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Money Matters with Nimi: Don’t Let Your Wedding Ruin Your Marriage



From our earliest years we are conditioned to dream of a fairy tale wedding. Every parent wants to give their child their dream wedding and to do all they can to support them. This can get very expensive. To avoid getting overwhelmed by all the expenses look carefully at the cost implications and prioritize carefully right from the start.

Many couples get carried away with the idea of the wedding and do not stop to contemplate the actual marriage. Sit down with your fiancé and talk about your goals and what you would like to achieve in the next year, five years and beyond, such as starting a family, buying a new car or paying a deposit on your first home. Write these goals down and keep them in view as you discuss the wedding plans. This should help you keep things in check as you prepare your life journey together.

Prepare a budget.
A good first step to keeping wedding costs under control is to prepare a detailed budget. Make a list of everything you can think of that you will need for the wedding; this includes both the traditional and religious wedding ceremonies, the pre wedding events, the wedding reception and the honeymoon. Prioritize according to the things that are most important to you. Build in a contingency fund for unplanned expenses; there will always be some.

Costs will usually include invitations, the wedding dress, hair and make up, outfits for bridesmaids and grooms men, church fees, church choir and musicians, DJ, band, reception venue, caterer, wedding cake, photographs, videographer, florist, guest favors, hotel, transportation, pre-wedding entertainment, honeymoon. It is advisable to hire a wedding or event planner, as they are usually able to negotiate with their network of vendors for significant discounts, extras or to waive certain rental fees.

In Nigeria and several African countries, a marriage is much more than a union between two people; it is a marriage of two extensive, extended families. This means that the biggest factor that will influence your costs is likely to be the number of guests that will attend often without formal invitation. If your average cost per person for food, drink, and rentals is N10,000, removing thirty people from your guest list will save you N300,000. You will find that small compromises can often add up to big savings.

A buffet menu tends to work out to be cheaper than a plated one. Guests have come to expect and enjoy a good selection of mouth watering finger foods popularly coined “small chops” that are filling and are reasonably priced at between N600 – N2000 per head depending on the menu.

Drinks are a major cost particularly if spirits, fine wines and champagne are on the list. Even where you bring your own drinks to a hotel, the corkage rates can be prohibitive. A way to limit bar costs is to provide guests with basic drinks including water, fruit juices and soft drinks and drink tickets specifically for alcoholic drinks; after using their tickets, guests can purchase additional drinks with cash should they wish to do so. This is fairly common in other societies.

You don’t have to have everything. Guest favors need not be extravagant; a small meaningful memento of sentimental value will do. Large wedding cakes are a huge waste as usually desert is served at the wedding. A wedding planner mentioned that about 50% of the wedding cake goes to waste as half the guests have left before it has even been cut and shared. Remember you can still achieve the glorious look of the multi-tiered wedding cake if you replace some of the tiers with “dummy” cakes.

What are the most important things to you about your wedding day? The ring, which you will wear for decades, your wedding dress, or the photographs and video that must capture the memories? You can buy a beautiful ring without spending a fortune and then upgrade as a sentimental gesture on a future anniversary and as you refine your preferences. Bridegrooms and groomsmen routinely rent their outfits, but most brides will gasp at the suggestion that one might rent the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the cost of a new dress!

Start early, plan ahead
In an ideal world, parents should have been setting aside funds for family weddings as with other major goals such as funding your child’s education. Once you have passed the education funding hurdle, this is likely to be the next big spend.

Invest according to your time horizon. For a wedding that’s just less than a year away, funds should be placed in a bank fixed deposit or a money market mutual fund. If the expected marriage is still over five years away, you might invest in a portfolio of stocks for the prospect of long-term capital growth. An equity fund would also be an ideal choice as it offers flexibility, diversification and professional management.

Who pays for what?
In the past, Yoruba tradition was not financially kind to the bride’s family who was expected to cover most of the costs. Nowadays both families tend to play a role and the division of costs is largely dependent on each family’s financial standing and of the bride and groom themselves. It is less about tradition and protocol, but rather, about circumstances, common sense and who can afford what, that should dictate who pays for what. It is only when you know how much will be available that you can start to plan.

Attempting to split the bill between two families can be complicated so there must be absolutely clarity about how much each is willing and able to support. The couple and their families should meet and have a frank discussion about this. Early and frequent communication is key so that the families get a good sense of the couple’s desires and expectations. One must be sensitive as money conversations can be awkward; sometimes the family that is contributing more might feel entitled to more control.

