“I am not going to invite you to my wedding if you are not going to be there for my marriage” this quote had stuck with me the moments I picked it up from God knows where. Maybe from a movie or tv show but never mind.
Things you should keep in mind for your big day. I am not going to beat around the bush I’m going straight into it.
1. KNOW IT IS YOUR WEDDING: don’t allow anybody to champion the planning of your day if you don’t have a wedding planner. I repeat take charge of your wedding don’t let your parents or inlaws relived their past on your day make your own mistakes, after all, there is nothing like a perfect wedding. We all know how our parents, inlaws, and friends can be in Salone. Everyone wants to have an opinion and be heard; you should do this, you should wear that, if you are not careful or strong to say no to them you will be doing a whole lot of things that you don’t really want to do for your wedding.
2. GET A BUDGET AND STICK WITH IT: there is so much pressure on ourselves to get the best wedding not the best marriage and this is where the misplaced priority starts. Try to keep track of what’s coming in financially as a pre-wedding gift and what’s going out as expense. The wedding is just a day, marriage is supposed to be for eternity. Cut down on bogus spending, don’t spend too much on things you would not use or need after that day, outsource is you can. If you don’t need five-page boys and flower girls, of which use anyway just get one each or two at most. If you do not need seven bridesmaids or best, why not get two? why do you need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself to get them what to wear or to put pressure on people to get themselves what you want them to wear at your wedding?
3. TALK TO BOTH FAMILY: first, this is necessary, to let them know it’s your wedding and you guys are in charge, the type of wedding you want to have and most importantly your budgets and their invitees. Most times our parents will want to hijack our day, and filled the venue with their people; from the same village, town, district, school friends, church/mosques people, and area people. Yes! They will bring a few fowls and five gallons of palm oil but bear in mind, some you will even have to pay their transport fare back to where they are from. All of them will want to eat and take along too.
4. GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST TREAT: this is for both of you, get the dress or suit of your life, go to the saloon get pampered after all it a once in a lifetime thing. Spoil Yourself the body needs it after the stress of planning a wedding together, you will need to re-energize your body for the big day it is your money; well except the money was contributed for you which in that case you shouldn’t be getting married at all.
5. GET A GOOD DESIGNER/TAILOR: with most weddings now people will prefer to get their gowns designed or customized by home designers. This will enable the couples to contribute to the process, as opposed to going for ready-made wedding dresses and be faced with style and size problems. The key here is to know your designer, start early especially if he/she has to work for your entourage, be consistent, with what you want and your goals for the day, constantly check on them to avoid last-minute setbacks. There are some really good local designers that are good and experience with weddings and bridal couture-like Katie Beauty Touch by Keturah Chanika Harding and Hudson.
6. GET A PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST: I have seen how makeup had gone horribly wrong on the wedding day in Salone. Sometimes you wonder if there was no one around these brides or what was the makeup artist thinking? Making a bride looks like a clown on her day. There are few amazing makeup artists in town, that are very good with their craft; in no particular order like Sheilaz Makeover, Beauty by lunique, Bilkis, Glamdiva beauty, and Esterline Touch.
7. PAY ATTENTION TO FOOD AND DRINKS: Make sure you get the best caterer in town, if not talk to your neighborhood aunty that can cook for Sierra Leone to help you out and reach out to various people who are experts in specific delicacies. Tell them exactly what you want and your expectations of their service. Don’t give unclear messages and draw clear lines. serve people hot and fresh food otherwise, you will be the topic of Whatsapp PVs and group chats, and focus on lots of alcoholic drinks as Salone people like to party, after party, after party.
8. PHOTO AND VIDEOGRAPHY: one thing you would not want is to look back at your pictures and realize part of your head or shoe is absent, or most of the cherishable moments were missed. How bad can it be? You may ask. This can be truly bad as these moments cannot be recaptured. They will be lost forever, you can only get blurry bits and pieces from people with techno and other low budget phones. Now don’t get me wrong these phones have helped a lot of people and they are nice. Anyway I digress, my point is to get a professional photographer or studios like Zoom, Envisage concept and the rest, to capture your timeless/ priceless moments you yourself aren’t aware of. That will bring a smile on your face in years to come.
9. GO STRICTLY BY INVITATION: we all know how we are with food as Salone people. So be sure to cater to those who you invite in terms of food, drinks, and seats. How embarrassing can it be to invite someone and him/her had to stand throughout your ceremony or guests having to go home without food or drink? Make sure a neutral person manned the entrance of your venue, with the idea of the invitation and it should be stated whether it’s a single invitation or double. In Sierra Leone, two hundred and fifty people mean five hundred people, get that and always multiply by two when it comes down to figures
10. VENUE: get a venue that is easily accessible for your invitees, give clear directions as we don’t use GPS here in Salone. people, most times are prep and dressy with heels so make sure you tell them prior if the wedding venue is on top of the highest mountain or hill in town or below the steepest valley. so they know what to do in terms of what to wear to avoid accidents and minor mishaps for Freetown mostly, as it can most times be these two because of the landscape.
11. ASK QUESTIONS: they will tell you to eat foofoo it’s tradition, please ask why do you need to eat foofoo? They will tell you you need something borrowed, please ask why do you need to borrow if you can afford to buy it? Don’t fall into any myth trap. If it not important or you do not feel strongly about it, please ignore it.
12. ENJOY YOURSELF: trust me if you do all this on the big day you will surely enjoy yourself and not be thinking about how you going to pay all those you took money from for the wedding. Dance, eat, drink and Merry don’t allow people to steal your spotlight, you have only that day so make the best of it.
©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima