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Doreen Nyamaka: The Wedding Planner in Tanzania

Doreen Nyamaka has always had a passion for wedding dresses, decor, and planning, since her childhood. But she finally stepped into the business of wedding planning in 2015 when she was getting married and her husband had insisted they plan the wedding themselves without asking for contributions or help from family and friends. Doreen could not get a professional wedding planner to handle her wedding preparations, that was when she noticed there was a gap in the wedding industry. From there, Doreen quit her job, went to a wedding planning and management school and got a certificate in wedding planning in 2016.   How did you get into wedding planning in Tanzania? Wedding planning is actually a new thing in Tanzania. Normally weddings are paid for by family and friends who help the couple with contributions and the whole planning process which is never professionally. As you’d expect, this leaves the couple super stressed and with no authority over their own wedding. I am determined to introduce it and make people save themselves the stress of planning a wedding, and reducing boring and repetitive weddings which do not represent their vision. How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? First, I take my job very seriously and treat every wedding as my own. I want to make it right for the things I could not do at my wedding. This is my passion, so I give it my all when I get a client. Apart from that,  I am a professional, with an MBA and wedding planning, flowers and decor certificate. Most of my competitors go with passion and intention to make money. I have the passion, skills, and commitment to turn my client’s dreams into reality.   What has been your challenges in this business so far? My biggest challenge so far is awareness. People do not know what wedding planning is, and how it can save them stress, time and money. It has been difficult to introduce the new culture and win clients over. Are there peculiarities to doing business in Tanzania compared to other countries? I guess so. In most countries, couples do not ask for contributions, the couple fund their own wedding with maybe a little help with close family members. I doubt that people go all the way to do a fundraising just to get money for their wedding. I think this only happens in Tanzania. What do you wish you knew before you started the wedding planning business? I wish I knew that this new culture of wedding planning will take a while to be acceptable and that the old culture of planning a wedding is deeply rooted and will take time to be uprooted. What is your best memory on the job? The last wedding I planned and coordinated in 2016. The father and daughter danced to Luther Vandross’s song “Dance with my father again”. That moment was so epic and emotional, I can still feel the goosebumps. Final words to other entrepreneurs… Before you jump into a business, make sure it connects to your core. Don’t go into it because of the money only, but because you love what you are doing from your heart. That way even if you face challenges and you can’t find a way, you’ll still hang in there, and step forward. Do you have a business idea that isn’t popular in your country? Let us know here.