How to Plan Your Nigerian Wedding on a Budget

How to Plan Your Nigerian Wedding on a Budget

Nigerian wedding

Planning a Nigerian wedding on a one-million-naira budget can be difficult, but it is doable with careful planning and prioritization. 

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. And it’s common knowledge that Nigerian weddings come with one of the heaviest price tags on the planet. But suppose you want to bypass the extravagant Instagram hashtags, Bellanaija photoshoots, and crystal ball receptions and tie the knot with the person you love. In that case, this article is for you. 

We would delve into the importance of having a wedding budget, the costs of a wedding, and the steps to planning a bougie but conservative ceremony. 

Why a wedding budget matters

From the lavish attires adorned by the bride and groom to the extravagant decor, sumptuous feasts, and never-ending guest lists, Nigerian weddings are opulent affairs. All these demand a substantial financial investment.  

And unless you want to be a part of the couples who, after spending millions of Naira on throwing elaborate weddings, secretly use the first few years of their marriages to pay back credit card debts and borrowed money that funded their extravagant wedding expenses. 

That’s a terrible way to start a new life, and with the economic setbacks ravaging the country, you need to secure your financial future. 

So, to avoid your wedding day becoming overly expensive, here are some costs to help you create a realistic wedding budget while keeping your long-term financial goals intact. 

Wedding Costs You Need to Consider 

Venue

The choice of venue is often one of the most significant expenses. Wedding venues can range from elaborate event centres to historic cultural sites. The cost can also vary depending on its location, size, and facilities. 

Attire 

Wedding attire is a significant expense, particularly when considering traditional and modern outfits. Brides and grooms invest in intricate traditional clothing, Western-style wedding gowns, suits, and accessories. These outfits are often custom-designed and tailored to perfection. 

Food and Catering

If you invite people, you must feed them, and feeding many guests is a huge expense. Nigerian weddings are known for their sumptuous feasts, featuring various dishes to cater to diverse tastes. Catering costs can skyrocket, especially with a long guest list. 

Entertainment 

And then there’s entertainment. Weddings often feature live bands, DJs, and other forms of entertainment to keep guests entertained. The cost of entertainment can vary depending on the performers and the length of the celebration.  

Decor and Aesthetics 

You can’t deny that the visual appeal of Nigerian weddings is a defining feature. Elaborate decor, floral arrangements, lighting, and other aesthetic elements contribute significantly to the budget. 

Photography and Videography 

Professional photographers and videographers hired to ensure that every moment is beautifully documented count as an expense.  

Transportation 

Transportation is one of the hidden costs in event planning. Most couples don’t expect its magnitude until they’ve summed up how much is spent on fuel or plane tickets alone. 

Nigerian weddings often involve multiple events at different locations. Plus, providing transportation for the bridal party, guests, and sometimes guests’ accommodation can be a significant expense. This includes renting cars, hiring drivers, and covering even more fuel costs. 

Gifts and Favors 

In this case, souvenirs. Families exchange gifts, and couples provide favours for their guests. These gifts can range from jewellery and clothing to other meaningful items. The cost of these gifts can accumulate, especially when considering the cultural importance of gift-giving in Nigeria. 

Unforeseen Contingencies 

We can’t forget the “Nigerian factor”: Prices doubled within a month, Last-minute logistical challenges, and so forth. It’s wise to allocate a small portion of the budget for contingencies or unexpected expenses. While you can’t anticipate every hidden cost, having some buffer in your budget can help address financial surprises. 

How to set up a realistic wedding budget

Step 1: Determine how much of a wedding you can afford. 

This is where you define your budget limit. Sit down with your significant other and discuss your long-term financial goals. Consider if you’ll receive financial support from your parents or family and how much you will contribute. Use these numbers as the basis for your wedding budget. 

If you’re having multiple ceremonies, prioritize what’s most important to you to prevent overspending. What aspects are most important to you? This could be the venue, attire, or specific cultural traditions. Knowing your priorities will guide your budgeting decisions. 

Step 2: Consider Cultural and Family Expectations

Albeit on a budget, your wedding is still an important day. Take the time to understand the cultural and familial expectations for the wedding. This includes any specific customs or traditions that need to be honoured and the extent of community involvement. 

Step 3: Determine the date

The time of year affects costs, with peak months being more expensive. Consider off-peak seasons for more budget-friendly options. Also consider getting married on a Sunday or a weekday to save on venue costs—any day but Saturday. This can help you avoid higher prices and availability issues. 

Step 4: Choose a venue or destination 

The venue is one of the most significant wedding expenses. Research and compare options based on size, location, amenities, and services.  

Consider unconventional venues like public parks, your church or community centres for cost savings. Choosing off-season dates can also reduce venue costs. 

Step 5: Layout your wedding guest list size 

Create a preliminary list considering close family, extended family, friends, and plus-ones. Consider limiting the guest list to immediate family and closest friends for budget-conscious weddings. Reducing your guest list can save you significant money, especially on catering costs. If you think about it, smaller weddings can be more intimate and enjoyable. 

Step 6: Tackle the Vendors

Be willing to negotiate prices with caterers, photographers, florists, and other vendors.  

