Category Archives: Advice and Tips

How to Create a Wedding Guest List that works for You

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We’ve all heard about the nightmare a friend or family member has had with their wedding guest list. Be it the hours spent formulating the list or the drama finding guests’ seats at the reception. We’ve all heard these scary stories; so here are a few things to consider in order to make sure they don’t happen to you.

Will you be having kids at your wedding? If the answer is no then it is important to let guests with kids know quite quickly so they can make alternative arrangements for them on that day. There’s no need to worry or panic over this. The concept of a ‘no kids wedding’ is not all that new anymore and as long as sufficient notice (and an explanation if you feel it necessary) is given then most guests will understand.

Are there any family feuds you need to be aware of? Are there any disagreements that will require some ‘creativity’ when designing your seating plan? Speak with your fiancé and both sets of parents to make sure you have as much information as possible.

Note down the key people that you want to have there on the day and whose presence you would actually miss.

You don’t want to offend anyone but at the same time you don’t want to go over budget simply inviting people that you feel obliged to invite. Try and find a balance. Remember more guests means more money spent.

When designing your seating plan consider that people who know each other would like to sit together. This may not always be possible but having one other person on a table that you know is always nice.

Remain open to last minute changes; those people you’ve been counting on telling you they can no longer make it, well it gives you the chance to invite some other people that you were not previously able to.

If you have designed a seating plan and your wedding is by invitation only, do make sure you have a spare table or two for uninvited guests at the back. This is ultimately easier than the awkward situation of an invited guest bringing an uninvited guest and them having nowhere to sit. On your day you won’t want this kind of scenario so a few extra seats won’t hurt.

Finally, the key thing to remember is that this is your day; it should be a joyful occasion and when you look around you want to see genuinely happy faces of loved ones and well-wishers. Bear this in mind when creating your guest list. We hope these tips prevent you from having any guest list disasters and more importantly have a beautiful day with those you love.

Image by Lish and Lou Bespoke Stationers

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The Modern Bride’s take on the Engagement list

In the days of old, engagement list items were fairly static, but perhaps differing in quantity and maybe quality. You would see the usual tubars of yam, palm oil, bible and suitcases full of fabric.

Well, the modern Nigerian bride is not being bound by tradition. You can peruse the engagement list of a yuppy bride of 2013 and not surprisingly find the tubars of yam and the bible. But you may just do a double take when you come across “a white iPad mini”

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Here are some of the items I have either seen on a list or heard about:-

Samsung S3 Phone
Louis Vuitton Bag
Louboutin Pigalle Shoes
Guiseppe Zanotti Sandals

It may seem somewhat mercenary or a shift away from tradition but I completely understand what these savvy young ladies are thinking. If, her husband to be and his family must buy gifts for her, it may as well be something she wants and/or will actually use. What will she actually do with suitcases upon suitcase filled with lace or Ankara (which probably wont be to her taste)? Why not get that gadget or handbag she’s been lusting after for months. I believe this is the thought process of the modern Nigerian bride when it comes to her engagement gift list. I know I’ll certainly be doing the same when the times comes ;-)

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A nation of foodies!

I attended a wedding with my aunt and uncle a few weeks ago in Lagos. After a few hours, I commented to my aunt that I had noticed that at Nigerian parties, there is constant flow of different kinds of food. She replied saying, “Yes, without it, a party would be boring.” I said “Well, let me prepare you, when you come for my wedding in London, there wont be this much food” To which she replied, “Even if I have to bring a caterer from Nigeria for your wedding, there must be a constant flow of food.” I laughed then but it got me thinking.

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Truly, at parties in Nigeria, food and drink pretty much makes the event. Let me give you the breakdown

-As guests arrive and are seated, they are immediately given bottles of water
-Following that, waiters start to take orders, and plates of food are distributed
-Then soft drinks like coke, fanta, sprite and malt start to make the rounds
-If alcohol is being served, bottles of wine, beer etc also come round.
-After the main meal, dessert follows – all types of milky, creamy goodness
-Then smaller plates of small chops begin their rounds – think puff puff samosas, spring rolls and musa
-Not long after that, cocktails begin to go round – chapman, pina colada, fruit punch etc
-Somewhere down the line, food like ofada rice, tuwo, amala begin to go round
-By now, champagne would have made an appearance on some guest tables
-Asun and/or pepper soup, fish and chips, BBQ chicken and chips will also be introduced into the mix (chips can be swapped with fried yam or plantain)
-Meanwhile, drinks continue to flow
-I even saw an exotic dish of salad with meat on skewers, king prawns and ribs served at a recent reception

So there you have it folks; Nigerian weddings are what people have in mind when they talk of ‘feasting’. In order to make this ‘feast’ a success and please this nation of foodies, a great amount of planning and coordination is required. From an event coordinator’s point of view, here is my experience of what is required for the feast.

1) Experience of vendors – the kind of feast I have described requires fast service. Guests at Nigerian weddings wont accept that the caterer is still frying or plating up, they want service NOW. So be clear that a particular vendor can deliver this for you before you engage them.

2) Ensure vendors attend a vendors meeting at the venue at the latest the week before the wedding – here you brief them on the wedding details, guest numbers, numbers they are specifically catering for, colours, expected arrival times etc

3) Arrive early on the morning of the wedding (7am) to receive your vendors

4) Allocate different spaces to vendors inside the venue and outside. We’ve talked about a large variety of foods meaning lots of food vendors, ensure those serving larger numbers of guests, and earlier are given more prominent/closer places.

5) If vendors are being placed outside, consider canopies being erected to protect them and the food from the elements.

6) It is essential to having running water as invariably there will be a need for caterers to wash dishes, cups and cutlery at some point during the wedding.

