#4 Giving In to Unsolicited Wedding Vendors
Nigerian parents and families have generally been planning awesome weddings since forever – without external vendors. It used to be that everything is done by people in the family, and family members go ahead and get wedding service providers/ vendors involved in one’s wedding without asking if you like that vendor. While they do these with good intentions, their taste may not be the same as yours. This video (below) illustrates what typically happens in Nigeria when couples are planning their weddings their way, and parents are making the choice of vendors (with good intentions, though) without consulting the celebrants.
During wedding planning in Nigeria, expect that your uncle, aunty, and cousins will highly recommend or pitch themselves or their friends to be hired as vendors or want to offer the service for free. RISKY, because if they fail to deliver, you can’t do anything about getting a refund and repeat your wedding event. Well, except they are in that business. Some wedding services to be strict about using tried and tested professionals include photography, DeeJay and wedding makeup.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
If you’re planning a wedding on a tight budget, cut down the cost of one or more not-must-have-something, such as souvenir, or forget about it altogether, so that you can add that extra money to provide a better quality must-have wedding things, such as pictures. It’s better to have a quality few things than crappy everything. For example, souvenirs are not mandatory, live bands are optional – although, nice to have only if you have a large enough budget. Also, you must not do video coverage of the wedding – if your budget is tight. If, after your wedding, you cannot boast of perfect quality print-picture and photo album, no one will remember or praise you for having the reigning musician play live band at your wedding or for giving out expensive souvenirs. So, don’t be cheap on the must-haves such as a good photographer, bubbly DJ that will light up the dance floor, and good food.
Good, tried and tested vendors are not cheap but there’s a way to afford them. Here’s an idea to infuse quality into a low-cost wedding: do not do souvenirs and do not hire a live band. So, cutting out those two items will provide you with more money to spend on a better DJ and a good photographer, which normally cost more.
For a low-cost Nigerian wedding, instead of trying to do both video and print photography, why not skip videos, and add that money to getting better quality pictures. I’ve seen couples who tried to get both a cheap videographer who also was paid as the photographer end up not seeing printed photos long after the wedding. The photographer and video-coverage vendor started ignoring their calls. The couple ends up becoming ‘pictureless’ (as one of our readers told me of her sister’s wedding experience) or if they’re lucky, they only viewed digital copies of their wedding pictures and never saw print copies, or received dark and blurry picture-quality photos that made them weep.
- RELATED: Real-Life Wedding Photography Sad Stories from Real Brides
- 10 Tips for Choosing a Good Wedding Photographer that Will Deliver
#5. Hiring ‘Jack-of-all-Trade’ Vendors
This is a common mistake we see Nigerian brides make when planning their weddings. The cake woman will tell you that she’s an expert in all things chop-chop (food, small chops, swallows, cakes and continental dishes). Sometimes, the same vendor is hired to do venue decoration and makeup and cake. Please, by all means, do not put your eggs in one same basket, when it comes to hiring a wedding vendor in Nigeria.
These kinds of vendors are sometimes a one-man-show, sometimes hiring extremely cheap assistants. It’s always a hit or miss. In some cases, these types of vendors do not show up or show up very late – because they have also booked a couple of other weddings that happen to be fixed on the same date and time.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Except if that vendor will offer you free services, say No. To be safe, hire one vendor for one specific thing only. If not, you are likely to get disappointed by her ‘we will give you a discount’ story because any other vendor will give you a discount if you ask. Don’t even If you’ll be billed for each service, hiring separate wedding service providers for each service is one of the best ways to ensure there are no ugly surprises at the wedding.
