We have seen our fair share of weddings, but this intimate wedding on the sandy shores of Diani takes the cake. The bride, Gathoni, is a wedding planner and her creative touch is evident in every single detail. From the drop-dead gorgeous décor, to the bride’s swoon-worthy dress, to the magical reception under the stars; everything was planned to perfection.
Words cannot do justice to the level of gorgeous in this wedding. You just have to see it for yourself!
How and where did you meet?
We met at a corporate function a few years back and then ended up working together and that’s how it all started…the rest as they say, is history.
Gathoni: What was it a bout Ken that made you fall in love with him?
That he’s Buddhist :-) a quality I greatly admire. He’s also very patient, an opposite of my character. He has the calmness of a calm ocean and I need that in my life. He’s very encouraging and always looks for the positive in every situation. No matter how bad. He’s also very supportive of what I do as well as our extended family.
Ken: What made you know Gathoni was the lady for you?
It was love at first sight for me and so much more, years ago when I spotted at her that function. She was like a breath of fresh air and with time I got to know that she also has a knack for honesty that only she knows how to be. With Gathoni, it is what it is.
No sugar coating. She makes me laugh every day. She’s a tough cookie and a great wife and mother.
What was your wedding theme and what inspired your choice of colors, suppliers and style? I love Diani and I knew it had to be there. The color was turquoise and silver. That is the color of the ocean in Diani, so it was a no brainer. We were having an evening wedding so the civil ceremony by the beach made sense plus with good weather, we were able to have an outdoor reception.
The paper lanterns provided light and the hotel also had the food setup by the beach. I had to source all supplies except the flowers and vases that I brought with me from Nairobi.
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.
We partied hard the night before the wedding and needless to say, I was nursing a hangover the morning of the wedding :-) Our wedding was set to start before 5pm (for legal reasons, apparently) so that gave me the whole day to recover plus still attend to our three children.
So the day was great for me. No stress, no worries, we had done a walk through with the hotel so I knew everything was in good hands. I also got some assistance from a local wedding planner to just make sure things ran smoothly while I was busy getting married. The moments before walking down to the beach, I was calm and glad that after 5 years, this moment had finally come.
Gathoni: As a wedding planner yourself, did this make the wedding journey any easier?
No not at all! You are your worst customer :-) I knew what I wanted which made it easier on me but not on the suppliers. They really had to try hard to get exactly what I wanted. I had to courier the color patch to Diani to make sure they got the theme color correct. Not being in the same place was frustrating for me but I managed to pull through. Once I was walking down the aisle, nothing mattered from that moment.
You opted for a destination wedding, what inspired that and how did you deal with the challenges that come with it.
Like I have mentioned before, I love, love, love Diani and had always said I would like to get married there so it was a no brainer once we decided to formalize our union. There were challenges in that everything had to be sourced from the coast which was difficult because for things like flowers, they source from Nairobi so you would only be paying more for the same roses. So I chose to bring my flowers from Nairobi.
Things like chairs & lighting, I had no choice but to get them supplied from the coast. That also meant transport charges were high as most things came from the mainland, plus also, not knowing if that would be the day there would be an issue with the ferry.
I also had to use the hotel’s baker to do my cake which was a bit unsettling for me as I had not tasted their work before, even though they sent me pictures; pictures don’t equal tasting :-) but it turned out even better than a baker I would have picked from Nairobi. There was also the legal aspect of it. We had to deal directly with the Registrar in Mombasa which was a bit cumbersome as he was never in the office as he’s out marrying couples but we managed to get all required documents to him in time with no hitch.
What advice would you give brides who are planning for a destination wedding?
Forget about thinking it’s cheaper. You might have fewer guests but the costs make it more than a big Nairobi wedding. Be ready to pay extra for services you would not ordinarily pay for while in Nairobi, due to the location. Don’t make a destination wedding a transposed Nairobi wedding. It’s a destination wedding for a reason :-)
What songs did you and the bridal team walk down the aisle to?
My hubby walked down to Only Time by Enya. It was hard to hear the music as it was quite windy by the beach.
I walked down to At Last original by Etta James performed by Beyonce. Our kids were our ‘flower girls and boy’, my sister was my maid of honor and Ken’s best friend was his best man and that was it for the bridal party.
Gathoni: Your gown was amazing! Was it custom made or store bought and what inspired you to choose that design?
Thank you!!! It was custom made. I was browsing in a magazine and knew I didn’t want a conventional wedding gown and then I saw a design by a renowned designer and my designer nailed it! It was comfortable and very casual for the occasion. I’m all about functionality so it’s definitely a dress that can be worn again and again.
Tell us your biggest cost saver and any cost saving tips you have for people planning their wedding.
Do your own research so that you have an idea of how much things cost. I had to buy my own vases since no one had what I wanted for the flowers, and now I use them at other events or rent them out.
I also brought my flowers from Nairobi and did the décor myself.
The internet is your best friend so use it to make your special day different. A lot of weddings are like the same thing just different colors, lacking the wow factor! I used the internet and came up with all sorts of ideas for my wedding and it turned out very well. Don’t be a Bridezilla…a little courtesy; even if it’s your day, courtesy goes a long way. That said; think about location, food, style, theme for your wedding so that it makes it easier for the wedding ideas to flow. For the perfect outcome, hire a wedding planner.
The wedding planning process is a learning process for every couple. What was your biggest learning area and what advice do you have to others planning?
I do it professionally through my company Touché Events, so for me, it was not as much an eye opener, perhaps for my husband it was.
It is all about compromise especially on colors. You like pink and he does not…it doesn’t matter, it is the bride’s day :-)Seriously though, a lot of misunderstandings happen during the wedding planning process and couples must remain focused and be on the same page at all times. Compromise and discussions are key.
At Kenya Weddings we are always looking for something different unique and creative that a couple incorporates in their wedding. You had quite a number of them, share with us what these were, what inspired you and how you got it done.
I did not want to walk down the beach to the traditional ‘here comes the bride’ so I got a sign made out of burlap or ‘gunia’ material as it is known in Kenya that said exactly that and had our two older children carry that ahead of me.
I wanted it to be fun so I got these placards placed on the tables stating different reasons why guests came for the wedding ‘I came for the beer’, ‘I came for the party’, I came for a hookup’ and then guests and us included, took pictures holding them up.
We were having a beach wedding so I figured we should have functional favors and settled for a beach bag and a water bottle, engraved with our initials and the date. The bags are in constant use and I feel great every time I see one of our guests with it, when they are out and about.
We also incorporated our first dance and did it as a family with our three kids there. That was the highlight for me. Our family was complete.
|Wedding Venue and Photography Venue||Diani Reef Beach Hotel|
|Number of Guests:||73|