You don’t want relationships to be strained even before the wedding. Do not feel bad if you are a parent of the bride and cannot afford to pay for the entire wedding. Very few people expect that anymore. Don’t be railroaded into wiping out your retirement savings just to keep up appearances. A wedding need not cost millions of naira.

For late in life marriages, as the couple might have been working for many years, they should be able to pay for their wedding expenses themselves even though family members might offer some assistance.

The “Bride Price” or “Dowry” is the monetary payment to the parents or guardians of a bride by the groom on account of marriage. The amount varies from one culture to another and there is no fixed amount on how much can or should be paid. It ranges from a token sum of a couple of two thousand, to millions of naira. The dowry can be a mix of monetary value and household items, food and livestock. Some families opt out of this tradition and waive the dowry altogether.

Don’t jeopardize your retirement plans
It is nice to always want to put your children first, but it is not necessarily always the best thing. You cannot afford to sacrifice your retirement to fund your children’s weddings. Whilst it might be nice to move in with your children in your twilight years, you do not want this to be because you are penniless. Your retirement planning, your emergency fund and medical insurance must be your priority, ahead of wedding plans.

Should you borrow?
It is never wise to begin a marriage carrying significant debt. Try to discourage your son or daughter should they be considering borrowing to finance their wedding; encourage them to mark the occasion with a modest ceremony and celebration. They can have a bigger party later. No one should go into mountains of debt just for one day.

Consider inviting fewer guests. Today, couples are confidently inviting only those people who are most important to them. Simpler, scaled-down and more intimate weddings are becoming more popular. Destination weddings are one of the ways that couples have been able to reduce the numbers of guests and have a more manageable day.

Yewande Zaccheaus, CEO of Eventful Ltd, a leading event planning company in Nigeria says “Most of the weddings we organize range from 1,000 to 2,000 guests. Our African heritage of large circles of family and friends who simply must be invited to the event does make weddings extremely expensive. We now recommend a small engagement and a larger wedding or a large engagement and a small intimate wedding, as a practical way of reducing costs. It really is quite unnecessary to entertain the same 1,000 guests twice in the course of a few days. Many clients are catching unto this revelation and this helps to reduce their costs significantly. We keep telling our clients, there is life after the wedding day!

A small wedding, by Nigerian standards, of say one hundred guests with an intimate reception in a nice restaurant will save you lots of money; yet this won’t even cover the cost of renting a hotel banquet hall. A weekday or off-season date as opposed to a December weekend will also be cheaper.

Shared costs
In many churches and wedding venues there might be more than one event holding on the same day. It is worth considering sharing some of the costs so that both parties can benefit from the splendid floral and other decor particularly if there is a relatively neutral colour scheme; beautiful flowers for a 10 am wedding can still be retained for a noon wedding the same day. Hold the marriage ceremony and reception at the same venue will also help to keep costs down.

“Get a little help from your friends”
You will find that there could be significant savings if you would just ask. In lieu of a gift, a relation might offer to host one of the ceremonies in their large garden, your talented friend might want to use this event to showcase photography, culinary, music or make up skills. A family member might provide the getaway car, and with the use of a vacation house and the gift of air miles you could have a wonderful honeymoon.

It is about the marriage and not the wedding.

Research shows that financial concerns are one of the most common sources of tension in relationships and have some part in most divorces, yet most couples go into marriage without ever broaching this subject. It may not be romantic, but it is important. Don’t let the wedding ruin your marriage; remember it is about the marriage and not the wedding.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Clarence Martin

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.


  1. Manb4real

    December 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    This is so true, while I don’t subscribe to having two weddings at the same venue, I definitely agree to cutting the cost of the wedding. Many like to show off,truth is, there’s nothing that is completely new. So, don’t even think of making ur wedding the talk of the town, the “talk” usually doesn’t last long.

  2. Onyeka

    December 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Sister all these planning planning na unto N25k graduate salary? Give the girl belly, lower cost.

  3. BarnyG

    December 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I love this ! Beautiful ..

