10 Unique Ideas to Plan a Big Wedding on Small Budget

It’s not a secret that Nigerians love OTT (Over-the-Top), lavish weddings. If you’re like most brides-to-be I meet, chances are that you want a big dream wedding, even though you and your husband-to-be have a small budget. Maybe all your friends had a talk-of-the-town type of Instagram weddings, and they expect you not to disappoint the big-girls-club. If that sounds like you, rejoice because it is possible for you to have a lavish-looking wedding in Nigeria with the practical ideas in this article. You can then use the extra money save to have a nice honeymoon. Read on for our 10 unique ideas for planning a Big-Girls’ Wedding with a tight budget in Nigeria.

bride groom dancing in wedding reception
Photo Credit: Dotun (Nigerian wedding photographer)

1. Book Travels and Honeymoon In Advance to Save Cost and Dine Like Royalty

Especially if you plan to honeymoon abroad, flights and hotel accommodation are a lot cheaper when booked far in advance. So, book your honeymoon vacation flight and hotel accommodation months in advance, so as to lock in a sweet discount – that way you may even get a honeymoon-abroad for the cost of one in Naija – more like living large on a tight budget. You may even score more discount by informing the airline or hotel that it’s your honeymoon. Some couples have used this simple way to get king-size upgrades when they only bought economy-class tickets.

2. Buy Wedding Things from the Open Market

Save cost by buying wedding things in the open markets, instead of from some fancy bridal stores. Most stores branded as ‘bridal shops’ are likely to sell you higher costs for some items you can get cheaper in the open markets. Of course, they have to build in their high shop rent and the comfortable air-conditioner you’ll enjoy. So, save big by buying your wedding shoes, accessories, even wedding gown and traditional engagement outfits at the local market instead of fancy malls or shops. And, here’s another secret – when out shopping, don’t mention that the item you’re pricing is for your wedding (if you don’t want the sellers to pile up more money to the price tag). For some reason, the word “wedding” on anything or any shop kind of makes stuff more expensive.

3. Buy Food and Drinks in Bulk and Save Cost

Buy drinks and bottled water in bulk at wholesale pricing – some drink manufacturers or their distributors even offer free ice block cooling drums to people who purchase in bulk for occasions.

4. Take Advantage of Bargains

Find where bargains and discounts are happening and shop. Bargains, discounts, and sales can be sweet but don’t get carried away – ensure to buy only the things in your budget. Savvy brides are bargain hunters, snoop around and you’ll hear about where the biggest bridal sales is happening, and you can save as much as 60% on many bridal items and wears, and your guests would think your wedding was really expensive (it’s your secret).

5. Ask for Discount – Everywhere You Go

Ask vendors and wedding shops for discount even if the shop is not having a “sales” or promo.  You’ll be surprised at how they’ll be happy to oblige you. Use your contacts to get things for free or special discounts. Your mom or her friends may personally call up that invitation card printer or rental service provider they have used many times in the past. Ask newly married friends relatives for wedding service providers they used and how much they paid. Here’s another secret: even when you’re buying your honeymoon travel ticket, in the airplane or when booking your honeymoon hotel, announce to them that you’re newly married – you’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’ll get for free.

6. Choose an Already Beautiful Venue and Save Decor Cost

Some venue are so ugly that it would cost too much to decorate it to a presentable standard – and in the end, if you added the venue decoration cost plus the venue rental fee, it would have been cheaper to hire a “seemingly” more expensive venue that didn’t require any decor. So, save on venue decoration by choosing a reception location that has a beautiful setting and ambiance (whether indoor or outdoor), so that you either do not require any or much decoration. Did you know that a cheap wedding venue with a gorgeous setting and lighting looks expensive and makes all your pictures look great?

7. Order a Simple Wedding Cake – They Usually Cost Less

The more flavours and decoration you request in a wedding cake, the more money you’ll pay.  But then, you can still find amazing cakes that taste good but only contain minimal flavour.  Besides, most wedding guests in Nigeria do not like unfamiliar-tasting cakes and leave without eating them.  Do you want that kind of waste?

Therefore, save your money and leave out the frills such as assorted cake flavours and unnecessary decorations. Simple is beautiful when it comes to wedding cakes. Buy a modest size wedding cake (one or 2 tiers only), moderately priced too – and serve guests nice homemade cakes (in a size they’d appreciate, not like cubes of sugar).

