How to Plan Small Wedding in Nigeria and Still Wow Your Guests (Part 1)

Small, intimate weddings with less than 100 guests – such as singer Simi, OAP Toke Makinwa and actress Stephanie Okereke’s intimate celebrity weddings – are becoming common in Nigeria. The advantages of keeping a wedding small and intimate are many. By the way, did you know that having fewer wedding guests can result to a quality, personal wedding celebration and an opportunity to spend your budget on the things that matter most to you, while down-playing or skipping others, and also giving your guests the best time. In this post, I’ll show you how you to organize a classy, low-key and simple Nigerian wedding that will wow your guests.

bride in wedding gown facing groom in dark wedding suit
Image: Courtesy of Adebayo Deru Wedding Photographer
 

Here are 7 small wedding ideas to help you organize an intimate but classy Nigerian-style wedding with fewer guests:

In a previous article, I told you that there are 2 different types of small weddings – and why you need to be clear on which type you want have, in order to get your planning right. Once you know the type of small Nigerian wedding you want, follow the steps below to plan it:

#1. Set the Wedding Date

You need to have this date at the back of your mind when renting venue, shopping or hiring vendors – everything must be done and completed in good time, before this date. Most brides get stressed because of the rush when their wedding date is close by and a lot has not been done. So. it helps starting right after the marriage proposal/ engagement.

#2. Keep the Parents Informed Early

Every Nigerian parent has been looking forward to that day when they would call everyone they know to the wedding ceremony of their child – you know, they love it the-bigger-the-merrier. So, it can be hard convincing a Nigerian parent that their son/ daughter wants to have few wedding guests – why would anyone want to deprive them of the joy of sharing a family celebration with plenty, which had always been the ‘tradition’. To avoid, or reduce, protests from close families, and also ensure that they cut down their guest list, it is advised that you let both families (bride’s and groom’s) know ahead of time that you want a small intimate wedding.

#3: Keep Your Budget Small

Make a spending budget, but keep it small. Prioritize your expenses by spending the most money on the things that matter most to you, and spend the least money on other not-so-important areas – that’s how to have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, on a small budget. For example: if your top priority is having a designer gown and you’re least concerned about bringing a music band, then you may want to splurge on the designer wedding dress and then hire a DJ instead of a band. Another example: if your top priority is having a World class wedding photographer cover your big day, and you’d rather use your father’s backyard as the wedding venue, then by all means do so. It’s all about splurging on your top priority and keeping other areas low key. Remember, it’s not appropriate to cut corners when it comes to catering for your guests.

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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.

Comments

  1. Hi, I’m Victoria. Thanks for the post.
    How feasible is it to plan for an average wedding between now and December? Plus (I honestly don’t know why I’m asking you this) , how do I deal with the sudden nervousness (and anxiety, quite frankly) I feel from the mere thought of planning for and having a wedding? Is it even normal?

    • Hello Victoria, thanks for coming around to read our post, and thanks for your question. Here are my thoughts:
      -Planning a wedding on short notice is stressful but it’s feasible. I wrote you detailed steps or checklist of things to do when planning a wedding in 3 or 4 months. Be sure to read it.
      -On getting anxiety and feeling nervous during wedding planning, the truth is that it is normal. Most brides or anyone getting married or planning their own wedding feels that way, especially close to the wedding date. Seeing that there are many things to do and haven’t yet been done stirs up panic and the feeling of ‘where do I even start from?’; ‘is it even possible to finish the to-dos before the D-date?’.
      >Here are some tips (below) that can help you deal with that nervous feeling. I also wrote you a post on it. You can read more tips on how to deal with wedding planning stress and anxiety:
      -To-Do List will keep you organized.
      -Keep your wedding simpler and smaller than you planned, to make managing and planning easier and less stressful. Consider trimming down your guest count so the wedding (food and drinks) will cost less
      -Skip any not-must-have wedding detail or idea that’s stressing you or just delay it to be done later. Start with only the things you enjoy doing and delegate the things you don’t.
      -Focus on only the things that really matter and Skip any small-small unnecessary shiny wedding details that are not a must, and which may be giving you stress to figure out how to provide for them at the wedding.
      -Involve other people. Don’t try to do everything alone. Ask for help.
      -Take breaks in between planning to have fun.

  2. Hello,pls can 1million be enough to host 200 guests in a white wedding?

    • Hello Mimi, yes, of course. 1 Million Naira can give you a pretty nice white wedding in Nigeria.

      I like that you have also fixed your guest count (200). That will make it easy for you to plan for the rest of the things based on that number, like: food and drinks for 200 number of people; hall that can occupy 200 people etc.
      >>With your guest count in mind, you also will be able to determine the taste/ class you can afford for every wedding area: e.g. with 200 guests, you will know whether you can afford the high-class hotel venue or the modest garden venue; or whether you can afford the N10k/ plate caterer with more menu options or the N5k or even N3k per plate caterer with fewer menu options.

