When I used to do wedding photography, it was very revealing how some wedding vendors behaved on the day of the wedding. Either the bride’s car was late in arriving for decoration or the wedding cake never arrived on time at the reception. There’s always something whichhorribly wrong or delayed during weddings thanks to some vendors. I have seen brides literally lose their temper because the cake didn’t arrive early enough. A friend told me that their DJ for the day also did not turn up due to some unforeseeable event. There was one wedding where the car delivering the wedding cake broke down on the way. So no cake to cut at the reception. The bride wasn’t amused throughout the reception. Vendors for a wedding are everything! Get the wrong one and you could spend the rest of the wedding frowning.
My husband and I wanted a rustic and a locally eclectic themed wedding. How were we going to do that? Which vendors could we rely on to give us a dream and yet cost-effective wedding? I have always believed that it’s possible to have a budget friendly wedding which will be memorable and fun for all time. It wasn’t that difficult for us to find vendors thanks to my network of creatives which I had built over time. It was interesting choosing who to go with. In the end, it was a beautiful and unforgettable wedding.
Instead of displaying vendors on the back of the wedding program, we decided to rather write a blogpost on the various vendors as a form of review of each delivery. That way, our guests (who will receive a link to this post) and my blog readers will know what to expect if they were to contact them. Okay! So the truth is we forgot to add it to the program and decided with this solution instead. I mean it made so much more sense! Right?
Here is the list & review of vendors we procured for the traditional wedding and the church blessing.
Decor by ThinkMahogany
Our search for a decor company in Ghana to give us a rustic theme was a short one. ThinkMahogany was actually the top of our list. The CEO & Creative Director Debrah-Jane was someone we knew could pull off the look for us with some inspiration from us and what we were looking for. Debrah-Jane is a very busy woman with many clients every weekend. Book her early. The traditional wedding decor was even more than I imagined! Orchid vases with wooden xylophone centrepieces and kente runners. Price-wise? She can work with your budget and still give you something worth remembering. Her team setup on time on both days. The church was decorated the day before and the reception team were up and working by 6am.
We love how she managed to transform our church auditorium, which is still a work-in-progress into delicate white drapery. I was not a fan of coloured draperies so we stuck to simple white and left the colours to reflect at the reception.
Makeup & Hair
MakeupGoddess by my friend Jackie Asante-Mensah did wonders to my face & hair for both events. I had already tested her before to see how comfortable I would be with her handiwork.
Makeup & Natural Hairstyling in natural light for the Wedding.
Jackie is also a friend and she was an excellent choice to go with. She is super friendly, smart and knows her makeup like I know Jollof.
What I loved about her was that my look didnt change dramatically at the end. I have seen some before & after photos of some brides eh.. and I was like… eh!!!! I didnt want my husband confused as to who he was getting married to. Jackie is also a natural hair whiz. She styled my hair by adding Darling synthetic afro hair for extra body. She smells good too. Oh why did i say that? Personal hygiene is very key for beauty experts. I have sat under the hands of some ‘experts’ and my face was engulfed in waakye breath and all kinds of odours. Did I tell you she’s a lawyer too? Ha! Beauty & Brains.
Cleaver House was our first option. We changed our minds due to the cost and we also realised we couldn’t do much with regards to influencing food options etc. So Aviation Social Centre was our next choice. Thankfully we booked the place before they had a price upgrade! Shwer! The bronze package was enough for the 150 guests number we had in mind. The package came with chairs, tables, wine and drinking glasses, waiters etc. There was a different package for indoors and outdoors. July was still a rainy season. What do we do? What if we went for the outdoor package and it rained? Thoughts of a totally ruined rained-on wedding reception crawled across my brain. Indoor too wasn’t appealing. How can a rustic-themed wedding work indoors? I searched in Pinterest to see if anyone was able to pull off such a look. I wasn’t too successful. Indoor weddings are also more expensive. In the end, our faith ( as tiny as a mustard seed) told us it wouldn’t rain. We prayed a lot and kept checking the wedding forecast two weeks ahead of time and things were looking pretty favourable. God is a prayer answering God! It was a beautiful day! Not too hot either! Auntie Gladys is the Events Manager at Aviation, she was very lovely and she assured us that her faith wont allow it to rain. Lovely lady.
