All posts by Samantha's Bridal Team



By Lillian Gaitho

What could be more exciting to every bride-to-be than a day out at the largest bridal fair event? Imagine you have not one, not two but four days with your best girls and favorite men to discover gorgeous wedding goodies! Cross the dates for Samantha’s Bridal Expo this 3rd-6th July at the Sarit Center and explore everything from the brilliant world of bridal.

A convention of top notch, crème-de-la crème industry players showcasing and directing brides-in-the-making on their countdown time plans and bridal accoutrements; the Samantha Bridal Wedding Expo has the answers to all your bridal questions; catering to all brides, whether you are just starting after your engagement or are all planned and ready to go but just need those last-minute favors to dazzle your guests.


Of course you have the right man, and this requires you to get the perfect dress for your perfect celebration. You will be inspired by the magical catwalk, a fabulous showcase of bridal gowns featuring every style and cut. We have loads of inspiration for your party too; gorgeous looks for your flower girls, stunning gowns for your bridesmaids and sharp suits for the great men in your life.

Brides-to-be will have a pamper sessions with top makeup artists and you can even take a pose for our top photographers! All you have to do is sign up with our ladies at the reception. Whether you want advice on the right lip shade, the color hue to go with your ivory dress or it’s your Mum looking for the right head wrap, our all-round designers will be on stand-by for your wish.

If you want inspiration for the color scheme, or are yet to be decided on the blooms to loom in your nuptials, you can be sure to fall in love with the tones of sweet-smelling bouquets on display.

And what better way to pamper your groom than allow him some soccer in our lounge? Rest assured he will not be somewhere in a corner checking his wrist watch! Bring the man along, BESPOKE Italian Designers –will be showcasing their high-end made to measure suits under Fairview Group.


The Religious Ceremony

Religious ceremonies differ according to faith and can be conducted in your place of worship or your chosen ceremony venue. For details on your religious ceremony, contact your local minister as the procedures differ.

Different faiths have different requirements that you should meet before you are eligible to have your ceremony at a particular religious venue. In the Christian faith, regular church attendance isn’t always essential but some churches insist on it. Be sure to work closely with your minister or registrar by getting their approval for anything you want to add to the service at each stage of the process.

In most cases the officiant will outline the service procedure and you can decide on how to personalise your marriage ceremony for example if you want something more individual like a special reading. The length or content depends entirely on you, depending on the kind of ceremony you will have.

Ceremony rental items

You might need to rent some items for the ceremony and are not provided at the ceremony venue or are not included in the ceremony site fee. These items may include the following items:

Aisle Runner: A thin run made of carpet or plastic, paper or cloth extending the length of the aisle. It is rolled out just prior to the processional. Make sure the grass is clipped short if you are using one of these types of runners, as plastic does not sit well on grass.

Kneeling Cushion: A small cushion or pillow placed in front of the altar where the bride and groom kneel for their wedding blessing.

Arch (Christian): A white lattice or brass arch where the bride and groom exchange their vows, often decorate with flowers and greenery.

Mandap (Asian wedding): A canopy under which an Asian ceremony is performed, symbolizing cohabitation and consummation.

You may also need to consider renting audio equipment, aisle stanchions, candelabra, candles, candlelighters, chairs, a gift table, and a guest book stand among others.

Guest book / Pen / Penholder

You will need a guest book. This is a formal register where your guests sign-in as they arrive at the ceremony or reception. It will also serve as a memento of who attended your wedding. This book is often placed outside the ceremony or reception site, along with an elegant pen and penholder. One of the ushers is responsible for inviting all guests to sign-in.

There are many styles of guest books, pens and penholders available in the market. Some books have space for your guests to write a short note to the bride and groom.

Tip: Make sure you have more than one pen in case one runs out of ink. If you are planning a large ceremony of over 300 guests, consider having more than one book and pen so that your guests
don’t have to wait in a long queue to sign-in.

Flower Girl Basket
The flower girl, usually between the ages of four and eight, carries a basket filled with flowers, rose
or paper rose petals to strew as she walks down the aisle. She follows the ring bearer or maid of honour and precedes the bride during the processional.

Flower girl baskets come in many styles and colours. You can find them at most florists, gift shops, and bridal shops.
Tip: Discuss any restrictions regarding rose petal, flower, or paper-tossing with your ceremony site. Select a basket that complements your guest book and ring bearer pillow. If the flower girl is very young (less than 7 years), consider giving her a small bouquet instead of a flower basket.

