As we know, Nigerian weddings are a great opportunity to get everyone together for a party, but they can also come with a hefty price tag. In Nigeria, weddings are often extravagant affairs that bring together families and friends to celebrate the union of two people. But just how much does it cost to tie the knot in Nigeria? In this article, through the accounts of a groom, we take a closer look at the various expenses that go into a Nigerian wedding, and explore the cost of having a traditional and memorable celebration.
The love story
My wife and I officially started dating in 2019. After a year of being unserious, we both decided to be intentional about our relationship. In 2022, I proposed to her and she said “Yes.” Things moved quickly after that and we had our court wedding.
The cost of a court wedding
The court wedding was cheap (compared to the other ceremonies). We paid ₦45,000 to the court, but that was an express fee; the normal charge is ₦25,000. My wife’s outfit was ₦20,000, and her make-up was ₦15,000.
I don’t remember how much she spent on her hair, but it was very simple. I wore an old suit and shoes, so I didn’t spend anything on that. We didn’t have a reception, so no food or drinks; just three people from each side of the family as witnesses. We spent less than ₦100,000 on our court wedding.
The cost of a traditional wedding
My wife is from Akwa Ibom, so the bridal list was very expensive. It came up to ₦2m, but my people negotiated to N1.3m. For the bride price, suitors are encouraged to give what they have, so I gave ₦100,000 to my father-in-law.
When we started planning the wedding, my wife and I agreed on a budget of ₦2m, but we ended up spending more. I don’t know exactly how much I spent because after it crossed ₦4.5m, I stopped counting.
The biggest expense
Clothes. I was shocked at how expensive the clothes on your back can get when weddings are involved. A friend tried to warn me about the cost of clothes; he said he spent ₦800,000 for his wedding, and I laughed it off as ridiculous.
At my wedding, I didn’t realise how much I spent because I was paying in bits, but by the time I did the maths (for this interview), it was around ₦600,000. This covered my wife’s two outfits, my outfit and clothes for our parents.
Another expensive thing was the decorations. The charges ranged from ₦1.2m to ₦1.5m, and that was for the cheapest package. After scouring for a vendor within our budget, we found one for ₦400,000.
The price was right and the decoration was great, but there was a downside to this cheaper alternative. The owner of the decorations got drunk and passed out. When he gained consciousness, he assumed the ceremony was over and started packing up. My wife almost had a stroke.
Source of funding
I used two months of my salary to do everything. Also, we got contributions from friends and family that helped solve a couple of problems.
I have no major regrets about how we planned things. I just wish our japa plans had worked. My wife and I were meant to relocate and have our white wedding, but our visas were pending. If we knew the relocation wouldn’t work, we would have had a minimalist traditional wedding and a big white wedding in Nigeria. We still plan to do our white wedding, but that isn’t a priority for us.
So you want to get married…
First, if you’re not swimming in money, please remember that the wedding is for a day. Don’t make decisions that will hurt your finances later. If you’re having multiple ceremonies, decide which is more important, so you avoid splurging.
Finally, going for the popular option might be problematic. My wife and I paid for a DJ, who was allegedly one of the best in the state. On the wedding day, the DJ sent his apprentice; after we paid the full price. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Patronise smaller businesses: they will prioritise your wedding.