All posts by Samantha's Bridal Team

Decorating the Main Alter

The flowers for the main altar are usually grand and elaborate as they not only serve the purpose of decorating but also direct the visual attention of the guests- toward the front of the church or ceremony venue and to the bridal couple. They should be high enough to be seen from the back.

If your ceremony is not in a place of worship, you can decorate an arch, gazebo, or any other suitable structures to act as the altar with flowers or greenery. In the Hindu religion, the ceremony, takes place in a Mandap, which is a canopy, placed at the altar and covered with greens and fresh flowers.

Things To Consider: When choosing floral accents and decorations for main altar, consider the size and style of the building, the style of the wedding, the cost, and the regulations of the particular site. Some ceremony sites like churches are built with such architectural splendour that is ornate enough and you don’t need to too much or extra flowers. In some cases you may just need to add a few dramatic showpieces that will complement the existing décor.

Congrats, you are engaged – (now what?)

On Issue 20, 2013

Wedding planning, inflation, the rotten economy and you

The holidays have been dubbed “engagement season” by the wedding industry, since the wed-biz has been a growth industry for the past few years, dozens of new businesses have popped up, each trying to grab their slice of the wedding pie (or cake, if you will.) Lots of these are small start-ups.

Many new ventures in the wedding arena have come up in the last few years, some without even a physical address. The good news is that because this new wedding businesses are hungry; it’s often easier to negotiate better rates and services for your money.

The bad news is that you must choose your location and suppliers even more carefully than ever, since you must assess a vendor’s likelihood of solvency by the time your wedding rolls around.  Sadly, these days tales abound of couples who are left high and dry when their venue or vendors shut their doors without warning, and often without refunding deposits despite their legal obligations to do so.
How do you assess a wedding vendor’s robustness?  Often you can’t, but you can hedge your bets in case the worst happens. DO they have an office, a business name, contact and contracts? Has any of the established vendors ever worked with them?  Do they have the necessary legal paperwork for operation? Venues are especially notorious with everyone converting their backyards into venues only for a neighbour to place an injunction just a week before your wedding and you have to get a new venue!  If you are making a substantial investment in a large event, you can reduce your risk of vendor failure by booking a location that is part of a larger company; that way, if a particular location goes burst, you might be able to recover your loss.

However, I don’t want to discourage couples from placing their trust in small business startups who come with the added advantage of offering unique options you can’t get from established businesses.  It’s often a matter of conscience; but is it worth to take additional financial risk? Those who are bold enough and solvent enough to start making wedding plans should be aware of the additional perils of working with some of these companies.

This is where something like wedding insurance which some company is planning to launch (even though I already regard it with some suspicion)  might actually serve a worthy purpose.  Of course, you’ll need to check the small print to make sure your wedding will be covered in the event of a vendor bankruptcy or disappearance….and just to be sure there’s a fine point put on it.

So if you have carefully selected your suppliers, How do you Respond to Suppliers Who Fall Below Expectations?

When hiring a Supplier, through contracts and discussions, expectations are created. As a bride or groom there is a level of confidence that you should have in your Supplier. The caterers will provide great food that won’t run out and that is at the right temperature, the flowers will be brilliant and correct, the timeline will go as planned and the DJ will have all the right songs. These are proper expectations, but what do you do if the food is cold, the bouquet is made from the wrong flowers or the DJ has forgotten to bring your first dance song?

First of all, much can be avoided by following certain steps;

  1. Interview several wedding Suppliers in each category and follow your gut as well as your budget
  2. Create a checklist for the day for each of the suppliers
  3. Make sure the supplier is completely clear and aware of your expectations in writing.
  4. Hire an Event Coordinator, “One who has done many weddings” if not for the whole planning, at least for the material day
  5. If you do not have an Event Coordinator appoint a specific person for each Supplier to make sure all is according to plan. It makes some guests feel like part of your wedding and can ease your mind.

