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Wedding Enchanters

By Jemi Ekunkunbor

Kayode Oshodi-Maria-Pamela-Isaiah Ogun
Kayode Oshodi-Maria-Pamela-Isaiah Ogun

Of the the three major events in the life of a man; naming, wedding and burial ceremonies,  the only one he or she is a participant is the wedding. Making the wedding memorable therefore, becomes a project for most couples. Yet, three professionals exists who takes this burden off couples,  and transforming their dreams into reality.
Maria-Pamela,  a decorator and boss of Nwando’s Signature transforms an ordinary venue into a place with enchanting ambience. Kayode Oshodi, Boss of Innovative Allied Services Limited,  brings on the magic of lighting effects with fogs and clouds. As the memories are being crested; the signing of marriage certificate,  the cutting of the cake,  the first kiss and the first dance,  Isaiah,  the lead photographer at Euclase Photography,  comes with his lens to capture the enchanting moment for life.
Have you been to a wedding lately? It’s pure magic.  Allure caught up with those who wave the wand.  Enjoy what they have to say about the job that has taken them to places and enriched their purses.

Maria-Pamela Nwando Nwonu
Maria-Pamela Nwando Nwonu

Maria-Pamela Nwando Nwonu – Strategizes To Create Beauty

Maria-Pamella Nwando Nwonu, holds degree in Statistics from the University of Abuja, a Masters in the same discipline from the University of Lagos and another Msc, in Computing and Information Technology, from Northumbria University Newcastle, Newcastle Upont Tyne, UK.
A lover of research,  she worked in the private sector before venturing out as a decorator. The  experience garnered while working has helped her in being strategic with her current endeavor as an event decorator, and boss of Nwando’s Signature.

How did a  statistician end up as a decorator?
I have always been  a very creative person  and I  aspired to be a great Interior Designer. So it wasn’t difficult to shift my focus from Science to Art once in a while.

Did you always know you were not cut out for a 9/5 job?
No. I was cut out for a 9/5 otherwise,  I wouldn’t have worked for so long since I left school: but then, my passion happened.

In your view as a decorator, what makes a wedding memorable?
When you are able to create your client’s fantasy,  everything becomes memorable.

You have won several wards as a decorator. What do you think you are doing so right?
I am very different with my styling. My designs are always extravagant, over the top, in your face sort of, and I am equally very enthusiastic and passionate with my designs. It’s not always me though because the Grace of God follows me. So without the Grace of God I won’t happen.

What kind of venue has appeal for you as a decorator?
Frankly speaking,  I wish we have more varieties in terms of this topic but we don’t. Within what we have,  I like working in venues big enough with ample head space to give me room to express my creativity.

You specialize in themed weddings. Which is your most memorable till date?
I did a themed wedding (Frozen) few months back,  and I really enjoyed myself because,  it was something different.

Your vision is to make every event an everlasting dream. Most couples nowadays, desire this dream. How do you bring it on?
By paying attention to detail. Irrespective of the dream a client wants, the most important thing is that it is their dream. So paying attention to their dream will bring it on for them.

What challenges do you face as a business woman?
Entrepreneurship has always been considered a man’s thing. Not these days though,  but, there are still challenges. There is always this feeling that women don’t succeed in business. As a result,  it brings the fear of failing.  That then brings stress due to the toughness of the business routine.  And then, balancing business and family life can be very stressful.

Wedding Decoration has gone through a phase. What is trending now?
Thanks to social media. The colour of the year is green. So everyone is trying to infuse that. You see a lot of garden themed weddingS.

How was your first professional work and how much were you paid?
My first professional job was for a colleague at work and wasn’t so professional, and the money wasnt much either but that propelled my interest in the business further.
Every wedding has several high points. (cake cutting, feeding,signing of certificate, first kiss, ring exchange etc) Which one do you like most?
First dance. I am definitely a romantic so that part of the wedding excites me.

What challenges do you face with brides and grooms?
Their expectations. Sometimes, a couple wants heaven but you end up giving them earth.

Share the experience of your best wedding ever and what made it tick?
I can’t pick out any particular wedding event as being the best. I say this because my idea of best is very different and personal. For me,  I love small weddings like 40 to 100 guests kind of weddings.

Between the traditional, registry and church marriage, which holds more Allure for you as a decorator?
Church wedding excites me.

Are there things people do during the event that makes your work difficult?
Yes, yes and yes. Breakage, damages, losses, it really hurts.

Do you think couples are too superficial these days?
Some but not all, it’s the age we are in. The age of social media frenzy.

Isaiah Ogun
Isaiah Ogun

Isaiah Ogun – Transforming Weekend Hobby Into Career

Isaiah Ogun is the Lead Photographer/Proprietor at Euclase Photography. A 2009 graduate of Public Administration from Babcock University, Isaiah left his promising job with Diamond Bank to go pursue his passion in photography.  
He was tutored at the prestigious,  London School of Photography (LSP) and he is a member of several professional bodies. He is a member of the renowned photoclub (The Photographer’s gallery London),  a student member of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
His passion has taken him to several countries; the United Arab Emirates, USA, Northern Carribean(Jamaica) and different parts of the United Kingdom.
His major interest is wedding and Corporate Photography.

How did this Passion of yours start?
It started as a hobby, became a passion and now a profession.

Why did you leave banking for photography?
Importantly, the struggle to live my belief ‘’be what you want to be’’, made me quit banking to go take up photography (A skill I had been nurturing while working).  My interest in photography also grew rapidly and I chased it to a point where,  it became pertinent to take a risk on it.

Did you always know you were not cut out for a 9/5 job?
There was really no clarity as to what my life was cut out for.  However,  I had always wanted to run my business, or be self-employed: if providence charts the course in my life.

