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Michael Vinny & Leenor
When you have a stunning wedding venue, you already have a head start. And Sawela Lodges is as stunning as it gets. And then you add elegant decor and outfits, and the result is magic!
Scroll down to see Leenor and Michael's fabulous destination wedding at Sawela Lodges.
Tell us your story? How and where did you meet?
Michael and I met at The Village Market in Nairobi where I was working and he wasn’t working far from there too.
What do you love the most about each other? 
We have almost everything in common, we love cooking Michael is a professional chef!
How did he propose?
At the time he working in Juba and it wasn’t easy for him as the ring did not arrive in time when he had planned as we both were in the UK at the time. So he had to ask our daughter Rebecca to send it to me as a parcel and I had to open it on Skype as he proposed it was a surprise as I thought it was just a home parcel for both of us from a friend.
What songs did you and your bridal team walk down the aisle to?
I had two songs the first was Beneath your beautiful by Emeli Sande ft. Labrinth. The second  was Oceans by Hillsong. My maids had each a song of their choice Michael walked down in Royal marines drums and Munford and sons I will wait for you.
What was your wedding theme and what inspired your choice of colours, suppliers and style?
I do not like being dull and so my colours were burgundy and peach with a touch of navy blue to tone it down. Plus Sawela Lodges being naturally green I wanted to maintain the outstanding nature.
Give a brief recount of the wedding day, from waking up till evening and the things that were going through your mind at the time. 
My morning was all smooth despite having to spend the night with my one year old, the staff at Sawela Lodges were very helpful and my planner and make up lady arrived on time. So to be honest by 8 am I was ready to walk down the aisle but had to wait for my bridesmaids for almost four more hours. Michael and his groomsmen had a smooth morning and all the time to dress up and chill with a full morning breakfast and a glass of whisky to go down. I found out from the video :-)
You must have learnt quite a number of things during the wedding process. What did you learn regarding the wedding photography that you would like to other couples to know?
My photographers were very professional and on time whenever I needed them.  I had struggled to find one until I gave up. And then I went to a friend’s wedding and bumped into their photographer who turned out to be someone I knew since high school. I just had no idea he had ventured into photography. So we immediately booked him. 
Why? It’s important to have a photographer that you feel comfortable with. They gave me the best advice on how to pose what to do and what to focus on. They advised me on having a pre-shoot which we enjoyed doing without pressure and we did it on the day my makeup artist came for a trial session so I was glowing and had a different gown for the shoot. This is very important because it gives the bride confidence and makes you feel like a bride. The dress gives you an idea of how heavy your gown will be AND it’s important to try a different gown so you know if you need to change your day gown design.
What did you love most about your experience at Sawela Lodges?
The staff at Sawela Lodges is amazing. The service is great and the food and ambiance is one of the best. They all were very patient during our service and throughout the wedding ceremony. Most of my guests had never been to Sawela Lodges and they all loved the place.
Any other tips/lessons you would like to share with other brides and grooms planning for their wedding?
Most important; do not ever pay your planner in full before the wedding. Do not be pushed by your planner to sign paperwork you might as well go to the lodge and make your own arrangements. Sawela Lodges was sooo patient and trusted us all the way. It’s important to have a one on one with the chef and help each other create your own menu that fits your guests. Spending the eve before the wedding at Sawela Lodges was great and very important for the couple and their team rehearsals are very important. You do not want to go through what I went through with my DJ and the band that never turned up. Have at least two gowns just in case. I had two and I was a happy bride. Also have two or three evening gowns. Lastly, let go and enjoy your day.
At Kenya Weddings we are always looking for something different unique and creative that a couple incorporates in their wedding. Please let us know what your something different was, what inspired you and how you got it done.
Michael doesn’t dance mostly, so we had to bring in a Kizomba dance trainer who helped us learn how to do the waltz dance while I learned Kizomba and had something to surprise our guests with. I was a unique bride with short hair, coloured pink then later changed to a short weave with a bob cut that matched my husband’s silver hair colour.
I did not want a white gown so I used my white gown for the pre shoot and used my pink blush gown for the big day. Our lunch was a three course meal that all guests enjoyed. We also made our own sangria for our guests and those who do not take alcohol had fresh juice and tea with different desserts. Our guest each took home a pack of fresh homemade chocolates done by Say It With Chocolate Company that has over 80 different flavours. My bridesmaids got a chance to get their makeup done by NOTE kenys of SARAY KENYA, Two rivers first time ever in Kenya.
The groom and groomsmen suits were BISPOKE done by Sydney of Sao international. Besides gown was bought in UK, our cakes were done by GG Sweetthings they were all fresh and all different flavoured. So you can have fresh cake instead of the usual fruit cake done weeks ago with hard heavy fondant. Our guests enjoyed platters of roast ribs and bites for the evening as we had all had late lunch. So bites make a good evening meal with a glass of wine going down with great music.
Wedding Venue: Wedding at Sawala Lodge and Photoshoot at Fushia Gardens 
Wedding Photographer: Wasike Creations
Number of Guests: 120


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