Now if you have done what you can and expectations are still not met (let’s face it, none of us have a perfect work day everyday) the best thing is to take a big deep breath and a moment to calm before reacting. Decide before hand if you are the type of bride/groom that wants to know about situations as they arise or want to be kept out of the loop and just enjoy the day/evening.

Communicate to your suppliers or coordinator(s). The best way to approach a Supplier who has not met requirements is to ask what they can do to remedy the situation. Empower them. They already feel bad enough and being barked at will just make the situation worse. Suppliers understand that this is the most important day for you and that you are paying them, in general most will do whatever they can to fix the problem. Be realistic with your request in the situation. If the florist has created a bouquet of the wrong flowers and does not have the ones you requested and cannot get them, create an alternative with what is available.

While this can be very upsetting and disheartening for a bride/groom, its important to realize that the more time and energy spent on stressing and being angry the less time you will enjoy with your loved ones.

Reserve your sentiments till the wedding is over, usually after the honeymoon. Feedback to all Suppliers is always appreciated as it helps them grow and you feel better. If you are disappointed with the service express that. Ask for what you would like in exchange for your disappointment. They cannot replace the problems of the wedding day, but perhaps they can ease the pocket book or send you a gift or even flowers to your bridal party, etc. There is always a solution.

The most important thing at any wedding is that you enjoy while you are there, with family and friends. A Supplier will always do their utmost to provide the best service possible to you. No matter what, there has never been a wedding that has fallen apart to such a point that it ruined the day, at least not on my watch.

Finally, Even as we feel our budgets grow tighter, let us bear in mind that the best parts of any wedding are the bits you can’t buy: love, appreciation, and camaraderie.  May 2014 bring you many opportunities to create true wealth in all the ways that really matter.

Until next time, a sweet and long life to you all

Beauty and Grooming

On Issue 20, 2013

Best suited to a glamorous and fun bride who loves color and isn’t afraid to experiment. This look is all about the loud lip. To wear a bright lip color, skin must be completely spotless with a touch of highlighter used along the top of the cheekbones for added radiance.

To set your lip color, always use lip liner to shade in the whole lip area beforehand, as this will keep it put and prevent it from bleeding. Blush should complement the lipstick shade. So if you are wearing a fuchsia lip, be sure to pick a soft pink blush.

Finally, a soft smoky eye and high head wrap for a bright African look that is also timeless

Wedding Sex

On Issue 23, 2014

What really troubles most brides after all the prepping is done and the sun is up illuminating the launch of the happily-ever-after is not the permanence of marriage-which is actually the best part of the deal, its not if the trail will hook onto some invisible  crack on the church pews, its not if you will foxtrot properly on your first dance, its not aunt Keziah’s big deal with anything alcoholic, it’s the tingling question: will I satisfy this man, is marriage sex any different, will I meet his standards?

Cynthia Otieno, CEO of Lamead Woman and a marriage counselor explains that your fears and inhibitions are the only aspects that will wipe out any doubts on your honeymoon bed, ‘The most attractive lingerie a woman can adorn is her smile and confidence. Do not by any chance ask him to switch off the lights’ Says Cynthia, ‘Complimenting and affirming your man’s body is very essential to building up his self-trust, let him know that his body turns you on, and just looking at him makes you want him!’

While on it, celebrate your body too and appreciate the power that’s veiled deep within you. A woman’s sexuality should not come across as frightening but rather as a sacred gift instated by the gods for reasons of pure merriment and satisfaction.
She goes on to explain that due to the drawing post wedding effects and the strangeness of the new setting, it is completely normal to feel uneasy. Do not blame yourself for not being the storybook perfect wife; there’s no expiry date to this night, all you need to do is relax and let the moment take over. Some couples wisely opt for a deep body massage oil with sensual oils that not only helps them relax but helps them break ice too in case of no prior experience.

Take advantage of all the Hollywood folklore in the surge of adrenaline a man experiences simply by undressing a woman! Allowing your husband to help you undress off the heavy layers of tulle and organza will not only save you the little energy left from your first night dance but will also boost your man’s ego, seeing unto the fact that he’s being helpful and his efforts are appreciated.

