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Phoebe Asolo: 2017 Couples; For Your Eyes Only – with Love from a Recent Bride

BellaNaija Weddings

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My husband popped the question on the 1st of January 2016 and we didn’t get married until the 1st and 3rd of December, 2016. I had my introduction in April after which I started planning my wedding! That’s 8 months of planning for #PDA16!

I look back now and wish that there were more people who were real with me about the process of planning weddings. I wish more people told me how best to deal with vendors, how to manage the stress and that if you’re not careful, the process of planning a wedding can actually put a strain on your relationship.

I can tell you for free that if you base your wedding journey on what you see on Social Media, you will have the shocker of your life.

Hence, this article has been put together to prevent brides from making some mistakes I made and just make lives a little easier.

We all know how big the wedding industry was in 2016. I got married in 2016, I have been a bridesmaid and a chief bridesmaid numerous times hence, I guess I’m in a safe position to give the following advice to upcoming brides:

1. Wedding Venue

Immediately you have your date, book your venue: No matter how far your wedding is, please book your venue down. It is better to have a place reserved and to ask for a refund later if you change your mind, than to not have any hall at all as months draw close. There are so many people getting married on so many Saturdays, you will be surprised how many halls have been booked even 2 years ahead. In addition, consider the distance of your reception venue from your church. You do not want guests to be held up in traffic. Some will go back home!

2. Vendors

DO NOT ever select your vendors because of the number of Instagram followers they have, because they are popular or in summary- because you want to trend! I cannot go into details on all that I experienced with vendors. I actually selected some vendors based on the works I saw but I can tell you, the vendors that gave me the least or zero stress were the ones I selected based on referrals. The best way to select your wedding vendors is based on referrals. Let someone who has used the vendor be the one to link you both up. Do not ever pick vendors based on what you see on Instagram/Facebook! Never!!!

3. Planner or Coordinator

Do not assume you can do things all by yourself. Planning a wedding is stressful. If you don’t want a planner or a coordinator you should have friends or family members help you with the running around. If you do not have a 9-5 job and have more free time than normal, then you might not need a planner. A coordinator will be just fine for you. However, if you have a day job and are really busy, you definitely need a planner. Now don’t assume that you will be 100% jobless and the planner will take up all the responsibilities, it is your wedding so you will still work closely with the planner. There are times when the planner will ask to see you; you both will be in constant communication exchanging ideas etc. No matter which you plan to go with Planner, family or coordinator, you will still have some work to do as a bride, so get ready!

4. Bridal Train and Friends

It is very important to select diligent and hardworking bridesmaids or groomsmen. People that you know will give their time and go all out for you. In my opinion, the ideal number for bridesmaids or groomsmen is 3-8! This is because you will have to consider the cost of accommodation, feeding, transportation and much more. From experience, the smaller the bridal party, the less stress you will have.

It is also very important to be sensitive with your bridal train and even friends. This is where I bring in the idea of pre-wedding parties and aso ebi. It is really insensitive to do aso ebi of over 50k or even 10k when you have friends that do not have steady income. I didn’t do aso ebi and I got married! Please consider friends when you are also planning bridal showers, pre-wedding party, pre-wedding dinner and much more. Consider the pockets of your people.

In addition, it is necessary to reward your bridesmaids. Being a bridesmaid is not easy. Contributing money, time and “ginger” just to make you happy, is not the easiest thing. It is important to buy a gift or two just to appreciate your bridesmaids for all that they did for you

5. “Ember” Weddings

This I can say was one of my surprises. No one told me that December weddings were relatively more expensive. Luckily for me, I got engaged in January and I had booked all my vendors down by May after my introduction however, there are only few vendors that didn’t give me that “Ah! December wedding! Let me call you back about the cost”. I never and still don’t understand why, but if you want to save some money, don’t get married in December except December is such a special month to you.