DJ Armani was the first DJ I spoke to. I have known Armani since University of Ghana times, who else was I going to be comfortable with? My cousin Nii Ayi Tagoe dierr, I couldn’t seem to get a hold of him. Through discussions on WhatsApp, we shared our playlist with him. He was cool and professional. The average DJ rate in Ghana is between GHC 1500 and upwards. We paid extra for the speakers though. The music was flawlessly flowing the whole time.
This is the playlist I sent to him.
I come from a family of foodies. I had an Aunt who supported us with the food for the traditional wedding. The wedding was also catered by Edwina who is a family friend. It’s interesting that as a couple you get so busy saying hello to guests that you hardly find time to even taste the food you have paid for. But on asking my friends who ate seconds, the Jollof and Fried Yam was correct paa! Edwina is a whiz with providing meals which taste just like they were home cooked. It’s good to use people in your family who have chef fingers. You get a family discount and all!
Drinks like the sodas and beers were provided by the venue ( a condition in the package), but because they did not have nm3daa and sobolo on the list, we decided to bring our own. The nm3daa was correct paa! We ordered that from some corner bi in Osu. If you get to rural Osu near the St Barnabas church, ask of Attoh’s Bar. Opposite it, you will find the best nm3daa producer in Osu. I definitely did not want the drinks to be served in plastic cups. There’s no personality and character in plastic cups. It had to be calabashes! YES! I sourced 20 small sized calabashes from 31st December Women’s Market and 2 large ones. That was such an exciting experience for me! They worked perfect with the wooden bar.
The sobolo was by the caterer as well. And like Kobina Graham said, “ it was too correct!”
We also hired a street coconut seller to serve fresh coconut juice to guests. His name is Nana and you can find him sitting close to the junction leading to the UNICEF office. We werent too pleased to find out later that he was harassing protocol for extra money for his transportation & workmanship. Why didnt he mention this earlier when we met? But his coconut is actually one of the best in town, that much I will confess.
There are too many cliched props at weddings. That wedding couch at the sweetheart table wasn’t appealing to us. So we decided to have a special rustic sweetheart prop made. Emmanuel was the magician who made our sweetheart wooden tent for two. He built also the drinks bar which was actually my idea. A bar with palm-fronds for serving sobolo and nm3daa, what could be more eclectic and local?And he did a grrreaatt job! We kept in touch through WhatsApp. He sent design drafts before constructing the tent. He didnt disappoint. Cost was less than 500 for the two props. I got a discount actually for being innovative with my idea. He fixed everything in time for the reception.
Orchidea is not just any flower shop. It’s a place to go and be awed by their uncommon collection of orchids, cactuses and bonsai trees. Just go and awe and marvel. My bouquet, the groom & his groomsman’s corsage and the maid-of-honor’s corsage were beyond heavenly. My bouquet was a cascading shape of white roses and purple orchids. The orchids trailed gently from the roses which smelled too delicious!
I was sad to throw it into the air and watch it being shred to pieces.
The Bouquet Catching Champion
The groomsman picked up the flowers at the scheduled 9am on the wedding day. It was ready. No delays.
Our Wedding Rings Vendor
Of course the rings! I almost forgot the most essential item! Like my Pastor advised, don’t spend too much on decor and food. Invest in your ring. It’s what will always remind you of the love between the two of you.” Our rings were made by Charlton & Lola, a jewellery brand based in New York City and owned by Ghanaian Lisa Owusu. She is very flexible with any design you may have in mind and she sent us some examples of her work as well. Delivery is another story though. A good one don’t worry. But it was just the grace of God which got it in during the week of the wedding. What an adrenalin rush!
