wedding video

How Nigeria's Elite Spend Over $2 Million on Their Dream Weddings by Declan Eytan

Illusionists flown in from Spain, flowers imported from France, or an R&B superstar flown in from the United States. No request seems to be out of line to Nigeria’s rich when it comes to the most beautiful day of their life. And don’t even mention the b-word – budget, that is – ’cause whatever the bride wants, the bride gets.

Due to its oil reserves, gas, telecom and rising entertainment industry, Nigeria may consider itself Africa’s largest economy as of early 2014. But natural resources and Nollywood aside, there’s another million dollar business out there giving the national GPD a major boost: the wedding events business.

The West African nation may be home to the majority of Africa’s billionaires, but there’s no shortage of millionaires either. “Our core clientèle is mainly made up of millionaires. They will not hesitate to spend the money in order to get what they want. If they need to fly in an artist from America, or a decorator from Dubai or London, they will do so,” says Funke Bucknor, founder of Nigeria’s leading wedding and events company, Zapphaire events.

Bucknor is a brand. Apart from her wedding planning duties, she’s published a book titled The Essential Bridal Hand Book, and in the first quarter of 2015 her very own TV show will start airing on a national TV network. She founded her wedding planning business twelve years ago and was amongst the first to do so. Today, her profession which seemed unnecessary to many locals over a decade ago, has become an essential to the moneyed Nigerian bride that wants her wedding to be the talk of town. Or perhaps it is better to say her weddings. ‘Cause one wedding alone just doesn’t cut it. First there is the traditional wedding – the only wedding recognized by the family – followed by the white wedding, which is similar to that which we know in the West. As for the latter, the destination wedding is all the rage. “Dubai and London are the most popular destinations, followed by Cape Town, Seychelles and the Maldives. Florence is currently growing in popularity,” Bucknor adds.

Table decoration at a Nigerian wedding (Photo Credits: Privé Luxury)

In 2013 research company Euromint showed how Nigeria had world’s fastest growing rate of champagne consumption, second only to France, while ahead of other lucrative markets including the US and China. Lagos-based beauty-queen-turned-event-planner, Elohor Aisien, concurs. “Nigerians love champagne, so the most money will be spent on drinks as well as food. On Nigerian weddings there’s food from 2pm till midnight.” Given that the average Nigerian wedding will easily have around 1000 guests, whereas the bigger wedding will have between 2000 and 3000 guests, the choice of champagne is a crucial one. “Old money Nigerians may keep things more subtle, new money Nigerians are more concerned with letting people know that they’ve arrived. Magnums of Dom Pérignon will often be their drink of choice. In a way it’s become this competition amongst brides. They’ll ask me: ‘How many bottles did she have? I need more,’” 33-year-old Aisien says.

Her wedding and events planning company Privé Luxury – founded in 2012 – may be a newbie on the scene, but Elohor can already consider offspring of Nigerian royalty, and the country’s leading female recording artist amongst her clients. “I’ve done the wedding of Reukayat Indimi, who comes from a Nigerian royal family that hails from the north of the country. According to the northern tradition, the bride can’t leave the house during the month leading up to the wedding. Since the bride didn’t have her wedding dress yet, I flew into London with a model who fitted several dresses for her. Elie Saab is a popular choice of wedding dress amongst Nigerians, whereas most grooms I work with want a Tom Ford total look. Vera Wang is also very much in demand, since it fits well on the Nigerian body type,” Elohor says, who may also tick the box that says “celebrity wedding”. In 2013 Privé Luxury planned one of Nigeria’s most talked-about weddings, which ended up being broadcast on a local TV network. It was when Nigeria’s leading female recording artist Tiwa Savage, exchanged vows with husband Tee Billz. Their destination wedding was held at Dubai’s Armani Hotel, part of world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa.”I have a good relationship with the Armani Hotel in Dubai - they love Nigerian weddings,”Aisien concludes.

Some might argue that it is morally wrong for a country in which some have to live on a dollar a day, to add value to how many liters of DP are flowing at a wedding. Others however, claim that if it weren’t for lavish Nigerian weddings, there would be no Nigerian economy. “I appreciate them spending this money, cause without these weddings I don’t know where the Nigerian economy would be,” says Weruche Majekodunmi, founder of Newton & David, a local company specialized in event design and décor. “The weddings keep our economy going. Normally the rich Nigerians will spend their money abroad, whenever they go shopping. Thanks to the wedding industry the money is being invested back into our economy. Jobs of caterers, tailors, carpenters and upholsterers are being sustained. Prior to these major weddings, the profession of make-up artist wasn’t even considered a full-time job,” she explains.

