Thursday, February 7, 2013

Welcome Back

Hi all,

So sorry about the long silence. Been busy with life and too lazy to blog. I promise to change my ways this year and be a better blogger. Linda Ikeji has "gingered" me.

I still love weddings and love planning them. Its something I will always be passionate about. I wish everyone the very best of 2013. Let's be happy and appreciate each day we get.

Talk to ya real soon

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our very own Vera Wang

Deep in the heart of Camden, on Tuesday 8th March 2011 aka International’s Women’s Day – Star Reps got the opportunity to interview someone who is essentially key to every woman’s special wedding day – He is known as “The African Vera Wang” – the Legendary & Award Wining Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah Bridal & Evening Wear Couture ahead of his next trip to Nigeria for the Oaken Events Flare Fair  in Eko Hotel Suites, Nigeria where exhibitors who have a zeal for event supplies and planning gather together to showcase their passion. He will presenting and showcasing alongside another Legend, Event Designer Preston Bailey.
With his Ipad in hand showing his designs and sketches and his tall 6ftish figure, Yemi Osunkoya comes from an African Background (Nigeria) and despite him living in the UK for so long, he can still speak his native language “Yoruba”. He is the 3rd child of 4 boys and grew up on the University Campus in Ibadan, Nigeria. He was born to parents who worked in the University college hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria with his dad being a doctor and his mother being a nurse. Whilst growing up, his parents were quite social and this caused him to be exposed to a lot of weddings. From the onset, he pointed out that his parents were quite encouraging and allowed him to nurture his artistic/creative side.
Whilst in Primary school, he realised that this was what he wanted to achieve in life but at this young age he didn’t know how to sew but all he had was his dream and his abitlity to be creative/express himself through his sketches.
He wanted to learn from the best by going to study in Paris – obviously his parents wanted him to get a good degree coming from an african background but they still encouraged him to pursue this passion he had. This was the start of everything – I Guess !!!
He showcased his first exhibition in FESTAC, Lagos in 1982 (where were some of you then?) and this inspired the name of his label. He was very determined to let his clothing line speak for himself so he named this line “KOSIBAH” which was derived from his Mother’s name Cosiba. His Mother originally from Repbulic of Benin was given this name because she was born on a Sunday – so as a tribute/honour to his mother, he felt it befitting to name his clothing line after her.
He realised that he was lucky enough to have parents who not only inspired him but allowed him to fulfill his life-long dream.
Just as things were going well for Yemi Osunkoya, tragedy struck in his family whislt he was in still  in his 2nd year at the  University in Ife, Nigeria whereby his father “the bread-winner” of his family passed on and for a moment there, his dream of going to study in Paris to study fashion et al was non-existent. But, as we all know that when one door closes, another one opens – ther was hope again for Yemi as this came in the form of his Uncle based in the UK who stepped in to finance Yemi’s studies & living expenses in the UK inorder for him to fulfil his potential.THE DREAM IS BACK ON !
With this fantastic opportunity in hand to travel & study in the UK, Yemi was determined to better himself and to make the most of all the opportunites in developing his craft. He learnt how to sew and develop the basic concepts of old school couture design in what was then known as the “Paris Academy School of Fashion” which was based in Oxford Street, Central London. This was the sort of school which was attended by the Upper Class – this obviously unfazed Yemi as he was now more determined than before and stay focused to master all the concepts of couture design in just 9 months.
He did admit in this interview that he didn’t see himself working alone but within a popular fashion house as like many people he made a lot of enquiries with no solid responses – this all changed when the 1st recession hit in the early 1990s. He made a very smart decision to further his craft and decided to go it alone (obviously with no responses from various employers)  and with the keen support of his family. He also made another very smart decision and enrolled on a government sponsored course which highlighted all the key elememnts to being a successful “self-employed” business person. This 6 weeks course taught everything from marketing to PR and accounting which he admits helped him in his foundation whilst setting up his business.

