Stop delaying and postponing your wedding forever because you have small money, because in this post you will learn how to plan the wedding of your dreams with the small money that you (already) have – without borrowing.
We’ve heard of brides who borrow to buy the most expensive wedding dress, rent the most popular and expensive event venue in town, order the tallest wedding cake from the most popular baker in Nigeria and hire a celebrity makeup artist. We admit that it is very tempting to want to be like that but there’s a way to have a beautiful and memorable wedding without going broke. Read on to discover the 5 ideas to seriously cut your wedding cost without it looking cheap.
Many engaged and about-to-marry couples are afraid that they cannot organize a decent wedding with their little cash savings of their own. If you feel that way, I can understand. We blame the big-name society weddings (that we see on Instagram, BellaNaija website and Ovation magazine) influencing lots of even not-rich Nigerian brides to host lavish weddings beyond what they can afford – just to ‘trend on Instagram’.
Now, let me tell you the truth – you can still pull a fabulous wedding with small money – and you can get glam photography to show off IF you set your priorities right, and follow a few smart tips that we highlight in this article. Read on for our 5 practical tips on how to make your small money work for your Nigerian wedding.
1. Rent Wedding Outfits for the Bride and Groom
If you’re on a low budget, consider renting your wedding gown instead of buying a new one. Your groom may want to search his suitcase for that new, never worn (or hardly worn), forgotten suit he’s been saving for a very special occasion – and so, he doesn’t have to buy a new wedding suit.
If you start wedding planning early, take advantage of discounts offered by bridal stores and online wedding sites such as David’s Bridal. Many bridal shops offer wedding gowns on huge discounts during the sales and trunk sales seasons. You can further save on the wedding gown by choosing simpler designs – as the more elaborate a wedding gown is (e.g. beads, embroidery, crystals etc), the more expensive it would be.
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2. Borrow Wedding Fashion Accessories
Did you know that a bride is supposed to have at least one ‘something borrowed’ for her wedding day? That’s what tradition says – well, in Onyibo-land, anyway. Well, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing a few wedding fashion and accessories from your mom or aunt, or one or a few close friends. Save money by borrowing whatever you can – you’d be surprised that no one will know. Borrow your mom’s occasion jewellery for your traditional wedding. Borrow anything else you can, from close family and friends – instead of buying. One of my friends borrowed another friend’s wedding gown for her wedding day, and even close friends (who knew both of them) did not recognize it.
3. Invite a Few Guests But Take Care of the Uninvited
If you want a low-cost wedding or simply want to have an intimate event, then plan to have two separate events – a small reception party for a few close friends and family, and then organize a separate, cheap party (call it a luncheon or post-wedding party) for the many people you didn’t invite – that is, if you feel guilty about not inviting everyone to the main wedding party.
- RELATED: How to Reduce Your Guest List to Match Your Wedding Budget
- How to Know Your Wedding Cost From Number of Guests
4. Make it Hard for Wedding Crashers and Uninvited Guests
If your wedding budget can only cater for 100 people, the only way to ensure that uninvited guests won’t eat half of the food is to make it hard for uninvited gate-crashers. We know that some will still pass through, but it is a good idea to plan to do something while adding some extra food and drinks just in case…
Position mean bouncers at your wedding reception gate. Hahaha – well, that would work but most people will gossip that you’re stingy. Instead, consider other graceful ways of keeping out unwanted guests away from your wedding party. One way is to have a destination wedding at a location in a high-brow residential area (where people are not into wedding crashing). Destination weddings are not only when it’s abroad; you can also have your wedding in your village/ home state if you work in a different state (to cut down guests and reduce cost).
Another way is to find a free or cheap venue to cut down on venue costs (so that you’ll have more money to spend on food and drinks). Another way is to have a ‘strictly by invitation’ wedding for very few people (but be sure to have bouncers at the gate) – if you do it that way, you can later throw a parlour party with drinks and home-cooked food for those neighbours and friends who you did not invite – that way, everyone would be happy (again).
5. Go on a Simple, Inexpensive Honeymoon
We always tell our brides to take a honeymoon – no matter how low-key. If you start planning early, you can have a great honeymoon with small money – because you would spend less money on a flight if you book far ahead, as most international hotels offer lots of discounts if you book early and during their sales or off-peak periods. Smart and savvy Nigerian couples have used this idea to have a cheap honeymoon in Dubai without anyone knowing they didn’t spend so much.
Key Takeaway: How to Make Small Money Work When Planning a Nigerian Wedding
You don’t have to borrow or take a bank loan to host a lavish Nigerian wedding just to trend on Instagram and start your marriage broke. It is very tempting but if you follow the above tips you can seriously cut your wedding cost without looking cheap.