Weruche started working with flowers at church as a hobby, around twenty-five years ago. It was at a time in which Nigerians paid little to no attention, to the decoration of their wedding venue. “Up to fifteen years ago, some weddings wouldn’t even have a table cloth on the tables and they wouldn’t have any flowers except for the bridal bouquet. Nowadays Nigerian weddings will feature expensive flowers from France, silk table cloth and lots of crystal. A lot of the elite Nigerian kids have been educated abroad, so they’re used to the international standard when it comes to detail. They’ve become accustomed to a certain standard, so to import something isn’t unusual to them” the décor specialist slash wedding planner explains. Currently trending amongst the international kids is the flower wall, which surged in popularity after Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kanye West.

Weruche goes on saying, “It has happened three times in the last five years that I’ve organized a wedding that cost over $2 million. They spent the most on food, Cristal champagne, entertainment and gifts to their guests. At one wedding all the invitees got their wedding outfit with their invitation. At another wedding they handed out microwave ovens, smart phones and rice cookers, to all of their guests. At some other weddings they’ll fly in their guests and arrange their accommodation in case they decide to get married overseas. You must understand, that our reasoning is different from that in the West.”

Florida Wedding Information

J. Zara Films offers film services in Tampa Bay and Orlando.  Below are some links to get you started if you are planning a destination wedding in Florida.

Wedding Video That Landed 8 People in Jail

For many people, a wedding is the ultimate celebration. But for eight men who attended and videotaped a same-sex marriage in Egypt, where it’s illegal for two men to wed, the occasion resulted in arrests and three-year jail sentences.

The video, which went viral on Egyptian social media and throughout the Middle East, shows two men trading wedding rings while their friends cheer and hug. Once the footage blew up, one member of the wedding protested that it was a joke. But police arrested eight men from the video anyway, and last week a Cairo court sentenced them to three years in prison for “debauchery” and “violating public decency.”

Here’s the footage:

JFK Wedding Negatives Sell for $34,000

From ABC News and the Associate Press:

One black-and-white photograph captures a dapper John F. Kennedy slicing into his wedding cake. Another shows the family dog peeking out playfully from the folds of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's billowing white dress.

The images were among those imprinted on 13 original negatives from the Kennedys' fairytale wedding that sold for $34,073 Wednesday to a doctor in Las Vegas, who didn't want to be named, according to RR Auction in Boston.

The Kennedys were married on Sept. 12, 1953 at St. Mary's Church in the well-heeled resort town of Newport, Rhode Island, located about 60 miles south of Boston.

The images, which went up for auction Sept. 26 with a $200 opening bid, show the wedding party posing outside, the newlyweds leaving the church and the couple cutting the wedding cake.

RR Auction said the images are attributed to freelance photographer Frank Ataman and were found in the darkroom of another photographer and have likely never been published.

Four are of the newlyweds, two show the entire wedding party, and the remainder show the cake, reception and wedding attendees.

The Kennedy wedding was a high society affair covered by Life magazine, drawing some 700 guests to the ceremony and 1,200 to the reception.

At the time, Kennedy was less than a year into his first term as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and more than seven years from his election as the country's first Roman Catholic president and its youngest elected head of state.

Bobby Livingston, the auction house's executive vice president, says interest in Kennedy memorabilia - and indeed other icons of the 1960s, such as NASA and the Beatles - continues to grow as the Baby Boomer generation enters the later stages of their working lives or retirement and have more disposable income.

"These things have an intense public interest. Because it's the Kennedys, there's a passion for collecting these and a passion for the memories," he said. "These photos really capture the beginning of Camelot, and that resonates."

The negatives are among other Kennedy materials auctioned off Wednesday, including a White House holiday card President Kennedy and his wife signed just days before his assassination in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. That sold for $19,500, according to the auction house.

In September, RR Auction auctioned off a collection of World War II-era letters Kennedy sent to the family of a lost PT-109 crewmate for $200,000. Last October, it sold a white Lincoln Continental that the president and first lady rode in hours before his death for $318,000, as well as assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's gold wedding band for $108,000.

9 Wedding Ideas for the Alternative Bride

As a wedding videographer, it's always fun to see the small ways in which some weddings differ from the standard we are all used to seeing.  One of the more relaxed weddings I filmed was outdoors in a backyard and instead of a big, expensive cake many of the guests brought different varieties of delicious pie.  See video below.

Highlights from a lovely outdoor wedding in Olathe, Kansas. Includes delicious shots of pie. They were originally not going to have a videographer but brought me in at the last minute to shoot the entire ceremony and reception on a single Canon T2i.

This article includes 9 ideas you may want to use for a unique wedding experience.