The dynamism in the art of co-ordinating traditional weddings makes the business a money-spinning one for those who practically understand the language of the art.
Who can do the business
Alaga iduro or Alaga ijoko (traditional wedding coordinators), as popularly referred to in the Yorubaland, is not a business for every Tom, Dick and Harry. First, you must have true flair for it. Secondly, you must have good level of coordinating ability. Your flair and co-ordinating ability may not earn you so much in the profession, if you could not cap it with good singing and dancing skills; up-to-date fashion-sense; good knowledge about the culture and traditional values of various people; ability to speak many languages and dialects, and first-class charisma, among other potentialities of a good traditional wedding co-ordinator.
The business could be referred to as a zero capital venture because you may not need to buy any material, except renting an office space, if you are starting on a large scale. However, your outfit must be compelling. You must be conversant with the fashion in vogue and tilt your dressing towards it. You must dress to match, minding your colour and material combination. You have a good drummer, who is conversant with latest rhythm and pattern of drumming, at your beck and call.
Learning the trade could be demanding, because it is technical and practical. It is more of learning on the job. But your interest in the job will help you, giving you the tenacity to go through the process of learning.
During the training, you will learn about the cultural and traditional values of different ethnic groups, their songs and cognomen, among others. You will also learn about different approaches to different occasions.
Training fee is determined by the trainer. At present, there is no formal school where the profession is being taught. I’ll suggest you learn from a professional whom you have seen perform to the admiration of event guests.
Planning and research
Interview your clients, to know about their traditional values and cultural giving. This will help you a great deal key into the family and guest expectations, as far as the traditional marriage in the family and the environment is concerned. Endeavour to rehearse with your drummer before going for the event, so as to ensure a perfect and laudable presentation. You can even dress to the event in the traditional attire of your client.
Cost and potential earning
The major cost is the transportation fair; your drummer charges and your attire (if you will need to attend the event with a special attire). The number of drummers you want to use will determine how much you spend on drummers. What your drummer charges depends on your relationship with him. Give and take, you pay an average drummer N5,000 and above.
You can charge between N30,000 and N50,000 per event, which is just less than three hours, maximum. Your charge is also determined by your reputation, the class of your client and the relationship between you and your client. You can make so much more during the event, depending on your expertise and the ability to thrill the guests, couples’ family members. You can get between two to three gage per week, as weddings take place between Thursday and Saturday, while one engagement will get you another, if your expertise is well appreciated by guests.
Reputation and marketing
You must invest in developing your expertise and dynamism. This will make whoever sees you perform wants to have more of you and even recommend you to others. This must be a daily exercise.
Many will not book you, if they have not seen you do it before. Having considerably good at the art, endeavour to do it free or at a reduced price for relatives, friends and colleagues. By this, you are building your portfolio and selling yourself.
Endeavour to take pictures, and if you can, get videos of your performances and make it an album to show your potential clients. You can also proclaim the goodness of your performances via websites or blogs, and explore the social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, among others, and your blackberry.
Traditional marriage coordination earns me fame and fortune
—Kehinde Akande, CEO, Kennifex Communications
THE gift of Kehinde Akande, the Chief Executive Officer, KenniFex Communications, Lagos in chanting ewi and electrifying every event, making it historic and memorable led him to one of the foremost Alaga Iduro (Traditional wedding co-ordinator) in Ibadan, Mrs Bisi Totoola of Bisto Productions, in the late 80s during his university days.
“I, alongside my brother, Handsome Tee, was following Bisto Productions to express our gifts in chanting ewi and also to fend for ourselves. Along the line, I started learning the art of co-ordinating traditional weddings. Her expertise in the art triggered my interest in it, so I gave my all to learning and mastering the trade, while she practically brushed up the potentialities in me,” Akande said.
The graduate of Political Science of the University of Ibadan, disclosed that considering his gender, people were first sceptical about his ability to perform well as traditional wedding co-ordinator, “but later gave me a chance to display my expertise in the trade. And the first presentation has continued to usher in many more.
“Interestingly, many people now prefer men to women in the profession, as the fact that men can expertly do women’s dominated profession continued to attract interest.
“My decision to explore the profession is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as the profession has simply earned me fortune and fame,” Akande added.
He noted that the profession is highly lucrative and dignifying, especially to those who have the potentialities and clearly understand the language of the profession.
Success Nugget: The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself. —Mark Caine.