“You can be a brilliant designer but that doesn’t mean you are a brilliant businessman”  -Yemi Osunkoya

Yemi originally started off KOSIBAH on the 1st of September 1991
KOSIBAH will be celebrating 20 years in the bridal & evening wear couture industry in September 2011.
This is definitely a Success and Achievement to what Yemi Osunkoya has done in the industry.
What inspired him to stick to bridal/evening wear?  He realised very quickly that with his background training, casual & menswear would not be vialble for him, so he decided to stick to what he knew best. He feels bridal/evening wear is a constant evolution & the sky is the limit.
Kosibah Bridal wear couture will normally take 6-9 months for a PERFECT finish !
Ladies – this is your cue to plan early !!!
Yemi takes pride into either the subtle or bold intricacies into making the PERFECT bridalwear couture gown and believe it or not, he does enjoy the whole 6-9months process. From the type of bridal venue to decor colours to your personality to eventually your body/ hair and make-up – all these details go into just creating thePERFECT KOSIBAH bridal wear couture gown. He oversees the whole process from start to finish. Now that’s what you call being a Perfcetionist !
Yemi’s clientiele is definitely vast and global from high profile celebrities to ambassadors of various countries to the average person – there’s definitely a Kosibah couture for everyone  as long as you can afford it and it doesn’t matter which social class or status you are – there’s always that level of exclusivity and trust that you will always get from Yemi at Kosibah.
One thing that was definitely gathered from the interview was Yemi’s willingness to stay updated with ever fast-paced social media – he is an avid twitter & facebook fanatic. Technology is constantly evolving – why not seize the opportunity to present yourself in whole new light and find new ways to be more interactive with everyone.
Yemi’s hobbies and interests: TV & Socialising (when he is not making a couture gown)
Yemi’s last films: The King’s Speech & Black Swan (He preferred this because of the costumes – naturally*)
He is definitely “The African Vera Wang” of our time…
We say Congratulations to 20years in the industry !
 KOSIBAH is by appointment only !:
Follow Yemi Osunkoya on twitter: @yemikosibah


Princess Denrele Fayose (nee Sijuwade): Real Bride

Celebrity Alesha Dixon: Real Bride

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Xmas

Compliments of the season. So sorry i've been quiet been travelling quite a bit. My account was disabled and i just got it back today. Wish u all a pleasant new year and i will ensure i keep the articles coming.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bridal Hairstyles

The hair is the richest ornament of women - Martin Luther

Picking the wedding hairstyle comes after the venue, dress, theme and flowers have been taken care of. The biggest decision is whether to have an up do or wear the hair down. Things to take into consideration are your facial structure, hair type and length, if you'll be using hair extensions and most importantly your dress.

I would advise that the more elaborate the dress, the simpler the hair should be so that everything is not overdone. Here are some pictures to help you:

Ensure you try out the hairstyle before the wedding so that you can get a feel for what you're going to look like on that day.

On the matter of the reception venue

I don't know what reception I'm at, but for God's sake give me a gin and tonic. 

Choosing a reception venue is one of the most important decisions any couple will have to make. This is because the reception is the highlight of the wedding and the opportunity to entertain your friends and thank them for taking the time to attend.

First thing to do is make a list of possible places you'd like to use. Go through magazines, get referrals from couples who wedded recently or simply ask your friends and family for ideas. Next thing is to call the reception sites and book an appointment to see the place. Here's a list of questions you need to be able to answer favorably before you commit to booking the hall:

  1. What is the cost of the venue? Is it within your budget?
  2. Is your wedding date available?
  3. If the reception is different from the wedding venue, how far is it?
  4. Can the hall accommodate the number of expected guests?
  5. How many hours of rental is included in the cost i.e. from what time to what time will the venue be available for your use?
  6. Does the venue come with a wedding coordinator?
  7. What is the cost for each additional hour?
  8. Does the cost of the venue include tables, chairs and decor?
  9. Is there an in-house caterer? If no, can you bring your own food or do you have to use one from an approved list?
  10. Are there any other services included in the cost i.e. lighting, sound?
  11. Are there additional charges for set-up and clean-up?
  12. Are there clean toilets?
  13. Are there restrictions related to decorating the venue?
  14. Is it allowed to serve alcohol on the property?
  15. Are there any noise restrictions such as who can play and for how long?
  16. Is there sufficient parking space?
  17. When can the decorating and set-up start?
Whichever venue offers you the best quality and comfort within your means is what you should go for. Don't be afraid to ask questions and revisit until you can make up your mind. This place is going to hold a lot of memories for you so ensure you pick a place that you absolutely love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shopping for your wedding dress

Even for those who enjoy shopping, shopping for a wedding dress can be a stressful thing. Here are a few tips on what to do to make it more enjoyable.

