Save Wedding Costs: 9 Smart Ideas for Planning a Low Budget Nigerian Wedding

Want a fancy wedding but have 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 didn’t 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.  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 – scroll down to see the 9 clever ideas you can apply to save costs while planning a low budget Naija wedding.

couple in white traditional wedding attire
Photo Credit: Wedding Photography by Obi Nwokedi

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 a 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 cake.

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.

#2: Rent a Cheap Wedding Venue

Pay less on venue by renting a cheap town hall or an open field/ garden. Have your wedding in the morning or afternoon of a week day, 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.

#4: Put Together Your Own Personal Planning Team

If you can’t afford a wedding planner, assign one of your super-organized friend as your wedding coordinator. This person should be a 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 wedding planning itinerary checklist/timelines and phone number of all your vendors to work with, – and you can be the wedding project manager, following up with everyone who’s helping you, while using our wedding day itinerary as a guide to when every task must be done by.

#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. Then have tables and chairs covered in a simple colour cover cloths. Did you know that the wedding cake is also part of a wedding decoration, so that when you set a wedding cake with simple-design in your reception venue, it adds to set the room. 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.

#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.

#9: Your Groom Could Wear a Pre-Owned 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.

Which Wedding Cost-Saving Method Do You Like Best?

Now you know our 9 smart ways to reduce the cost of your Nigerian wedding without looking cheap. This article is a the second part in our series on smart ideas for saving costs when planning a classy, small Nigerian wedding – be sure to read the part 1 – 9 Steps to Reduce Wedding Cost and Still Have Quality

Now tell me, which of the above things are you going to do, and which have already done to save money in 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.

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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.


  1. Am having headache on the souvenirs to get,must there be souvenirs anyway

    • Hello Dora, thanks for reading our wedding planning tips and commenting.

      No, there must not be souvenirs at weddings – it is optional.

      We advice to focus on the things that matter most to your guests and would make them feel your wedding was the best wedding party they have ever been to, and souvenirs are on the bottom list. Think of it, if you nailed the souvenirs and the MC, music, food and ambiance of your wedding is not fun enough, no one would remember the souvenir – guests would leave bored and gossip well. Besides, at Nigerian weddings, the quantity of souvenirs are usually not enough to get to all guests.

      Wedding planning should be fun for the bride, and so, you should cut out anything that gives you headache OR just keep the souvenirs simple if you must have it. An idea could be to do it last, if there’s time OR delegate your friends or close family members to help out with suggesting or shopping for appropriate souvenirs (take that stress off you or strike it out).

  2. Really great ideas.
    Now planning doesn’t look like so much of an uphill task.

    • I’m happy to hear that from you. Promoting (low) budget weddings in Nigeria is our goal here – to remove the ‘fear’and ‘mystery’from Nigerian wedding planning. Let us know how it goes. Happy planning.

  3. Thanks for the various articles especially the ones on cost-saving, has really been helpful for me as I’m planning a low-budget wedding.

    Thanks again…

    • You’re welcome, Fisayo. It gladdens my heart that our tips were of help to your wedding planning. Thanks for your feedback, and be sure to read our other articles on how to save cost when planning a Nigerian wedding. Oh, and we also have plenty of wedding fashion and style ideas for brides-to-be, guests’ aso-ebi and bridesmaids – come by to read them.

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