“F“unke Bucknor-Obruthe is one of the most sought after wedding planners in Nigeria. She just completed the Dakore Egbuson wedding and given love is in the air, valentine’s is around the corner; we thought we’d pull from our archives for our Ladybrille soon to be brides. Once he proposes, you need not look too far to decide what to look for in a wedding planner, should you decide you want one. This exclusive interview was first published in November 2007.
[J]umpstarting (our) wedding series [i]s the BIG decision whether to hire a wedding planner for your wedding. Congratulations!!! You are engaged, excited and happy about spending the rest of your life with the ONE. Your happiness, however, seems short lived when you realize there is a checklist of endless things to do. You have to select your bridal dresses, send invitations, order the cake, wedding gown, gifts, select the venue, photographer, marriage officers, make up artist, florist and more. Phew! With an already hectic schedule, thanks to your daytime job, the last thing you want to do is try to plan a wedding all by yourself. Wanting your special day to be perfect, you begin worrying. “Should I be thinking about a wedding planner?” You think to yourself. “What should I be looking for to determine if she is the right fit?”
Assuming you have concluded you definitely need a wedding planner, what do you look for during the consultation? Enter Funke Bucknor. Bucknor is the owner of Zapphaire Events, a famous event planning company based out of Nigeria, West Africa. [Winner] in 2006 [of] the Future Awards’ Entrepreneur of the Year, she is known for her quality event planning and cheerful personality. Bucknor shares her insights on what to look for in a wedding planner once you decide to hire one. She touches a bit on traditions and etiquette to keep in mind for a stress free perfect wedding, especially if you will be getting hitched in motherland Africa.
LADYBRILLE.com: Hi Funke! How are you?
Funke Bucknor: I’m fine!
LADYBRILLE.com: Funke how long have you been an event planner?
Funke Bucknor: Since 2003 0fficially.
LADYBRILLE.com: I hear you are very good when it comes to planning weddings. How did you get into planning events [and then] weddings?
Funke Bucknor: Well, right from University I always loved organizing and helping people out. So I started with helping my friend’s senior sister with her wedding and then after that, everyone said to go into it full time. I actually enjoyed it. It was so much fun.
LADYBRILLE.com: Very nice! Let me get straight into various aspects of planning a wedding. Today’s professional woman, the Ladybrille woman, is busy, very busy. Her soon to be hubby just proposed. She is excited and has begun planning for her wedding. She does not want to manage or micro-manage the details. She wants to hire a wedding planner. What should she be looking for in a wedding planner?
Funke Bucknor: [F]irst of all, your wedding planner has to be someone that comes highly recommended; someone that understands your vision for your wedding. [S]he has to be someone that thinks you are the most important person. She has to be dedicated, pay attention to details and is [unwilling] to compromise on standard and quality e.t.c. She has to be warm and at the same time firm.
LADYBRILLE.com: Assume a bride has been able to select a wedding planner,you, based on the attributes you mention. She now tells you she expects 300-800 guests. What are the things you would want her to consider?
Funke Bucknor: [She should] know that the number of guests would determine what venue and which vendors we would be using. At Zapphaire Events, for example, we send the bride pictures and samples of all vendors [cakemakers, DJs, photographers, florists e.t.c.] we propose or recommend. She [can] then decide what she wants. We also try and come up with an estimated budget based on all her ideas and theme. With that every other vendor falls into place. Communication is key.
LADYBRILLE.com: Speaking of communication being key, how important is it that a bride and her wedding planner [h]ave compatible personalities?
Funke Bucknor: I think, for me, very important. But, sometimes, it doesn’t really matter so long as the wedding planner [m]akes the bride as comfortable as possible.
LADYBRILLE.com: I want to get more into the vendors you talked about. For you as a planner, how do you pick the vendors?
Funke Bucknor: [I pick] based on my relationship with them. I usually like to work with vendors that are reliable and deliver quality service. You know when you have worked with them for a while, you begin to know who is [reliable] and who to [avoid]. It is not easy though because some of them can disappoint you sometimes.
LADYBRILLE.com: A lot of my Nigerian friends based here [the USA] get married and then they go home and have this elaborate weddings. One is what is called a “White Wedding” and the other “Traditional.” Could you tell our readers what that is all about?
Funke Bucknor: [I]n Nigeria, we are still guided by culture and traditions a bit. The traditional wedding is what the families recognize as the real wedding. To them, the church or ceremony is just a formality. With the traditional, it involves a lot of family, traditions e.t.c. Both families must be involved. There is a lot of singing, dancing and the families are introduced like they are just meeting for the first time. Sometimes the couple is not even present.
LADYBRILLE.com: That is very interesting. I can’t recall ever attending a traditional wedding. How much does it cost to have such weddings?
Funke Bucknor: The cost of weddings in Nigeria really varies. It can be as low as 500,000 naira [$4,000 +] and as high as 10million naira [$83,000+] .
LADYBRILLE.com: Let me ask you real quickly about something I have been so curious to know. Can you tell us about proper wedding etiquette especially where African weddings are concerned and in this case specific to Nigeria?
Funke Bucknor: Well on etiquette, it depends on the tribe of the couples. In the Yoruba [Southern part of Nigeria] tradition, for example, the bride’s family pays for the reception and the traditional part. [In contrast] in the Ibo [Eastern part of Nigeria] tradition, the groom pays for everything.
LADYBRILLE.com: Hmmm . . . one last question for you. Weddings can be pretty chaotic. How, as a wedding planner, do you make sure things do not go wrong on the actual wedding day?
Funke Bucknor: For the reception and as wedding planner, you just have to make sure you pay attention to details and pray it all goes well. Even if it seems like something is wrong, you have to act like it is all okay. That is what we are paid to do.
LADYBRILLE.com: Thank you Funke!
Funke Bucknor: Thank you so much
~by Uduak Oduok
~Republished February 2011
~Photo description: L-R: Funke Bucknor with friend, Nigerian Makeup mogul Tara Fela-Durotoye