Why Nigerian Weddings Are Expensive and 2 Ways to Cut Costs


Do you know that there is one main reason why most Nigerian weddings are expensive? And, if you only manage to cut down that area, you are very likely not to overspend at your wedding – even without reducing any other types of wedding expenses. But if you don’t know what this wedding area is and how it causes other wedding things to cost more, you risk over-spending on and later  manage on leftover money – which always leads to a shabby wedding event. This post reveals the secret to classy low budget Nigerian weddings without overspending.

nigerian bride n bridesmaids
Photo Credit: Atunbi Wedding Photography

The 2 Main Causes of Expensive Nigerian Weddings and What to Do

If you’ve done your wedding budget and are scratching your head on how to bring costs down, here are the two main areas to cut and your wedding budget will drop like magic:

  1. Your guest list (this is the main cause);
  2. Your venue

Fixed Wedding Costs: With weddings, there are costs that remain the same no matter the number of guests you have – such as DJ or music band, MC. Some other costs (such as venue, food and drinks) increase based on how many guests you have.

Variable Wedding Costs: The number of guests you have is the main thing that increases a wedding budget, and it determines how much you will spend on venue and wedding food. For example:

  • Wedding venue: You pay by how big/ small the venue is. Some hotels or event centers have small halls and big halls and each has the maximum number of guests it can accommodate – more money for bigger wedding halls. Some locations generally have expensive venues (village vs city; GRA vs regular areas).
  • Wedding  services: Some wedding planners charge by a percentage of your overall wedding cost, meaning that you’ll pay them more if your total wedding cost is high. Similarly, some venue decorators would charge you more for decorating a bigger wedding venue. Can you see how the size and cost of a venue can shoot up your wedding budget?
  • Wedding Food/ Catering: The more guests you plan to invite, the more plates of food your caterer would charge you, and the more drinks you have to budget for. Even if your family members are cooking the food, you still have to buy more bags of rice and more drinks.

Technically, the size of the guests you plan to have will determine the most part of your overall wedding budget, and so your guests number is the first and best place to start cutting things down if you’re faced with a huge wedding budget. If you don’t have an unlimited supply of money (well, no one does), a good idea to reduce wedding expenses is to cut your cost according to your pocket size. And that begins with controlling your guest list size.

If you can control those two, you can drastically reduce your wedding cost, and be able to have a low budget Nigerian wedding.

How Wedding Catering and Venue are Priced

Event halls as well as outdoor venues are priced by the size. So, if you have a large guest, you will require a bigger hall or outdoor venue, and be prepared to pay the price that comes with size.

Caterers price their services on per plate of food, and sometimes include additional charges for serving the guests. So, having plenty guests increases the cost of wedding food. The more guests, the more mouths to feed, and the more money you need to fork out of your pocket.

Thoughts on How Much to Spend on Venue and Food

Now that you know that a big part of your wedding cost is controlled by how many people you invite to your wedding, the question now is how much should you spend on wedding venue and food? You may also ask: how many people should you invite to your wedding?

The answer is to invite the number of guests that your money can afford to feed; and that you can afford to pay for a venue that is big enough to accommodate all of them.

Why You Should Not Invite Everybody to Your Wedding

While it’s great to have a big fat Nigerian wedding that is talk of the town, you should know that what makes a classy wedding is not the guest size. Instead, it is how well you took care of your guests.

You’ll appear stingy and wicked if you invited 400 people to a hall where 100 are standing and only 200 got food. Your guests will definitely bad-mouth you. No be by force oo.

A Guide to Knowing How Many Wedding Guests to Invite

The right way to go about determining how many guests you should invite to your wedding is to first set aside a food budget. You get that by splitting your entire wedding budget and setting aside a portion for separate things, including food.

  • 24% of entire budget for Bride and Groom’s outfits plus wedding rings
  • 21% for reception (food, drinks, cakes, small chops)
  • 18% for venue and decoration (including rentals such as chair covers, canopy tents etc)
  • 14% for entertainment and visuals (MC, DJ/band, Photos and/ or Videos)
  • 6% for Stationery and Souvenirs/ wedding favors
  • 17% for miscellaneous expenses – for just-in-case anything comes up later

You can read our in-depth article here, about how to make a Nigerian wedding budget, including how to breakdown the budget.

