Meet these bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire

Friday October 06 2017
PIC BRIDEMAIDS

Bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire

During pre-wedding planning, most people, especially organizing committees, focus on expenses that they would incur to make the ceremony successful. Due to the fact that most people seek contributions, the nature of wedding ceremony becomes self-financing. The more you collect contributions from close friends and relatives, the better.
However, during preparations, most people focus is on how they will foot the bills for such items like wedding reception party venue, decorations, photography, drinks, catering, master of ceremony, music and DJs. It is unfortunate that the forgotten part during the whole wedding preparations period is the bridesmaids and groomsmen, who will join the best man and matron to accompany the bride and the groom.
This item is the most forgotten one yet it is an important one as it plays a decorative and even an entertaining part during the ceremony. The difficult thing is that the bride and the groom are left to plan for this part alone. They even have to dig deeper into their pockets to foot the bills for outfits for their young relatives who will be ready to play the bridesmaids and groomsmen part.
It is commonly known by many that the bridesmaids and groomsmen teams usually comprise of brothers, sisters and/or close relatives and good friends from both the bride’s and the groom’s families.
The good news however is that the bride and groom need not worry about who to request to play this role anymore. Having realised the pressure this item puts on the groom and bride to-be, young men and women are teaming up to relieve the bride and groom of the burden.
These young men and women aged 18 and above offer the bridesmaids and groomsmen service. You just have to pay a fee, relax and let them do the rest for you. One does not have to dig deep into their pockets to foot the bill for the maids and groomsmen’s outfits for their friends or relatives to play the bridesmaids and groomsmen part.
I met them at a friend’s wedding. The group of 12 were busy doing their jobs. Before the wedding comes to an end I saw them distributing their business cards. It is from there  that I realized they were maids and groomsmen for hire.
Regardless of their age, among their major task, bridesmaids and groomsmen have to keep the bride and the groom calm. They have to be emotionally supportive to the bride and the groom as well as assist the matron and the best man throughout the wedding day. They also help the organizing committee attend to invited guests as well as dance with the guests during the reception party.
Their group is called Professional Maids and Grooms and they have seized the opportunity for self-employment.  Their leader, Cecilia Anthony, who was also among the bridesmaids, said they decided to come together to form a team of bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire and grab available opportunity in the market. “Yes, we are the professional maids and groomsmen for hire,” boasted Cecilia when I approached her.
“I didn’t know that one day we could make money in wedding ceremonies through such a job,” said Cecilia, who had been playing the flower girl role whenever there was a wedding ceremony in her family.
“I was doing this since I was a little girl. Whenever a family member had a wedding, they would ask my mother to allow me be a flower girl. I’m happy that my mother didn’t let them down. She allowed me whenever I’ was needed,” she said. The experience she acquired and confidence she had built for years made Cecilia become much more comfortable playing part as a maid in a wedding.
According to her, she met with other group members during a wedding ceremony. “It was at my relative’s wedding ceremony when I met with five boys and girls who were bridesmaids and groomsmen. I didn’t hesitate to sell the idea to them after we noticed the bridesmaids at that function were not well coordinated and would miss their steps and stumble,” said Cecilia, who is a student at the College of Business Education (CBE). They later picked a Master of Ceremony as their supervisor, who advised them to register their group with the National Arts Council.
“We did it in July this year and decided to add more young men and women with this passion,” she added. Now they are twelve. The six young men are Zedekia Chonya, Henry Frank, Anderson Mongi, Victor Nyoni, Thomas Richard and Baraka Mzimba. The six young women are Rukaiya Abdalah, Zarka Rajab, Nadya Khalifa, Happiness Elias, Deborah and Cecilia.
In making it more official and keeping it professional, they decided to laid down some rules and regulations in which any prospective member has to adhere to if he/she want to join the group.
“We do not allow any of our members to take alcohol during the ceremony. This is strictly observed and we set some penalties for any member who acts contrary to the rules we set,” said Victor.
“We are very strict on drinking during the ceremony. Despite the fact that we are above 18 years, we need to show some decency to our clients and invited guests, some of them are our prospective clients,” added Victor.
According to Cecilia, each group member has to contribute some money each time they get paid. “A Sh20, 000 membership fee is a must for anyone who joins our group. Also each member has to contribute Sh5, 000 from earning he/she will get as payment after taking part in a wedding ceremony. The contribution are used to finance our expenditures, including buying the outfits for various wedding ceremonies. Every week we are able to get two contracts and we divide ourselves and everyone goes home with Sh50, 000 per night and one can earn up to Sh200, 000 per month,” she explained.
“We have almost different outfits, including traditional African outfits for boys. Clients place the request, what they want their wedding ceremony to be, including the theme and wedding colours and what they expect from us,” said Cecilia, adding that the group bargain on prices according to how complex or simple the wedding will be.
For clients, it is a big relief, said Victor, adding that the brides and the groom would have nothing to worry about the outfits the bridesmaids and groomsmen would wear or dancing style they would choose. “We always dress according to the wedding theme and colours,” he noted.
For a minimum amount of Sh350, 000 to Sh500, 000, bride and the groom can hire Cecilia, Victor and their colleagues for the bridesmaids and groomsmen services. However, the price package depends very much on the nature of the ceremony, be it a wedding ceremony, kitchen party, send off party, bachelor party and the likes.
What the bride and the groom will incur is transportation cost as well as for beauty and hair saloon charges which are not included the package, said Zedekia. “We usually have one pick up and drop off point,” he added.