  4. Ugo

    December 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    This article was written for me. I am so confused. my man and myself are planning to get married mid next year but things are so tight. He is Yoruba and I am Igbo, We are both small earners. ( He earns 120k per month while I earn 80k per month). We have estimated the costs and the total we got for both trad and white is 1 and half million least. I honestly do not know how we are going to achieve this. he doesn’t want his people to be too involved as this would limit the amount of control they would have over our family. he just got a car, and that has really eaten deep into his pockets, his rent expires in 2 months, and that’s another big expense on his part, as he needs to move into a bigger apartment. He is the greatest man alive but sometimes I wish things were a bit different financially. please is there anyone that is in the same income bracket as this? can you help me out with tips on how to make this intending wedding and marriage work. ( He is 32 and I am 25)

    • VeryAngryNigerian

      December 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Must you have a marriage ceremony now? In most big weddings the couple hardly pay for half of it, don’t believe the hype. Their families weigh in , one Aunty might cater to Jollof, another to fried meat etc …. If you go to court your marriage will still be valid. When you are mega rich, and older, you can get your body and even face back (exercise, implants, lifts, laser etc. check out Jada Pinkett’s mom at 60), get into that designer wedding dress and throw a superlative wedding. Madam, please face your work, save and start planning on how you can have that big wedding someday if it is a must….

    • Queen of Everything

      December 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Why don’t you guys postpone it till towards the end of the year (not December as that can be expensive) but November or even early the following year. take your time so you don’t feel unnecessary pressure with other financial commitments you both have?
      Also, from a cultural/traditional point of view I’d like to know how things are done as per Igbo and Yoruba cultures during the ceremony…

    • AMAKA

      December 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      First of all, plead with your parents not to make the “list” they would give him to be too long and expensive. Have you considered holding your white and trad the same day? Thats what people do now. Either do a small trad by 8am and head to church by 10am or do the church in the morning and turn the reception into a trad wedding.. You have conveniently killed two birds with a stone. On the issue of apartment, please dont get anything bigger than a two bedroom flat. There is really no need for a new couple to get anything bigger than that. Try to get your friends and family involved in the wedding train, that way you can explain your financial difficulties to them and make them see reasons with you as to why you would not be able to pay for their clothes. Plead with them to pay for their own clothes themselves. That one is another burden off your chest. With regards to food, since this is the coming together of two cultures, you and your fiance should just go with only rice. No amala, no fufu, no akpu. Everybody should eat rice. You would be surprised at how much you would save if you are not cooking different varieties. For cakes, like the writer said, you can make a one tier cake for 15k and the rest would be dummies. Nobody would know. The only real cake would be the one that you and your husband would cut.

    • Daizzy

      December 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      My very close friend got married in 2013. She had her traditional wedding on a Saturday morning. (Something small nothing exorbitant) then in the afternoon they had their registry wedding and after that guests went over to their place for refreshments. It was nothing big, everyone had fun and went home. On Sunday they had a blessing of the marriage & thanksgiving at church. Last time I checked she is still happily married to her husband! Please do not incur a bill just because you want to throw a lavish wedding.

    • Honeycrown

      December 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      My advise to you Ugo is to postpone the wedding. And if you must marry mid next year, have a smaller wedding. It’s not how big, it’s how nice you do it. Best wishes to you both!

    • ck

      December 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      I know what i’m about to write isn’t easy but give it some thought. How about a small (strictly by invitation) 50 people dinner type wedding? maybe 100 if your mum refuses and starts crying. Just your closest friend but then because you are not paying a fortune for wedding hall, wedding hall decor or food and drinks for £350-500 people that immediately cuts cost by 500k or more. then you can take extra 50k to make that small wedding one that everyone would be amazed about by having great decor, good food for the few that are around, beautiful clothes and a good photographer because with the stress of the day, most of teh memory you’ll hold would be in those photos.
      other advantages: no kids playing at your wedding, you avoid the usual dissapointment most bride feel when things didnt go according to plan despite spending a fortune, bigger weddings end up not being your party because you do not enjoy it due to stress and lack of control. the worst part is in this country you do not know half the guests and half of the ones you know do not even like you so what’s the point. A small wedding will be all about you. So give this some thought.
      If people tell you you’re poor, tell them this is a new trend.