Set a timeline: You've done your research and know the kind of dress you want. How much time do you have to find it and when do you plan to start looking? These are the next questions that you need to answer. If you have less than six months then time is really not your friend and i would advise you start shopping immediately. 

Where to shop: Your budget might influence this. You might not be able to afford a designer dress so try bridal chain stores like Davids Bridal. In Nigeria, Lagos especially just walk around Ikeja. From Toyin Street to Allen Avenue you'll find quite a number of bridal shops that you can order through, buy from or get to make your dress. If you decide to shop online, do so with care. The beauty of your wedding dress is finding something that FITS

Take some necessities with you:

  • A trusted friend(s) i.e. your chief bridesmaid, sister. While trying on various dresses, a second opinion will definitely be required. Don't take too many people otherwise you'll have so many conflicting opinions you'll never be able to make a choice.
  • A digital camera (if the store allows it) will be a nice way of keeping tabs on how you looked in the dresses you tried on and the details you liked in each one. This makes it easier to compare later as you can see what you're choosing from and not relying entirely on your memory.
  • If you found the dress of your dreams in a magazine, take it along. The shop might be able to help you find something similar and the picture will act as a guide to the kind of dresses you'll be trying on.
  • Wear shoes of a similar height as you'll be wearing on your wedding day to the shops or while trying the dresses.
  • Take your wedding planning notebook with you to write the shops where you saw the dresses you loved, the design and style number for the dresses and any other thoughts you had of each dress.
Be open minded: If you find a dress that you love but it has some minor details that you'd like to change ask the sales person if modifications can be made. If it can't and you can live with being married in the dress go for it. Ensure you try on as many dresses as possible in various styles before you make up your mind. Don't be discouraged if after trying on so many dresses you still haven't found "the one". Keep searching eventually you will.

Beware of salespeople: Do not let any one force you into deciding on a dress. The most expensive dress doesn't necessarily fit best. Make up your mind on what you want when you are ready and not before.

Compare prices: Once you've found "the dress", ask around bridal stores for the price of the same dress or similar dresses to know if you're getting a fair price. You could be lucky to get the same dress on sale somewhere else.

Buy the dress: Objective achieved. Ensure that details of the designer name, style number, size and delivery date are hashed out before you pay. Never pay the full amount before getting delivery of the dress. A 50% deposit is sufficient. Also, find out if the bridal shop will fit the dress for you.

Fitting: This should be done at least two months to the wedding. Its preferable you go back to the same bridal shop where the dress was purchased for fittings especially if you want alterations made to the dress. Take a trustworthy friend or two and the bridal accessories you'll be using on your wedding day so that you can get the complete look. When you try on the dress it is recommended that the hem of the dress should touch your shoes, you should be comfortable lifting your arms and moving and it shouldn't bunch, wrinkle or pull when you move. After the fitting, pick up your dress and you are good to go.

Remember, if you don't like the dress before it leaves the store, you never will. Buy something you are comfortable in that makes you feel beautiful.

Choosing THE dress

Come dress yourself in love, let the journey begin - Francesca da Rimini

Yay, you're engaged to the love of your life. The film reel of the perfect wedding you've planned for yourself starts to roll. You've got the venue, the groom, the scenery, ambiance ...... now to find the perfect dress. Like any other thing in life, you shouldn't just run to a store and buy the first dress that fits neither should you wait till a week before the wedding to pick your dress either. Selecting the dress should be planned and is an experience that should be enjoyed. Here's what you need to do:

Do your research: Start planning early. Six months to the wedding is ample time, if its earlier then better. Buy wedding magazines, join wedding websites online, check out designer dresses. Search, search and search. Keep an open mind. Learn the lingo, types of silhouettes, fabrics, train lengths e.t.c. From all of your searching, build a picture of the kind of dress you want. Envision your wedding and what you see yourself wearing. Write down these details in a notebook that should be taken along with you when you eventually decide to hit the shops.

Decide on a silhouette: Knowing your body shape will help you know the kind of silhouette that will flatter you the most. Remember flaunt your assets and down-play the imperfections. The common silhouettes wedding dresses are made in are ball gowns, sheaths, A-line and empire waist. These will be discussed in details in another post.

