By Maria Immaculate Owechi
One of the most significant roles during the organisation of social gatherings like weddings is a chairperson. While some wonder if that top position is at all necessary, others still hold that a wedding organization chairman is a must.
According to Twaha Mukisa, a traditional ceremonial spokesperson, a wedding chairperson is indispensable irrespective of whether you have all the money or you need to solicit some support from your colleagues.
“If you have all the money, a chairperson is going to help you organise and oversee all the programs at the wedding reception like the management of the bridal entourage and guests,” he explains, adding, “Being chairperson also involves management of reception details like the food, decorations, music or public address system, entertainment, cake, ushers, photography and videography.”
Mukisa adds that in the event when a couple doesn’t have money, the biggest role of the chairman is to mobilise, schedule, control the meetings and come up with avenues where the couple will gather their friends and family to fundraise money for the ceremony.
Mukisa further explains that a wedding chairperson is needed both during the traditional and religious wedding.
“In Buganda, during the function, they may just recognise the presence of chairperson to the guests but in western Uganda, it is must for them to be given time to offer a full speech,” he reveals.
“In his speech he introduces and thanks the people he has worked with to make the function successful and apologises where things have gone wrong, “Mukisa adds.
After a preview of how significant a chairman’s role is for the success of your wedding ceremony, you may be wondering what to look out for when choosing one.
Not to worry, we bring you some of the qualities to consider,
Should be experienced
Patriko Mujuuka, an events MC says one should opt for a person who has some experience in being a wedding chairman.
Mujuuka gives an example of a wedding he emceed where the groom who happened to be staying abroad had no clue about how weddings were conducted because he never attended one.
“He asked me to guide him on what to do since I was experienced in wedding mobilisation and organisation,” the event MC reveals.
Mujuuka explains in such a scenario, the bride or groom should select an experienced wedding chairman who knows how things flow and the basics for a wedding to be successful.
“For example which things to cover first, like booking the church, venue and clothing and then, what can be bought at the last day, say like the drinks,” he explains.
He adds that you need an experienced person who should be able to look into the budget, know the income and at what percentage each item should be covered.
Should know the couple well
The person you choose to be your chairman must know you and your partner at least to a larger extent. You are advised against choosing a total stranger for this role.
There are cases where parents may want to impose a certain person or relative because he/she is usually who they use as their social event chairman. This can be an issue in case the both of you fail to relate well with this person.
Jessica Nakalema, a boutique owner in Nansana agrees that sometimes a wedding chairman imposed by family members might not be a good idea.
Nakalema shares that a male friend who had an uncle as his chairman but proved to be uncommitted, “His chairman either came late or left early during meetings and was rarely available to supervise the wedding programs.”
She says that it was hard for his friend to complain or take the role from his uncle because he feared offending him or his parents.
To avoid such a scenarios, you are advised to get somebody who knows and understands the both of you well.
Has a good fundraising skill
Mujuuka says couples need to select a chairman with skills of enticing people into giving in money at the meeting.
“At times you find a person who speaks so well that he can entice someone into even giving the last coin from in his/her pocket and then thinking of getting more tomorrow,” he reveals.
Mukisa adds that he should be able to agree with the people on how they are going to solicit the money.
“Like are we going to use the chairman’s bag , are we going to knock an item off the budget one by one or are we going to task the couple to go with the budget and pledge cards to the people that are not going to be in the meetings to give them money?” he reveals.
A person who is committed
A committed person is simply one who sets out to fulfill what he/she has signed up to do.
This is one quality you should look out for in a wedding chairperson so that the set programs are implemented.
Wedding preparation sometimes takes particular periods of month like two months or less depending on the couple’s financial capability and readiness.
This is why Mujuuka advises couples to select a committed chairperson in terms of time like what time does he arrive and leave for meetings, can he/she come for more/ private meeting when need be?
He adds that the person should committed enough to accompany the couple while running wedding errands like looking for what to buy, the venue to book, cake person, the people cooking, decorators, the band among other things.
This should be also a person who is committed following up and coordinating the wedding suppliers.
A trustworthy person
Since the wedding meetings involve collecting large sums of money, it is advisable to select a person who is trustworthy in overseeing finances.
The person should be able to give the couple each and every coin contributed to them and who will spend it on what he is told to.
Mujuuka reveals that there have been scenarios where the chairperson pays half for an item yet they were given the full amount .Then they disappear few days to the function and the couple gets to find out the truth from the supplier.
A people person
Since the chairperson’s role involves mobilising and coordinating people, he/she should be a social person and down to earth. This should be a person people can easily identify with and talk to.
Have the ability to exercise control
Mukisa reveals that there are scenarios where some people come to the meetings drunk, others are just disorganized or have ill intentions to disrupt, “The chairman must have the ability to control people, take decisions and still be able to respect the wishes of the bride.”
Last year I attended a church member’s wedding meeting where a certain person kept on mocking others who were contributing small amounts.
It ended up in a fist fight that the chairman intervened which was unsuccessful as the agitated people walked out of the meeting.
Mujuuka shares that there should be ground rules like all the remarks should be addressed through the chairperson, members do not interrupt each other, refocusing the discussion if it has wandered off and making sure the discussion is done by all members and not letting two people dominate the meeting.
Mukisa adds that the chairperson should also be able to exercise control and manage the bridal entourage; telling them when it’s time to go the church, take garden photos, make a change of dress, letting them know where they will sleep, among others.
A calm person
Mujuuka advises the couple to ensure the chosen chairperson is one who knows to keep their temper in check in case they are provoked.
He says this is because when it comes to a weddings, some jokes may go overboard and at times people can come in late which is a bit annoying.
“This is why you need to get a chairperson who won’t get annoyed due to the absence or members inability to keep time,” Mujuuka explains.
A proactive person
Organising wedding ceremonies comes with its own challenges thus needing a proactive chairperson who offers solutions to problems.
Mujuuka says a chairperson should know which situation to keep the committee from because not everything is supposed to be revealed to them.
“There are times when we have weddings where the couple has no money and we have to start fundraising from scratch,” he explains.
“In such situations we don’t tell people and make them assume that the bride or groom has at least invested some good amount for their dressings,” he adds.
The events MC further reveals that sometimes there is money that is got outside the meetings all known by the chairman who plans on how the couple will can spend it without letting the committee know.
With these few tips, we hope you will be able to choose the perfect chairperson for your wedding ceremony.
Mukisa adds that the gender does not matter because it is about the good qualities one possess that counts.