Funke Bucknor a Law graduate, has become one of Nigerias most sought after event planners for over a decade. As the CEO of Zapphaire Events, which was founded in 2003 her passion for creating clients dreams with professionalism and attention to detail has made her a household name. Starting out from assisting her friend plan her wedding to now an award winning event planner with her work being showcased on media power houses like CNN, Funke Bucknor has become a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Wedding planner world presents the ever bubbly Funke Bucknor – Obruthe.
WP: Having been in the industry for more than a decade how would you describe the event planning world in Nigeria looking back from when you started?
FBO: Wow, it has really evolved. From just a handful of people in the industry to a lot of lighting technicians, set designers, stylists, wedding producers/designers etc. The industry has expanded and has opened doors to new varieties, even the dessert stations and pre wedding photo shoots are all on another level.
WP: What’s the most difficult thing a bride has asked for, that you feared wasn’t possible but you got it done in the end?
FBO: What haven’t they asked for? LOL, the major obstacle usually is money and time, once you have the funds almost nothing is impossible to get within a short time. There are too many instances of near impossible but we made it happen in the end. From specific guest artistes to some of her family members being flown in the midst of the difficult Nigerian airspace, or the specific set design that would be flown in from South Africa or USA.
WP: There has been a huge improvement in Nigerian weddings today, do you think event planners such as yourself can now compete globally?
FBO: Of course we can, I always say that once an event planners can handle events of over 800 guests every weekend and work with the logistics nightmare we face, then we can compete on the same level. Nevertheless, we still have some catching up to do, especially in the area of staffing, work ethics and professionalism. You tell a client that to deliver at their event you need a team of over 100 to 200, they scream lol but that’s what it takes globally sometimes to execute these glamorous events you see.
WP: Amongst your peers there are a lot of new event planners coming up, is there anyone you have mentored that you feel has made you proud?
FBO: So many people have passed through our training school and so many people have been mentored by me. From Debola Lewis of Yvent Couture, Niyi Badmus of NYBD drinks, Kemi Dairo of Event Expert to Stella of Planification events to Siji of Makabis and Benet to Samuel of Sammy Smith events. The list is endless.
WP: You are considered to get most of the weddings in the industry, is there a particular technique your company adopts when soliciting for jobs, or do you simply rely on referrals?
FB: Wow, didn’t know that oh LOL but really it’s usually just referrals and the power of social media, word of mouth works more than anything though and I also think that people have seen that the Zapphaire events team are fully dedicated to their event and are all about client satisfaction.
WP: How many weddings do you plan in a weekend and is there any weekend you are not busy?
FBO: We plan at least 2 weddings and events every weekend and more during the week as we have dedicated team of event producers that lead and manage various events. And yes, there are a few weekends we are free, we use those periods to rest.
WP: What is Zapphaire Events’ secret to a successful performance at all events and what do you promise to offer future clients?
FBO: Our success lies in our ability to focus on each client and what they want, see it and deliver the dream. We are very particular about customer service, service delivery, coordination, ensuring checklists, timelines etc are all met.
WP: Is there a bride/job that Zappahire would turn down or refuse to work with and why?
FBO: Yes there are several clients we can turn down, though we try and not to let that happen often. Reasons could be creative differences or not agreeing on a budget.
WP: Most people are feeling the strain financially this year due to the recent economic issues, is there any advice you can give a bride on how to have their dream wedding on a lower budget than originally planned?
FBO: Having a dream wedding involves a lot of imagination and creativity. Making your wedding your own and letting it reflect your style and individuality is the one of the first steps of getting your dream wedding. Also determining what the most important aspect of your wedding is to you and focusing on it helps? For example is it the décor, music, guests, dancing, food or the organization.
WP: What would you consider your area of expertise in a seemingly flooded industry?
FBO: Give us an event of over 1000 guests and we deliver and an intimate event for 100 we also deliver. We treat every event uniquely and special and we strive to create and deliver the dream.
WP: I read in a recent article that you feel the government can do a lot more for the wedding industry; can you elaborate more on this?
FBO: Hmm, they need to empower the industry more by paying more attention to it and creating more access to funds to help people in the industry.
WP: Going forward to another decade, what are your projections for the Nigerian wedding industry?
FB: Bigger than it is today of course, more organised, united and healthy competition can exist more than ever before. Also we would have the creation of amazing designs that would blow even a Preston Bailey or a David Tutera away.
Photograher:Camara Studios/ Make Up: Abeke Makeovers/ Set: Furtulla Concept