    • Chinny

      December 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      hahaha love the part that said “if people say you are poor, tell them its the new trend”

    • lizcherry

      December 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Hi my namesake (real name is Ugo). I understand you girl,but i will tell you one thing ,don’t stress yourselves,cut out unnecessary spendings like aso ebi and bridal train,minimize decoration.The truth is that after that day,no body will talk about your wedding.You can have both weddings on the same day; i know how it can be for us women ,we want a fairy tale wedding but i tell you when you want to get married esp upcoming salary earners like you and your fiance.You need to save after your wedding,i know you are Igbo so I know how our trad can be.Talk to your father and your family,my dear your family that loves you will definitely cut out unnecessary things . In all Trust in God and always be prayerful.Wedding planning comes with its own sores and you guys will find yourselves quarreling unnecessarily. Its nothing dear,just breathe in during those moments and always talk to each other.Have a wonderful marriage ahead.Do not postpone but make it very small..YOU AND YOUR FIANCE ARE THE MAIN PPLE INVOLVED,not others.Be happy

    • blessed

      December 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      oohh darling. its very simple because my understanding of the reason for a marriage ceremony is to be blessed by the pastor and for people to be witnesses. so lets solve it together. if i were in your shoes, this is definitely what i will do because i no get anybody time. if i please God first, then every other thing is extra.

      i will:
      1. pick a date with my husband for the ceremony
      2. ask the pastor when he will be free to conduct a solemnization of the marriage
      3. inform my parents, his parents and our nuclear family. kpatakpata if we many, 30 ( e no go reach but lets assume)
      4. buy wedding rings first, then make wedding clothes (if i dont have the money, we will wear our best clothes, i no dey joke oo)
      5. hire photographer although if i have a friend that takes pictures as well as i do, then no need, i will add the friend to the witnesses
      6..tell 5 of my close friends plus mentors and he will tell his too making it together 40 people
      7. go to the venue of the wedding( it may be my dads house or even the pastor)
      8 the pastor joins us together in the presence of the witnesses.
      9.we are married, glory to God.

      then about refreshment, we either turn it to picnic or we all return to the house, chop, dance and everybody returns to base.

      NOTE: people will talk,i can assure you. things like this conversation.
      gossip 1. i hear say pepper don dey stay with tomatoes ooo, na wa ooo, just like dat. no be dem b dey plan wedding?
      gossip 2. no, i hear say them wed oo but no be better wedding( imagine: please define “better” wedding for me, ignoramus)
      gossip 1. na wa oo, pple when poverty visit this year con many pass as i think ooo
      gossip 2. my sister, dey dere na. na today?

      i have just this to say: you are “poor” today but its better they say so now, so that they can also say later,
      gossip 1. babe, how far? you don hear about madam pepper and chief tomatoes( you see that title has changed)
      gossip 2. my sister, things dey change oo. na story of started from the “bottom” be this ooo
      gossip 1. i no even no say na them get that big supermarket when big pple dey branch anyhow and i hear say e many for other states
      gossip 2. na only that one you hear…go all the big billboard, their recent wedding anniversary pictures nia full there. bla bla blaaaa

      poverty is a state of the mind, mind you. i am in no means saying you are poor, far from it but no need to splurge or go overboard if you are unable to do so comfortably. if you can, why not? by no means, do so.

      God will direct you on what to do. much love.


    • tee

      December 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      My dear ,let me give you my stupidity , are you catholic ? if you are thank God , biko do early morning wedding at morning mass . If you go to a Pentecostal church speak to your pastor to arrange a blessing ceremony . Let me tell you what would happen , you can wear your white gown to church only if you so want , after wards to for picture in one of these government parks , trust me , the scenery is off the hinges ,after your photo session , you can go back home to your friends and family who would be busy with rice ,chicken ,pounded yam ,and salad , you take more pictures ….plenty of drinks and you have your personal persons haviing fun and dancing abeg spend money on a dj or an aproko friend who likes groove should be MC .

      Ten years from now if you want throw a vow renewal parry by that time , school fees may not let you or God would have made 3Million a month salary then .Amen.

      If you dont like all i said , i can introduce you to an island off the coast of lagos for your destination wedding which will make you accommodate only 100 people or less as the chalets are just that many. so your choice girl .

    • Ross

      December 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      All I can say is, if you earn 80K and your man earns 120K, and yet your budget for a one day splash where you feed people (majority of whom you see once every 5 years) is 1.2mil, I promise you, you will regret it. I have too many friends who look back and say ‘had I known’. All those people coming wont even be your friends 8months after the wedding, so who are you showing off for? Cut your costs completely. Those who vex because theyre not invited, say sorry to them. Makesure yours and his closest family and friends are there, cap it at a max max max of 150 and be happy. The big wedding is hardly ever worth it in retrospect.

