on that day.
  • Backup Plan: Have a backup plan for everything in case of the unexpected! 
  • Time: The MC should be mindful of time during the ceremony so you don’t keep the guests for too long. You can continue having fun with those that wish to stay behind after the closing prayers have been said.

Here are some links that you may also want to explore
  1. http://info.betransported.com/blog/bid/184880/6-Wedding-Tips-to-Ensure-a-Stress-Free-Wedding-Day
  2. http://www.simplybridal.com/pages/typical-wedding-disasters-article
  3. http://www.weddingbycolor.com/thirty3thirty/page/2
I hope this helps you in planning your wedding and please know that all the above are my opinions (Nigerian) and don’t have to be followed word for word. You can adapt them and put your own twist on the above. It’s your day afterall. Wish you all the best and a successful wedding ceremony and remember its the marriage which comes after the ceremony that is the most important!!Don't get sucked in and ruin that from the start
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