Supermarket and pastry shop cakes are tasty, look great and not as expensive as cakes branded as wedding cakes. So, save money by buying your wedding cake from a supermarket or beg a few talented friends or family members to bake one for you, as their wedding gift. Ensure to buy the baking ingredients they’ll need. You could be lucky to get 3 friends do one big cake each. No need for icing; after all, most guests don’t eat them, anyway.

Finally, on your wedding day, be sure to have your wedding cake put on a beautiful display table and cake stand, and no one will know your secret.

8. Forget About Doing Wedding Souvenirs

I’ve been to weddings where there was more invited guests than the food served, and there was more than enough souvenirs (wedding favours) that you’d wonder whether “na by force” to belong! Instead use the extra money to giving your guests better food, entertainment and also into getting a more professional wedding photographer and videographer – after the wedding, you’ll want to have the memories well captured to tell the story to your children. So do not economize on getting the services of a professional wedding photographer.

9. Print Invite Cards on Simple, Cheaper Paper

Instead of an expensive fancy invitation card printed on an expensive paper, opt for a simple yet elegant design in a cheap but good quality printing paper. Agreed, some invitation card paper are exquisite and over-the-top, but so are their prices. But again, you know that there are good printers in Nigeria that make great wedding invitation cards with simple, cheaper paper – that you’d swear they were printed abroad. Just spend more time to find a good invitation card vendor, instead of paying too much for some special paper.

10. Cut Down On Your Guest List – According to Your Pocket

Wedding budgeting is simply common sense – small venues cost less; fewer wedding guests mean lower catering cost and cheaper smaller venues. Girl, wake up and do the math! Would you rather have a rowdy wedding with guests complaining about the tight venue and food that didn’t go round; OR would you be practical and invite less than 100 guests that never want to leave (at the close of the party) because they feel your wedding reception was the awesomest they’ve ever been to?

Want More Ways to Save on Wedding Costs?

Just in case you missed the other posts in this series, be sure to read them:

Over to You – What’s Your Tip for Planning a Glam Wedding on a Small Budget?

So, if you’ve always wanted a big-girls wedding since you were age five, but felt it could never happen, now you know how to save costs on the big-girl-wedding-things and still have your wedding the way you dreamed without spending too much. Just so you know, even the rich people use the above tips (secretly), and they call it “being frugal” or wise at spending, and not being stingy.

That’s it for our 10 unique tips for organizing a big, fat Nigerian wedding with small money. Do you have any money-saving small wedding ideas we can add to our tips above? If so, add them in the comments below.

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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.



    Admin, thanks
    these advice will really help in a long way,
    i want to have an idea of the cost of an event hall in Lagos. (Mile 2 Axis)

    • Hello Odiase, we are happy to hear you value our small Nigerian wedding planning tips.

      The only way to know what a Mile 2 (Lagos( event hall will cost is for you to physically go to some and ask. Sorry, I have no idea.

  2. Wao… Dis is amazing. God bless u MA. This has made me to b less worried abt my wedding planning.

    • I am happy to know that, Linda.
      Have fun implementing those small wedding budget ideas above, we are sure that your wedding will turn out fabulous.

      Let’s know how it goes and we look forward to featuring your wedding photos and story here – once you’re set.

  3. Hi Stella reading UR blog has eased my tension. Planning my wedding for December could u Pls email me affordable vendors in Owerri. M working on a budget of 700k. I would really appreciate

    • Aww! Ada, I’m happy to hear that – I am glad our tips helped you ease your wedding planning stress.

      I don’t personally know an Owerri-based vendor, but here are some in my vendor-community:

      StoryPage Events (wedding planner): 0708 718 1861 (Anthonia) – they can work with your budget; cover the East, and travel to other states too.
      See more wedding vendors here (click) – a few are specifically in Owerri, and some are in Igbo cities near Owerri (and cover Owerri).

  4. Clementina Nnamdi says

    Wow… This is a great site.Am was really worried. As Av only gone to very few weddings cos am a recluse. Now it’s my turn. And I want just about 100/120guests with a budget of 500k.Have learnt a lot here. God bless u sister.

    • Thanks for reading, Clementina. I am very happy to know that our wedding cost-saving tips have helped calm you down and made you confident that you can definitely have a fabulous wedding with the N500k budget you have. Go girl! You have a perfect wedding guest list size of 100 – that’s the spirit (keep it small).
      >>Ensure to read other Nigerian wedding planning tips and advice we have for brides-to-be and their grooms. I wish you a fun-filled wedding day.