    • asgrl

      December 3, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Please cut your wedding according to your pocket, because when you are drinking garri next year, none of these people will bring Asaro and Ponmo to your house.

    • Api

      December 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Please I personally think a court mariage and a simple traditional wedding that will bring the family together is enough.

    • AA-T

      December 4, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Dear Ugo, my advise is that you utilize your relatives,uncles or anyone that can help financially!!..there is no shame is asking for help for the wedding(hall,dj,food,photography etc) while your hubby focuses on the marriage(rent for a bigger place,account for kids etc). It is NOT that easy tho cos im also soon to be married March next year and i quite understand. Dont try to please ANYBODY, focus on the things that are important to you. Like for me,my memory of the day is very important(photography/videography) & decor, other things are just ”by the way”…LOL… so u make ur list,okay. Enjoy watching BellaNaija weddings bh know that most of the weddings they exhibit are “cut throat price”…with love,AA-T

    • CheekyWarriBabe

      December 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Sorry to be the hater here but- just do like Toke Makinwa did and call it a “surprise”. Even though the real reason was the financial strain of having a lavish wedding *wink*

    • Diya

      December 4, 2014 at 10:05 am

      maximum guests 50. those who attend the traditional marriage must not necessarily attend the church except for direct relatives like the parents and siblings.indoor wedding strictly on invitation. Hire a cheap yet efficient catering service (start looking now!) cheap yet nice dressing for the bridal train(e.g bridesmaids can each wear their personal clothing but with the same colour) etc etc.just think of little adjustments that u can make n u will realise dat you have economised half of your current budget.

    • jummai

      December 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Cut down your wedding budget to 800k – 1 million its possible.

    • oj

      December 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Ugo, i have to ask o. is ur bride price part of this expense? if so, plead with ur parents to reduce it. if not, cut ur coat according to ur size o! after the wedding day, no one cares! i barely remember the big weddings I’ve attended. and people will still complain no matter how big ur wedding is.

    • Bee

      December 8, 2014 at 10:05 am

      D saying is cut ur cloth according to d cloth now, do not look at friends wedding, a lot are suffering in silence now. D basics is for him to pay ur bride price since u are Igbo, Let him travel to ur place with his immediate family for this, come back to a registry wedding, and host selected friends in a restaurant where they cater for meals and basic drink.. Guests can buy drinks of dia choice if desired which will not be at ur expense. Best of luck..

    • A UK Events planner

      December 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Ugo, you’re not alone, although not in the same earnings bracket I can relate to you. Weddings are extremely expensive and you can easily get carried away and run into debt. There are many couples who have had the most lavish weddings who are currently in debt and are finding it very hard to cope, you do not want this. First of all look for how to make things cheaper, for example hair, makeup, cake, floral arrangements, do you know any close friends who can do this to an acceptable level that can do this for free at a much cheaper rate? For example I have some girls on my train who can do hair and makeup pretty well, I am advising them to brush up between now and the wedding so that they can do the makeup and hair for the bridal train which will same me over £600. I know some couples that have decorated their halls themselves, saving them the cost of hiring an events decorator. Try reducing the number of guests, not everyone has to come to your wedding, invite those that are absolutely close to you in addition to family, this will surely reduce cost. Thirdly, see who can help, (not borrowing!) but see who wants to help you financially, uncles aunties etc. Last but most importantly try to get another source of income, I work full time but I buy popular in demand dresses and sell them at a much higher price on eBay (when they are fully sold out everywhere) and i coordinate weddings on some weekends. What can you sell, what service can you provide during the weekends to bring in that extra cash?. Goodluck!

    • Ada

      December 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      My dear, you guys should save small money, then satisfy the umunna who will demand food items and drinks from your family for your marriage, then in your Father’s parlour with those umunna take a cup of wine and give your husband and he will drink! Shikena, traditional marriage over! As for white wedding, carry your husband to the priest’s office and he will fix a date which will be convenient for him, you go wear better dress go church that day and marry your man. Invite a few friends to dinner or lunch afterwards!

  5. ola

    December 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    marriage ko marriage ni….give am belle make life start from there.

    • Shoki Bobo

      December 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      I am guessing you are a result of such practice. Just following the generational trend, huh? Na you talk am.