At this point, my mind goes back to this Indian tradition where during the Mendhi night or henna application ceremony, the prospective bride gets the first letter of her Fiancé’s name carefully drawn in the ebb of the intricate henna patterns. This paves way for the two to fool about as he tries to trace his initials all over her body. Before the shy maiden even realizes what they are on to, fore play will be happening!
Back to matters boudoir Cynthia also reveals another secret to overcoming the first night inhibition, “presentation is key; clean up and clean shave for him. Be sure to make him want you before he even touches you, let him desire you. Take a look at the mirror and say all the nice things about yourself, this is not the time to notice that streak of intractable cellulite snuggly finding comfort on your inner thighs. Chances are, he won’t even notice”

Cynthia also advises couples to discuss sex before their fast night. “Forget what your folks told you about sex being dirty, you are now in the zone.” Discuss your anxiety and reservations, this clears the air on what will/can be done and what are the no-go zones. Remember too that different people have different views on sex, for instance, if there are inhibitions on oral sex or anything experimental, do not insist as you might end up spoiling the moment. Both of you will grow into the role.
All said and done, remember men are said to be visual creatures, but a good sensual scent will last past the honeymoon memories. Invest in a good scent.

For marriage insights, Cynthia advises couples to come up with a love menu that encompass all their passionate desires, this will easily guide you in exploring your fantasies as you get used to each other.

How Your Ex Feels About Your Wedding

By Lillian Gaitho

Four years ago, I was agonizing a break up, of course while in your twenties you have a few of those, some of which you later realize were God sent – they paved way to a better you, and better tidings. But there always is that one person whose memories never really fade and especially when they pop up an engaged status on Face book! In a moment the days long gone come flowing back, and you can’t help wondering if dating you actually allowed them to marry someone else! You actually feel betrayed, how could someone you knew very well, and trusted so deep bend a knee for a stranger who (hopefully) will never measure up to what you two used to be! Well, that’s until they drop a save the date to your postal address! The world almost crumbles under your feet.
Take for instance Jayden, not even the veil of Ex Lovers turned platonic friends could conceal the immense treacherous feeling that engulfed him the morning that luminous clad rider dropped by his office with a turquoise package in red ribbons; Rachael was getting married, and yes, he was honorably invited to share in the joy of her connubial launch. The first instinct was to push the card further down the stack of files gathering dust by the office shelves, but that only reminded him of Rachael’s meticulous ways. That windowsill never knew dust until the lass deserted. Pretending to have never received the card would be a spineless act too.

Then without notice, the shock hastily morphed into an endless stream of sickening analysis threatening to blow off his already tortured brain; why the hell did she invite him anyway? Was it a prove to him that finally, she had found someone who’d proven more worth than the douche bag that was him, or did she silently pray that he would ask her not to do it and whisk her away just as the priest adjusted his robes to the task? Did she even really want him there? Why was the card clearly indicated as accommodating two guests? Was this a trap for him to make a fool of his self as the ever over- zealous Rachael measured his Fi against herself? Should he ‘honor’ the invite?

The extraordinary thing about receiving an invite from a former lover is, regardless of how you ended up things, whether you were tossed into the dumper or you pulled the red card does not matter; The unexplainable feeling of loss and defeat is evident even to the most unceremonious departures. The smitten will clearly hold no sexual claims on the ‘assailant’ having given up rights on each other long before they parted ways. When you go through the life circles and circus with someone holding on to you, you create intense memories that form the unique memory pad of your relationship. Others may hear about them, like the day you made a total clown of yourself at the karaoke night, or the day she burnt the fruitcake while trying to impress your mom! But no one will relate to the memories like you do, you even creatively develop a vocabulary only known to you. All this and more and any other sneaky thoughts you might have been toying with after your drunken stupors comes to an immediate close. From being a friend, lover and soul mate, they plaster on your memories the unappealing title of ‘this person I used to go out with’