Things To Consider:
If you plan to rent any accessories for your ceremony, make sure the rental suppliers have a good reputation. Reserve the items you need well in advance. Find out the company’s payment, reservation and cancellation policies.

Tips To Save Money:
When considering a ceremony outside of a church, figure the cost of rental items. Negotiate a package deal, if possible by renting items for both the ceremony and reception from the same supplier so you only have to pay one delivery fee.

Ceremony Planner

The wedding ceremonies differ in different cultures but there is a general sequence of events. As the guests arrive, a musical prelude is played. When the guests are seated and the ceremony is ready to start, in a Christian ceremony the officiant takes his or her place with the groom on the officiant’s left and the best man on the groom’s left facing the guests. The groom’s men may also stand at the front or they may start the processional as shown here in the illustration.

The Processional begins first with the bride’s maids starting down the aisle in the processional. The maid or matron of honour enters next. As another option the grooms men and bride’s maid’s can enter together in pairs with the best man escorting the honoured attendant. If a ring bearer and a flower girl are to participate, they are the last ones down the aisle before the bride.

After a brief pause, a new song begins and the bride makes her grand entrance. Even though her father traditionally escorts the bride on his left arm, today a bride often asks her mother to walk down the aisle
with them on her other side. With the couples standing before him, the officiant makes some opening remarks. Next may come a reading or a song from the choir or a vocalist. The officiant might deliver a sermon before the couple says the (I dos), the exchange of vows and the exchange of rings. Then comes the pronouncement of marriage and the much-anticipated kiss. Last the officiant might offer closing remarks before the wedding party walks up the aisle in the recessional.

In a Christian ceremony as the musician starts the celebratory recessional music the bride and the groom turn to each other, link arms and walk briskly back up the aisle as husband and wife. They are followed by the flower girl and the ring bearer (if they remained at the altar during the ceremony; if there is only one or the other he or she can walk alone) who are then followed by the maid or matron of honour and the best man. Next come the bride’s maids and the groom’s men in pairs with the women on the men’s right arm. Groom’s men return to assist guests and direct them to the receiving line or reception site

The Officiant

First before you can determine who will officiate your ceremony,you must decide what kind it will be. Religious or civil. Whereas a religious ceremony is performed by an ordained religious priest or pastor, a civil ceremony is performed by a certified officiant from the Attorney General’s office or district office.The officiant’s fee is the fee paid to whoever performs your wedding ceremony. Some churches will ask for this fee directly and some may not ask. It is however customary to give him/her a gift of appreciation.

Also note that if your officiant is asked to travel, you will have to pay the travel expenses. This amount should depend on your relationship with the officiant and the amount of time s/he has spent with you prior to the ceremony. Some officiants may not accept a fee, depending on your relationship with him/her. If a fee is refused, send a donation to the officiant’s church.

Things to Consider

  • Is the venue licensed? For legal marriage celebrations, the marriage should be celebrated in a licensed place and must be between 8:00am and 6:00pm, before two witnesses.
  • If the parties wish to celebrate in a place other than a worship place or marriage registry, they should apply to the Attorney General for authorization under section 31 of Marriage Act.
  • Some venues might have restrictions or guidelines regarding photography, videography, music, decorations, candles, and rice or rose petal tossing.a Proximity of the ceremony site to the reception site, and parking

Legal Procedure And Guidelines Laid Down By the Law

There are different types of marriage systems recognised under the laws of Kenya. It is of vital importance that couples intending to get married under any of these laws seek legal advice concerning the respective systems to avoid any mishaps that may ruin the big day. The law requires you to be 18 years and above to get legally married or to marry. A notice of your intention to get married must be given to the registrar’s office in the district where you live. At the registrar’s office, you will need to complete a notice with intention to marry form and pay Kshs.200 and the notice will run for 21 days. You should bring original and copies of the following:

• Birth certificate.
• Passport/ID of both the bride and the groom.
• Addresses and occupation of both the bride and the groom.
• Full names and occupation of the bride’s and the groom’s parents.
• Separate affidavits to state both parties are single and free to marry. In the event that either party are widowed, the death certificate of the departed spouse and a copy must be produced. In the event that either or both parties are divorced, a Divorce Decree Absolute must be produced.
• After 21 days, the couple completes the affidavit under S 11 of the marriage Act, gets it commissioned by a Commissioner for Oaths and completes a Marriage Certificate Form.
• The marriage must take place within 3 months from the date of giving the 21 day notice but not before the 21 days are over.