      >You’ll need to start by allocating that money to specific wedding things, so that you’ll have food and drinks budget, couple’s outfit budget, venue budget etc. This chart below may help (it’s our updated wedding budget breakdown GUIDE), but feel free to tweak things to suit you – it’s only a guide:
      40% food/ drinks/ cake
      12% venue hire & rentals; & décoration
      23% couple’s outfits/ fashion, rings
      6% invites, prog, souvenirs
      15% entertainment & photography – DJ/ live band, MC, photographer, video coverage
      4% Miscellaneous/ anything that comes up, or that you forgot

      Hope that helps.

  3. how much will be enough for a small traditional and white wedding which will be held in a day and how do I go about it?
    thank you

    • Hello Charity,
      The amount of money that will be enough depends on your pocket, your taste, and how many people you want to invite.
      -High taste for type of venue, type of food and type of outfits you want will make your cost higher. Each guest costs money (one plate of food plus drinks), and so more guests equal increased cost.
      -TASTE: Wedding gowns have high and low prices – if you choose the higher priced gown, your wedding cost would increase. | Some wedding food caterers provide N2k per plate of food and a drink, while some provide N5k for same. Which one is your taste? The one you choose is how much it adds to your wedding cost.
      FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO COME UP WITH HOW MUCH TO SPEND ON YOUR NIGERIAN WEDDING:
      STEP 1 is to set a an amount you intend to spend, NEXT is to set a number for how many people to invite.
      STEP 2: Add FOOD BUDGET: Research how much each guest would cost you (per plate and a drink) and multiply that with the number of people you want to invite. If the amount is too high, reduce the number of guests until you get a number that your money can afford.
      STEP 3: Add venue cost (go around and price some venues, and choose the one that meets your taste and pocket).
      STEP 4: Add bride and groom’s attire cost
      STEP 5: Add the cost of MC/ DJ/ hall decorator etc.

      That’s how much your wedding will cost. No one can tell you how much will be enough, when we don’t know how much you have in your account. Lol. We can only guide you, but you are the one to decide how much to spend, because you are the one with the money for the wedding.

      See our White Wedding Planning Checklist (Things to Do)
      Nigerian Traditional Wedding Planning Checklist

      Hope that helps.

  4. Hi Stella, thank you for your post. I’m really looking at having a low-key, small but classy wedding in November(because the rains are over then). I need ideas on the important things to get at the early stage like type of boxes, items to be in them etc.
    Thank you
    Bimbo

  5. Kemisola says

    My name is Kemi am about to get married but the problem now is I was told to have a mini wedding engagement which will b done in a sitting room and a court wedding but dont know aw to plan this

    • Hello Kemi, and Congrats. Thanks for reading and for your question. It’s similar to planning a wedding, but really scaled down and can be planned in a week or less, or a few more weeks, if it’s going to be bigger than a sitting-room arangement. Here’s a sample checklist:
      Fix a date > Decide location > Decide how many guests AND write down names of people to invite > Food & Drinks: what will you serve + who and who will cook OR which caterer to use OR where will you order the food >Notify caterers or helpers of the day > Notify guests via text or whatsapp or call or Invitations > Decide what to wear and get outfits ready > Book a photographer for the day (a professional and/ or friends/ family).

      Hope that helps.

  6. Kemisola says

    My name is Kemi am about to get married but the problem now is I was told to have a mini wedding engagement which will b done in a sitting room and a court wedding wedding but dont know aw to plan this

    • Hello Kemi, you didn’t tell me whether the two events would be same day, or not. Well, let me assume they would, as that is how most couples do it. If so, you’d be having one single reception party for both the Court wedding and the engagement.
      >In that case, the sitting-room-size wedding engagement does not require any special preparation – just plan to have food and drinks for the small number of people there.
      >For the combined reception party, it’s still same planning steps like any other wedding, starting with you SETTING a BUDGET (how much do you want to spend for it).
      >Next is to make a list of things to spend the money on – usual things are outfits, photo and video coverage, MC, DJ, venue decoration, food and drinks, wedding cake, venue (See our full list of usual expenses during wedding planning).
      >Once you have your list, next is to allocate an amount limit on each item -to guide you not spend your whole money on a few things only. A rough idea is to spend half of your total wedding money on your outfits/ fashion, photo/ video coverage, MC, DJ or Live Music band, venue decoration, bride’s hair and makeup.
      >Allocate the other half to Catering (food and drinks), Venue, Wedding Cake and Invitation cards (you may even text out the invites if the guest number is very few)..
      You did not tell me how much you have to spend for the Court wedding reception party, but if it’s small, you should feel free to take out some unnecessary expenses that do not apply. For example, if you would use your backyard, then, you’ve got extra savings. If you’ll use a friend for MC and/ or DJ, that’s extra savings for you.

      Hope that helps.

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