Now, you know the truth is that every week, savvy Nigerian couples manage to put together a glam wedding without spending too much – you too can. I expect you to use the above practical ideas to achieve a fabulous Nigerian wedding with small money.
Here are the things I want you to take away from this article:
- Don’t go over-the-top with buying expensive designer wedding attire – instead, find a similar style in not-expensive labels.
- Borrow whatever you can – especially wedding fashion accessories. Your mum will be happy to open the bottom of her trinket box to let you borrow that expensive coral bead necklace that she has only worn twice (because there has never been the right occasion to wear it).
- Invite a few people – according to your budget.
- Focus on giving your guests a good time and your wedding will be remembered as fabulous.
- Make it a priority to hire a very good photographer – I have been to many small weddings that were held in regular venues, but the pictures looked like they were from a Celebrity wedding.
More Articles On How to Plan a Small-Money Wedding that Wows Guests
This post is part of our series on practical ideas for “small weddings on a small budget”. For more practical tips and ideas on how to save money when planning a small Nigerian wedding, read any or all of the following posts:
- How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding (19 Practical Ideas)
- How to Reduce the Cost of a Nigerian Wedding in 9 Simple Steps
- 9 Smart Ideas to Save Costs When Planning a Nigerian Wedding on a Small Budget
- How to Plan a Big Girls Wedding with Small Money
Now’s your turn to talk to me in the comments box below – is there any other things you could do to spend small money and still have a fabulous Nigerian wedding?
Hassan Mohammed says
Plz ma,how do I rstrict or prevent or even reduce some families and friends dat already know and heard about the wedding occasion and date….
Also,what are d likely business or things dat can generate money in the wedding occasion that my sister is organizing.
I mean things that can yield money on dat day.
Looking forward to hear from you..
Stella Anokam says
Hello Hassan, here’s how it is usually done:
1) Make the invitation cards to specify: ‘Strictly by Invitation’
2) Next, hire event security or bouncers to stay at the entrance and only allow guests in If they have invitation cards, and not allow anyone without an ‘invite’.
I have no idea how you can generate money at the wedding, during the occasion.
Hope that helps.
Please how possible to hold wedding ceremony with sum of 300k.
Stella Anokam says
Hi Kenny, it’s possible, but you need to know that it would be a micro-wedding with very few guests (50 people or less), free or very cheap venue, rent a wedding gown, etc..
The pandemic and event venue restrictions even give you an excuse that would make uninvited family and friends understand.
Here are some tips to make N300k wedding possible:
-To see an example of how to spend N300k on a wedding, input your budget (amount) into our automatic wedding budget calculator, and see the breakdown that would display.
-Pick ideas from this N200k wedding budget breakdown
–Money-saving tips and ideas for small weddings in Nigeria
Hope that helps.
pls my finance and i has just 250,000 to spend for traditional marriage and 300,000 to spend for white wedding how do we go about this am really very confused and its making us to keep postponing the wedding.
Stella Anokam says
Hello Jane, below are my thoughts:
-You will invite few people, if you want it classy with that amount.
-Do not randomly fix how many people to invite – you will see how ho to it at the end of these tips.
-Write a list of what you will spend on – example: your outfits, food and drinks, venue, photography coverage, DJ/ Music Band, MC etc.
-Do not do invitation cards yet – you will at then end of these tips, when you know how many people your budget can feed.
– Get Prices for each and write down.
– Block out money for these: photography, DJ, outfits for you and your groom. Total up the prices you got for each. Do those items first because their prices are not based on how many guests you will have. *Do the calculation and plans on paper first, don’t spend yet.
-Now subtract that total from your N250k or N300k, and the balance is what you have to plan the remaining things (below).
-NEXT: Food and Drinks, venue – the cost of these would depend on how many guests you invite. The balance amount from above is what you have for this.
– HIRING CATERERS? One way is to shop for event caterers and find out their prices/ quotes. Some of them do so by cost per plate of food. That should give you an idea of how many people / number of food-plates your remaining budget can carter for. THAT is the number of guests to plan for, and do invitation cards for). >You should have blocked out some money (out of the food budget) for the drinks AND venue. Do not spend yet, until you confirm how much venue you can get within the remaining amount you have left.
– Venue: If you get an expensive venue, you’ll have to reduce number of guests (i.e. food and drinks budget), so that you can get extra money out to take care of the venue.
-CRASH-PROOF your wedding day: You want your guests to eat and enjoy what you provided, and not strangers, right? Make it invite-only OR find a venue not close to your house. That is the only way to ensure that your guests would not have to struggle for food with wedding-crashers (which is a sign of low-quality wedding). While you may not have an entirely crash-proof wedding, but that tip will significantly lower it.
Those are my thoughts.