Special Licence
In the event that parties for a very good reason cannot give 21 days notice, the registrar of Marriages has the discretion to waive the notice but this is not a right and can be denied.

The Celebrant / Officiant
For legal marriage celebrations, only an accredited church minister should celebrate the marriage or a Registrar of marriages and either of the two must be licensed to celebrate the marriage.Otherwise, the marriage is considered null and void.

Where and When to Mary :
The Ceremony
For legal marriage celebrations, the marriage should be celebrated in a licensed place; it must be between 8:00am and 6:00pm and before two witnesses. If the parties wish to celebrate in a place other than a worship place or marriage registry, they should apply to the Attorney General for authorization under section 31 of marriage act.

Legal Requirements for Religious Ceremonies
A church minister must have either a Registrar’s Certificate or a Special license from The Registrar of marriages to perform a wedding under Cap 150 of the Kenyan law. Notice is given both in church and in the office of the Registrar of Marriages. After a period of 21 days, a Registrar’s Certificate is issued by the office of the Registrar of Marriages which is taken to the Church minister who shall officiate the ceremony.
The notice is given at a fee of Kshs.200 and a Registrar’s Certificate at a fee of Ksh. 200.

A Special license is issued if the couple cannot give the required 3 weeks notice and the fee is Kshs. 5,050 if a church minister shall preside. If the ceremony shall take place in a venue other than a church or Registrar’s office e.g. a garden, hotel etc, a special license is needed to license the venue for a wedding even if notice is properly given.

By now, all church ministers should be aware that all non-Africans must get married under Cap 150 of the Marriage Act. This is because the African Christian marriage & Divorce Act, Cap 151, which most churches use, does apply to non-Africans. Therefore marriages of non-Africans married under this act are Null & Void.

Choosing Ceremony Site

The selection of a ceremony site is entirely up to your preference, the style of the wedding, the number of guests expected and your religious affiliations. The popular venues are booked more than a year in advance, we suggest that you to reserve your special location before any other plans.

Your Venue Options

  • Church,
  • Private homes,
  • Gardens,
  • Hotels,
  • Clubs,
  • Community halls,
  • Parks,
  • Museums,
  • Beaches
  • Hot air balloons among others

Ceremony site fee

Most ceremony sites ask for a fee in order for you to rent a facility for your wedding. In some churches this fee may include the organist or choir, and or miscellaneous items such as kneeling cushions, aisle runner, and candelabra. Confirm what the site fee includes prior to booking. Beware of how many weddings a church can hold per day. As much as possible aim to have to first shot. It is stressful to do your church decorations in less than half an hour. You do not want to keep your guests waiting.

Some churches have a policy of having only two weddings a day adequately spaced out. Some churches can have up to four weddings. It means you only have 30 minutes (if the previous wedding is on time!) to transform your dream ceremony site.

Tips to Save Money:
a Have your ceremony at the same facility as your reception to save a second rental fee and transporting the guest from one venue to another.

  • Set a realistic guest list and stick to it.
  • Hire an experienced wedding planner.

Wedding Styles

Out of Africa Theme

It is similar to a Safari, and definitely has its own twist. Your wedding can be customized in many aspects related to “Out Of Africa”. Treasured African artefacts, traditional ethnic materials, colours and animals are able to give a classy look with this theme.

Treasured African Artefacts

Treasured animal artefacts are usually very minimal, simple and very organic. There is something about handmade folk art and craft art; it looks real and gives you a feel of close to nature. African designs have different looks and reflect different personalities.


The most commonly depicted “Out of Africa” look is more weathered and savannah plains. Very monochromatic hues like beiges, browns, coppers, and creams, chocolates, khakis and deep greens depict the richness of the African continent. Whatever colour you choose should be used re-currently on the stationary and throughout other areas of the wedding for the theme to stand out.


