PGI's May Girl: Ufuoma (The Organized Bride)
PGI's feature for the month of May is the beautiful, ambitious bride-to-be Ufuoma Ukueku! She talks about working in Real Estate, planning her wedding and how she deals with marriage horror stories!
Many brides have wedding planners and if they don't, they, at least have 5 different notepads where they scribble all their wedding ideas and plans or a scrapbook or Pinterest board. Ufuoma Ukueku is a different type of bride, one who is very keen on detail and plans to have a flawless, hitch-free wedding without a wedding planner! She applies her vocational skills to her wedding planning in a super-impressive way. She's blessed with fab planning skills, a trait she apparently got from her mum! Where was Ufuoma when I was planning my wedding and forgot to pick up my cake! Lol!
About her crazy organizational skills
What do you do for work?
I work as the Assistant General Manager of a Real Estate company in Lagos
How do you balance your busy lifestyle with your wedding planning?
I prioritize, analyze my tasks. I tend to take everything I do as a project, applying my management skills and knowledge to them. I manage well, balancing my personal life, work and wedding plans
Have you had any Bridezilla moments?
Not yet. I'm hoping not to! (laughs)
How many bridesmaids do you have?
I have 11 bridesmaids! (laughs)
Have you asked them if you've been showing any Bridezilla signs?
I haven't. I should ask them.
How do you keep a tab on your wedding planning? Do you have a wedding planner?
I actually don’t have a wedding planner. Excel spread sheets are the best wedding planner tool anyone could have! My work has taught me to plan, document and track progressions in any project, in this case, the wedding plans. I have an excel document with different sheets for various things I need to plan for. I just need to check every week to make sure nothing has been forgotten, then from time to time I show the document to my friends so they can contribute, so I don’t miss out anything .
Pretty amazing! Are you a natural planner?
Yes, I am. Majorly influenced by my mum. She is super-organized; the best planner I know. She has a file for the wedding with "Seyi and Ufuoma" written on it! (Laughs) She saves programmes from weddings, documents everything as it progresses and is very hands-on with the preparations which I really appreciate.
Your dress! How did you find it? How many dresses did you have to try on?
My dress! My dress! People say it's difficult finding a dress but I always told myself that it would not be difficult for me.
It was helpful that I knew what I wanted already! I tried on about 6 dresses. The first store I went to is called Perfect Bridal Occasion. I had seen a dress they made for a bride on a friend's display picture. I felt the lady wearing the dress and I had similar figures, so i made inquiries about the dress, went for a fitting and that was it!
The only reason that i tried other dresses after finding this one was to get a sense of pricing on wedding dresses in general. The store stylist asked me to go to other stores to have an idea what their prices were like relative to the quality of the dresses and in all honesty I did not see any thing better. So I stuck with this one regardless of the price. I found it about 6 months before the wedding!
What do you love the most about it (the dress)? (Don't spill anything you don't want us to know)
I particularly like the fact that it’s very fitted, I have always loved body-con dresses.
What do you think are the top three things a girl needs to have to be well-put-together?
Great hair, Glam heels, Shaped eyebrows
What's your morning beauty routine?
Foundation and eyebrows are super important to me
Are you on a diet for the wedding?
To be honest, i'm always on one diet or the other, its already a way of life for me. Yeah, I would say i am on a diet
Shoes or Handbags?
Shoessss! Anyday, any time. ( I give all my bags out all the time. I have about 2 bags left and i'm like what is the point of buying bags)
The family of purple (purple, lilac, magenta , plum)
About her wonderful job!
Did you choose your industry or did your industry choose you?
Well, I would say both based on the circumstances of the employment. I met my boss on a project that I was working on at the time and he offered me a job!
Why did you choose your industry?
It was all just me following that inner voice saying, "this is an opportunity of a life time".
What do you love the most about your job?
I love that ownership quality that comes with working here. Even though, it's not my company, i still feel responsible for the outcomes of certain decisions made. I love everything about my job, really! It’s the best decision I have ever made (laughs) This is not for my employer o! I mean it.
How have you developed your skills and knowledge of Real Estate?
Experience. I work in the construction aspect of Real Estate. A lot people think its only when you are an engineer that you can understand construction- that's so not true. Experience is our best friend and for the past 5 years, I have been learning and getting better at it .
What would you change about your industry?
Improved skills for artisans; I'd like to set up a training school for them. They have the enthusiasm and energy to work but they have very low level skills which could have adverse effects in construction. It's something that should be looked into in Nigeria.
About marriage and twerks!
What are you looking forward to the most in marriage?
Really looking forward to actually living with my best friend
How long have you and Seyi been together?
5 and half years
About 3 years ago, I had a conversation with you about your goals as a couple. I still remember very clearly. You guys set goals you hoped to achieve before you got married! Have you set your goals as a married couple yet?
Well, yes we have been working on our goals for marriage and the marriage counseling classes have also helped us redirect some goals as well.
Have you heard any marriage horror stories?
Yes, I have, especially couples that did not get married from their tribe(my fiancé is Yoruba). We hear all sorts but for some reasons people also say Deltas don’t really attach tribal issues to anything, so for me, it doesn't bother me or maybe it's because of the person I am getting married to
How do you deal with these stories?
Just prayers and working on my relationship daily.
Have you ever tried twerking?
Hmm, yes o! (Laughs) I used to know how to dance in the past!
Kilishi or plantain chips? Let's see where you are on the Vegetarian-Carni spectrum!
Plantain chips any day, that kilishi ‘s pepper can kill (laughs)
What would you say to your 20 year old self?
"Well-done for taking great opportunities at a very early age and well-done for setting good morals and values but we could have done better."
What would you say to your 30 year old self?!
"30 is the new 20s, so stay positive and aim for better"
4 Things I Learnt...
1. Take your work home with you, i.e apply some work skills in your personal life too (except, of course, if you are a wrestler)
2. As you grow vocationally, don't forget to develop subordinates and junior staff
3. Ufuoma hands out bags; i love bags....we should work something out
4. We eventually become our mums (tell me about it!) Love you mum! Happy Mothers' Day!
Thank you so much, Ufuoma, for being PGI's May girl! ! We wish you all the blessings of God in that thrilling adventure called marriage! Love you loads!!