*walks in ringing wedding bells* Hello beautiful people!!! Trust you are all doing very well. I think this one time, my absence is somewhat forgiveable, lol. I have been away getting married! Yup, you read that right! August was my wedding month and between trying to wrap up at work, actual preparations for the various ceremonies and exploring the moon, I have been fully occupied! I will be sharing some details (and tips) of our stress-free wedding planning process, and wedding ceremonies in this post.
My heart is sooo full of gratitude to God for the successful wedding ceremonies and more importantly, an amazing start to this lifetime journey. I suspect, I owe you the full ‘how we met story’ but the short version of it is that our friendship caught fire at the right time and here we are now!!!
I wrote this on a long flight – I had been traveling for almost 24 hours and was supposed to be completely exhausted, deep in sleep and probably snoring at the time. However, I mistakenly had a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino that afternoon and my body decided to turnioniown, lol. I had not had caffeine in years, so I think my body went into some state of shock and my eyes refused to close. I read a 262-page book (Gabrielle Union’s “We are going to need more wine”), read up work emails and I was still unable to fall asleep. So, I figured I’d use the ‘eye-shining’ time to catch up with you guys here.
Mehn, I had a BLAST at my wedding! I had a really good time at all the events- from the bridal shower, to the traditional engagement ceremony and the white wedding (the vows were the highlight for me), I had an incredible time!!! Scratch that, we – PJ & I – had an incredible time. So surreal. I call my husband PJ, which is a short form of his actual name – Pelumi Joseph. Yeah, that means my new name is Kemi Joseph – KJ for short, hehehehehe. In fact, in addition to the official hashtag of the wedding #TheJUNIT (click here to catch all the highlights on Instagram), my bestie created her own hashtag for the wedding #KOtoKJ, lol. I digress! I was talking about how much fun we had during the wedding. As I reflected on how we were able to successfully plan and enjoy the events, I realize it was all about adequate preparation and stakeholder management, powered by the Grace of God! Let me share some of the things we did on this journey.
Agree on your priorities
Immediately after we got engaged in December during the Naija Nomads Mozambique trip which I wrote about here, we started discussing potential dates and as soon as our families agreed to the final dates, we swung into action. It also helped that I had a few weeks off work in January, so I had the bandwidth to engage and lock in a few big-ticket (and as such, potentially stressful) items. Before we engaged Qwint Perfect, our incredible wedding planner (click here to see my review / ‘thank you ’post to her), PJ and I sat down to agree on our individual top 3 non-negotiables for the wedding ceremonies, so that we could prioritize accordingly. For me, it was music, photography and that our guests were well-fed. For PJ, it was my outfits (I mean, his baby girl gotta look good, Yes? Lol), the music and that our guests were well-lubricated. We also both agreed to prioritize our honeymoon and as soon as we aligned on these things, decision-making on how we allocated resources became much simpler.
Outsource – get a solid planner
You must also know by now that I am the queen of outsourcing anything that is not within my core areas of strength. I knew that I would not be able to devote the level of time and energy required to deliver the kind of excellent event we desired, so hiring a great wedding planner was non-negotiable. I trusted our planner – Qwint Perfect – to ensure that all the details were covered, and I also empowered her to make some decisions. She is the expert and I chose to trust her. This significantly reduced the stress of wedding planning and allowed me focus on work and other important things like preparing for the actual marriage – including both church counselling sessions and personal Christian-based marriage counselling sessions (I did one with Bisi of Secret Place Wives and a couple of online ones). There is no point paying for a wedding planner and low-key still planning the wedding yourself. That’s just going to end up stressing you in double portion! There is also no point spending so much time preparing for the wedding and forgetting to prepare for the marriage. Selah!
Outsource some more – hire a stylist (if you can afford it!)
I also hired a bridal stylist to manage all things related to my looks for the 2 major ceremonies – pulling together the overall look (including hair, makeup, etc), sourcing fabrics and accessories, dealing with designers and other vendors and coordinating all other outfit related logistics. I styled myself for the introduction but I had The Wardrobe Manager handling the looks for the traditional ceremony, white wedding and wedding reception. I honestly could not have done what Tosin did for me (see my review here). If you know the number of things she saved me from ehn! Hahaha!
If you can afford a stylist, please don’t think twice before hiring one. I promise you, the investment is worth it! Some event planners double as stylists but refer to what I said about core areas of strength – I believe in letting everyone focus on their focus so that we can all make magic together. In fact, it was our planner that suggested that I hired a stylist given my work and travel schedule – she advised me well!
To bridal train or not to bridal train?
Another thing that minimized our wedding planning stress was our decision not to have a bridal party. We both have a close group of friends who we love dearly but as we weighed our options, we concluded that the stakeholder management required would be too much. We would have to choose a color (which might not have suited everyone perfectly), then decide on who would design the outfits (and God bless you if the designer decides to force everyone to wear the same style, GOSH!), then decide on what color of shoes (which not everyone might have in their closet), then decide on the hairstyle for the ladies (then someone would complain about having to buy a weave they hate), etc. Too much wahala!!! Oh, by the way, all these things would not have been free o – it would have been a significant cost to them.
We decided not to burden our friends or ourselves with that wahala – best decision ever! Our friends were low-key grateful that they had the liberty to wear whatever they wanted and focus on enjoying the events without any undue obligations. Besides you should have seen people on the white wedding day, so many stunning looks. What a relief!!! Again, our best man and maid of honor were EXCEPTIONAL, and they didn’t make us regret the decision.
Make up your mind quickly and keep it moving
We were quite decisive and didn’t drag out decision-making. No matter what vendor you go with, there will always be someone better, so contentment is super important here. We ensured that we largely stuck to the budget and paid for things earlier rather than later. One of the major causes of anxiety is linked to unavailability of your desired vendors, especially for makeup, hair, music, photography and compering services. We didn’t want any stories that touch so we locked them in way back in January and then continued to uphold them in prayers all through till August, lol.
Remember, you are ONE team
Finally, we discussed EVERYTHING with each other and the other set of major stakeholders in wedding planning – our parents. There were points of differences and minor conflicts along the way, but we were focused on the important things, conceded a lot, but still remembered that we were working together as a team. Agreeing on our priorities upfront (see first point above) also helped in ensuring we stayed focused.
Get the help of GOD!
Despite our best intentions and calculations and planning, we could not have pulled off any of this without the help of God. Our testimony is that we were MARVELOUSLY HELPED by God all through this process. He sent us help through our devoted and loving family and friends and our excellent partners/vendors – EVERYONE delivered excellently, except the asun guy that forgot the date, hehehehehe. We had perfect weather on both days, there was PALPAPLE JOY on both days, we enjoyed the MANIFEST PRESENCE of GOD on both days and we all felt surrounded by EXCESS LOVE on both days. They were truly glorious celebrations of God’s love and faithfulness and we are so so so grateful to our Good Good Father God for honoring us with such amazing Grace.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to celebrate with us, sent in prayers and well-wishes, gifts and words of encouragement. We are also very grateful to you. God bless you and cause your celebrations of joy to be unending in Jesus name. Amen
I promise to bring the ‘how we met’ story next. Or do you want the honeymoon deets instead? Apart from those 2 topics, what else would you like to know? Finally, what is the one advice/well-wish you have for me on this new journey (this was my favorite part of my bridal shower!!)
KJ (Hahahahaha – feels weird right now but we will be alright!)
p.s – the proposal video is on the 4th slide of this IG post