Lions “Simba” are the most noble of the African animals. They rule the forest and are some of the most dangerous creatures to man. Lions symbolize the aristocracy that is found in the African forests. Instead of table numbers, one can use animals to name the tables. Also, provide a small token of an animal figurine and a write-up on the same as a give-away to the guests allocated to the table. Other animals one can use to name the tables are giraffes, rhinos, antelopes and elephants.


Various textile materials can be used to develop this theme through out the wedding. For instance, one can use sackcloth, sheers, and linen moderately on table covers and chairs,leather paper for stationary and even tablemats and khaki paper, to give the final classy look of wild-Africa. African prints on fabrics also give an ethnic look and could be used. Lots of pottery can be used to give a dry burnt look of the African Forest, and dried flowers in earthly colours could also add to the décor.

Favour ideas

Scented candles wrapped in sackcloth and packaged in khaki designed carriage bags,mini-notebooks made of elephant paper and wrapped in leather paper with the couples names signed, animal figurines wrapped in linen cloth or bark cloth engraved with names of couple and scented dried flowers wrapped in small African woven baskets and covered with sheer cloth, are just but a few of the ideas one could use. The beauty about using this theme is that there is no fear of colour clashing, as the colours are rich and blend into one another so well.

Getting Started

Wedding Style Budget

What kind of wedding?  The one decision that is going to be the starting point of your wedding planning is the type, size and style of wedding. Do youbwant a religious or civil wedding, fairly tale wedding, traditional,do you want a big wedding with all the trimmings or just a simple I do? Or do you want something completely out of the ordinary.

Once you are clear on the theme, with almost any budget,some imagination and flair, you can create a wonderful wedding. Remember extravagance isn’t necessarily the option as people remember the little touches, and there are many wedding themes to choose from.

The Guest List

Try to make a rough estimate of how many guests you expect even at this early stage as this will help you make important decisions on the wedding venue and budget. When deciding on a guest list, again there are no hard and fast rules but it sure will cause you a lot of stress. Best way to handle it is to split the guest list in three quotas; one for both your mutual friends, next for his parents and relatives and the other for the bride’s relatives and parents. You can then all discuss the lists together and come to an agreement.

Remember that the longer your guest list, the bigger your wedding will be, thus the more your budget will have to stretch. You can reduce the guest list to a much smaller number by having an invitation-only reception and insist on RSVP. At the end of the day, let your budget decide the number of guests.

Date and Location

Setting a date will enable you to go ahead with plans. You ill not know what amount of time you have to search or the right dress, when you’ll need the ceremony and reception sites plus photography, catering, florists and the details that need a set date and time.

Things to consider
When setting a date, think about the weather. Do you want a ceremony during the sunny season? Or is there a particular date and time that is of sentimental importance to you and your fiancé or family? Or would you prefer it at a laid-back season or during a festive season like the month of December? Consider all these points and discuss with your partner. Consider your guests’ plans. Perhaps some of them usually choose this time to travel up-country to see their relatives during the holiday season.


As soon as possible, decide on how much you can afford. If the money you have from your own savings, your parents and friends contributions is not enough to create the wedding you want, you may want to save some more. At the same time look for ways to cut back on some spending in some areas.

To help you estimate the total cost of your wedding so that you can prioritize and make the necessary budget allocation, we have designed a comprehensive budget over view so that you can have an idea of all the expenses that you are likely to incur and thus have an idea of what your wedding will cost.

Fill in the budget column putting in the estimated amount then add all the “Budget” amounts per category. Write the total amount in the “Budget Subtotal” space provided at the end of each category. Finally add all the “Subtotal” figures to come up with your final wedding budget.

The “Actual” column is for you to input your actual expenses as you purchase items or hire your service providers. Writing down the actual expenses will help you stay within your budget. After adding up all your “Budget Subtotals,” in case you find that the amount is more than the budget allocated, adjust your expenses accordingly by deciding what is an important must-have to you and knocking out what is not.

Reception Style

Food can be served either buffet style or as a sit-down meal. It should be chosen according to the time of day and style of the wedding. A sit down meal features several served courses. In this style the guests sit down and food is brought to the tables.

This is the most expensive service. To keep costs down, go for a simpler menu. The buffet style can also feature several courses, the only difference is that the guests assemble their own plates and get the food from the food stations.

The other kind of reception style is the least expensive and less formal stylish cocktail reception where waiters pass drinks or food offered at various food stations. This type is very rare and not suitable for wedding formalities.