8 Wedding Reception Mistakes in Nigeria & How to Avoid Them

How well you planned your big day will play out at your wedding reception, right there in front of your guests.  For a wedding reception in Nigeria to be without woes, there are a few things you need to know to avoid.  Every bride dreams of a perfect wedding but after their tying the knot, many would reveal a couple of things they wished they had done differently.  I am going to reveal those common wedding regrets with you – so you don’t make the same mistakes.

You will learn about the 8 costly mistakes that Nigerian couples make while planning their wedding reception. Surprisingly, this pattern of disasters happens frequently at weddings in Nigeria. Some are the fault and negligence of the couple and others are not.  I’ll also tell you what to do to avoid each type of wedding reception mistake so that you can have a wedding reception you will be forever proud of.  What you’ll learn from this article can save you stress, money and shame, while you prepare for own wedding. Read on.

image of an igbo man with wife during their igbo traditional wedding

Part of having a detailed white wedding planning checklist and a traditional marriage planning checklist is to know in advance every possible emergency that can possibly happen, and take proactive measures to avoid them. being ignorant is the beginning of a wedding reception disasters.  I have attended many Nigerian wedding events, and seen tons of tardiness in some supposedly ‘big people’s weddings’. Wedding reception woes leave a bad memory in the couples, and will for long be an item to talk about by the guests. I’m sure you have witnessed a couple of such weddings in Nigeria. The purpose of this article is to keep you well informed in advance so that you can have a disaster-free wedding reception.

The practical tips and advice in the post will help you prevent every possible unpleasant surprises and vendor disappointments that may (and usually) happen before and during weddings. I want you to have a no-ugly-surprises wedding and so this article takes a look at what normally goes wrong in Naija weddings and what you can do to make yours classy. Below is the list of 7 things to avoid and how.

The Top Wedding Planning Mistakes Nigerian Brides Make

#1. Underestimating or Not Budgeting for Uninvited Guests

If your wedding location will be in Nigeria, don’t underestimate the number of guests that show up.  It’s one thing to pre-plan with a specific guest count, but what if some guests bring other people along? What if there are random strangers who just strolled in? And, at Nigerian weddings, there are always random strangers and guests bringing extras – if the couple did not plan what to do.

Underestimating the number of guests that will crash into a wedding is a common mistake brides make when planning their reception.  It’s a long-time acceptable thing for guests to invite extra people to weddings they are invited to, without asking the bride or groom.  This was because everyone used to know everyone, and money was not an issue then.  These days, not everyone planning a wedding is rich, and not having a limit to the number of guests to host, your reception party will look like it’s unplanned.

One bride told me this about her wedding day: The venue’s maximum capacity is 200 but 500 showed up.  The caterer prepared jollof rice and chicken for 200 people, but the food is finished and your friends who flew in from Lagos have not been served.  The problem: most invited guests came with extra people and you didn’t imagine it.

Most Nigerian weddings record up to 30% uninvited guests, usually because your invited friends and family asked one or more family or friend to accompany them.  Some married guests show up with their husbands/ wives and children (an average of two) – one invitation card, four guests.


  • Make a list of the guests you want to invite.  Don’t forget to get your parents’ guest count and list.  The guest number you should plan the wedding with is: your list + your fiance’s list + your parents’ list;  
  • To ensure you have a quality wedding reception, either plan/ budget in advance for the uninvites and gate-crashers (if you’ll have an open-invite wedding) OR have an invite-only wedding and hire bouncers/ security to keep off uninvited guests OR;
  • Locate your wedding at a hotel venue outside a populated neighbourhood in your city OR;
  • To avoid offending your neighbours of village people, locate your wedding at a slightly far hotel venue and arrange for a bus or two to transport the important guests (that way, you can cut down on familiar but not invited persons strolling in).

Here’s why the number of guests at Nigerian weddings exceeds what the couples planned for:

  • Expect that each of your married guests with kids will arrive with an average of 2 kids and that puts that one invitation to about five persons. Plan in advance for these extras by adding 20% to 30% to the number of guests you actually invited.  You should make that provision because most Nigerian wedding guests will show up with their friends or family. So, if you will not have bouncers restricting people without invitation cards, or if most of your guests have kids, budget for “the uninvites”.
  • Also, there will be gate-crashers, people you never even gave invitation cards to. I recommend that you expect that an extra 10% more people will come from totally, random strangers. That’s what happens at most Nigerian weddings without security at the reception gate.

Keep this advice of over-budgeting in mind, when you make your guest list and plan your catering and venue space budget. In Nigeria, unless you have a strict by-invitation-only rule, know that one invitation card is likely to bring an average of 2 extra guests. That way, if you want to invite 100 people, you may send out 30 to 35 invitation cards OR put security at your reception entrance.


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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.




    • Congrats on the upcoming wedding, Racheal. Stay tuned to our blog posts as we plan to write an article series on ‘best colour combos for Nigerian weddings’.
      Thanks for coming around, and be sure to make use of our free wedding planning tools here https://naijaglamwedding.com/wedding-planning-tools/ – they’ll help you save time and make planning your wedding easier.

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