What you missed at debut East African wedding show

After visiting the exhibition , participants took their time to listen to panelists

For the first time, Kigali hosted a wedding exposition, dubbed the ‘East African Wedding Show’, last weekend which attracted various bridal designers and vendors from across East Africa and West Africa at Kigali Convention Center.

Despite the low turn up, the two-day show did not disappoint as it featured numerous options to make a wedding stand out, from vendors such as hotel florists, bridal shops, salons, make-up artists, photographers, and wedding decorators to masterclasses and entertainment.

Different wedding styles were showcased at the exhibition.

The show also featured a runway that showcased different bridal designs, from some of African finest designers like Bespoke Nigerian Wedding Gown and Suit Designer, Mai Atafo, Kenya’s Award winning Fashion designer, Ogake Mosomi, and Uganda’s top Haute Couturier and Bridal Designer, Anita Beryl, as well as discussions from Bella Naija Weddings, head of content and innovation, Mercy Akamo, Dubai based traditional bridal designer, Germaine Bugingo and  Myster Pratt, a weddings Master of Ceremonies from Ghana.

They not only touched on the wedding trends that have dominated African weddings overtime, but also the bridal experience where they advised brides and grooms to own their weddings, plan and make their wedding represent your own personality.

A panelist from Nigeria shares her experience in Wedding Services delivery

Makeup and hair were also not left behind, as Kenyan makeup artist Muthoni Njoba and Zuri Luxury Hair and Beauty’s founder, Gisèla Mudumbi Van Houcke demonstrated simple yet classy beautification methods.

Beryl from Uganda said that the show was a great opportunity for brides to be to find their dream wedding gowns, décor, and venues in one place and also find the best options in one place.

“I’m excited about what is to come, because we are always stuck in our own cocoons so it’s nice to see what happening in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and it strengthens us because with that competition next we will know that we really need to do better and the competition will make us grow,” added Kenya’s Fashion designer, Mosomi.

Big local and regional companies were exhibiting 

Brenda Nyakira, founder of East African Brides, a wedding platform that inspired the East African Wedding show, revealed that organising the event was quite a challenge but a learning cover at the same time and is looking forward to bigger editions in the years to come.

“It’s been a really long process trying to organise so we know how to do better next time. Apart from that I have had big support from the Rwanda Convention Bureau and RDB, who have helped me all the way because we are not selling anything, just promoting exhibitors,”

“Initially I wanted to rotate but I don’t know if I will have the support like I have had here so I do not mind having in Rwanda consistently,” she said.

Drummers from Burundi entertain the guests at the show.

Nyakira added that future goal of  show is to be one of the top MICE events held in Rwanda, held annually and attracting many thousands from across the region and even the continent.

Bella Naija Weddings, Africa’s biggest wedding platform said that they decided to support the initiative because of the huge potential that they saw in promoting bridal businesses in the region.

“Brenda’s platform grew and therefore saw something that could transcend social media because with that platform, obviously the vendors are now aware of the platform but at the same time people that are not on social media can actually attend the wedding show because they are also getting married and they can benefit from this.

An exhibitor chats with clients during the show at Kigali Convention Center on Saturday (All photos Sam Ngendahimana)

When I went round and saw just the stalls, I was really impressed majorly with the quality of displays that I saw which means that the vendors know their products, which is very important. I do hope that this is sustained and it becomes a yearly event, because I feel like the bridal and wedding industry in East Africa will benefit mostly from this happening. The market will grow and people will be able to make more money,” Akamo said.