Thursday, 15 October 2015

Planning your pre-wedding photoshoot

I wanted to share a few tips on planning for your pre-wedding photoshoot if you choose to have one. I mean they are cool but not necessary, and if you decide to have one here are your few pointers:

Relate with your photographer
In choosing a photographer, all I can say is thank God for Instagram! It provides an easy way to quickly see what kind of work he/she has done in the past.

I think you need to schedule a meeting with your photographer- online or not, to have a feel of how he works and his ideas. You should also share your ideas with him/her at this point. What I did was to go to for some prewedding photo inspiration. I spoke to Mr. Man and he shared some of these without photographer so he could understand that we were particular about an outdoor experience. 
Checking online for inspiration
No harm in doing this, as long as you bring your own personality into it. From my little research I realized I badly wanted something outdoorsy, I knew I hated those “uniform” shots where the couple wear matching polo shirts or tops lol and I knew I wanted some casual shots, with very casual outfits. 
Decide on the theme or themes early
I like themes-we did not have one but they are fun….but if you want a pre-wedding photo theme, decide on it early as a couple, discuss with your photographer, and even start thinking of outfits and locations.
Planning outfits was fun for me- I shopped my closet, but we also did a bit of shopping. Outfit planning should come after the theme (if any) and location has been decided on. For our beach shoot I obviously wanted shorts, but got a hat and kimono jacket to add some spice to the look. I got inspiration for my Asian fabric iro and buba from a pre-wedding photoshoot I saw online, and I jumped at the idea because it showed our ethnicity. Colour matching is so important though, try not to have more than 3 colours for your outfits. But it still depends on the theme.

Be Creative
I have to give it to couples and photographers, I have seen some really cool and creative pre-wedding photo themes! I don’t think couples should shy away from creativity-if it particularly relates to the couple’s likes or professions, the better. Nothing wrong with a football pitch shoot, or a mall, or a bookstore. 

And here are a few of the images I got inspiration from- for outfits, and an outdoor perspective. I badly wanted the "forest" look but that couldn't work but oh well.
I LOVE this pic.

I wanted a tulle skirt like this so badly but couldn't find one!

Oh and if you find yourself planning to do an outdoors photoshoot in Dubai when it is the hot and humid time of the year....think again! Lol!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Review: La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Ultra Light Spray.


Just a quick review on this sunscreen I absolutely love.
OK so for those who are into sunscreens, I am SURE you know how annoying it is wearing sunscreen particularly in a hot climate, because of:
1. That whitish cast it leaves on the face! You know about that right? 
2. The heat and sweat that just melts off everything when you are out in the sun!
3. Clogged pores or milia caused by some heavy sunscreens.

So to be honest for many months I just steered clear of sunscreens- I just couldn't be bothered. Then sometime in July I did an "intensive" research on sunscreens that were light as silk on the skin and still intensive. I figured a sunscreen with a lighter formulation would not leave much of the whitish cast and would not clog my pores as well.
I was ready to cough out a fair amount for the product as I knew if it was as good as it claimed, then it would be worth it. So I found a number of products with good reviews and unfamiliar names like Cocola Face SPF 30 Sunscreen, Dr Denese SPF 30, Elta MD UV Shield SPF 45 blablabla and finally settled on La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Ultra Light Spray. 

So this product is not available in Nigeria but thank God for Amazon that now delivers to Nigeria. I bought mine via Boots while I was away though, for 19 pounds. 

This sunscreen is really ultra light. It isn't oily and it sits well on the skin. I was so happy to finally find a sunscreen that's not too heavy and I noticed that the whitish cast is very minimal on the skin. The trick is to pump a bit on the palm of your hand and rub it all over the face VERY QUICKLY or else you may notice some faint streaks. So rub it in quickly and thoroughly- no feathery strokes!
 It has no fragrance and I think for a 200ml bottle 19 pounds is not a bad price. It definitely has a lighter consistency than the well-loved Neutrogena Helioplex Sunblock which used to be my sunscreen. Also you don't have to wait the usual 15minutes after application before you go out in the sun- a big plus! They say French skin care products are the best. With the Bioderma review (click here) and now this, I think I agree.

What is your favourite sunscreen product?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I'm back!- Wedding planning tips and what to expect!