6. Include your Partner

You will be a lucky bride, if you have a partner that doesn’t “drag” wedding details with you. I was a lucky one. My husband cared less about the details all he cared about was how much money we will save from what was planned in our wedding budget. He was in charge of the funds and I was in charge of the ideas so, we had to discuss everything because there is no way I will have an idea approved without funds and there is no way he will pay for something that didn’t come out of an idea. We had to always talk. We had a group chat; my planner, my sisters, my husband and myself. Everyone knew what was going on, vendors booked, payments that had been made etc. I have heard of grooms who were surprised on their wedding day and that caused arguments afterwards.

7. Make sure your Wedding Portrays who You Are

Please this is also a very important point. I advise that every bride should have a theme! This also guides the planner and the decorator on what to do. However, your theme should reflect who you are. Don’t ever do a wedding just because of the trend. I had a fairytale wedding because I think I’m a princess – LOL! And blue is my best colour, hence the “ice themed wedding” idea where I had a mix of white and blue décor. My best friend had a movie themed wedding as a movie producer that she is and it sure contributed to the happiness of her day. Do your wedding for you and not for anyone else!

May I also add here, do whatever you want to do on your wedding day. I love to sing, my husband loves to dance and sing. I remember thinking to myself – “Am I sure I really want to sing on my wedding day with the calibre of people coming and the journalists’ around?” What if I go off tune, what if? What if? Hey! I sang and I was so happy I did that!

My husband loves to dance, our first dance was first a slow song and then we spiced things up and danced till we could feel our feet no more. You do not have to follow any status quo-please do whatever you want to do to make sure you are happy on your day.

Listen to family and friends but make sure you put yourself first- It is your wedding!

8. Enjoy your day, Not many things go as Planned

Your first dance song may start playing from the 2nd verse, one of your bridesmaids may not be able to make it, your zip might pop, the makeup artist might send her trainee assistant instead, a musician you paid for might not show up, food might finish, someone you didn’t give an invite will come to dance with you, fireworks might go up at the wrong time, so many things can go wrong but you need to focus on what matters- You and your man! Your new life and beautiful future ahead! Care less about this details- they don’t matter!

Make sure you dance! Enjoy your day and dance well! This is one of the many secrets of getting more money from your wedding! When you dance, people will spray you. Don’t sit down crying over the light that didn’t come up or the earrings that broke on your way to the hall!

Enjoy your day! Dance!!!

9. Wait for Pictures! Everyone Else Will Wait 

Pictures are the most sacred things to behold after a wedding. This is why you also have to make sure you smile all through your day. Plan your day well and allow 1 hour at the least for pictures. Tell the aunties and uncles to step aside and call your photographers forward! Pose! Smile! Take it all in! Don’t rush into the reception hall! Allow at least an hour between church and reception for your pictures! Take pictures! Take as many! While walking down the aisle, smile! Cry if you want to! While dancing with your groom, tell your planner to tell everyone to go off the dance floor so your photographer will capture the moment. Go around tables at some point and take pictures with friends. Make sure you do! Walk like a queen, take your time. It’s your day, create moments. Cry, laugh, jump do anything and when you look back at the pictures, you will be happy you created those moments!

10. Don’t Break the Bank. After the Wedding Comes the Marriage.

There are so many ways to save money and still have a banging wedding. The important things to spend money on are Food, Drinks and Music. These three are the success triangle for a great wedding. Get a good DJ, get as much food and get as much drinks (Water and alcohol are very important depending on your social circle).

The other things are secondary. Don’t break the bank on the minute things. Natural flowers vs artificial flowers? What will natural flowers do for your marriage? Dior chairs vs plastic chairs? I don’t even remember any chair I have sat on in any wedding. Designer dresses and shoes – How many people will really bend down to see your shoes or check the back of your dress for the label? If you can afford the Louboutins and the Vera Wangs, and still have money for the marriage- please go for it. But if you can’t, please note that you will still be happily married and these material things contribute zero to your marriage. For Dami and I, we had an amazing wedding and the after party was a hit – food wasted, drinks wasted, our DJ was the hit but what gave us more joy was how much money we saved and used for more activities during honeymoon and for setting up our home. Can I point out here that the first few months of the marriage, a lot of expenses are needed for setting up the home so please when budgeting for your wedding, include the budget for the 1st 3 months as well and DO NOT SPEND IT! After the wedding, you will get praises and also get goodbyes and then you will be on your own! So think mostly about the future than on one day. However, make sure you plan wisely to enjoy that one day to the fullest.