Here are some tips to help you: 

The Cake 

Skip the fancy wedding cake. Opt for a smaller, more affordable wedding cake or serve sheet cakes to guests. 

Wedding dresses

A wedding dress can be perceived in two distinct ways: as a once-in-a-lifetime garment or an outfit destined for a single appearance. Both perspectives hold their validity, but they cast a different aura on the dress. It all boils down to a question of significance.  

Undoubtedly, you want to look stunning on your special day, but does that necessitate spending a small fortune for a single day? Explore second-hand wedding dress sites or consider renting to save time.  

Minimize Makeup

Like the wedding dress scenario, this makeup would only be served once. Think about that when you’re charged half a million for some mascara and blush.  

Find a friend or relative skilled in makeup and hair to save on beautician costs. You can also purchase budget-friendly makeup brands for your wedding or, better yet, use what you already have.  

The Photography  

Choose a cheaper photography package. Please don’t roll your eyes at me. There are talented photographers littered about town. Find one and work accordingly. Opt for a more affordable photography package and focus on essential photo hours, not the entire event.  

On an extreme note, instead of hiring a professional photographer, ask a friend or family member to capture your special day.  

DIY your decor 

Enlist the help of friends and family for wedding decor and consider DIY options for floral arrangements and decorations. Don’t use wedding linens or bring your own: If the venue allows, skip linens or buy fabric in bulk to make your own. 

Tips and tricks to make your wedding goals a reality  

  1. Save on Communication: Use free texting apps like WhatsApp and Instagram, which work on Wi-Fi, to avoid expensive Airtime cell phone bills.  
  1. Start Saving:  Determine how much money you must save each month to reach your wedding budget. Break this down into manageable monthly savings goals and stick to them. Then, set up an automatic transfer from your primary account to your wedding fund on payday. This ensures that you consistently contribute to your wedding savings without the temptation to spend the money elsewhere. 

Pro tip: consider placing your wedding savings in a high-interest savings account. These accounts typically offer better interest rates than regular savings accounts, helping your money grow. 

  1. Shut out the noise: Most people expect weddings to be a reflection of the family’s social standing and a showcase of their prosperity. Which often leads to competitive spending among families striving to host a more extravagant event than their peers. 

Please don’t fall for it. This is your wedding. Refrain from allowing the pressure to host an elaborate wedding that will lead you to financial strains that last long after the festivities are over.  

  1. Open and Honest Discussion: Your wedding is probably the first big project you’d handle as a couple. Please keep an open mind and do your best to work with them as much as possible. This is your life (and money) we’re talking about. Keep it open.  
  1. Use apps: leverage budgeting apps and tools available to help you manage your finances and wedding expenses efficiently. Apps like Piggyvest, Opay, Branch, etc, all have features to help you stay on track.  
  1. Regularly Review and Adjust: Wedding budgets should not be static. As you progress in your planning and expenses become clearer, regularly review and adjust your budget accordingly. This helps you stay on track.  
  1. Consider Alternative Funding Sources: If your budget falls short, explore alternative funding sources like seeking financial assistance from family, or considering a loan if it aligns with your long-term financial plans. If family members are willing to contribute financially to the wedding, consider these contributions as part of your savings. Ensure that contributions are clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings. 
  1. Avoid Debt: “No Do Pass yourself.” It’s crucial to avoid accumulating debt to fund your wedding. Taking on loans or using credit cards to cover expenses can lead to post-wedding financial stress. At all costs, avoid debt! 

A Nigerian Wedding under 1 Million 

  1. Venue: Opt for a cost-effective or free venue, such as a church, open field, family house, or partner’s house. Enhance the venue with canopies and decorator’s touch. 
  1. Food and Drinks: Keep costs low by having friends and family handle the cooking. Serve one meal, like jollof rice with meat and a bottle of coke. 
  1. Entertainment: Choose an outspoken friend as the Master of Ceremony (MC) and hire an affordable DJ or create a playlist of lively songs. 
  1. Guests: Limit the guest list to around 100 people to fit the budget. Enforce an invite-only policy at the entrance. 
  1. Security and Transportation: Hire ushers from affordable agencies or ask friends to assist in guiding guests and collecting gifts. 
  1. Decoration: Allocate a significant portion of the budget to hire a skilled decorator to make the venue visually appealing. 
  1. Wardrobe: Opt for affordable attire, like a thrift store white dress or suit, and add accessories. 

Here’s the budget breakdown for a wedding with a guest list of 100 people: 

S/NActivityCost
1VenueFree
2SecurityFree (ask friends) 
3Style, Decorations, and ThemeN250,000
4CateringN300,000
5SouvenirsN100,000
6Transportation and LogisticsN100,000
7WardrobeN50,000
8MiscellaneousN150,000
9Technical Equipment/DJN50,000
Total BudgetN950,000

With this budget, you can host a modest wedding with 100 guests while keeping expenses below N1,000,000 

Conclusion 

In short, a well-planned budget helps you avoid overspending and ensures financial stability. 

We hope this article on how to plan your Nigerian wedding on a budget has given you clear ideas on how to celebrate your day without running into debt. 

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