You have trained at several institutions home and abroad. What was the experience like?
It was a good experience as I got to understand the value placed on creativity and crafts over there. In California for instance,  (according to the Otis report of 2015),  the creative industries, including entertainment, visual arts, fashion and publishing, generate $293.8 billion to California’s economy. That is impressive. Here in Nigeria, the creative industry is relatively under-valued in line with world best practices. However, things are changing as the value rate tends to increase by the day.

Mention one error that training and development corrected for you as a photographer.
Training and development has thought me so many things. One major thing I have learnt is that,  creative success is not what you go around chasing. You attract it to your life by the person and the value you have become. The moment I understood this on an unmistakable manner, the quest for constant improvement became my driving force.

You started photography as a hobby. For your first professional work, how much were you paid?
My first professional work paid me N5, 000 which was from a table frame of a picture of a church member that I took.
What sparked your interest in weddings
Straight up, weddings are amazing events to get to shoot. The essence of it for me, is based on the depth of elegance and emotions of the day. There is always something happening, and each one is different. Not only do they take place in beautiful locations, but they are also chocked full of genuine emotion. You get to spend your day capturing happiness, laughter, joy, anticipation and excitement. It’s so jam packed with photographic opportunities your mind will spin.

Every wedding has several high points. (cake cutting, feeding, signing of certificate, exchange of rings etc).  Which one do you like to capture excellently with your lens?
All the points are crucial in the course of my work. However, the first dance, Exchange of vows, Father-daughter dance, the kiss and other unguarded moments are of importance to me.

What brings out the best in you while covering weddings?
Importantly, the chemistry between me and the couple. I try all I can to make sure I get that connection between me and the couple; that way,  I tend to jump off the cliff for the wedding.

What challenges do you face with brides and grooms?
The major challenge (especially with Nigerian weddings) is time. There is usually no time to show much creative prowess.  However,  it gives room for a documentary approach and lack of time also helps to stress-test creative spontaneity.

Share the experience of your best wedding ever and what made it tick?
I have shot a lot of great weddings. It’s so hard to choose but any wedding that had me feel a chemistry between me and the couple will always be my favourite.

Between the traditional, registry and church marriage, which holds more allure for you as a photographer?
The traditional and Church wedding hold more allure for me.

Are there things people do during the event that make your work difficult?
O yes. The phone photographers. They don’t even understand that their pictures are usually of no use to the couple.

Do you think couples are too superficial these days?
Well, it’s relative. People have different things they place value on. As such,  I might not be able to tell what is superficial. It all depends on affordability. If you have the money,  and you think it is worth spending a good amount on your wedding, that’s great. If you do not have too much, prioritize and spend the most on the important ones and of course, photography is one of them.

Kayode Oshodi
Kayode Oshodi

Kayode Oshodi – Bringing Fantasy To Life

Kayode Oshodi is a Law graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He was called to bar seven years ago.  While at Ife as an undergraduate,  he developed passion for lighting and stage set design.
After completing Law school,  he was led to start Innovate Allied Services Ltd. The rest they say,  is history. That little seed has grown to become one of the leaders in this line of business.

Share with us how you got into this business?
Well,  there was a clear need  for creativity  in the wedding industry. We came in at a time planners and brides to be,  were craving for something different.  We came in  with the  low fog and it was well accepted.

Are you one of those who never imagined doing a 9/5 job?
Yes, I  just couldn’t stand a 9/5 job. Working for someone else was not just my thing.

Where did you train for this job?
It was more of self-training.  I read a lot of books on special effect and did some training online.

How did Nigerians get to the point where they are now need special effects for their wedding?
I think at the point where we were able to create a consistent, safety conditions during the effect, and we consistently provided beautiful media content and lovely memories.

Most couples want to turn their wedding into something like a movie? What special effects do you provide to achieve this?
Well,  basically the pyrotechnics and the fog.

How was the first wedding you handled and what special effect did you provide?
The truth is,  the first wedding I tried special effect for was in  November 2015. It was  of course,  for free and a total failure! We couldn’t do a proper low fog for a first dance. We went  back to the drawing board  to do our research, studied the temperature differences,  and we came back stronger and perfect .

Which wedding gave you your big break?  
Well,  no single wedding gave us our break. It was the consistency of good jobs that really gave us the break.

Your vision as a company is to be a leader in service provision. What innovative service have you provided recently?
One of our visions  is to constantly create new innovative,  fun  and inspirations in the wedding industry.  One new thing we created recently,  is the fog curtain for the couple’s entrance.

Every wedding has several high points. (cake cutting, feeding, signing of certificate, first kiss, ring exchange etc). Which one do you like to capture excellently with your effects?
The first dance because it’s the most romantic moment during the reception.

What challenges do you face with brides and grooms?
None.

Share the experience of your best wedding ever and what made it tick?
Most of our clients events are filled with great experiences, but one that we won’t forget in a bit,  is  #theobasanjo2107.  What made this event special to us was the glamour and the variety of effect we deployed for the event; from the walkway pyro , to the confetti,  to the low fog, and the split second rose pyro machine.

Between the traditional, registry and church marriage, which holds more Allure for you regarding the work you do?
The Church and traditional wedding.

Are there things people do during the event that make your work difficult?
Yes,  the guests are our major problem during the event. The first dance is a sacred tradition that must be strictly for the couple alone.  But after several warnings, you still see guests coming out to join them on the dance floor to spray money. Another difficulty we have,  is with people coming out with phones to take pictures. Their positioning may be dangerous to what we are doing.

Do you think couples are too superficial these days?
No,  I don’t, at least for the majority.

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