#6. Food Time is Chaos
Mealtime is usually Item number 7 in most Nigerian wedding program of the event. At poorly planned Nigerian weddings where the number of guests at the reception exceeds the number that was planned for, mealtime can usually be rowdy and take too long (thereby extending the entire reception duration). Aside from that guests are too many, another reason for meal-time taking too long is that the couple did not have enough servers (for sit-down meals) or that there were not enough service lines. This situation is frustrating for guests and makes the couple appear like cheap people who are only interested in collecting gifts brought by guests.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
- Hire a big-enough hall so there’s free-flow of people during food time (
- Get enough food servers to avoid chaos during ‘item 7’ (i.e. menu time) hire more than 1 caterer to ensure that even if caterer number 1 fails small or big, you’re not disgraced
- If you have a small reception hall/ venue, avoid buffet-style meals; and if your hall is big, ensure that there are multiple serving stations.
#7. Food Is Not Enough for Guests on Ground (Chaos)
Again, when a couple did not plan for un-invites or simply did not plan their wedding catering with a specific guest count, the usual scene is a reception hall where over 30% of the guests leave without being served food. The drinks, food or meat will not go round and your friends and colleagues will think you’re stingy and only invited them to get their gifts.
How would you feel if some guests brought you gifts but it appears you did not take care of them? This happens at many Nigerian weddings, but you can avoid it by following the tips below.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Budget for 30% more people than you invited to cater for the invited guests. You can either budget and cater for the uninvited guests OR do a strictly-by-invitation wedding.
The high percentage of uninvited guests at Nigerian weddings is due to a culture thing here. Everyone that knows the bride or groom or lives near the reception venue assumes they are invited, and also bring extra people along. Almost every Nigerian, even you, has done this before, and so expect it at your own wedding.
#8. The Reception Starts Late or Takes Too Long
If your venue is far apart from your reception venue, most of your guests will turn up late – because there’ll always be traffic jam challenges or a long time to get a bus/ taxi (especially in the big cities). Even you (the bride and groom may arrive late and the wedding may be delayed for up to one hour or more, with the excuse of Nigerian time. Find out what usually makes brides late at their wedding and how to avoid them.
Also, wedding guests hate receptions that drag on forever. Your guests have other things to do after your wedding, keep that in mind. So, ensure to keep yours not longer than 4 hours – even if it’s a combined reception party for your traditional and white wedding.
WHAT TO DO: Find a reception hall near your church/ religious wedding venue so that you’ll reach the reception on time, no matter what happens. Also, find a hotel near your wedding venue and couple to check into a hotel suite a day before their wedding – and leave to the wedding venue.
Do Everything to Avoid the Common Wedding Reception Planning Mistakes in Nigeria
Guests hate to show up at a wedding reception, only to discover that event venue and decoration look shabby as if it was hurriedly setup. Guests also hate it when they are seated at your reception and see how the MC is rambling on and on with dry and annoying jokes as if you did not check out his past MC works before hiring him. They also hate how the DJ’s music playlist is so boring with some songs not suitable for your type of guests – making the guests feel you just hired that DJ the morning of your wedding and didn’t brief him. Guests hate when they had to line up for very long just to get food and then the food was not tasty as expected of party food. At some Nigerian weddings, guests hate when the servers are doing ‘jump and pass’ to serve food only too familiar faces – and they wonder why you bothered inviting them to humiliate them. At such weddings, guests think the wedding was a fail and they just wonder why you could make these avoidable wedding reception mistakes.
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.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the types of mistakes that lead to wedding reception party disasters in Nigeria, and the actions you can implement to avoid them on your big day. For your big day, don’t forget to have your chief bridesmaid pack a bridal emergency kit, to quickly fix any little emergency that may arise. That one is like keeping a fire extinguisher on the ground.
Be sure to read part 2 of this ‘common Nigerian wedding mistakes’ series to read about the ugly wedding surprises you should watch out for. Finally, if you found this post helpful, please help share it on social media. Also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and also subscribe to our Glam Wedding Newsletter so that you’ll be the first to know whenever we make a new article on the latest wedding planning tips and new wedding guest fashion styles.
Now over to you – have you been to any Nigerian wedding reception that did not go well or had any of the disasters described in the post (above)? I’d love to hear them – comment below to share your experience.