Brenda Nyakira is the founder of East African Brides, a social media platform that shares everything wedding-related.
It is from this platform that the East African Wedding show transpired, and was for the first time, held in Kigali last weekend. The show attracted several wedding designers and vendors from the region as well as East Africa. Sharon Kantengwa caught up with Nyakira, who explained the idea behind the show and her plans for it.
Who is Brenda Nyakira?
I am a Rwandan living in the UK, where I have a husband and three children. However, I do come back here often. I am the founder of East African Brides, and East African Wedding Show, a platform on social media.
How did the platform, East African Brides begin? What inspired it?
I am East African for starters, and I felt we didn’t have a platform where brides can get together and talk about wedding-related issues. And also for vendors—for people to find vendors online. That is the platform that I really wanted to create because West Africa is more advanced and they already have these platforms. I thought about it, about four years ago, as there was nothing for us.
Also, in East Africa, countries like Uganda and Kenya have different wedding platforms. I thought since our cultures are quite similar, it made sense to start the platform. I created the platform and people started following and liking, vendors would send me their work to post for them, photographers would send me their photos and that’s when we started growing bigger and better.
What has it been like organising this show?
It’s been really hard because we didn’t really anticipate everything that needed to be. I thought we would just find a venue and exhibitors, but just finding those exhibitors is a really long process; contacting them, then having them cancel at the last minute because they couldn’t find money. It’s a long process but at the same time, learning cover, so we know how to do better next time, this being our first time.
Apart from that, I have had really good support from the Rwanda Convention Bureau and Rwanda Development Board (RDB), they have supported me the whole journey. This actually started when I met people from RCB in London at the World Travel Market. I pitched the idea and they encouraged me. Sometimes you tell people your ideas and if you are not heartened, you don’t get motivated. They promised to help me with everything that I needed and suggested sponsors for me. They literally helped me all the way, and it was made easy because of them.
That is why when the idea came up, I wanted it to start in Rwanda because we are organised and get things done.
What makes you passionate about weddings?
I just love weddings. Ever since I got married, I just love everything about weddings.
How do you envision the future of the East African Wedding Show?
Initially, I wanted to have it in every East African country, like Kenya next year, but I don’t know if I will be able to get the support I have received here. So I don’t mind having it in Rwanda consistently.
Also, because the show will be held annually and we hope to attract thousands from across the region, our future goal is that The East African Wedding Show will be one of the top events held in Rwanda and the continent as we tap into this remarkable industry.