How I Changed The Face Of Wedding Planning Industry In Nigeria — Funke Bucknor

While addressing the audience at the yearly Non-Profit initiative of Covenant Christian Centre, geared primarily to improving the individuals of Nigeria and the world, The Platforms, shared the journey of how she built her business from scratch.

Funke Bucknor


The Chief Executive Officer of Zapphire Events, Funke Bucknor, has shared her experience on how her adventure into wedding planning more than 20 years ago, changed the perception of the public towards the business in Nigeria.

While addressing the audience at the yearly non-profit initiative of Covenant Nation, geared primarily to improving the individuals of Nigeria and the world, The Platform, shared the journey of how she built her business from scratch.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. My entrepreneurship story, and building a business from what almost did not exist. It is important to document your journey because, if you have been in business for almost 20 years, sometimes you forget the days of humble beginnings.

“I am always smiling, but that’s how I started. I started with making joy, and making people happy, putting joy and happiness into people’s lives.

People were getting married and getting overwhelmed planning events. The stress made people not enjoy the moment, and at the end of the day, got frustrated. And I thought to myself, why can’t people enjoy their day?

“So, I ensured always to help and made sure that people were happy. If you know me, you would know that I am very energetic, and always smiling. And that was how I identified that need. I started helping people who wanted to plan their events. I would help them run around, and help them coordinate. And of course, I provided a solution. What was the solution? I helped them to plan their weddings.

Bucknor spoke on the 2024 theme; ‘Entrepreneurship: How To Build A Business From Scratch’.

According to her, event planning was almost non-existent when she started entrepreneurship over 20 years ago.

“I remember when we started over 20 years ago. Some people in this room were not even born then. So I am sure that the idea of event planning, and event entrepreneurship wasn’t even in existence. So, it was something we had to convince people about. We needed to get to make people buy into the idea and make them see value in what we were doing.

“When we started, I continued to move, and continued to press and press,” she said, going ahead to share tips on what it took to build her business from scratch.




  • I learned to stay focused and in my lane– One thing that is very important as an entrepreneur, is that when you want to begin the first part of the journey is tough, and you would almost quit. But when you have a vision- the power of a vision, is that; never underestimate the power of a vision. The power of dreaming big is enormous. when I was younger, I never saw myself as who I am now. I was just a young girl who wanted to help people. I never even imagined that I would be speaking at The Platform today. I planned Pastor Poju’s wedding (I just need to brag a little). So, the power of vision and dreaming big is critical in the journey of your entrepreneurship. But you have to start by taking a step. Why did I stay focused in my lane because it is easy to get distracted? It is easy to think you have to do what everybody else is doing. That vision that you have for your business- stay the path, tarry in the path. It may be hard, it may be tough. But once you stay focused, and in your lane, once you carve a niche for yourself, you will thrive, I promise you that.


  • One of the things I also learnt was that; as a business guru, I changed strategy a few times. What am I saying? I have the vision to be the world’s one-stop solution to the events industry, but as the business was evolving- when I started, I started with I just wanted to take the stress off you. But as the business grew, I saw that we needed to go beyond taking the stress of people, to create experiences.


  • You have to understand your market. Understand the generation. As your business grows, you will realise that you can not serve the business you serve forever. When we started, we started with planning events for the younger generation. They were my mates, so it was good and I was feeling good about it. Then, all of a sudden, I realised I was growing older. So what did I do? And how do you stay relevant as an entrepreneur? So, I changed strategies a few times, but remained true to the vision, regardless of the seeming competition, because you are going to, but once you keep your eyes focused on the price and on your vision, because it is like a marathon, but you must stay on your lane because once you change your lane and you cross, you would be disqualified. So, during the journey, you are taught endurance, resilience, patience, and pacing yourself, and others. But for your business, the finish line is the goal. But once you have that in mind, you can change strategies a few times but don’t ever forget the power of the business you have.


  • Harness the power of rebounding and re-inventing.

Before, years ago, if they told me to wear what am wearing today, I would say for what? But today, I just need to blend with the Gen-Z. For your business, you cannot stay stagnant. You must continue to rebrand your business, and re-invent- whether it is personal branding, or the business itself. If you don’t innovate, your business will die. If they had told me that we would still be running the event, Sattire Event 20 years later, I would have asked them, are you sure? But we have been hit several times, for some people, it’s instant. For some, it takes some time. For others, they need help. But the key thing is; that we would all get to the finishing line.


  • The power of teamwork

In my office, I am the oldest. I had to surround myself with young people, and smarter people. You can’t do everything by yourself. Understand your strengths and use them to build the business. Identify the skill gaps that your business needs. For example, I don’t like paperwork. So, I identified those in my office who love paperwork, and those who like technology. They are my best friends. You have to look inward at your team, harness the strength of everybody, and use that to build a diverse team, that will carry the business.


  • Understand the dynamic nature of our clients and our business.

We are in a market where the people’s taste changes every time. We have to ask what the market wants, and what the new generation wants to experience during their big day. So, the next thing is to see what they want, and what they need. As your business grows, your market changes, and you must also be ahead of your market. So, don’t say this is how we have always done it. Don’t be rigid. Look at trends around you, but without compromising the major vision of your business. Do not compromise on your values.


  • Maximise the power of branding- be known for something.

What do you stand for? What is your signature? Be authentic. Authenticity sells. As you stand authentic, first you are not going to be everywhere. Everybody is not going to like you or your business. Some people think I am too hyper. But some people like the hyper nature. This is me, and I am unapologetically me. You can’t sell to everyone. But be so good, that everyone cannot ignore you.