  6. Pearl

    December 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Looking at my savings account, i dont think im going to have a wedding. We might just go to city hall and get it done, make it offcial. Becos i honestly dont know how we can afford a $20,000k wedding when we are looking at a buying a house, we would rather put that amount as a down payment. My folks aint rich, and i refuse to borrorw when we still have student loans and all.. Maybe on our 10 year anniversary we can have a big parry and people can come and eat rice belleful. But for now, we gotta prioritize


    December 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks.This is for me.Earn a net above N250.Hubby is out of job.Don’t want to start a family on bad note.Folks are ready cos of my age but I feel he should still get a job.But really,I’m sticking to my plan of 100 guests and Nimi, this is timely.


    December 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    @Onyeka,lol.You wont kill me o.

  9. Personal Assistant

    December 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Another cost cutting option is to go to Church early in the day and the have the traditional wedding/ reception after the Church service. Usually going to Church is usually done after the bride price must have being paid


    December 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks Nimi, I will be sure to ask my friends to pony-up for my expensive @$$ wedding. After all, what are frineds for…

  11. oops

    December 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    For me, this post is coming a bit late. So….myself & leboo approached the parents with the jist of how we want 300 guests (100 from us and 200 of their friends). They strongly objected, we ended up having about 800 guests Though they shouldered 60% of the cost, we still spent way above our budget and they still had sooo much control over the event.

  12. Olorificentz

    December 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    this article is just for me, am planning my wedding for march and for now no big cash ready or set aside for it, i work in a bank and am already considering loan until this article jt save me from unnecessary marriage financial wahala. tho my hubby family are very “ok” dey can fund the wedding but how to convince my mum to talk to ma hubby’s mum is the issue now, cuz my mum av little ego when it come to asking for financial help.. Tnx alot…. now am considering small intimate wedding….Even if u give people one leg of cow each, dey will eat and forget.(NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN)

  13. Banjul babe

    December 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I had a small intimate wedding by the beach at a seaside resort 70 persons attended and it was such a wonderful event 2 years down the line people are still talking about it total cost of the wedding including flying both families over and hotel for both families and honeymoon cost under the cost for a 1000 seater event hall. Families resisted at first but we persisted and we are happy we did..if ur paying decide what you want and decide how much ur going to spend one year on we have raised a one year old and built our own house,love ur family but don’t fund their dreams

  14. C'est moi

    December 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I grew out of the fairytale wedding mentality around the same I grew out of of Disney, must have been around 9/10.

  15. Chinny

    December 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you so much Nimi. I needed this, I’m going to cut down my 200 guest list to 100 or 150.

  16. omoibo

    December 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Cut your coat according to your bank account, you are not getting married for your families or friends! Naija weddings continue to be over the top because everybody is trying to outshine everyone else’s wedding, determine how much you can afford & then work your way backwards based on that.
    When you hit anniversary milestones and in a better place financially you can then have a grand ceremony. I ain’t trying to impress anybody, and no be dem work my money for me

  17. ms.b

    December 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    how about kids? creche, house rent etc??? marriage as a whole (the ceremony and life after) involves money, reasonable money or you will fight n argue often, and its very frustrating. believe me.

  18. Dr.N

    December 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Try wedding on a week day and keeping d guest list to 100 or less. Allow both parents pitch in for d engagement n contribute as lil as possible. Make a budget n stick to it. Ask vendors for discounts. I got my wedding venue at 1/2 price cos it was on a friday. Rent some stuff. I used a friend’s veil. All d best

    • bb

      December 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Correct, you have automatically reduced the number of guests to the barest minimum that way.

  19. Nago

    December 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    This post is late oo.. I’m currently dealing with lack of finances associated with planning an average Nigerian-come-as-you-hear wedding. My parents think that if the wedding is not up to par that they will be disgraced. But we are struggling. My fiance is choked, he lost some good money and so can’t fund the wedding as he should. I dey earn 40k which is as good as nothing. The day is some weeks away, infact 1st week of January. I don’t want my fiance to be seen as he was not ready by my family, that’s my concern. Its too late to change plans

    • Daizzy

      December 4, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Really? So you do not mind putting financial strain on yourself and fiance just because of what others think? I’m sorry to say but I do not think a lot of peeps who get married are matured enough to be getting married.

