Kenyan brides nowadays want lots of flowers and they no longer choose the simple, standard décor, says Fatemi Bhaiji, a wedding planner and owner of Aura Events.
Six years ago when she started doing wedding decorations, she says it was difficult to convince couples to spend more on flowers.
But now floral budgets are climbing as couples ask for spectacular flower arrangements that are the right colour and elegance, often the fairy-tale-kind, mostly copied from wedding magazines or social media posts.
The luxurious floral displays do not come cheap. According to Samantha Bridal, the average cost of a wedding in Kenya stands at Sh2.5 million with florals, white tablecloth settings, candles, great wine, and lots of food adding to the high expenses.
‘‘The cheapest wedding I have planned so far cost Sh500,000 and most couples are spending upwards,’’ says Ms Bhaiji, adding that what pushes the cost up is the intricate handmade floral details that couples request for.
Enchanted garden theme
Aura Events goes big on flowers which are mostly imported so as to get the best quality and uniqueness.
The floral designer mostly usually uses roses, carnations, hydrangeas, and tulips among others to decorate.
She says the common wedding themes requested for include all-white, fairy tale, enchanted garden, beauty and the beast and rustic.
‘‘But this year more brides are embracing minimalism, with a lot of greenery, natural and chic,” says the floral designer who studied for an MBA at the University of Liverpool in the UK, before starting a career as a voluntary events planner.
She then got referrals to paying clients and now she designs about four weddings in a month, depending on the time of the year.
“I buy all the items I use for décor when I travel around the world, this also helps me buy what is trendy,’’ says Ms Bhaiji.
Flowers are big business in Kenya, providing opportunities to hundreds of entrepreneurs with floristry creativity in the Sh70 billion wedding industry.
Nabeel Khamis from Mombasa is another floral designer who is trying his hands in the blooming industry.
Mr Khamis who is self-taught owns Butterfly4Weddings. Curious and well-travelled, he combines African trends in his décor with what he has seen around the world.
“We come up with designs which have a touch of culture and blend it with the wedding venue,” he says.
For flowers, he says, the most expensive are orchids, lilies, tulips or juliet rose.
‘‘But most couples these days are not afraid to spend money so that they can have that jaw dropping wedding,’’ he says.