Want a fancy wedding but have a low budget, and thinking of ideas to save costs? Let’s show you 9 smart ideas that stylish brides have successfully used to preparing for a Nigerian wedding that does not look cheap. Fun fact about wedding planning is that it’s not really about ‘how much’ (was spent), but ‘how well’ (it was planned). We’ve seen 1 million Naira weddings that looked and felt cheap, and we’ve also seen 500 thousand Naira weddings that looked elegant, and guests felt the couple spent over a million bucks – read on for tips to get your own low-cost wedding look expensive.
How to Plan a Low-Cost Nigerian Wedding in 9 Steps
Now, you may be thinking: where can I possibly cut down costs without sacrificing the quality of the wedding I have always dreamed of? If that sounds like you, then you’re the one I had in mind when writing this article – here are the 9 clever ideas you can apply to save costs while planning a low budget Naija wedding. I recommend that you print out this list and work through them one by one.
#1: Buy a Small Wedding Cake with a Few Tiers/ Steps
Save costs on wedding cakes by not overspending on cakes for display (at the reception) and photo snapping. There’s a smart way that even big weddings use to save on wedding reception cake, and still have big, tall layers of cake on display. We wrote detailed steps on how to use that method, in a previous article. The idea is to plan to make 2 different cakes at your wedding – a small but cute wedding cake with a few layers (tiers) display in the reception and second cake for the purpose of serving your guests.
The guests’ cakes should be plain (no icing, no decoration), because most adults (guests) do not eat the icing part of cakes. I’m sure you’ve seen icing left at the tables, after a wedding party. You can get big, plain cakes cheaper from any good cake store, supermarket or hotel pastry-shop to serve your guests. Icing and decorating costs money, and most guests do not eat icing. Why waste money on what no one wants?
Decorated, iced cakes cost more than plain cakes. Now that you’ve got plain cakes for your guests, you can spend less on the decorated, reception-display cake, by ordering a smaller sized cake-width with a few tiers and use the dummy-cake method to add more tiers and get an overall big, tall display case.
With the above clever hack, no guest will know the cake they ate is different from the one displayed, and you’ll score a big point by impressing guests who were happy to be served big cake portions and you also win by not paying an arm and leg for a big wedding cake to serve the entire guests. By the way, if you have or a talented friend or family member, you can ask them to help you bake the regular cake instead – so that you’ll further save money. Here are some money-saving wedding cake ideas:
#2: Rent a Cheap Wedding Venue
Pay less for a wedding venue by renting a cheap town hall or an open field/ garden. Have your wedding in the morning or afternoon of a weekday, and you’ll see less crowd that you can really afford to feed.
#3: DIY at Home Instead of Paying Wedding Vendors
Don’t buy everything, make some yourself. Ask your mom’s friends, aunties and close talented friends to help you with catering (food), baking the wedding cake, snacks (chin-chin, fried meat, moi-moi etc), souvenirs, MC etc – but please draw the boundary when it comes to photographers and makeup artistes – hire known experts on those ones because you won’t have a second wedding in case your makeup and photos didn’t come out right – and you want to be able to show people nice photos after the wedding. Some things you can do yourself at home include:
- Having relatives cook the wedding party jollof rice for your guests
#4: Put Together Your Own Personal Planning Team
If you can’t afford a wedding planner, assign one of your super-organized friends as your wedding coordinator. This person should be hands-on and known to (delight in planning everyone’s birthday parties) with the task of your wedding day coordination as well as your pre-wedding planning buddy. You gotta give that role to somebody if you don’t want to see your wedding going the way you didn’t anticipate. Be sure to give her the white wedding planning checklist\and phone number of all your vendors to work with, – and you can be the wedding planning project manager, responsible for following up with everyone who’s helping you while using our wedding day itinerary as a guide to know when every task must be done. Here are useful checklists:
- Traditional Wedding Checklist
- 3-Month Wedding Planning Checklist
- Same-Day Traditional and White Wedding Checklist
#5: Save Cost on Wedding Venue Decoration
Find an open field/ garden with a natural scene. Or a hall with neutral walls and floors – no dramatic wall and floor colours but with a great ambiance – so that your venue still looks amazing without needing any or an extensive decoration – and you’ll not have spent any money on venue decoration. Also have tables and chairs be covered in a simple neutral-coloured cover-cloth. Did you know that the wedding cake is also part of the wedding decoration so that when you place a simple wedding cake at your reception venue, that cake enhances the room decor? By all means avoid colour-riot, rainbow-coloured reception venue decor. The secret to appealing design and decoration is “less is more”.
#6: Hire a Good DJ instead of hiring a Live Music Band
Music bands are more expensive than a DJ – any day. So, don’t hire a live band, instead, get a good DJ – you’ll save money and your guests will have so much great time that you’ll have to beg them to stop dancing (long after the wedding party has come to an end). Please don’t choose a semi-pro DJ over a professional one, just because it’s cheaper – be ready to pay a little extra on getting a DJ that will get your guests up and dancing. An unprofessional DJ always dulls a wedding. Instead of hiring an amateur music band that your guests do not enjoy listening to, hire a good DJ that will make your guests never want to stop dancing. You can find a good DJ by using our tips on where and how to find good wedding vendors.
#7: Don’t Pay for a Master of Ceremony
Ask an eloquent or smooth-talker friend to be the MC on your special day.
#8: Rent a Wedding Gown Instead of Buying a New One
Rent a fairly-used (pre-owned) but trendy wedding gown. Not all rented wedding gowns look frumpy and old school. Some shops that sell wedding dresses also do hire some out, for a small fee. In fact, some of them are always buying new wedding dress styles and designs to add to their stock, and you may be lucky to be the first person to wear the one you choose. Look around different shops, ask other brides or even your bridesmaids if they know a place that hires out new styles of wedding gowns, and clean ones. In Nigeria, some event caterers and cake bakers also rent out fairly-used wedding gowns, but it’s more likely to find newer styles from bridal shops that sell wedding dresses. But still, look everywhere – you never know where your best-fit wedding gown is.
- ALSO: 5 Things to Know Before Buying a Wedding Gown
- 17 Wedding Gown Shopping Tips to Help You Find the ‘It Gown’ Faster
#9: Have Your Groom Wear a Pre-Owned, Previously-Worn Suit
Instead of buying a new wedding suit, your groom can wear an old, unworn suit that’s fit for the wedding occasion. There’s always that suit that hasn’t yet be worn, lying in your groom’s suitcase – because he had reserved it for a special occasion. After a while, he forgot about it. Ask him to check his suitcase.
- 5 Ways to Plan a Cheap But Fabulous Wedding
- 10 Unique Ideas to Get a Big-Girls Wedding on a Small Budget (Bougie on a Budget)
- How to Plan a Low-Key Wedding in Nigeria
- Simple Things to Do to Wow Guests When Planning a Small Wedding
Make Your Low-Cost Wedding a Memorable Experience
Now you know our 9 smart ways to reduce the cost of your Nigerian wedding without looking cheap. This article is a part of our series on smart ideas for saving costs when planning a classy, small Nigerian wedding. Be sure to read the first part – 9 Steps to Reduce Wedding Cost and Still Have a Quality Party.
Now tell me, which of the above things are you going to do, and which have already done to save money at your wedding? Or do you have any small wedding budget tips that I missed in the list above? Tell me in the comments box below.