    • MC

      December 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm


    • 3ples

      December 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Ebi a pa sege kuro laara re…. U dey think ceremony, not marriage… Well done

  20. pretty

    December 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    @ Olorificentz- your mum does nt need to ask the groom’s family to contribute. It is the duty of your husband to be to ask his parents for assistance if they can offer any

  21. Olayemi

    December 4, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Mnnnnm. I had a big wedding and I don’t still see the sense in it. Please, keep your money. All that show off sef dey offend people and they will start looking out for your downfall. Ehen!

  22. gifted

    December 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    This is very much timely for me,planning my wedding against march,just left the hall manager’s office,and guess what the price of the hall is, 400k,le boo loves d hall cos of its amenities,but that price,I kept reminding him of the budget. I m grown now,I have better understanding,I won’t waste money on not so important tins. Thanks for the write up,going home to draw up another budget.

  23. Ujdarlyn

    December 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Oh! this article is just for me. Am getting married by February and at d moment am sooo confused. don’t know where to start., our resources are so meagre. Reading Nimi’s article and the comments here has really helped to ease my fear. I will simply do my wedding as I can afford no matter what people will say. Life after the wedding is what matters and not pleasing people to my own detriment.

  24. cath

    December 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    This is my two kobo: let your traditional marriage be a simple affair, just family only. Bride price should be settled and food served. no sense in pulling a crowd. Besides, if your parents know the financial capability of your fiance, they will know how to take care of the “list” issue. A simple white wedding with those that matter to you should suffice (this doesn’t include all your friends from your school days and everyone in your church and neighbourhood). Decide on the number of people you want to invite, make a list of people you’d like to invite with your fiance and from the list, pick the closest people to you until you arrive at the desired number. If anyone says “you didn’t invite to your wedding” just tell them “I had a lot on my mind that I must have forgotten to”. End of story.. What matters most is that you are married! Someday when you can afford it, have a big wedding anniversary party to make up for that grand wedding party.

  25. Babe

    December 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I remember discussing the three most important items for me – The ring, Nice Pictures & Good Honeymoon (not necessarily expensive btw). Mind you I love to attend BIG weddings but in my mind I really do not want a wedding of more than 100 guests. It is just pointless to entertain the whole lagos and go broke afterwards. If my folks want extra, by all means they should bring out the money. I don’t mind buying a dress of many seasons ago or even renting haha (People think I am crazy when I say that), I don’t have a lot of friends so no need for bridal train and I certainly do not care about aso-ebi. I hope it all materializes when the time is here. I want a simple/intimate wedding ceremony. Nothing More.


    December 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Nago,Nago,Nago.How many times did I call you?PLEEEEAAASE,it is not yet late oh.The earlier you speak the better.Please don’t kill yourself before death comes faa.

  27. Tru

    December 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    seriously considering eloping 🙂

  28. BlueEyed

    December 5, 2014 at 1:03 am

    So many march weddings on this trend, my sister is also getting married in march and being a little involved in the planning process (from outside Nigeria) has made me understand the whole uneccessary hype in nigerian weddings this days and to be honest im almost dissapointed. Like someone commented here, a lot of people who have no business getting married are getting married now without understanding that the wedding is not the marriage.


    December 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks so very much for this piece – Finally, someone who echoes my sentiments! I’m getting married next year, and i refuse to spend money on unnecessary things – I do not understand why some weddings are so expensive!

  30. Celine

    December 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Do the Ghana wedding style. Engagement (traditional) wedding with a few friends and family. Sign at the Registrar General or go to church for blessings on Sunday. Never posted a comment here but after the wedding my dear no one will be there to sympathise with you. Marriage is the most important. Starting a family and building a life together. Goodluck dear.

  31. Bluebell

    December 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Strong words for the wise, Nimi. Sadly, the show-offs will read this and still ignore your warnings. Most wedding ceremonies are boring anyway; therefore going for an over-the-top ceremony is a sheer waste of money.

  32. Winifred Adebayo

    December 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Great piece!

  33. Tem

    December 7, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Dis article came quite late. I had my wedding in November and I wish I cld turn bk d hands of time. D wedding was elaborate with d help of my parents and husband. Myself and mum wanted a fairytale wedding. My hubby has a very good job buh i dnt av a job yet. i wish we neva invested so much in d wedding. Bcos av come to realise even if u give everyone a leg of cow each, dey wld still complain. We cldnt even av afford a nice honeymoon which I av alwaz dreamt abt. So pls u all planning wedding shld cut ur coat according to ur size. I went for a wedding afta mine. It was small, cute and lovely. No crowd like mine!


