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Her Big Day: A Cultural Wedding Affair to Remember

“We are the middle women, we
link vendors to brides,” says Karen Okonkwo who, along with partner and founder
Beri Gebrehiwot (both based in Washington), publicly launched their site Her Big Day in September of 2015. With
so many websites dedicated to the wedding industry, Her Big Day stands out
from the crowd as Gebrehiwot and Okonkwo continue to cultivate an extensive
list of vendors and resources devoted to cultural brides and their weddings, addressing
challenges from where to find culturally specific wedding attire to which
venues can accommodate large cultural communities for the big day.

Like all
great business ideas, Her Big Day was
an invention that came out of necessity. While planning her own big day,
Gebrehiwot desired a wedding that was reflective of her Eritrean roots. Seattle
should have had plenty to offer a bride like Gebrehiwot, but in fact its
resources were frustratingly limited. This struggle sparked the idea for
Gebrehiwot’s first website, Bella Bride
Africa
, which was aimed at brides of African heritage. The idea for the
site has since evolved into Her Big Day,
which caters to a larger scope of cultural brides. Gebrehiwot partnered with Okonkwo,
the owner of the party and candy buffet design company, Party with a K, who had
also observed a lack of vendors concerning cultural brides and shared
Gebrehiwot’s desire to change the industry.

Beri & Karen || photography by Rahhel Woldu

Building
an invaluable social media presence, creating a blog, featuring real wedding
inspirations, and introducing industry mixers, Her Big Day pushed full steam ahead and launched their first
wedding show, Her Big Day: A Cultural Wedding Affair in January of 2016 at the DoubleTree
by Hilton Seattle Airport. “The show was beyond our wildest imagination,” says
Okonkwo. With over 500 attendees, the response has been encouraging for the
co-founders who want to continue to see Her
Big Day
expand. “The exciting thing for me has been the growth in
such a short amount of time. Karen and I can’t stop thinking about ideas and
all the things we can do with this platform,” says Gebrehiwot, who, in addition
to planning on revamping the website and expanding their web presence, is also
planning a second wedding show in January of next year that will highlight
fashion and offer even more diverse vendors.

If you can’t wait until January though, check out the Bridal Brunch
on June 26th. The event will include information about budgeting,
checklists, and timing by a panel of former brides and bridesmaids, as well as
prize giveaways. A full brunch and mimosa bar will be served along with a makeup
tutorial by Makeup By Diva Doll and a fashion show by Dream Dresses by PMN.

For Gebrehiwot, it’s been rewarding to see so many brides
connect with the website and find resources she wished she’d had during her own
wedding planning process. She continues to enjoy seeing the different ways
brides infuse their culture into the wedding day and wants brides to feel
inspired by the real weddings that they post. Both Gebrehiwot and Okonkwo hope
that by connecting brides to vendors that they are making the process seamless
and enjoyable, while also helping to preserve a rich cultural heritage for
generations to come.

Bridal Brunch: Tickets
are $50/person or purchase 3 bridesmaids/friends tickets & the bride is
free:
www.herbigday.info.
Website:
www.herbigday.info, Follow
on social media: Instagram & Twitter - @herbigdayllc; Facebook
facebook.com/herbigdayllc; Pinterest – herbigdayllc.