*Sighs deeply* Don’t you just love weddings?
PS: I’m getting selfish with this post, so I’m only using pictures from my sister’s wedding here. Enjoy!
I’ve loved weddings for as long as I can remember (Probably because I wasn’t the one getting married and also had to sit and look nice for other people), but yeah, I love them. I love the cake, the dancing, the happiness on peoples faces, the ‘free’ food (it’s either a hit or a miss. You never know with wedding food these days), just being happy for the couple… I love all that.
All that happens, and just beneath it all is the months of planning that went into the success of that event. The guest list, the food, caterers, the disc jockey (DJ), the reception hall, the makeup artist, the perfect gown, photographers, specifics of the traditional wedding (my folks better be ready to speak English throughout my traditional wedding when I’m in the room, lol), the church wedding, the bride price (or groom price in some cases), and a whole bunch of other things that you probably won’t hear about.
We plan and plan away, and forget that the main point of the wedding is simply the joining of two beautiful souls. We’ve idolized weddings and marriage itself so much in Nigeria that it’s become some form of statement to our friends, colleagues, family, and a society that only cares about you as long as you give it something to talk about.
I’ve lived through four of my sisters getting married(TWO since January), I learned a few things, and I’ve been dying to share them with you. Here are 5 things you NEED to know when planning a Nigerian wedding.
1. Planning a wedding without breaking the bank with a sledgehammer is possible!
While a wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage, A wedding is not an investment, it’s not acres of land that you buy now and sell ten years from now. There shouldn’t even be such a thing as a ‘society wedding’, (but if you want to do that, well, have at it). Like I earlier said, a wedding is a ceremony where two people are joined in marriage.
You don’t want to spend money you could use for living your married life for a wedding ceremony that’ll last three days (max). As much as you want a ‘big’ wedding, make sure you spend wisely. Don’t do what you’ll regret one week later. You could do without a lot of things like over-the-top decoration, buffet style reception, asoebi, live band, you could even throw away the entire reception and just do something small for close family and close friends.
In Nigeria, most of all these things are done just to impress people (people that you probably don’t like you, or you don’t like them, or you don’t even know them, but hey, carry on.)
2. Most people are there for FREE food
Yes, exactly! Some people just want to eat your food and go home. They won’t even drop a wedding gift for you or tell you ‘congratulations’. So if really, you want to go all out, to impress the judges, you have to do a great number on the food you intend to serve. You can easily replace the decoration materials or alter some things about the décor or DJ or even the MC, but if the food goes wrong, that’s a huge disappointment. It’s a slap on the face at a Nigerian wedding. In a Nigerian wedding, food is key. It has to be lit!
3. You honestly don’t need the crowd
Yes! I said it. You don’t need it. Your family may need it, but trust me, you don’t. I’ve had to attend and be involved in the wedding ceremonies of my sisters (four weddings guys! FOUR!). Planning a wedding is stressful enough. I mean, it’s just joining of two people really. For those who like to go all the way and do the three types of weddings (traditional, white/church and court wedding)and you still want to go all out, kudos to you. Double thumbs up, but life isn’t meant to be stressful like that.
I’m one of those people that’ll probably just end up with a very simple wedding ceremony (I secretly have a ‘hitched in Vegas’ tendency). Bride price payment early on Saturday morning and get the pastor to do the joining at the reception venue.
Immediately that’s done, reception starts. I might even skip the reception altogether and maybe even do something small for the ‘planning committee’ of family and friends. After that, goodbye to everybody. You came to see me get married and be happy for me. After joining, the vote of thanks. (Lol, ok, maybe not that, but you get my point)
Honestly, all you really need is your close family, friends and most importantly, your significant other. I like to call these people the ‘planning committee’, cause they are the people that are genuinely there for you. They aren’t there out of obligation or courtesy. Every other person is an extra you can do away with.
4. Marriage is not a do or die affair (Loud it please?)
I know you’re already planning the wedding, but it’s never too late to turn back if you know you won’t be happy. Marry for the right reasons.
If you’re getting married because of money, get out now! If you’re getting married because your family members are on your neck, get out now! If you know you don’t love the person you’re about to get married to, get out now! If you’re trying to ‘pepper dem’, please, you need to get out of there! If you’re getting married because you think you’re getting too old to be single, get out and meet new people, travel a bit, start something new, volunteer to help the homeless and abused young women. If you’re getting married to escape societal pressure, get out of there sooner than yesterday!
Do what you must, but do not get married when you know your heart isn’t settled. If you’re not sure, you can put the plans on hold. Forget about what others would think. If you’re having issues in your marriage later, these same people that you’re trying to impress would use you to do ‘dear diary’. They would like the post BOM, Uncle Jorolomofin and SubDelivery Zone would put up on Instagram and Twitter.
They would even give you advice they should have given you years back.
When it comes to marriage, you’re dealing with not just yourself, the lives of others that would be affected by your decision are also involved. Most importantly, YOU are the priority in your life. So think fast, and think smart! You’re not married yet, you can still make changes. Don’t rush into marriage, only to start doing ‘small girl, big god’ later.
5. Don’t Forget! The wedding is supposed to be about two people!
In the midst of all that planning, don’t forget, it’s just about two people. It’s not for the guest who will only come to eat food and go, it’s not about other family members, it’s not about the society(your marriage certificate won’t increase Nigeria’s GDP), it’s about you and the person you want to marry.
It’s about the day two people chose to risk it all and spend the rest of their lives together. I mean, it’s enough trying to know yourself, but living with someone else ’till death do ye part’? That’s a lot of work.
Whatever you do, remember who that wedding is for.
So there you go folks, the five things you should know when planning a Nigerian wedding.
What other things should do you think there’s need to know about Nigerian weddings?
Let’s discuss in the comment section.
*Suit by Promise Paul fittings, Benin.
*Wedding dress by Phina Bridals, Benin.
*Asooke by Home of Traditions, Lagos.
*Groom’s attire by Pina Fashions, Jos.
*Bride’s Dress (Trad) by Long stitches, Minna.
*Make-up by CY Dragnet, Benin.
*Bridal hairstyling and Traditional attire by Excel Hair Lab, Benin.