    December 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    am so happy i came across this article and went thru all the comments, nice one i must say cos am actually one of the people that wants to have a very glamorous wedding just to satisfy people but with this new thought now, i learnt a lot. thanks. u know after that day, nobody remembers your wedding.

  35. shweezie

    December 13, 2014 at 5:15 am

    Your situation is actually better, i’m still a student while my fiance is the only one working at the moment. Although he is earning enough to throw us a wedding, but i’m more interested in buying a house and saving up to pay up our student loans. Now i’m not sure what part of the country you are but here in the U.S, its very easy to get into debt if common sense is not applied. I would say prioritize your list, start planning ahead, book your wedding planner, know what’s worth splurging and saving on. For instance i’d rather have a fab ring than a big wedding cuz you wear your ring continuously and wedding last a day, all you’re left with is memory. Go to court to legalize your bond and blow it up when you guys are suited up financially, God bless you two and your union.

  36. Spicey

    December 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Hmmmm! right on point.

  37. Ada

    December 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Bellanaija you people should help our pockets too! Can you biko show pictures from a wedding where the bride and groom along with a few friends just had an intimate dinner after the church ceremony! Biko nu, be showing such pictures to encourage people like Ugo and Me!

    The future brides and grooms wey no get plenty money, let us tell our side of the story when the time comes o! We take beautiful pictures of our intimate weddings and send to BN to post! It is called balancing the debate!

  38. June

    January 30, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Reading dis article and d comments has helpd me alot,planning 4 my weddng (no date fixed yet) bt am considerng middle f dis year, my hubby is outside,i jst graduated 4rm skul and dnt hav a job yet,my mum wants a glamorous wedding cuz of co-workers and frnd, i hav neva been a show-off kind of girl i jst want smethng simple either pay d bride price and hav my white weddng(strictly by invitation) no need bad bella pple on my big day or hav a trad and a court weddng, stil in hubby is nt so wealthy he is jst an average guy tryng t make ends meet, i thnk you all ar right its abt d marriage nt d weddng,at d end f d day am gettng married t d man i love.

  39. edo/delta babe

    May 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Ugo, its simple. Do a registry( no need 4 any ceremony der) pick a day 4 ur trad and white wedding. Arrange ur fada’s palour beautifully, only u and ur husband wud be wearing a trad outfit and mayb both ur parent and siblings can buy somefn 4 demsevs as dey are also part of d day not necesarily a pro photographer capture d takin of d bride price and blessing den head to church. Dnt try wearin 2 dresses oooo, pick a dress(not a ball dress) a beautiful(not xpensive) fitted wedding dress u can wear 4 ur reception too. U can book a restaurant 4 ur reception m sure dey’ll take care of d drinks and food a restaurant setting is already arranged. A dj and a frend 4 d mc. U dnt av to do invites thanks to social networks msg only does u want to c. Cake cud be a one tiered pretty cake. Yeah and u dance d nite away. D problem wud b ur parents frend beg dem wella tell ur hubby to use strong head 4 dem. U use ur strong head too 4 ur parents. U also dnt av to go to d village if ur parents reside in lagos(much betr). Hope it helps

  40. hope

    August 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I am planning my wedding for October and have 100-120 guest in mind. i intend to spend 150k for the wedding as my younger brother will decorate the hall. pls can i pull this through?
    And i have gotten a hall that is less than 100 guest for 50k.

  41. hope

    August 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    pls i need a reply . thanks

  42. Presley

    June 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    My name is Presley, am planning marriage,in fact a month and three weeks before now but I lost my job two months back should I quit or postpone it, since am having little fund that can’t cater for the wedding , am confused pls I need advice, every one looking unto me

  43. oluwabukola

    August 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing more light to help people to cut their cloth according to Its size, especially someone like me. cos after that day, nobody remember ur wedding and you can not please people.

  44. Treasure

    September 21, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Oh my Lord! This Post is the best post on wedding ever!Comments too are amazing! Posted in 2014, but still relevant today… Ill be getting married soon and this is an eye openerrr! I’m taking notes and the time is 2:39 am!. God bless you all.

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