7) During the event, various coordinators have to be put in charge of the various food vendors, so that the distribution of food is kept under control and things don’t run out too early. For example, if a caterer has been commissioned to do small chops for 300 guests. They should ideally start by frying for 150 guests so that they have more for later.

8) And finally, prepare for the attitude you will invariably get when you tell some guests that certain foods are no longer available or not immediately available.

There you have it, a coordinator’s helpful guide to serving and pleasing what I can only describe as a nation of foodies.

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Creative Wedding Gift Ideas

Gone are the days when guests turned up to weddings with toasters and china to present to newlyweds as their wedding gifts. With the advent of cohabiting, couples tend to have already furnished their homes and so don’t require the traditional starter home gifts. These days, it is more common for invites to say “we request monetary gifts”, “contributions towards a store gift list” “vouchers” or more simply “your presence is enough of a gift”. We have come up with interesting and creative gift ideas, big and small for the less traditional couple…

Contribution towards honeymoon

This is becoming an increasingly popular notion for financially savvy couples trying to save money

Mr and Mrs Pillowcases

It’s unlikely they’ll receive 2 of these, making your gift a memorable one

An experience day

This can be as wild as jumping out of an airplane or as relaxing as a couple’s spa day

Tickets

If you know the couple very well, you can be different and buy them tickets to the theatre or a show that you know they will appreciate/enjoy after their honeymoon.

Artwork

Most homes these days tend to have a bit of artwork in them so if you know their taste or have visited the couple’s home, buy them that perfect piece.

Cooking Classes

Especially if you know that one or both of the newlyweds have culinary challenges, this would be great. 

Towards the Day

If you are close enough to the couple, you can make a contribution towards their day, by paying for some or all a service/item you know they want. 

Wii Fit

For the fitness fanatic couple, why not buy them a wii fit? A nice way to stay fit and healthy, together and in the comfort of their home 

Games Console

We’re not sure if the groom will love you more than the bride will hate you for this gift. 

The Wild Card

This could be anything…crazy, quirky, irrelevant, funny, personal, if you can think of it, then give it.

What other non-traditional wedding gift ideas can you think of?

 

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Guest Post: Top Tips for planning your luxury wedding abroad

Simply Kayo loves to plan exceptional events in exceptional venues. We absolutely loved this film set in Dubai.

But aside from the glamour of the occasion we need to bare in mind some tips for getting married abroad.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and get married abroad – either at short notice or next year then there are a few things you should be aware of first. That’s why we’ve pulled together our top 10 tips for getting married abroad…

1) First of all, do your homework before you go and get your travel agent to shop around for the best deals and destinations for what you have in mind. There are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming but he or she can advise. You might even choose to go with a wedding specialist but bear in mind that this will almost certainly be more expensive than planning everything yourself.

2) Think about hiring a wedding co-ordinator if your chosen resort doesn’t have one. Your co-ordinator can sort out all those special little touches and iron out any issues. He or she can help to organise the necessary legal paperwork before and after so that you don’t have to. It always helps to have someone who speaks the language on-board too.

But, again, just be aware of the costs involved. Some resorts offer a bespoke service just to input when you need them to and this idea is more likely to keep their fee to a minimum. If you’re leaving the marriage license up to them, make sure it’s definitely in their remit and don’t leave it to chance. Also consider that, if you’re hiring an off-site co-ordinator, they will usually need a couple of months’ notice.

3) Hire a translator for your ceremony – it’s a requirement for many places anyway. Sometimes your wedding co-ordinator will be able to do this as part of his or her role.

4) Invest in a specific wedding dress suitcase to protect your clothes during transit.

5) Don’t worry too much about your guests – just give them the date and time of the wedding, where you are staying and a few overnight suggestions before leaving them to it.

6) Don’t sweat the small stuff – invest in a sweat shield undershirt for the groom to withstand the heat. He’ll perspire less and feel better too.

7) Don’t forget your insurance. Find a policy which covers you best and pay the premium. You don’t want to end up stuck at the airport and entitled to nothing.

8) Talk to your travel agent or do some online research to find out whether or not you require a Visa – most good agents will be able to sort this out for you.

9) Instead of trying to arrange music while you’re overseas, compile a CD with favourite songs that will last the duration of the ceremony or reception.

10) Remember to find out about things like minimum residency requirements for getting married at certain places, such as chapels and public or private parks.

And one final thing! Don’t forget to change some currency before you travel!

By Linda Hamilton

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Top 5 Things to do once you’ve said “I Do”

Hello all

Being that it’s Valentine’s week, some romantic guys out there may have popped the question (congratulations :-D). If you find yourself newly engaged after Valentine’s day, here are some helpful tips on the Top 5 Thing you need to do to ease you into bride-to-be mode.

1) Tell your loved ones – no doubt you will be overjoyed to have your rock so do share that wonderful news with those closest to you

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2) Set a budget – it is very important to know what you are working with so you know the scale of the wedding and what you can and can’t do

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3) Set a date – this will allow you to plan your time

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4) Create a timeline – this will give you a detailed breakdown of what needs to be done and when, all to help create that gorgeous day you want

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5) Get a team of people you trust to help you – as they say “man is not an island” and you definitely cannot do it alone. Be it hiring a professional wedding planner or enlisting the help of organised friends and family, get a team on board.

I hope our 5 Top tips are useful for you and don’t forget to enjoy your planning period.

Fikayo x

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Simply Kayo’s Top 13 Wedding Trends for 2013 featured in Mimi Magazine

Mimi Magazine promotes soul, substance and style. It is described as ‘a voice for African women’ and we are proud to be featured in the Editor’s blog

http://mimimagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/simply-kayos-top-13-wedding-trends-for.html

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