11. PRAY! PRAY!! PRAY!!!

When I asked brides about their experience when planning their wedding, almost all of them included this point. Marriage is an institution ordained by God hence, the devil is not happy when two people want to get marriage. I can go all spiritual but I won’t for now. Many things happen when you are about to get married. Some people have even broken up in the process. Some fall sick, so many things happen. The only way you can have a seamless process is when you include GOD in the mix. Please pray with your partner daily, fast if you can, pray with your bridal party and ask your extended family to put you all in prayers! This way, absolutely nothing will come in your way!

BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL UPCOMING COUPLES! Here’s wishing you a lovely day and stress-free process.
***

BellaNaija Weddings will feature Phoebe and Dami – the #PDA16 wedding this January. Look out for it here!

Photo Credit: Jide Odukoya Photography | @jopstudios

46 Comments

  1. Rrrrrrr

    January 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    This is the most real advice o have seen. God bless your home dear

  2. Baby gurl

    January 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Point 10 is the real deal! After the wedding comes the marriage. Anyone that ever forgets that is in for an extremely rude awakening! And please which makeup artist sent their trainee assistant. Ha somebody will die o! I’ve always known that issue of venue. As soon as I get engaged that’s literally the first thing I will do. Book my venue. That same day. I can’t shout. In Naija for some reason our own wedding season is December. Exactly. Na wedding month lol especially 24th – 31st. In the west it’s more like June – August to take advantage of the kind and beautiful summer. Good luck to all 2017 brides. God bless you richly.

  3. Jane(the real Jane)

    January 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Down to earth.

  4. Funsho

    January 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    My darling Phoebeloba !

    You just make me proud every second

    I love this write up so relatable

    Great you are giving people heads up

    God bless ur home boo xxx

  5. Mimi

    January 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Is that not the bride Bella naija posted on instagram tht she wore 10 dresses for her wedding ?

    • Nikky

      January 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      LMAOO BOOBOO.. do you know who her daddy is? #theirfather

    • Dee

      January 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      So? Maybe it is because she CAN afford it. She mentioned that if you can afford something, go for it but if you can’t, don’t break bank. Read and comprehend ma.

    • Idomagirl

      January 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      10 dresses ke? How is that possible?

  6. Pipi

    January 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Please please she was right on the mark don’t not pick a vendor of Instagram!!!! I still have not seen my wedding pictures 1 year after my wedding! It’s crazy! And he is sooo rude about it.:… It’s insane

    • Vally

      January 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      For real?

    • Yomi

      January 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Please which of them so we are cautious

    • Pipi

      January 7, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Gamezoo!

    • bolintin

      January 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      she is so right about this point. I also recently had an experience. Though I was not the bride, I engaged a make up artist for my sisters and I, first she ditched us unannounced and had no courtesy to even follow up with what her girls did afterwards.

      Moreover unlike her Instagram pictures we just look like my kids” art work in the pictures.

    • Sir.U2C

      January 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      He is still “headiting it”

    • Elixiroyal Events

      January 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

      wow!sorry about that ,reason why i advice for more than one photographer

  7. Rosey

    January 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    What a wonderful advice…like she touched everything..honey God bless your new home

  8. Deni

    January 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Nice one! I guess you are writing out of experience because I saw your wedding and you wore so many attires, had a jungle themed trad which to me was tacky,i guess you wanted to trend too…lol and you trended. Thanks anyway.

    • Mo

      January 7, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      If you read the piece very well, you’d see that she said “make yourself happy, not anyone else” and “if you can afford it, and still save for the marriage, spend it.” Clearly they had the money and they spent it on what makes THEM happy, not if someone else would find it tacky or not 🙂 Also, it’s clear that her and her husband were smart enough to budget and save up for their MARRIAGE. The fact that she wore many attires (which she explained why on Insta), or had many artistes or even had a wedding that trended, does not mean it wasn’t well planned or budgeted for.

