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Marriage Material

So You Want to Be a Nontraditional Bride

Marriage Material 03/15/2018


Sarah Nakintu is both super creative and totally organized—after stints at the United Nations and Google, she founded her own line of sleek handbags—and those happen to be ideal characteristics for planning a blowout destination wedding. Here’s how the globe-trotting designer, who’s getting hitched in Italy this May, is getting it done.  



“We live part-time in Zurich, Switzerland, and they only officially recognize court weddings, so we did a civil ceremony last year. This was such a great idea because it took the pressure off, and then we could plan the wedding party whenever we wanted. I didn't realize that you need to book most venues and vendors a year in advance—but, luckily, I gave myself a year head start. I started out thinking we would get married in Tuscany, but I quickly discovered how commercialized it is. It's kind of crazy! Fortunately, I lived in Italy for two years and go there often for bag production, so I knew that there were other breathtaking places. Ultimately, I chose La Badia, an old abbey in a small city called Orvieto one and a half hours outside of Rome.”



“The most important element to me was giving our guests an experience. Some of my family is from Uganda, and they've not been to Italy before. Also, some of our American friends don't take that much vacation because, hello, it’s the USA! So I wanted to give people an experience beyond just a regular wedding. We're planning a retreat-type weekend where people will arrive in Italy on a Wednesday or Thursday, and we will do a few things like sightseeing, wine-tasting, and a family day at the pool.”


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“As of December, I still didn’t have a dress because I'm not looking to wear a traditional wedding gown. I will go for something unique, dramatic, and comfortable, maybe custom-made just for me. What I’ve found is that bridal dresses are really expensive—it's unbelievable! I also learned that designers tend to play it safe when it comes to bridal styles. Not to mention, you're supposed to order this dress six to nine months in advance. I mean, what if I don't like the dress nine months later? What if I lose weight, gain weight? The traditional wedding dress was not for me based on those factors. Since I'm a millennial and I love social media so much, I started using it to find a dress. This is actually really fun. I'm always using hashtags such as #weddingdress to discover designers from all over the world. I've seen amazing dresses from designers in Thailand, Australia, Kuwait, and Nigeria, and, as an emerging designer myself, I'm excited to give another emerging designer a chance or even try something completely new. Most of these designers only require 30 days to make the dress, the prices are so much cheaper, and they're quick to respond on Instagram through DMs. This to me is how it should be. I'm probably going to get my dress made in Thailand or Kuwait.”



“For flowers, we are working with a wonderful traveling planner called Oleander Curated and are not importing any flowers. As a couple, we're really minimal, and I want the wedding décor to be the same: clean and minimalist. I was really surprised to learn that most brides import flowers. I feel like Italy should have all the flowers we need in May. Flowers are not a good investment, aside from looking amazing the day of—the next day, they're practically useless. I would rather spend more on an amazing wedding dinner or on buying toys for the kids coming to our wedding.”



“When it comes to budgeting, be very smart about what you're spending on. A wedding is not a good investment to begin with, and then you have things like flowers and the dress that you literally can't reuse again. Also, bargain! This might be an ‘African’ thing for me, but I always bargain and ask for a better price or a discount. You will be surprised what you get when you simply ask. Remember after the wedding comes the marriage—this goes back to how much you spend for the wedding versus what you have after you get married. It's just a day or two versus your whole lifetime ahead of you.”

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