Hey! So I’m back after taking time to get prepare for my traditional wedding, and getting over the post-wedding stress and euphoria! I am pleased to say that my wedding was a success, and we all had a good time! I will sprinkle a few pics here all over the main post, but you may also check out more pics on my Instagram page and the #FWedsR hashtag.

So as a newlywed blogger, it only makes sense that I should do a couple of posts on wedding tips right? My first one is basically advice from my own viewpoint, based on my experiences and lessons learnt while planning this wedding. It took just 3 months to plan but I learnt so much!

Plan for unexpected expenses

I don’t need to stress the importance of a realistic budget- Mr. Man and I came up with an Excel sheet with all wedding items and estimates listed, which we updated weekly. It seemed quite formal initially but looking back I am thankful for that sheet, it really helped us manage cost wisely and efficiently.

But trust me, no matter how much has gone into planning the budget, there WILL always be expenses that would come up. Ours came up very close to the D-Day, and it was so annoying! Costs cropped up from the venue management’s lapses mostly, to some greedy people, it was just crazy. We had not made allowances for any unexpected costs so my advice is to leave out a very small percentage of your total budget for this!
Event Venue management
I am not the type to “snitch” but when something leaves little to be desired I will speak up. Not all event venue management is trained to be effective and I think we got the short end of the stick as regards this. I will skip the complaints section and go straight to QUESTIONS you should ask management before you make any payments!

1. Is there a refundable deposit and when will it be paid?

2. What deposits are vendors to pay?

3. What shelter has been made available for vendors on the event date?

4. What kind of security is available at the main gate?

Honestly, bad management can cause you a lot of heartache! Be careful with event venue management even if the price looks good. Also avoid using any of the staff as middle-man vendors for anything at all. Get your own stuff yourself. 
Follow your instincts
When it comes to choosing vendors, event venues etc, of course reputation, budget, logistics must come into play, but sometimes even your gut feeling should not be ignored- particularly if you are the “type” with strong instincts and a good sense of judgment. Still on the venue matter, I was skeptical about going with that venue but later caved in to other conflicting opinions and a little decrease in price. Now I wish I had gone with the venue my heart wanted, we would have ended up paying less in the long run and most likely would have had a better experience.

Be Firm!
This one is tough, particularly when family is involved, and you need to put your foot on the ground about things like number of invitees, but I believe the trick is to let them know EARLY and make them understand how important crowd control is to you, then give them time to give you a commitment they can stick to. Things like budget should also be kept strict- not easy too, but unless you have a lot of sponsors for your wedding, you would not regret sticking to your budget as much as you can! 
Your Wedding Planner
Go for a planner that is not only affordable but recommended by one or two other people. Now good wedding planners are getting really expensive nowadays I have to say. I think you just have to work on a balance between affordability and a well-organized event.

Manage vendors
Boy did some vendors give me a big headache! Remember when I made a post and mentioned how I was having second thoughts about “aso ebi” due to the stress involved? Well let’s just say some of my vendors almost made me cry over this. Lol. Please plan for delays- they are inevitable with Nigerian suppliers. If you are comfortable with it, lie about your wedding date and give them an earlier one. Pay deposits and not full amounts till delivery has been made. And stay calm as much as you can!

Be Organized!
This was not a chore for me because I am quite organized anyway. I had a notepad that I scribbled EVERYTHING in, and I mean everything. It really helped me keep things in focus. Your planner can’t do everything for you and you need to do a portion of your own planning and groundwork yourself unfortunately. 
Expect Disappointments….from those you don’t expect them from
I had heard this from countless brides and grooms and yes I experienced it myself! Some people tag it as jealousy, some tag it as unreliability, whatever it is, I experienced it. A few people I considered close to me started weirding me out for no sensible reason, some acted obliged to things or information I could not give them, some tried to be manipulative etc.

Well thankfully I never put anything solely in anyone’s hands and that is my advice for you as well. Expect some weirdness, don’t fret about it and just enjoy your new and beautiful life waiting ahead of you! As for the usual phrase you will hear “Don’t stress, delegate as much as you can”, well most people who give this advice are usually not even available to help anyway, but it’s great advice, and between your planner (if she is good and reliable #eyeroll) and close family, delegation is really helpful. But still have a back up arrangement when you can!

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Brides-to-be you want to bookmark this page trust me lol. Wives in the house can you relate to any of these tips? :)