I was recently asked by a newly-engaged groom ‘How do you plan a wedding on a small budget in Nigeria?’, and he followed by telling me that what his wife-to-be wants is a big wedding, and so he was looking for ideas on how to plan a fancy wedding with a small budget.
After our discussion, I thought to do a post on it to help others. It’s not a secret that Nigerians love OTT (Over-the-Top), lavish weddings. In this post, I’ll share 10 unique ideas for planning a ‘big’ wedding on a small budget (in Nigeria). Read on.
If you’re like most brides I meet, chances are that you have a big wedding dream but a tiny, small budget (and looking for ideas to pull off a fancy, big girls’ type of wedding with your small budget). Maybe it’s pressure from Instagram wedding trends.
Maybe all your best friend had a luxury wedding that shook the whole Lagos and trended on social media. Now, it’s your turn to follow suit, and not 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. Read on for our 10 unique ideas for planning a Fancy Wedding on a small budget.
10 Unique Ideas for Planning a ‘Big Girls’ Wedding on a Small Budget (Boujee-on-a-Budget)
If you’re a woman of ‘taste’ and maybe you buy cheap dupes of luxury items such as perfumes, dresses and handbags. You certainly have always dreamed of styling your wedding like ‘the big girls’ weddings.
But how can you have a wedding that looks and feels boujee if you’re on a budget? Grab a drink and read on for our cool tips on how to have a grand wedding with a small budget.
1. Book Travels and Honeymoon Far In Advance to Save Cost and Dine Like Royalty
If you are planning a honeymoon (especially for abroad destinations), flight and hotel accommodation are a lot cheaper when booked far in advance. Therefore, book your honeymoon vacation flight and hotel accommodation months in advance, in order to lock in a sweet discount.
That way you might get a honeymoon-abroad for the cost of one in Nigeria (talk about like living large on a tight budget). You might even score more discounts 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. So you see, it’s possible to have a fancy honeymoon abroad for less.
- Get to Know What Honeymoon in Mauritius is Like (the Nnani’s Story)
- Honeymoon FAQs: Our Answers
- Why You Should Not Skip Having a Honeymoon
2. Buy Wedding Things from the Open Markets
Save cost by buying wedding things from 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.
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.
There are many wholesale markets in every Nigerian big city, so take advantage of that. Resist buying from fancy supermarkets and malls which are more costly than buying from open-markets.
4. Take Advantage of Bargains and Promos
Find out where and when bargains and discounts are happening, and start shopping early. Some of the best discounts and promos happen during big holidays. 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 are 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 Shop
Ask vendors and wedding shops for discounts even if the shop is not having “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: let your flight attendants and hotel attendants know that you’re newly married and on your honeymoon. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’ll get for free.
6. Choose a Wedding-Ready Venue and Save Decor and Rentals Cost
Some event venues are complete with everything and usually cost more and those that have little or not-enough facilities cost less. Some couples later discover that it costs more in the end when they hired the cheaper venues whereby they rented many things from outside.
So, before you choose a venue, add up all rentals cost to know the true cost of the venue. I explained more in my post on how to find and choose a wedding venue.
Some venues are so ugly that it would cost too much to decorate to a presentable standard. In the end, if you added the hall decoration cost to the cost of booking the venue, it may cost more than some venues that cost more but would not require a lot of decoration to fit them to standard.
Similarly, some venues are nearly blank, as in with a few or not enough chairs and tables, poor lighting and are lacking in things like speakers and microphones, or even backup generators.
Sometimes, after renting everything you need to bring up that venue to a wedding-ready state, the total cost (of rentals plus venue booking) could be higher than some venues that have everything.
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 decorations 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 to 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.
- How to Transform a Cheap Cake into An Expensive-Looking Wedding Cake
- Ways to Save Money on Wedding Cakes in Nigeria
8. Forget About Doing Wedding Souvenirs
I’ve been to weddings where there were more invited guests than the food served, and there was more than enough souvenirs (aka wedding favours) that you’d wonder whether “is it by force” to belong!
Instead, use the extra money to provide your guests with better food, entertainment and also to hire a more professional wedding photographer and videographer. So do not economize on getting the services of a professional wedding photographer.
9. Print Invite Cards on Simple, Cheaper Paper or Use e-Invites
The cost of invitation cards depends on the type of paper and the number of colours in the font. 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.
Some types of invitation card papers are flashy and over-the-top and cost more but the regular types of paper used to print invitation cards are also nice.
If you can afford the expensive invitation card paper, that’s fine. But if you’re on a tight budget, remember that your guests, like most guests, are likely to throw the invitation cards into the dustbin.
Consider spending less on your invitation cards and put the extra cash into things that will wow your guests – such as better food, a better DJ, a better photographer/ videographer.
Guests who are close to you would not mind receiving invitations via sms text messages, Whatsapp and email messages. You may opt to print a few paper invites for older guests and friends of your parents.
- Common Wedding Invitation Questions: Our Answers
- How to Avoid Overspending snd Stay on Your Wedding Budget
10. Trim Down the Number of Invited Guests to Match Your Pocket
Wedding budgeting is simply common sense – small venues cost less; fewer wedding guests mean lower catering costs 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 most awesome they’ve ever been to?
- Who should you invite and who should you not invite? Use our No-Guess Formula to Figure Out How Many Guests You Need (Based on Your Wedding Budget)
- How to Plan a Wow Wedding Reception (on Your Own)
Planning a Fancy Wedding on a Budget is Possible But Requires Sacrifice
If you read this far, you can see that with some sacrifice and a few sneaky tips, you can be a boujee on a budget bride. So, if you’ve always wanted a fancy wedding but felt it could never happen, now you know how to.
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.
MORE COST-SAVING TIPS FOR WEDDING:
- 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 Money When Planning a Nigerian Wedding on a Small Budget
- How to Plan a Laviish Low-Key Wedding In Nigeria
- How to Plan Small Wedding in Nigeria that Wows Guests
- 5 Small Money Ideas to Get a Dream Wedding Party
That’s it for our 10 unique tips for planning a fancy Nigerian wedding on a small budget. Do you have any money-saving small wedding ideas we can add to our tips above? If so, add them in the comments below.