Wedding style: Is your wedding a formal or informal affair? If its formal, the dress usually is long and has a long train while for informal weddings a short dress will do just fine. Do you want the traditional white dress or you want a dress in your favorite colour? Will the weather be hot or cold? This is to determine the kind of fabric you want your dress to come in. When all this have been decided, the next thing is to look at your budget.

The cost: Like i said in my first post, before starting any form of planning the first thing to do is to have a budget. Once you've decided all the details you want your wedding dress to have, check your budget and see how much has been set aside for the dress, veil, shoes and accessories. This costs should guide you when you go shopping. 

When going to the shops remember, buy a dress that you're comfortable in and makes you feel beautiful. Next stop, how to shop for a wedding dress.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bridal party roles

"Its the friends you can call up at 4am that matter." Marlene Dietrick

Hmmm, this matter is one that amazes me. Especially as most times i see bridesmaids who are more concerned with how they look and the guys they'll meet than the bride's feelings. More often than not members of the bridal party just come to eat, drink and socialize. This is not the way it ought to be. Each role is important and has responsibilities and every bride (and groom) should pick those to fulfill this roles for them wisely. Here are some of the roles and the responsibilities:

The Maid of Honor/Chief Bridesmaid: This is someone very special to the bride. The person normally entrusted with this role is a sister or a very close friend. She is part worker bee (hence the title maid) and part emotional lifeboat. Assisting with logistics and listening to the bride whine are part of the job description. Her duties include:

  • Accompanying the bride on shopping trips, especially when choosing her dress, veil, invitations e.t.c. Basically anything. See yourself as an assistant wedding planner.
  • Throwing the bridal shower
  • Helping the bride to write out and address invitations, place cards, and other hand written correspondence
  • Coordinating the bridal gift given by the bridal party
  • Coordinate the bridesmaids. Keep them informed of necessary information prior to the wedding, ensure they get their dresses and are organised at the wedding ceremony.
  • Helping the bride to dress before the wedding
  • Participating in the wedding processional
  • Holding the groom's wedding ring
  • Helping to ensure that the bride's dress is positioned correctly throughout the ceremony
  • Holding the bride's flowers
  • Participating in the gift receiving line
  • Witnessing the marriage by signing the wedding certificate
  • Dancing with the best man at the reception
As can be seen from the job description above, a maid of honor's role starts way before the wedding ceremony or rehearsal dinner. Remember you are a chief bridesmaid not a chief bride. Endeavor to make the bride's day pleasant and someone will do same for you.

The Best Man: This is also a role filed by someone close to the groom, a brother or a trusted friend. He's the guy who's always got your back. His tasks include:
  • Organising the bachelor party. This should me sponsored by him and the other groomsmen
  • Coordinating the couple's gift from the groomsmen
  • Assisting the groom in choosing his outfit
  • Helping the groom get dressed before the wedding
  • Ensuring the groom gets to the church on time
  • Holding the bride's ring
  • Witnessing the marriage by signing the certificate
  • Participating in the gift receiving line
  • Giving a toats at the reception
  • Dancing with the maid of honor at the reception
  • Making sure the couple has transportation to the airport, hotel or honeymoon destination
  • Help maid of honor take wedding gifts to the couple's home
This role can only be filled by a reliable and responsible person. Please, for your own sake choose wisely.

Bridesmaids: Responsibilities include:
  • Helping with pre-wedding errands
  • Making time for shopping for your dress and fittings
  • Helping the maid of honor plan and sponsor the bridal shower
  • Contributing to bridal gifts
  • Walking in the wedding processional
  • Dancing with the groomsmen
  • Acting as hostesses
  • Offering to help the maid of honor with packing gifts or attending to the bride. Whatever is needed.
Groomsmen: Their tasks are similar to those of the bridesmaids. They include:
  • Co-sponsoring and attending the bachelor party
  • Contributing to gifts for the groom
  • Acting as hosts
  • Walking in the wedding processional
  • Dancing with the bridesmaids
  • Helping the best man in whatever way possible
The Flower Girl & Ring Bearer:
Because these are usually very young children, not much is expected of them. The flower girl will usually carry a basket of flowers during the wedding processional and may toss wedding petals on the ground to mark the bride's entrance. The ring bearer on the other hand is traditionally to walk next to the flower girl during the wedding processional holding a pillow on which the wedding rings are sewn. Nowadays, he just walks in the processional and the rings are held by the best man. 

