How to Plan a Nigerian Wedding Without Ugly Surprises

Everyone loves a surprise, but only a good one. Unexpected problems make a wedding less perfect than it was planned to be. But some could have been prevented.  At weddings, sometimes, ugly surprises happen, and they come in different forms. In Nigeria, we see wedding receptions where the venue was noticeably hot or the music stopped because NEPA (power outage) struck, or guests were going outside to find toilets because there was not enough in the venue or they were dirty.

There are even more stories of different unexpected things that spoiled the fun at Nigerian weddings (we’ll talk about them down this article).  One of the reasons why planning is key with weddings is so that you can prevent every possible form of “things that could go wrong” or ‘ugly surprises to expect’ – which are revealed down this post.

bride planning her wedding day
Photo by Atunbi Photography

Having a list of likely wedding planning mistakes in Nigeria that other couples made, is where to start from – and recommended actions to take to prevent them. Many brides who plan their own weddings are not aware of this need.  Unfortunately, the lack of a list of what could go wrong always lead to ‘had I known’ regrets after a wedding.  In this post, I’ll reveal to you the 7 things that could go wrong at a Nigerian wedding and what you can do to prevent them at your own.

7 Things to Do When Planning a ‘No-Surprises Wedding’ in Nigeria

1. Avoid Hiring No-Show Vendors

Unprofessional Nigerian wedding vendors are known to spring up surprises at wedding receptions, and not showing up is the biggest of such.  The good news is that there are ways to avoid this (tips below).

There are many Nigerian wedding horror stories where a vendor either arrived very late or did not show up at all, and was ignoring every phone call.  One bride told me of how her reception venue decorator sent an apprentice/ trainee to do the job she had long been fully paid for.

Wouldn’t you be surprised and broken if that happened to you?  None of these brides expected that to happen, but it did and you can learn from their reception planning mistakes.


  • When choosing vendors to entrust the provision of services at your wedding reception, only hire tried and tested vendors.  Don’t just hire the first one you find, instead talk to a couple of vendors, visit their work locations and see pictures from their past wedding jobs, and ask to talk to some of their past clients to get a feel of how well they delivered.
  • When inquiring about the quality of any vendor’s product or service, ask around about their on-the-day-of-wedding behaviors and work ethics. Even if a wedding vendor is very good quality-wise, it’s no guarantee of their customer service. Hiring good vendors in the same town, near your reception venue is a good idea to ensure they will arrive early. Stay tuned to this blog for our series on ‘how to hire good wedding vendors and questions to ask before’.
  • For a detailed guide on where to find vendors and how to choose a good one, as well as what to look out for, read our Nigerian wedding vendors selection guide.

2. Avoid Renting a Stuffy Reception Hall

Many Nigerian weddings would have been perfect, except that their reception hall turned out stuffy in the middle of their celebration.  This too can be avoided (tips below).

Wouldn’t you be shocked if you arrived at your wedding reception and many of your guests are fanning themselves with your program of events, because some fans or air-conditioners are not working? Maybe some guests are leaving the reception hall to get some air outside because there are not enough fans for the number of people in the venue.

That sounds horrible but happens at many Nigerian weddings, sometimes because the couple did not do a physical inspection of the venue and test of the adequacy and functionality of the facilities on the ground.


  • Before putting down money on your wedding venue, ensure to do a physical venue inspection. No matter how new or how beautiful the venue is, do that.
  • Be sure to see and test all their on-site facilities. Ask to be taken around and test different facilities and utilities to determine if they function well.
    • Ask them how many people the venue can seat at its maximum capacity. Can the venue realistically accommodate the number of guests you’ll invite and still have space for the dance-floor and free movement?
    • How many toilets are available for guests to use?  Are the numbers enough? Do all the toilets flush?
    • Are all the fans and air-conditioners working and cooling? Avenue may be airy or cool, but stuffy and not airy enough when there are many people. So, look around to confirm the adequacy of ACs and fans.
    • Where will the DeeJay (DJ) setup? Are there working electrical wall sockets to use?
    • Do a lighting and sound/ mic check;
    • Repeat the site check again, 2 to 4 weeks before your big day because you can’t guarantee it will still work;

3. Confirm Venue Has Backup Power (Generators) that Works

What an ugly surprise it always is when NEPA strikes in the middle of a fun wedding, and thirty minutes later the wedding is still without light and sound.  We have been to weddings where everywhere was cool and the music is playing and people are dancing, and suddenly there’s power (electricity) failure.  Next, everyone is feeling hot and fanning themselves, and there are distractions and some noise.  This is not a classy situation at all, but you can avoid it (tips below).


  • During the wedding venue inspection tour, be sure to ask about the availability of generators.  Ask to see it. Does it work? Do your due diligence – confirm from their staff and others who have previously used that wedding venue.
  • Confirm whether they turn on the generator, in the event, there’s a power outage? Also, confirm that the power generator supplies the hall or outdoor space you are looking to rent for the wedding.
  • Ask them how long does the generator take to power the venue after an outage? An automatic changeover is preferred, where the power outage is not that noticeable.


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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.

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