Challenges
Since their registration, the group has offered services in more than 40 wedding ceremonies. Despite the smooth provision of their services, interferences from the bride’s and the groom’s family members is the most annoying incident they have always faced.
“Before the wedding, we always sit with the bride and the groom for a briefing on their expectations. However, during the wedding, you will find some family members striving to dictate what they want us to do. This is really confusing,” said Rukaiya, a student at The Kilimanjaro Institute of Technology.
Zarka shares the same feelings with Rukaiya. “It’s very disappointing to see that they are taking us for granted. They frequently interfere,” said Zarka.
Every parent or guardian would want the best for their children or relatives. It is from this point of view that parents and relatives of the six girls who form the group were hesitant at the beginning to allow them take part in offering bridesmaid and groomsmen services.
For Zarka, Rukaiya and Nadya, things were not easy in the beginning. When they joined the group for bridesmaid and groomsmen services, their mothers, sisters and other relatives were not happy and they tried to discourage them from offering such kind of services.
Rukaiya’s mother and sister were denying her the  permission to offer such services at wedding ceremonies. It was also difficult for Nadya, a Form Four student at Yusuf Makamba Secondary School. Her family thought that she might end up being a carried away with such activities and forget about studies. “I promised them that I will not lose focus because I know how important education is in one’s life,” said Nadya, adding that since she joined the group, she has been saving the money she earned with a view of starting a small business in future.
Zarka, whose dream is to become a fashion designer, also experienced similar challenges from her relatives. “My sister thought that it will be a time wasting activity,” noted Zarka, saying what her sister had in mind was something like entertaining dancers and not bridesmaid and groomsmen services.
“I usually came back home with some sort of evidence of our work, showing her some video clips and photos made her start believing in me,” added Zarka, a student at Vocational Education Training Authority (Veta).
Her sister changed her mind as the days goes on after realising that her young sister is engaging in offering a decent services that earns her something enough to cover her personal undertakings.
Their supervisor, Allan Jullius Madafa alias MC Madafa said he met the boys and girls at one of the weddings he was hosting.
He said that they were dancing and some of them were missing the steps. “After the wedding I talked to them on how they can do better and this came after they have told me that they have formed a group for maids and grooms,” he noted.
The following day, one of the boys asked him to become their mentor and he agreed.
We have our group which is known as Nyota Njema Entertainment group.
“In the group we offer Mcs, Food & Catering Services, Cake, makeup, grooms and maids, video and still pictures, cancelling, event planning, designing wedding  clothes live performance dancing and entertainment.
I discussed with the Nyota Njema Entertainment group members so that they can enrol the young women and men under the group,” he noted.
“I agreed that they should be under my supervision.We told them they should select a leader who will be updating me on the group issues, guide and direct them, and each of them is supposed to contribute Sh10, 000 per month to Nyota Nyema Entertainment to support each other in medical issues, wedding and even death ceremony, “ he said.