One of the biggest unpleasant problems with big, fat Nigerian weddings is unhappy guests who don’t get to eat anything at a wedding they’re invited to because the food got finished early. And one wonders why any couple with a tight budget would go all out to invite more wedding guests than they can cater for? If you don’t want that kind of situation, this post will reveal to you the reasons why you should plan your guest list to match the size of the catering budget you have – as well as the negative consequences of having too many wedding guests. Read on.
Nigerians generally love big, fat weddings that are over-the-top, with the bride and groom’s family and distant relatives alone making up to 500 guests or more. It’s kind of so un-Nigerian and embarrassing to invite a few wedding guests, and it really hurts to think of not inviting some people to your wedding. While it’s fun to have everyone witness your wedding, when you have a financial constraint, you need to limit your guest list to a manageable number you can cater to.
Creating a manageable wedding guest list can be a bit frightening, especially because it’s almost like a culture thing to invite everyone to a wedding in Nigeria – and it can feel awkward not doing so. And the bride and groom will be filled with the tension of “what will people say” and “what should I tell the uninvited?”.
If You Can’t Feed Everyone, Don’t Invite Everyone
It’s tempting to give an invitation card or send text message invite to every single person you know, but that comes with a price. You may feel that they will be unhappy if you don’t invite them but the truth is that most wedding guests are unhappy after attending a wedding that had too many guests. Think of it – why not cut down your guest list to the people you can cater to and entertain, and those that will be happy they came.
Cutting down a wedding guest list during wedding planning is not an easy task because you would like to celebrate your wedding with as many relatives and friends as possible, and you certainly would not want to offend anyone by not inviting them. However, when you have a tight budget, you are forced to make some tough decisions here and there – such as making cuts regarding who should or should be invited to your wedding, as well as who and who should not be invited.
- SEE: How to Reduce Your Guest List to Number of Guests Your Budget Can Feed
- Why You Should Make a Guest List Upfront
Besides financial constraints being a reason to trim down the number of guests, most of the people you invite are going to show up in your wedding photos for the rest of your life, so you’d better make sure they’re the right guests. It’s not going to be funny if in the next 10 years you can’t tell your child the name of one or more people in your wedding photo – you bet they would ask!
It’s not easy deciding whether to invite everyone or limit invites to just the number of people you can feed – because if you invite them all and can’t feed them all, they’ll complain. And you’ll look really cheap! Is your wedding worth all that (unnecessary stress)?
ARTICLES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR GUEST LIST RIGHT
- Why Nigerian Weddings Are Expensive and What to Do
- How to Use Number of Guests to Calculate Wedding Cost
- How to Make a Guest List
If the Wedding Venue is Too Small, Trim the Guest List!
While you can easily choose a wedding reception venue, you are limited to choices when it comes to the wedding (joining) ceremony venue – some of my friends got married in a courthouse, and most are very small rooms that can seat less than 50 people. If your wedding ceremony venue (court, church or other religious houses) or reception hall is very small, don’t invite everyone there – instead invite a few close friends and family members to the joining ceremony and every other guest to the wedding reception. This is because you don’t want some guests standing (guests hate discomfort).
Let Your Catering Budget Guide on How Many People to Invite
Once you are convinced that you don’t have an unlimited budget to plan your wedding and know that there’d be chaos if you invite more people than you can feed, the next thing to do is to find out how many people that the budget you have can feed. But first, you’ll need to breakdown your overall budget so that you can know how much of that is for catering (food and drinks).
Don’t guess the number of guests – use your wedding budget and the per-plate price from your caterer to know how many guests your budget can cater to. I wrote a post explaining how to do that and you can read about it here –>how to determine ideal guest size from the wedding budget. An estimate of the number of guests you can afford will help you know how much to spend on the wedding venue, ensuring that you do not rent a venue that is beyond your budget or one that is too small or too big for the number of guests you expect.
- RELATED: Recipe to Make Party Doughnuts fpr 100 and More Guests (Video)
- Recipe to Cook Party Jollof Rice for 100 and More Guests PLUS Secret Ingredients
Having Few Wedding Guests is Becoming Trendy in Nigerian Weddings
Nigerians are paving the way for the adoption of intimate but classy Nigerian weddings with a tiny guest list comprising of only close friends and family. We see more and regular couples choosing to have low-key weddings with a small guest list. Every Nigerian parent wants their children to have big weddings with a huge guest list and the couples used to also want it so. Today, intimate weddings with small guest lists are on the rise and becoming sort of trendy, so don’t be afraid to have your wedding the size you want or can afford.
Don’t be ashamed to say you’re going to have a small wedding because it is the type of wedding that celebrities have. There are 2 types of small weddings and some rich people have small weddings. So, a small wedding does not mean low budget/ small money. What should matter is how classy, not how many people were invited.
Talk show host, Toke Makinwa had a small intimate court wedding (with her first husband) and Nollywood actress Uche Jombo had a small private, destination wedding). Singers, Simi and Adekunle Gold had a very private Nigerian wedding that even the media didn’t know about (until after the wedding when the couple mentioned they had wed). Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke had a private wedding with limited guests (few) in Paris; Tuface Idibia also had a private Dubai wedding with few close friends and family.
Those are people that can afford to invite and cater to everyone they know but they did it with only the people that mattered most to them. So, if you have a limited budget, why no do a celebrity-style invitation for fewer guests and focus on keeping it classy and within the budget that will not kill you.
- Bougie on a Budget: How to Plan a Big Girls’ Wedding on a Small Budget
- Everything About Planning a Small Wedding That Wows
It seems that ‘small is the new big’ or the picture of “classy” when it comes to weddings in Nigeria. Recently, one of my friends had a super elegant wedding with only 50 guests – the venue was a high brow restaurant in Lagos Island. Guests were served assorted food in a buffet style. All the single and engaged guests left the wedding talking about how they want to have that style of wedding.
Next Steps: Taking Action to Reduce Your Guest List
If you’ve got loads of cash to plan your wedding, by all means, invite everyone. But if you’re a bride on a tight budget, now it’s time for action – take out your wedding guest list. Review the number of people on the list and ask yourself: can you realistically feed that number of guests? If the answer is “no”, then it’s time to cut down that guest list to the number you can truly afford to handle. Keep trimming down the names on your guest list until you reach the maximum number you planned.
- By the way, we made you an easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blanks guest list template – check it out in this post –> Guest List Template and other Wedding Planning Templates and Worksheets
- Use our Wedding Planning Tools to Plan Like a Pro
- Get our Budgeting, Saving and Reducing Wedding Costs Tips
So, tell me in the comments below: what’s your wedding style – lots of guests or a few guests? How many guests are you looking at inviting to your own wedding?