Once you have determined your wedding food budget, find out how many guests that amount of money can feed. You should be able to get this by asking a few wedding day caterers. You can further spend less on food by serving a few menu items – focus on the usual occasion favorites of Nigerians, such as jollof rice, moi-moi etc.

Lastly on Wedding Food and Venue Budgeting

Don’t make the mistake of trying to plan a ‘big wedding’ with a small budget – coupled who went this route confessed to hating to remember their wedding day.

Controlling the guest list size and the venue cost is one of the best ways to cut down wedding budget and still have a glam wedding in Nigeria. You don’t have to invite everybody. Ask yourself this: is it more important to have many people or to give an unforgettable treat a smaller amount of people with a sumptuous meal, great dancing and an unforgetable party experience?

You can find ways to take care of other people who you could not invite, such as: have an after-wedding  house party for neighbors and relatives, send favors to colleagues etc.

That’s it on how to have a low cost wedding by controlling the two biggest wedding cost determinants. We will publish more posts with ideas on how to have a classy low cost Nigerian wedding. So, keep checking.

Now, Over to You

How many people do you plan to invite to your wedding? What are you doing already about controlling the cost of your wedding venue and food? Tell me in the comments down below.

About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.


  1. Pls I need ur advice….my fiancé said he want a simple wedding like wat is don in Las Vegas….n dis is naija..was thinkin of inviting 500-1000guest

    • Hello Dorcas, number of people to invite is a common cause of pre-wedding quarrels among about-to-wed couples. That’s because it all boils down to more expenses/ cost. My advice: COMPROMISE on any areas of disagreement during wedding planning – you may arrive at a middle ground, so that you get a bit of what you want, AND he also gets a bit of what he wants (50-50). You two should sit down to discuss his and your point of view on this issue, and then COMPROMISE.
      *Recently, a lot of Nigerian couples and celebrities seem to want smaller weddings, choosing to invite fewer people AND using the savings to achieve a classy wedding, as well as a grand honeymoon. So, smaller weddings are gradually becoming a ‘Naija thing’.
      **We wrote a couple of posts about this low-key, classy wedding trend and you may want to read this post for inspiration.

    • Tnx very much Madam😊

  2. Thank you soo much. This is the best nigerian read I have come across as per weddings. Everyone else just talks jargons. very helpful and practical tips.

    My guest list is 200.

    I’ll just follow the links you gave Grace for what next to do!


  3. Thanks 4 d advice. I cut my guest from 300 to 150, advice me on what next to do. Tnx.

    • You’re welcome, Grace. If you’ve not made your budget yet, you should start doing it right away. Here’s the tutorial on how to do that http://naijaglamwedding.com/how-to-budget-nigerian-wedding/

      To know the things to do after what, use this our handy wedding checklist/ to-do list for brides http://naijaglamwedding.com/nigerian-white-wedding-checklist/

      Feel free to ask, if you have more questions. And, have fun planning your wedding.

      • My hall can accommodate is much as 700 guest being a church hall and I intend having a 200 guest wedding. Reading ur post now I feel ve made a wrong choice considering d Deco part. Pls advise me further. Thank you

        • Hi Jane, thanks for reading, and for asking your question. Can you explain – what is the problem you see with your decor part? help me understand you better.
          About your hall size: As long as the hall size is not smaller than the number of guests, you’re okay. The only problem is if the hall is too big, it could cost more to decorate it (but if it’s affordable in price, go with it). Another possible problem with a too-big hall is that it could also look like it’s swallowing up the wedding. But then if you have a good wedding planner or event decorator, they can suggest great seating arrangement, and may even create lovely side areas for things like the food serving area, drinks bar, dancing space etc.
          *So, for your hall, I think you should do a nice seating and table arrangement that will incorporate the big space. Your decor vendors can help.

    • 150? that sounds like only the family of yourself and your spouse, then like 10 friends.

      • Hi Toju, believe it or not, many couples are opting for very small low-key, private weddings – not only celebrities (like Toke Makinwa, Stephanie Okereke). In In some cases, affordability forces couples to trim down their wedding size; why invite everyone if you can’t feed them. And, there’s nothing wrong with the usual big, Nigerian weddings with huge guest list. It’s your wedding and only you (and your budget/ pocket) can decide how big or small your guest list should be.

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