So, after days of situation-analysis and post invite stratagem you finally decide to play loose with your past, break the nostalgic yoke and grace the event. Feeling noble and honorable, you even pass by the gift registry and peruse through their supposedly joint likes. Then something hits you: what role will you be playing at her wedding, how are you going to face her/his parents. Are they actually happy that its not you joining their family tree; after all they never even did much to camouflage their dislike for your old truck! How are you going to cope with all the stares and the silent whispers among the clueless guests, and good heavens, what if the devil, in all his wickedness tempts your mind into doing something silly, like raising your hands when the priest asks for any objecting parties? Bottom line, will you survive the event? Your new found solace in you being the best thing she never had begins to hit perilous lows. But you decide to go anyway.
Psyche seems to be your new mantra until you get that wicked stare from the grooms men gathered in a corner of the garden set up that inauspiciously reminds you of her meticulous way. They look at you and break into some mischievous Monalisa half-smile. For a moment, your knees buckle, could she have made a public joke of how you used to make weird noises in the height of your love making, what if they know, Jesus save your tortured soul! Is there really a comfortable stage in courtship when you can break wind and burp without the fear of a bitter kiss and tell ex?
As interesting as it sounds, most people confess to attaining closure as soon as they witness their former flame finally tie the knot with the newcomer. You pass your congratulation talk and chat away after her/his first dance, that is if new titleholder does not throw the dessert forks your way! At last, all the quivering departs your heart, and slowly it dawns to you why you and him/her could never have gone past the weekend visits. They are better off being someone else’s problem or passion!

A Bridal Shower Made in Jozi

Experience has taught me when you are not sure where to start ‘the’ story, you start from ‘the’ beginning!

By Lilian Gaitho

Thus, it all began with a call by Samantha’s Bridal, KTN and Standard Newspaper for soon-to-be-brides to fill in coupons in the Standard Newspaper and Samantha’s Bridal Wedding Magazine and win a leisure trip to South Africa. The winning coupons were revealed during the Samantha’s Wedding Expo July 2013 and courtesy of South Africa Tourism, five lucky brides; each with two of her best girlfriends would have an all costs covered five nights stay in Johannesburg and Cape Town plus a VIP ticket to the South Africa Wedding Expo.

Fast-forward to our landing at Oliver Thambo Airport, and nothing beats the respite care offered to the group at the Hennops River Valley Mangwanani Africa Day Spa in the tranquil outskirts of Pretoria. This was just the perfect ‘welcome to Mzansi’, marked by the customary drumming and singing in Xhosa just an hour fter checking in at the equally gorgeous Maslow hotel. Both brides and friends were treated to a wholesome healing, nurturing and pampering session; kicking off with Neo Maoto, the royal African foot massage to wash away the four-hour jetlag from the Nairobi-Johannesburg flight, this was followed by a much needed Molala, which is a head, neck and shoulder massage and finally a relaxing hot stone treatment to ward tension off our backs. In true African spirit, the brides and and would be bridesmaids would not be allowed to leave the valleys without a taste of light African meals savoured to the musical beats and thumping of the antelopes gracefully dancing under star stained Southern skies; the spa set pace to what would unfold over a blissful five-day tour. And to bid fairy-thee-tour to the brides, the cheerful ladies presented gift bags of DIY massage oils, scrubs and robes. Just the stuff to say, ‘I know Mangwanani’

The music is real, live and instrumental, there’s no window for lip-synching. The Con Grazia girls waltz away in a trance to Dean Martins That’s Amore, and Elegant entertainment picks up the melodies in their balanced threesome baritone. The runway brides are not just ambassadors of brands and trends; they leave in their trail hints of opulence and grandeur that can only go with crystals and pearls; It’s the South Africa Wedding Expo, the annual event brings together globally acclaimed wedding designers and top shop stockists. Our brides did not miss out, Tess was lost for choice; stuck in a Princess Diana length-alike cathedral veil, while her favorite piece was a layered, lighter – than – air floral dress. The designer advised on a high tapering birdcage to complete the effect. Her two friends looked on speechless, unable to help the dear bride make a choice! Elsewhere, Susan, a maid of honor makes an urgent call to the florist back in Kenya, the three friends have mentally disbanded their initial set up plan for Molly’s wedding!