  5. Blaque Pearl says

    Kai! I’m so so impressed. Thanks a billion naijaglam! U r Godsent is an understatement! Thank God for technology & internet oh! Chaiiii! God make u bigger sis. U be lifesaver.. Down to my matter, do u have any idea on pretty halls/ reception venues in port Harcourt- also MUA that know their worth but not crazily pricey.. This oil& gas money is just spoiling things here . all d vendors I’ve met seem to be mad! Crazy prices I just can’t fathom jojotouchMUA ways over 100k for Weddin makeup alone! Nna na was oh! Biko help a sister out with reasonable vendors in ph city pls

    • Thank you too, Pearl. AMEN to all the prayers.
      -We have a compilation (LIST) of wedding vendors in different parts of Nigeria here (click). Numbers 14 is a wedding planner and #28 is a makeup artist, number 38 is a cake baker – tell them you’re from me (Stella/ NaijaGlamWedding).
      **The wedding planner (#14) knows different nice event halls to match different prices, as well as makeup artists and other vendors they’ve worked with in the past. It would help if you open up to her about your budget range so she can quickly direct you. **You can mention that you’re from me (Stella/ NaijaGlamWedding) and admin of the Nigerian Wedding Market FB group.
      I wish you the very best as you negotiate prices. Have a fabulous wedding, Pearl – and make you send us pictures o.

  6. seun olorundare says

    wao stella youre amazing!my wedding is coming up end of the year and ive been scared to the teeth about preparing and all.. so i took to the internet and stumbled on naijaglam1 God bless you darling! youre a life saver!

  7. I’ve not come across any blog as simple and on point as this blog,thumbs up,I hardly make comments but ur (admin) write up was precise and exactly what I wanted to see.I already have a picture of this whole wedding thing.I used to think someone needs at least two million naira just to get married. its educating, thanks again @admin.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Donald. You’re not alone in that thinking, most people feel that way and most have even got so afraid of wedding costs that they cancelled every wedding plan till they become ‘rich’. But the truth is that most people have had great wedding celebrations on very normal, low cost. AND we are using this blog to show and tell engaged-to-marry-couples different practical ways they can plan a cheap but classy wedding in Nigeria.
      *Your appreciation just gingered me to dish out more low-cost wedding tips – I love hearing back from my readers. So, thank you!

  8. gud day ma, I must confess I’m impressed with ur blog. it really gives hope to all who intend having a sweet wedding with low budgets. pls can I have an estimate of what to expect in carrying out I wedding program here in owerri during Christmas season. thank from Michael-

    • Hi Michael, welcome to NaijaGlamWedding and thanks for the feedback – we love hearing how our low-cost wedding planning tips help and give hope our about-to-marry readers like you.
      *You did not tell me whether it’s a white or traditional wedding that you’re planning for in Owerri. Anyways, let me give you helpful tips for how much you can spend on each type of wedding (below):
      -If it’s a white wedding that you’re planning, take a look at these 5 sample wedding budgets, see how some real-life couples spent on their Nigerian white weddings. Hopefully, one of those budgets will be similar to how much you have saved.
      -If it’s a traditional wedding, you should use the traditional engagement list/ bride price list as the basis of how much to expect your traditional wedding to cost. Of course, you have to officially ask for it from your father-inlaw and then find out what each item costs in the market, and then total them up. *To give you an idea and help you know in advance how much to keep aside for that, click here for the igbo bride price list. Mind you, if you plan to have a party on your traditional wedding day, you’ll have to budget for feeding and entertaining guests – to get an idea of how much you can spend, look at the food and entertainment sample expenses in the white wedding sample budgets I mentioned to you above.
      *I wish you a happy wedding planning.

  9. This is the best article on wedding plans I have ever come across. This is very helpful, with this anyone can possibly plan his/her wedding and get best of result.
    Keep it up Admin.

    • Awww! Thank you, Chinedu. Your feedback has just made my day – I;m always happy to hear how this blog is helping our readers better organize their weddings. Be sure to read our other wedding planning articles. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. ijeoma chukwuocha says

    greetings to u ma,ur writeup is really a saving instrument but pls y cant l print them out will like to carry around daily just like a reminder pleaseeeeeeee thanks n God shall continue to enrich u to do more Amen.

    • Hello Ijeoma. Thanks for the compliment – it’s my pleasure. Go to this page (click) to see all our downloadable wedding planning guides and templates (that you can print out to read/ use later).

  11. 100 GUEST LIST
    Thats my biggest issue. My fiancé wants 100 or less and I want same. but we are getting married in a town I grew up in with all family and friends residing there. Please I need your expert advice on strategies to pull this stunt.
    Thank you

  12. femi albert says

    ur blog settled my wedding-worried head…tanx ma’am

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