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Wedding peak season brings good tidings to Kenyan businesses 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The ‘season of love’ - the period when most couples wed in Kenya - has quietly set in as the year approaches the end.

A number of couples in the east African nation have either wed in the past weeks or are planning to wed before the year ends, making the period between November and December the official ‘season of love’ in Kenya.

From villages in rural Kenya to the capital Nairobi, the number of white weddings being held has risen sharply. The weddings involve ordinary couples, celebrity musicians, media personalities and politicians.

The boom in weddings has given a boost to several Kenyan entrepreneurs who are smiling all the way to the bank as couples take their vows.

Florists, photographers, traditional musicians, Disc Jockeys, master of ceremonies, wedding planners, car hire firms, bouncers, hair stylists, hotels, churches, cake makers, caterers, tent makers and tailors are among those who are reaping big from weddings.

With each Kenyan wedding having an average of 250 guests and up to 10 people in the bridal team, the events have fuelled a multimillion U.S. dollar industry.

Cosmas Mutinda is a freelance photographer, who has specialized in weddings and other events like birthdays and baby showers.

Mutinda started at a wedding photography firm five years ago before beginning his own business after learning the ropes.

“I have opened an office in the city centre from where I do all my work, and I have two employees though I hire more on need basis,” he said on Thursday.

Since last month, the photographer has been a busy man, covering at least two weddings every weekend, and as December approaches, the number may hit three.

“I do videography and photography work, but I have specialized in the latter and a colleague does the former. We shoot, edit and deliver the work to the client in two weeks at most,” he said.

As other service providers, he has different packages to cover couple’s budgets, which he has aptly named bronze, silver and gold.

“Those who choose bronze part with 45,000 shillings ( about 440 U.S. dollars) while silver 539 dollars and gold 637 dollars. Some people charge as much as 1,960 dollars for the same work and couples pay,” he said.

Florist Beverly Anyango is also relishing the good times, business having started to pick up from September.

“Demand for flowers has steadily risen and we are currently supplying to as much as seven weddings in a week, mostly during the weekends. Some couples only buy flowers and get people to do the decoration work on cars, tents and churches for them while others want us to supply the flowers and do the work,” said Anyango.

She noted that she has different packages from which couples can choose from, from bronze, silver, gold and platinum, whose prices range from 343 dollars to 784 dollars.

“Flowers are very important to any event because they add beauty. In our case, we arrange the flowers according to themes that include western, culture and fairy-tale. We also match the flowers with couple’s attires,” she explained.

That the white weddings in Kenya are a big business is an open secret going by the charges different service providers offer.

It takes up to 98 dollars per hour, per vehicle to hire top-of-the-range vehicles like limousines and Chrysler to chauffeur the bride or the groom to and from the weddings. Some couples hire up to five of such vehicles for the entire day.

To hire a ground for a day in the high-end suburbs in Nairobi where most couples love to hold their weddings, one parts with up to 980 dollars while cakes go for as high as 784 dollars and traditional musicians who entertain guests gobble up an average of 490 dollars.

“We caterers also have various packages for our services, which depend on number of guests expected and food to be eaten at the event. We charge 1,960 dollars for a 300-guest wedding and 3,431 dollars for a 500 guests wedding,” said Susan Bwononi, who runs an outdoor catering services.

Hotels in the east African nation are the others reaping big from the current wedding season.

They charge up to 294 dollars for photo sessions, host after-wedding parties and offer couples honeymoon services besides some providing catering solutions.

According to Beatrice Nzeli, a wedding planner in Nairobi, it costs an average of 4,900 dollars to conduct a wedding of 300 guests in the capital Nairobi. Some couples, however, spend more than 9,803 dollars.

“The cost has been on the rise due to increase in prices of various commodities like food and demand for services has also surged. It is most expensive to hold weddings in December because prices of services shot up due to high demand and it is cheapest in January to March and May to July because this is a low season,” said Nzeli, who charges an average of 588 dollars to plan a wedding.

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