As told to Mikolo by Lydia Akoth.
As a ‘bride-to-be’ before, I’ve already suffered a few burns in the process of planning my wedding so I just thought I should share a few from myself and other brides I’ve spoken to:
Procrastination – Leaving things up to the last minute
This is a killer I tell you. Here’s the thing, once you find THAT dress, photographer, caterer etc…and they fit your budget…STOP LOOKING. If you keep looking for something better and can’t find it, chances are that one you had fallen in love with at first will be taken by the time you go back. Secure services as early as possible; most service providers require a certain percentage of deposit. So the earlier the better.
Not going for hair & make-up trials
Ladies, I cannot stress enough how crucial this is. Anyway, in my bridal make up experience I’ve come across numerous brides who’d be UBER-frustrated due to hair not doing what they want it to (particularly weaves). Going for trials (2-3 weeks prior to the big day) gives you and the stylist time to play around with ideas – what works for you and what doesn’t. I normally encourage brides to carry a few pics from magazines that can be used for inspiration. I’d also advise you to have your trials on the same day you go for your final dress fittings. In that way, you get to see whether the whole look with tie up or not on the wedding day.
Not diarizing appointments
This is recipe for disaster. You need to bear in mind that while you plan a wedding, life goes on the other hand – friends’ parties, family, meetings, work, other appointments etc. If you don’t keep a diary, then you’re literally inflicting unnecessary havoc into your life. Remember there’s life after your wedding so if you’re going to miss your friends and family events all in the name of wedding-planning, then prepare to miss them after the wedding as well.
Not requesting mock-up tables
This is similar to point 3. I recently had the lady who’s doing my decor prepare a mock table after a friend advised. I had no idea how much I needed this until I got there and discovered that although I liked her first set-up, she actually had much better ideas which we played around with and I walked away all smiles. Now I know her and I are on the same page in terms of decor.
Being a walk-over
DO NOT let people walk over you. Just DON’T. Here’s the thing – as much as mommy, sissy, aunty Maria and them are excited about your day, they may get carried away and start making it about them. I wear my hair natural and have always known that I wanted to wear it out on my wedding day. I had to put my foot down when family members suggested “wedding hairstyles” aka “happily married” as my other friend calls them. Another bunch is your bridal party…huuuweee! Look, it’s your day, you don’t get married every year…take charge.
Not letting partner contribute ideas
Ladies, I get it…it’s your wedding BUT what’s a wedding without a groom? Hm? Get him involved. Consult with him. Get his input. You don’t want an escort on the day but a man you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Let him throw in his 2c worth, it may not be much but it will make him feel like it’s his wedding too…which it is. What my hubby did (and I call him this because he is) was let me run with everything and come to him with final decisions, fortunately for me he only added his 2c to the programme, groomsmen attire as well as his own. Luckily for me he’s got an OK taste and is surrounded by quite stylish groomsmen who offered great advice.
Pushing away help
The process of planning a wedding can be draining – emotionally, financially, spiritually & physically. You need people; support system; people who love you and are willing to offer themselves to see your wedding day turn out as perfect as you want it to. Once you allow people to help, you actually get to realize how blessed you are to be surrounded by such love. I’ve had friends who’d literally call me and be like “Sooo girl…you know I’m paying for your xxxxx right?”. Me: “No man you don’t have to” Friend: “Uhm I wasn’t asking. It’s done!” *hangs up phone*. Well I have special kind of friends. Some have offered their time to run around on my behalf. My sister has literally appointed herself my wedding planner and this experience has actually gotten us closer to each other as sisters. If this is not love, then I don’t know what is. Given the fast-paced life I lead, I couldn’t ask for more.
Trends will come and go…Just Do You. There’s a photo of my late grandparent’s wedding at moms that I can’t help but stare at each time I go home. That picture is timeless; it’s gorgeous. My late gran is not even wearing a white dress on it but she still looks like a beautiful bride. Always remember that 10-20 years from now, you’ll be stuck with those photos. Question is – will you ask yourself “What the heck was I wearing?” or just melt each time you look at them?
Ignoring the elders’ advice
Woman, listen to your mom…she knows best. You don’t have to agree with everything she says but there’s just stuff you have to pay attention to. Things like cultural/traditional bits of the wedding you don’t know, particularly in African cultures. I initially thought I’d get dressed at the matrimonial venue but my mom sat me down and explained to me how important it is for a bride to wake up at her parents’ home, have breakfast & get dressed there. Among other things, she reminded me how thick blood is when I told her who my bridesmaids were. I initially had 4 friends & 2 family members for bridesmaids; now I have 2 friends and 4 family members and couldn’t be happier!
Marriage is one of God’s most beautiful institutions. Not everyone is happy to see you walk down the aisle; not every attention-seeking ex-girlfriend/boyfriend is happy for you. If you want your day to be perfect…pray…pray…and pray. Come on now…on your knees!