Still lost in the charm of six-meter tall, 2.5 ton, Mandiba statue after last night’s decadent dinner at Mandela Square- Sandton City Complex, we decide to complete the voyage with a visit to Mandela house before taking a dive of faith at the Soweto’s Orlando Towers. This could be the twin tower with the most gut-wrenching story in colonial Africa and today, Brides and Co. are bungee jumping down the hundred meters as if to swear their allegiance! Now, this is exactly one of those moments when a girlfriend’s touch of assurance comes in handy! And so bound by nuts, bolts and friendship, all girls scale up and fly down the precarious heights of Soweto. In reward of their valor, the Orlando Towers bungee team awards them with certificates of…well, hazardous adventure?
A little more shopping in the departmental malls, a few stop overs in bridal outlets. More soup and calamari (I’m beginning to miss our Tilapia!), ostrich meat for the adventurous, some wild game for the explorers, smoked salmon for the brides keeping watch over their waistline, a little wine for the stomach’s sake and dinner is done; we depart for Cape town early next morning

New Magazine Out

Current Samanthas bridal cover
Current Samanthas bridal cover

Want to know a little secret? Weddings aren’t just about getting married they’re about showing off your style. Flowers are certainly the easiest and most dramatic way to perk up a room fast. It’s big-ticket embellishments tied together with often-inexpensive details that really put the sizzle into your space. For more check out page 59 and on that note,  I must confess that have a pet peeve about chair covers and sash ties. I am just not a fan of them anymore. There’s something about them that makes the planzilla in me bubble to the surface. Perhaps it’s the more-often-than-not cheap look of un ironed chair covers or the messiness of it all when a room is filled with 200+ chair covers and puffy sash ties or even clumsy me always getting my feet tripping over the chair covers – either way it just doesn’t float my boat. Seeing the price of chiavari chairs or other fancy chairs, I completely understand why people are still using this plastic chairs. But there are actually many other affordable ways to spruce up your plastic chairs and make them look very pretty. You would be surprised the difference a neat chair can make to the look and feel of your decor. A simple draping, floral garland, a neat fabric bow or ribbon can do wonders. You could even ditch the sash and tie the chair cover in a neat knot or tuck a flower in and it would still come out looking neat, clean and simple. You spend so much money on making your ceremony and reception look pretty, don’t neglect your chairs. Chairs deserve to look pretty too and when there are 100+ of them, you’ll want to dress them up a little bit. In our main feature On pg 58. You will find some of our favorite wedding chair decor ideas.
Finally, What are your plans for your wedding gown when the confetti has settled? Are you planning to trash the dress or cherish it? Would you consider doing a cherish the dress or even trash the dress photo shoot? For those already married, do you still fit into your wedding dress? Have you had it cleaned yet? Is the thought of wearing your dress again just too painful? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments  info@samanthasbridal.co.ke, and in the meantime we asked one of our favorite photographers, the wonderful Mulavu from Gash studios, renowned for styled location shoots as well as stunning wedding photography, to provide some of his best cherished shots. see page10
Getting married is a major step in building a life with another person…in sickness and in health.  Samantha’s Bridal is helping to ensure that more lives are lived together in health. We are pleased to announce that the wedding dress ball is back again.
Our primary goal in founding the Wedding Dress Ball is to establish an event unlike any other to increase awareness around women’s health specifically cervical and breast health issues and to help eradicate breast and cervical cancer life-threatening diseases. Yes we are inviting you to wear your wedding dress again and join in the long term efforts of fighting breast cancer. As a company that caters to women it is extremely important to us to contribute, ultimately making a real impact in saving lives. After all, we spend a small fortune on a dress that we only get to wear once and we’re very emotionally attached to it… It’s really going to be a great event, there’s something for everyone… Good food, great entertainment. We expect this to be a sold-out event. many women have indicated to us that they will book tables for themselves and their best friends. Other groups interested include fantasy brides, nearly-married, newly-married and old-married-couples like myself and my husband.