    • Mide

      January 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Now it’s talk like this that shows u read just the surface of the article to each his own if she could afford to spend on her attire that’s her hard earned money and desire,please we should learn stop bashing people cause you don’t agree with their decisions that’s why we are all made uniquely by God and cut from a different cloth.you don’t know her personally so don’t be very sentimental…….

    • Jay

      January 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      But I agree though. I mean, nice piece she’s written, very informative and logical, but I also feel she wanted to trend and did so many unnecessary things and some came out quick tacky with all dew respect.. Like taking a pre-wedding photo in the gym and eating cake while her man was gyming????
      I really don’t understand the concepts of marriage anymore. Bisola Borha who is a wedding planner specifically stated that some of her brides tell her they want to trend and some say they’re ready to spend and don’t mind drinking garri after. ???? It is well.
      At the end of the day, the people who really have money and loaded do the least.

    • Jay

      January 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      And are loaded*

  9. mars

    January 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Nice advice don’t hire vendors based on instagram pictures and popularity some dts all dey are good in but dere services are wack

    • Lulu

      January 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Same with those instagram tailors/fashion designers. They are total rip offs and will drive you crazy!

  10. Akokomali

    January 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Best Nigerian wedding article have read in a long time. May God bless your home.

  11. TMan

    January 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    This is awesome and a matured write up. God bless you

  12. Kemisola

    January 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    So deep….”After the wedding comes the marriage”

  13. Awele

    January 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Brides who have been disappointed and or disrespected by vendors shouldn’t be slow to call them out on social media too.that way others are aware of the bad reviews rather than just the fake show on their pages.i typically check reviews before i go by any stores or restaurants or apartments.it should be same with your wedding vendors

    • "changing moniker"

      January 17, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Totally agree

  14. Mekz

    January 7, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Congrats Phoebe!

  15. Elvis

    January 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    For some reasons that I can’t even explain, I got goosebumps reading this.

    Damn, this is the most authentic epistle or article that I have ever read on Bellanaija. The writer touched every part of the preparation process and also the D-day event.

    Am in my late 20’s, although not married, but I can totally relate with all she said, ‘Food’ and ‘Drinks’ are the crux of a wedding and I just learnt that ‘Music’ is also inclusive, (thanks to the writer) so I will put that in check.

    Preparing and planning for your wedding is naturally strenuous despite how wealthy and ready you think you are, so you need support of friends, family and ofcourse your partner.

    Everyone should bookmark this article, whether married or not.

    This is worth reading and Congrat on your nuptial ceremony.

    • Pullitzer

      January 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      You are so right elvis.. It was such an honest article.. whether or not the bride is wealthy was not the point..

      I am also not married( not even dating).. bt by this year i am hoping to put some effort in finding a nice man cus I wld love to be in a serious relationship.. Nd be married hopefully in the next couple of years( I am not afraid of marriage at 30).

      I have book marked this article nd will definitely be using it when it’s my turn!

  16. Sisi

    January 7, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Great advice, God bless your home lady! ‘Can I point out here that the first few months of the marriage, a lot of expenses are needed for setting up the home so please when budgeting for your wedding, include the budget for the 1st 3 months as well and DO NOT SPEND IT!’ For those that didn’t hear in the back!!!!!

  17. Anonymous

    January 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Finally! Someone talks about aso ebi! And the marriage part is the real deal! And Phoebe thank u so much for mentioning prayers! This article is a beautiful one indeed

  18. Idomagirl

    January 7, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Well said.

  19. Pipi

    January 7, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    His name is Gamezoo! Please avoid him!

  20. Anonymous

    January 7, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Her advice is spot on!!!
    I had six months to plan my December wedding…by myself…long distance o lol!
    The venue, food, and drinks are sooooo important. Booked all vendors by August over the phone and followed up once I got into the country. I did not sell asoebi for trad, I bought what I could afford and gave to a few friends, all they had to do was sew their outfits and show up. Requiring people to buy asoebi puts an undue burden on them most times, it should not be a requirement. Same with bridesmaids: only three, I bought the dresses, affordable and nice. My shoes for both trad and church wedding were from DSW sales mehn, and they looked like a million bucks in the pictures 😀
    By the time we left naija, we were not owing anybody anything and were able to put a down payment on our first home a few months later with what we had saved.
    Weddings can take a toll both physically and financially if you don’t plan well. You truly don’t need to break the bank or keep up with the Joneses. Plus the importance of prayer cannot be overemphasized!