Wedding Dress & Suit
I don’t like wahala when it comes bespoke fashion. Having experienced too much stress with local seamstresses, I wasn’t in the mood to find a Ghanaian wedding dressmaker. I know there are some really good ones out there. But on speaking to a few friends who had gone local; it was expensive to sew local. So I went online. Yes, I bought my wedding dress on an online store. In China. Shocked eh? It was such a huge risk I know! My dress was from JJ’s House and I bought it almost three months ahead of time incase there was something wrong with it, i could have it adjusted. That’s another story I will tell in another upcoming post on my experience. Edem’s suit was custom-made by Kwashie Tailors. He went to about 2 fittings and he was pleasantly pleased by the outcome. It fit him perfectly, right from the shoulders to his trouser pants.
Our initial plan on taking exclusives at the same location as the reception was dashed as another client had booked the spot. We turned to our favourite beachfront Sandbox. It’s a hideout located in south Labadi and it’s not only perfect for exclusives but also for weddings and private parties. Find them on instagram Sandboxbeachclub.
Dapper Groom & Husband 😍😘
The Wedding Cake Vendor
We found PipersGh on Instagram. Another risk we took as we didnt know anyone who had tried them before. Wedding cakes are so expensive of late. We got some inspiration from Pinterest and decided on a three-tiered cake. We met Abigail, the owner for a cake tasting at the Oxford Street Mall. She was late to the meeting ( we didnt even get an apology for the lateness) and then we tasted the flavours we requested for. It was just okay. We later asked for a more brandy flavoured traditional wedding cake which somehow she was reluctant to do and instead suggested rum flavoured instead. What happened to giving the client what they want? Sigh. In the end the cake came on time and we had to cut it early as the sun wasn’t taking it easy on it. She added a fake model to make it four tiered for a longer look. We paid GHC 2000 for it.
Invitation Cards & Wedding Programs
Our invitation was in a league of its own. As the reception was at the Aviation Social Center, we thought it fun to make it a flight ticket themed invitation card. Unfortunately we were disappointed by two graphic designer friends we had turned to. They know themselves. All kinds of delays, not picking calls and all manner of things got us to turn to Fiverr for a quicker and much more cost-effective solution. Design cost us only $20 for both invitation & program. The printing was by BlueVyne Ltd. The printing quality was matte okay. We spent about GHC 1200 printing for 200 guests.
Bridal Jewellery & Accessories
I made my own drop pearl earrings, pearl bracelet and fabric hair comb.
I was a DIY Bride thanks to Pinterest. 😄😂 I bought the wedding pearl comb from a family friend’s shop in Osu. There are some hidden gems around the city. You should just know where to look. I was waiting for a hair comb from Ahenze but it never came. 🙃 I bought a silver beaded clutch from AkilaGh which was simple yet classic. My shoes which were a lovely gift from my oldie bestie came from David’s Bridal. The vintage look to the simple jewel on the side just got my heart!
Kente Apparel for Traditional Wedding
I bought my kente some months ago from Yaa (0244733075) , a doctor friend who works at 37. Her kente collection and prices met my good side. My seamstress, Rebecca went to work on the engagement dress using several design inspirations I had sent her on whatsapp. It was perfect! That’s what I love about her. Once she’s done with a dress, there’s no need for fitting. Kaftan for my husband was made by Shamida who is close to Celsbridge in Labone.
Photography & Video
Nfoningraphy by Nii Odzenma was my photographer for both days. Although an art photographer of late, my friend and colleague made a beautiful exception to shoot our special day. He worked with Gerard Nartey of EpicDreamsPictures who was calm and professional as always.
Video was shot by Nuptials, the wedding video company by Ob Abenser. Although we are yet to see the video, the preview was enough to make us super uber excited! The video has garned about 7K views already. Please like their page already and do give him a call.
A BiiiGG thank you to Serge Attukwei Clottey, Ghana’s finest contemporary artist who recently launched ‘ My Mother’s Wardrobe’ and kindly borrowed us one of his popular pieces which we used as a fantastic backdrop! It was so perfect for selfies and fun photos with friends and family.
I personally made the wedding favors as well by creating a fiery spice blend. I found these vintage woven baskets in the market and they were so perfect for the spices. This for me was a great way to show our friends and families that we love them so much as to create homemade spices for their use. Some wedding favors sometimes ends up never being used.
Which vendors were you happy with during your wedding? Which vendor were you most happy with? Have you heard of horror stories of vendor’s at a friend’s wedding?