Ask the Expert: Bukky Ogunsakin, Go2Gurl Ltd.

One of our major goals at Munalachi Bridal Magazine is to showcase the truly breath taking destinations on the African continent. We have noticed that, too often, Africa’s natural attractions and amazing locales have not received the attention they deserve as it concerns destination weddings and romantic honeymoons. It is, therefore, our pleasure to shed light on these previously obscure places in the hope that you too will realize that they are hidden gems.

In March, Munaluchi Bridal had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Bukola Ogunsakin and her company, Go2Gurl Limited, as we introduced our magazine and brand to the Nigerian audience. Bukky was a consummate professional and a true creative force. So, we are excited to feature her as our first expert on destination weddings in Africa, and Nigeria, in particular.

Get to know her better by reading the article below!

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Bukola Ogunsakin (nee Bright). I am happily married with three wonderful kids. I currently live in Lagos and run Go2gurl Limited, an event solution firm. I am an artist and am passionate about God, dance, event and project design, and so on.

 

You have a law degree and have worked in the legal profession. What made you switch lanes and decide to become an event planner/manager?

I get bored easily... so I studied law because I wanted a profession that wasn’t stagnant. I wanted to avoid doing the same thing day in and day out. I wanted to be able to show up to work and find out I had business to do with a fashion company, and the next day an engineering company; a profession that would give me access to walk into any business and be quite relevant. Plus, I liked asking a lot of questions.

Why switch lanes? Well, from College I had been involved with a lot of groups where I planned events and several projects (from concerts, tours, to entrepreneurship seminars and so on). After college, I joined a law firm and worked on several projects under a project team. Law and event/project management have a few similar areas. Corporate law requires a lot of registrations, setting dates for meetings, dealing with vendors, drawing up contracts, planning AGMs, and several other events...Event management just offered me a better platform to be artistic.


You also have an MSc in Project Management as well as diplomas in event planning and management. Why did you decide to get them? Do you feel that they have enhanced your knowledge and quality of work?

While working at the law firm, I set up an event planning company and started trying to do as much work as I could part time, but I got married and had to relocate to the US. Immediately I thought ‘this is a great opportunity to work at it full time’. So, I enrolled in two different diploma programs to get trained in small business management, and Bridal consultancy. The investment was worth it. I learnt so much about the nitty-gritty of event and wedding planning plus how to set up and run a business basically. I started dreaming big and decided to take this all up a notch by ensuring I got a masters degree in Project Management. Because aside from the art there is also a science to making events and projects work. I am also currently in a Doctorate of Business Administration program with Argosy University.

Let's talk about your company, Go2Gurl Ltd. How long has it been in operation?

I started Go2gurl Ltd in Dec 2008, so that’s almost 3 years ago. The initial event company I started while at the law firm in 2003 was called D’or Events. When I came back [to Nigeria] it was re-modified. Go2gurl is an event solution firm. Our services include event promotion, planning, and media, as well as project and vendor management.

What are the company's areas of expertise and company goals?

Our areas of expertise would include (i) event management, (ii) project management, as well as (iii) vendor management (iv) consultancy and training on the above.

Our goal among other things is to bridge the gap between foreign and local resources by creating industry level events.

What role do event planning companies, such as yours, play in the African bridal industry?

Africa is so beautiful and so unique. The culture is rich and the people are like no other. The African Bridal industry is on the rise, and we at Go2gurl have taken it upon ourselves to ensure that we play our role in ensuring this growth is present. Having worked in the US and then Nigeria, I would say the awareness and quality is greater abroad but Africa is embracing its beauty and beginning to find ways to fuse modernity with its rich culture. We’ve begun to create industry events, and become a resource that will enhance the above.

Where do you draw inspiration from in planning your events?

Oh wow... from so many places. The internet has basically made the world a level [playing] field. I do lots and lots of research online. I clip images from magazines: I buy books... From TV, movies... just from going out, shopping and so on I get inspired all day, everyday.

The popularity of destination weddings is growing, but it seems that some people are slow to catch on to Africa as a premier destination for weddings. Can you share some of the reasons you think Africa is a great place for destination weddings?

Like I said the industry is very much on the rise. I personally had my honeymoon in Africa (which most people may not have considered) and it was great to discover a couple of places I didn’t think would be great locations for a destination wedding. Africa is fantastic for destination weddings. Apart from being one with nature as is usually said, Africa has beautiful seasides, waterfalls, great hills and A LOT of historical buildings and places where one can create wonderful photographic memories in. It’s also a lot more affordable. The sight seeing and attractions are breath taking. Ghana and South Africa for instance, have beautiful coast lines; Zimbabwe and Zambia, breath taking waterfalls; Nigeria, the Obudu Hills, newly developed beautiful islands and so much more. Fantastic rich cultural couture, and outfits one can have to make one’s wedding truly unique are eminent everywhere.