All members of the bridal party should pay for their outfits and accessories. The children's should be paid for by their parents. They should all have this thought at the back of their minds: "This is one of the most important days in the lives of the couple, don't let them remember you as the person that screwed it up".

Friday, October 1, 2010

First things first

Before beginning, plan carefully. 

One of the most common errors made by brides is not starting to plan early. I advise at the minimum six (6) months of planning for a wedding so that your choice of vendors and other things will not be rushed or managed but exactly what you want. Early planning also enables you to save costs because you are not in a rush to commit to any vendor you can shop around for quality at a pocket friendly price. 

The first thing to do is to set the date. This usually involved the parents of both the bride and groom. The date is necessary to book the hall and set timelines to do all that needs to be done. The next and the most forgotten thing is to set a "detailed" budget. Note the emphasis on the word detailed. A budget is not just saying off the top of your head "I want to spend =N= x on my wedding, nothing more nothing less". A little bit of research has to go into setting your budget so that you have a realistic estimate of current prices. No item is too small to be included in it i.e. hair accessories, bouquet, lingerie e.t.c. 

Then the couple need to sit down with their families to determine how much support they will be getting from them and how much both the bride and groom are willing to contribute. Follow the blog and you will see the traditional contribution patterns to give you an idea of who pays for what.

The next thing is to decide on a realistic wedding style and size. Note that the bigger and more elaborate, the higher the cost. Compare this with available funds and find the most cost-effective alternatives available. In this part of the world, its not so easy to limit the number of your guests except you have both parents' consent on the matter. The more the guests, the costlier so all parties should agree upfront and whoever is inviting more guests should contribute more.

Based on the amounts that have been agreed to be contributed by both parents and the couple, the next thing is to divide the total amount among the various wedding parts. For example, how much do you budget for the dress, the reception hall, flowers, invitations and the honeymoon? Like i said earlier, do not just come up with figures off the top of your head. Do some research and estimate the costs. Also, your apportioning of available cash should be based on priority. Every aspect of the wedding is important but some are more important than others. For example, you might decide to buy expensive rings and rent your wedding gown. It all depends on what you place the most value on and what will make that day special for you. Play with the numbers until everything balances with how much you have to spend. Compromise is the key word here as you'll both have different ideas of what is important to you. Your ability as a couple to survive this exercise will go a long way in helping you make financial decisions in the future.

Once you have both decided on something, stick with it. Take your budget with you when you go shopping. Don't keep altering it. I suggest keeping an excel spreadsheet where u can track the budgeted amount and the actual so that you'll know if and when you're overdoing it so that you can get back on track.

Worthy of note is the fact that a budget can never be actual. It will always amount to more or less. Allow flexibility but avoid splurging. Remember the marriage comes after the wedding and that's the most important thing.

.....yes, i'll marry you

You're all starry eyed. The love of your life has just asked you those magical words: "Will you marry me". Maybe he even proposed on bended knees, via a cinema screen, over an intimate dinner or just while you were both hanging out, It really doesn't matter. All you care about after saying yes is bringing that wedding dream you've had from when you were just a little girl to reality.

The ball gown, the music, food, drinks, all of your dearest friends there to witness the happiest day of your life. The wedding date is fixed and the running around starts, then reality sets in. You're so stressed out you wish you'd just settled for going to the registry. Its not that easy to find a dress or a tailor to correctly alter it, the decoration, photography is so expensive you, your parents and sweetheart have been having fights about it. 

This is why you need a wedding planner. Someone to help you shortlist vendors to fit your budget. Wedding planning is a very intimidating and overwhelming task. A wedding planner helps you reduce the stress of putting it all together by helping you create a wedding plan which details your ideas, budget, number of guests being expected, who is paying for what e.t.c. 

My experience has been that wedding planners in Nigeria try to make profit off every service they help in getting instead of helping the bride get the best available "within" her already specified budget. This is where Alabashe differs. We do our best to ensure you do not overspend unnecessarily. Our fee is agreed upfront and you make payments to the vendors yourself so you can be sure no one is making a margin off you. 

Your wedding is one of those events that take place in your life that will forever be memorable, plan it well and enjoy the happy memories thinking abut it will always bring. So how do you go about it? Follow the blog for helpful tips and hints.