In the third series on African weddings and luxury brands, we feature the gifts and honeymoons aspect of the wedding.
Richard Vedelago, the CEO of Global Windsor Group that manages properties globally. A main part of his clientele is the Nigerians who also purchase properties during weddings. The head office of his company is in London.
In terms of gifts, do you have properties that are often purchased as wedding gifts?
Yes, we have had apartments and homes bought for the spouses for different reasons such as investment purposes, if the spouse wants to sell it later or for home purposes, as a first home for the married couple.
This is normally done by the family of the bride to ensure her financial security as she enters a new stage of her life.
What locations are often chosen and what is the average cost for these properties?
The locations are mostly Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria and Dubai. The costs have ranged from $150,000 – $1,000,000.
The African wedding market is a huge consumer of luxury brands especially the Nigerians. What is your overall view of this market and the trends?
You have a specific emphasis on luxury brands in the beverage sector as that is the first point of contact with the guests, with the likes of Moet & Hennessy, this enables the guests to know how extravagant the wedding will be.
In recent years I’ve seen more brides purchase from more international designers for their wedding gowns with the likes of Vera Wang or Dior Couture being a favorite and shoes by Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, of course most weddings are split between the white wedding and the traditional wedding. There has also been a trend from the grooms who are tailoring their wedding apparel at Saville Row.
Weddings represent a massive part of the African culture and it’s very much regarded as a rite of passage with no expense being spared when it comes around.
Christina Holt has planned weddings in Cape Town, South Africa for several African couples through her company Wedding Concepts.
Are there brands that are mostly preferred by the bridal parties?
Some of the brands that have been a part of the weddings I have planned include, Bentley cars for the bride, Cartier and Tiffany & Co, are often preferred for bridal jewelery and for beverages it is top French Champagne brands.
It must be noted though that African couturiers are increasingly making a strong couture statement too such as Yemi Kosibah, Maki Oh, Kluk CgdT, Kobus Dippenaar to name a few.
For gifts, art pieces are often chosen especially from South Africa.
As a wedding planner, are there certain trends you have identified?
A strong trend we see is to extend the wedding itself into a 2-3 day experience including all guests with several carefully coordinated and designed gatherings in the lead-up to and after the wedding day. Often this is followed by a luxury honeymoon to destinations such as 5* luxury safari lodges in Kruger Park or further to Tanzania often in combination with island destinations like Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar etc.
When it comes to the honeymoon market for Kenyan wedding couples, countries that do not require visas are often the first priority according to Wanjiru Catherine, the CEO and Founder of Saffara Ltd, a travel agency company.
Which countries are preferred by the Kenyan market?
Kenyans don’t need a visa to Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, Zanzibar hence the popularity of the destinations. The destinations are well known to cater to wedding parties and have luxury hotels with top services.
Countries that do not require visas for Kenyans are often of high preference as there hustle and no embassy is involved.
Which holiday resorts in these countries have you made bookings for your clients?
I have booked for wedding couples and for couples celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary.
One couple took a private jet trip for their honeymoon to Johannesburg, South Africa and then to Seychelles for $50, 000. Another couple went to Ngerende Island Lodge for a honeymoon costing $5, 800. It often differs in terms of the budget depending on the couple.
The Oberoi Mauritius was for a 10th anniversary costing $7,800. I also booked a cruise for a 10th anniversary for $5,800.
I can see an increase in spending for honeymoons especially to these countries.