  21. Kaykay

    January 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    This is really beautiful I must say, thanks for sharing. Now I can’t wait to start planning mine already… ?

  22. Sopriye

    January 7, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Valuable advice and a joy to read. Well done Phoebs

  23. Lonely Girl...

    January 8, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Phoebe Phoebe Phoebe..

    How many times did I call your name? Your head is there. Aya Dami. God bless you. Apt, real and deep. No Aso Ebi and no bridal train for me. But thanks about the venue and Prayer point.

  24. Obi

    January 8, 2017 at 1:55 am

    One of the best articles I have read in a long time. I’m still young and marriage is a bit far but I’m saving this cos I would refer to it. Thanks a lot for this. One question. Why are Nigerian business big on non chalance and mediocrity? It’s annoying.

  25. missJai

    January 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Really nice write up…very insightful for up-coming brides.

    I don’t quite agree with your choice of the best 3 things to spend money on. Guests would eventually forget whether they ate/drank at your wedding or not, or perhaps stop getting mad about d fact that they didnt. They would eventually forgot how well they danced or the great music.

    My pick of 3 most important things would be : your dress, your ring and unique photography. i think these three are worth spending more money on. You would never forget how beautiful u looked on ur wedding, the great pictures would be a nice reminder. And the ring on ur finger would always stare at you for the rest of ur life. Long after the wedding is over, you would go back to look at ur wedding album and savour memories of the day, a quack photographer would probably have missed up on important moments.

    Been married over 8 years now and i still wear my same ring. A couple of friends have changed their over the years. And i totally enjoy reminiscing the day via my very professionally packaged wedding album.

    • mie

      February 12, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Ha! More money than food and drinks??? On photography?!!! Toh. It’s really to each her own…
      A dress you might not wear after that day??? You do not have to break bank to look so unforgettable on your wedding; the cost of the dress is not proportional to how good it looks ON you. The ring hmmm, maybe, but that it would cost more than food and drinks for a crowd like she had (looked like a really big wedding)…well, everything is in context. And personal choice.

      I think she just wanted to stress how important it is to make sure your wedding guests are treated right by ensuring there is enough (surplus) food, drinks and they have a good time. They have given up their precious time to come and rejoice with you. They chose to, yes, but it’s nice to give them as decent as possible treatment. Although, at the end of the day, they still are after you on the Priority List. It’s YOUR wedding.

  26. Queen

    January 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I love this lady,my favorite couple in 2016,nice write up ,may God bless your new home…??

  27. Adee

    January 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    AMAZING ADVICE

  28. Olanna&Odenigbo

    January 9, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Sensible article for the most part. Just on a personal note by time you keep me in d sun for 1hr to take photos, be rest assured that I would have reached my house like 30mins in, and entered house coat with remote in hand…if this is d way it goes you can’t blame people for deciding to show just at d reception then… after all ‘its your day’ not theirs…I just believe there’s something to be said about consideration of those you keep waiting. Many of those photos we take in d sun are unnecessary when your father’s village meeting people start gathering….nne biko!

    I am that guest that shows up to church, greets the couple and skips reception cos it’s just better for my sanity as I don’t understand most of the remaining drama… my best wedding yet was one last yr…..Church 4pm, reception 5pm…couple danced in less than 30mins after church…main reception drama was done by about 7pm and we danced till almost midnight…..all the while drinks on d move and some form of food… the energy was RIDICULOUS cos people were not tired from waiting around bored by long things.

    • mie

      February 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      “keep you in the sun”?

      As a guest, you would be at the venue already being served and listening to the Chairman’s speech or some of those things that come up before the couple dance in. The programme is usually set up that way. Only family members and some specific people close to the couple are included in photos after church. And these people usually understand they have to wait and eagerly do so. If you are family/close friend and do not want to wait, go to reception (or by all means go home) and take pictures later. I doubt that “people” wait for such things, unless the weddings you’ve attended sha…

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