3. Set the Date and Venue
Pick date and place for the customary Nigerian pre-wedding introduction to the bride’s family (aka door knocking to ask extended family for the bride’s hand in marriage) as well as a date for the formal traditional engagement (aka traditional engagement).
4. Finalize the Date with Parents
Confirm parents and important family members’ availability on the chosen date for your customary Nigerian traditional marriage rites and ceremony. If the date is not conducive to any of the parents or they have already committed to other activities for your date, consider choosing a different date suitable to all your most important people.
5. Set a Budget for the Traditional Wedding
Decide how much you can afford to spend (set a spending limit) and then make a budget for the traditional wedding, including the customary bridal family gifts list and the traditional wedding reception.
*NOTE that how much to spend on the customary engagement list is FIXED and not within your control. The only way to know how much is to take the list to the market and ask prices for each item, and later add up costs in order to come up with how much it will cost.
- Ask In Advance: Before setting a traditional wedding budget, you (both bride & groom) may want to nicely ask your parents and also ask wealthy relatives (Aunties and Uncles) if they are willing to support you financially. If so, ask how much they are looking to contribute. *NOTE: This asking-for-support is only likely to work if you ask them way ahead of time (about 6 months to a year before your planned trad wedding date), as they obviously have other money obligations and need to plan for you.
- Add the Numbers: After you and your significant other have got monetary gifts from parents and family members, add up the numbers and then add that to what you have to see how much overall money you have to plan your wedding with.
*NOTE (again): With traditional weddings, there are two groups of costs to budget or plan for: (i) money to take care of the customary ‘engagement list’ items, and (ii) money for the traditional wedding reception (with Igbo traditional weddings, this is known as ‘Igba Nkwu‘).
- Make a Budget for the Traditional Engagement List: You should have an amount set out for getting items in the customary engagement list because it is FIXED based on the list you’re given. You can’t control what to spend here. Focus on saving costs by realistic scaling your Igba Nkwu according to your pocket size. ALSO;
- Make a Budget for the Traditional Wedding Reception Party: On this one, you can cut costs as you like. How much you spend on this one depends on your taste and how much you can afford. It can be a parlour/ living room party affair (yes, many people do it) or a big party or medium size party. There’s no rule – let the amount of money you already own determine how big (or small) your wedding reception should be. If you’re low on cash, consider fixing both your traditional and white wedding on same day. That way, you will save a lot of money, time and stress.
6. Make a Guest List on Paper (Write it Down)
Decide if you want to invite your ‘town friends and office colleagues’ to the traditional wedding (if it will be in the village). How many friends will you invite? Remember that food and drinks cost money per invited guests, and so more people means more money to spend. [Read: How to determine how many guests to invite to your traditional wedding];
7. Purchase the Traditional Engagement List Items
Buy the items listed in the customary traditional wedding list. To save costs, buy items from markets closer to the trad wedding location – and save costs to transport the goods.
That means you may travel a few days before the wedding to make the purchase or send money to parents or trusted relatives to shop for you. You may only buy from your location a few selected items that are cheaper there.