Can you speak of some of the event designers and other vendors relevant to the bridal industry that you have worked with to create events?

There are so many vendors... We’re currently planning the maiden edition of The Nigerian Event Awards (TNEA) and for that we’re working with companies like Dunamis, Oaken, Tsoule, Zapphaire, Chiavari Chairs Rentals, Event Technologies, Wine and Gold, Astoria Caterers, Just Weddings, Da Chik, House of Tara, and so many more. Each company tailored to different kind of events and services they provide.

Are there materials and resources available in Africa to create stellar events for brides and grooms? Where do you get those materials from?

Very much so...It does depend on what it is. There are a lot of vendors, suppliers one can liaise with.

Can you share some of your favourite wedding and reception venues? What makes them so great?

I believe you can create and re-create any venues, [but] I love the 5 star hotels, a lot of the garden venues I like too. There are so many marquees all over the country (so many shapes and sizes and styles). A beautifully decorated marquee is always exquisite. There are a lot of purposefully built ones too. The choices are so many.

How can couples who dream of having a destination wedding in Africa pull off their dream wedding if they live on another continent (such as in North America)?

By visiting and hiring an event planner in the country of wedding, or hiring a consultant/planner in your home country who can get a local planner on your behalf. International five-star hotels also have great packages (but quite pricey).

Do you think an African destination wedding is budget-friendly?

It is very budget friendly. Equipped with a great planner, you’ll be able to get fantastic deals. However everything that has high quality attached to it is pricey. If you do have very high quality taste, a wedding in any part of the world would cost a lot.

What is the best time of year to have a destination wedding in Nigeria?

July-December in Nigeria for weddings is an extremely busy time. Summer holidays, and Christmas are the popular holidays (Oct-December being the busiest). For a destination wedding I would suggest Jan-April. One would avoid the rush and rain (hopefully) during that time period. Plus it’s more budget friendly for someone who probably wants to fly in close family friends for a wedding.

Are there any customs and taboos prospective brides and grooms should keep in mind while planning their Nigerian destination wedding?

Nigeria has over 300 tribes, so that is tricky. I would say it depends on the region of Nigeria that has been selected as the wedding destination. However, this is an important question and is one the bride and groom should inquire from the planner. Not just the planner, but the older Nigerian folk in the area because a lot of places have customs that one is suggested to follow. In this new modern era however, you do find that a lot of these customs have been modified. For instance, in Yoruba land, it is customary for the bride upon leaving the reception, to return to her father’s house from where the husband (as he so now is) will come with his family to take her to his parents’ house. Now, brides just leave right from the reception to their new home after being prayed for by the parents.

Can you please tell us some great hotels and resorts that couples and their wedding party (family and friends) can stay in? Please think of great venues in different price ranges.

There so many... Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos; Obudu Mountain Resort, Calabar; Protea Hotel Oakwood Park, Lagos; Transcorp Hilton, Abuja; Sheraton Hotel, Lagos; Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos; Zenabaab Resort, Ilesa; Radisson Blu, Lagos; Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Four Points by Sheraton, Lagos, and so many more in Ogun State, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Abuja and the list goes on.

Do you have any honeymoon tips for couples who would like to remain in Nigeria for their honeymoon?

Ensure you book your honeymoon services properly through your planner or holiday/travel agency. Make the appropriate inquiries, choose quiet locations where you can have quick access to the activities you’d like to be doing on the honeymoon, and like any other honeymoon, pack smart and light. For further enquiries please send us an email at info@go2gurl.com

Is there anything you would like to share about your company or destination weddings in Africa that we didn't ask?

I think you did a pretty good job with the questions. For any other information on the kind of service we can render and how we can help, please visit our website at www.go2gurl.com and send us an email, we’ll surely get you the information or the resources you need.

Huge thanks to Bukky for the rich information and amazing images. Remember to get more information by visiting her at www.go2gurl.com or sending inquiries to info@go2gurl.com.

 

{Destination Image Credits: Cape Coast, Ghana, Primitive Ventures; Table Mountain, South Africa, Sia Photo; Obudu Hills, Nigeria, Guide to NigeriaTranscorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria; Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, Nigeria}

  1. Amanda

    Will love to visit Africa one day.

    Reply
  2. Noella

    This is so informative, and there are great romantic venues in Nigeria, oh beautiful Africa! I must visit Nigeria one day!

    Reply
  3. Wholesale Flowers Co

    Such beautiful photos! I hope I get the chance to visit Nigeria soon. Seems very beautiful!

    Reply
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