The typical Nigerian wedding is always done in grand style, with elites even going as far as spending over $2 million on their dream weddings. For this reason, many intending couples are often stressed when planning their wedding.
We spoke to some newlyweds to know how much effort went into their wedding planning. They broke down the processes, narrating the financial and mental stress that was involved.
“We spent ₦10 million instead of ₦2 million” — Faith
If anyone had told me my wedding planning would be stressful, I would have ignored them. This is because I’m a private person who wished for a small wedding of no more than 150 guests. However, my mom and mother-in-law didn’t have it. They wanted to organise the “wedding party of the year!” [Laughs]
Although I didn’t like the idea, I had no choice. We had to expand the guest list to over 500 people and budget accordingly. I was really stressed during the seven months of planning because I had to constantly sync with the event planner, meet with vendors, redo my wedding dress twice, and share asoebi.
To make matters worse, the price of wedding items kept skyrocketing. At the end of the day, we ended up spending N10 million on my wedding instead of ₦2 million, the original budgeted cost for my 150-guest list.
“My wedding drained me of almost every naira I had” — Layi
I now understand why people advise men not to get married until they have enough money. My wedding drained me of almost every naira I had. Although I didn’t want a lavish wedding party, there was a heavy financial burden on my neck because I was earning ₦300k/month at the time and didn’t have any savings.
My wife couldn’t do much on her end because she was earning ₦200k/month. As a result, I had to go the extra mile of taking a salary advance and borrowing money from loan apps to meet our budget of ₦2 million. The wedding turned out magical, but I wished I was financially ready for it.
“I had always wanted a glamorous wedding, so it was either I went big or went home” — Oseyi
I might be a weird person for saying this, but I actually enjoyed planning my wedding — from the event planning to the main day. I’m not even going to lie and say it didn’t take a toll on me at some point. Regardless, it was a thrilling experience.
My husband works in tech, while I’m an investment banker. Our parents are also quite financially comfortable, so money wasn’t the issue. The time and effort required were the actual stressors. There were days when I had to abandon work to speak to my event planner or spend hours deciding the colour for the aso ebi.
I have always wanted a glamorous wedding for as long as I can remember, so it was either I went big or I went home. In all, we spent ₦15 million on the wedding, with most of it going to food, entertainment and gifts for our 1000 guests.
“We spent ₦650k on a wedding of just 50 guests” — Sarah
I had a relatively small wedding with just 50 guests. So my wedding planning was chilled and affordable. We spent ₦650k in total. To be fair, even if I wanted a flashy occasion, there was no way my husband and I could have pulled it off. We were both saving to japa at the time, so organising a “wedding of the year” would have sabotaged that.
We pulled off our micro-wedding by renting a cheap venue, which cost ₦120k, and didn’t have to hire an MC. One of my friends was kind enough to play that role. My friends and family were also willing to help in different areas of the wedding planning, making it possible to do without an event planner.
Do you have a wedding coming up but are not sure how you will plan it? The tips below will help:
- Start planning early. While wedding planning is hectic, you can reduce its inherent stress by preparing at least 6 months before your wedding date.
- Hire a wedding planner. For best results, hire a wedding planner who will take the stress of coordination off your plate. However, wedding planners don’t come cheap. You should be ready to spend between ₦100,000 – ₦3,000,000, depending on the tasks you require the wedding planner to handle. If you cannot afford a wedding planner, take a leaf from Sarah’s book and get help from your friends and family. No one person can plan a wedding alone, so getting extra help is essential.
- Create a wedding checklist and timeline. Approach your wedding like a project by making a to-do list, highlighting the activities you need to do. Additionally, assign a realistic timeline and people (who agreed to help) to those tasks. This way, everyone is kept in the loop, and it’s easy to hold them accountable. Again, if you’re using a planner, this most likely won’t be required — except you’re hands-on.
- Have a wedding scrapbook. A scrapbook isn’t the same as a checklist. It’s where you note your ideas, from your aso ebi colours to available wedding venues. Ensure this book is always with you so you can enjoy seamless wedding planning.
- Make a budget. Ideate a list of things you’ll need to buy and rent for the wedding. Find out how much each costs presently and add up the costs. That will most likely be the amount you’ll spend. But to be on the safer side, make room for miscellaneous expenses.
- Start saving. Once you know the expected wedding cost, save at least 30% of your earnings monthly. Use features like PiggyVest’s Safelock and Piggybank to ensure you follow your savings plan.
- Book vendors ahead of time. If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, try to book and meet with potential vendors ahead of time. This will help you avoid disappointments. That aside, you’ll have more time to compare prices and choose the best, most affordable vendor.