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Nkechi Okoye: Tips For Planning Your Wedding Without Breaking the Bank



Before we begin, I’d like to share what thoughts have influenced this post –

  • Cheaper doesn’t always mean low quality.
  • There’s always something else to do with money: like settling into a comfortable apartment, saving for the future, investing for your family, etc.
  • Weddings come and go; there will always be a better one.
  • Your marriage is much more important than a day of ‘outdoing’ others.
  • Planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean you’re broke. (Consider ranking buying a car for your comfort, over having the most ground-shaking wedding)
  • Why spend all your life’s savings on one afternoon?
  • Since the recession, prices have doubled and tripled.
  • Forget Instagram, real life is here.
  • But by all means, if you need to spend all that cash, go ahead.

Here are a few ideas on how to plan a wedding/marriage ceremony on a budget –

Ditch some ceremonies
This is increasingly popular as it’s now more socially acceptable to ditch one or more ceremonies; with the registry marriage being most important – since it’s the legally recognised marriage. Instead of performing all three ceremonies – wedding, civil ceremony and traditional marriage, why not let go of one or celebrate it in a non-elaborate way? Non-elaborate equals less money spent.

Celebrate two events in one day
This can be very demanding;  but it’s possible.

Substitute a professional wedding planner
Rather than hiring a wedding planner, use a trusted friend that can help you coordinate all the vendors. Let this person be part of the planning. Give them the phone numbers of all the vendors and instructions of what you’d want them to do.

Let your friends work with the vendors
Assign your friends to work with each vendor. Tell them your discussion with the vendor and let them ensure that your plans are enforced. They will also work with your make shift wedding planner. I remember specifically ordering and paying for a particular number of food servers for my wedding. Guess how many the caterer brought? None! My friends had to start serving people food.

Let go of labels
One truth about wearing a designer label is that you’re paying mostly for the designer’s name. There are other brands which are just as good. I’ll advocate for Nigerian tested and trusted (and affordable) designers over the foreign brands.

Make bookings months before
Once your wedding plans are concluded with both families, try as much as you can to book for venues and vendors early enough. Last minute changes can incur huge financial obligations.

Participate in giveaways
If there’s a giveaway for things like make up, hair styling, shoes, cake, e.t.c; enter it. You never know, you could win and that means less money spent.

Always look for alternatives
If you are given a quote or hear a price, ask about alternatives – even if you have the money. For instance, if you need to buy drinks, try the less expensive ones. If you’re given a quote for a venue, ask around for an alternative venue. One down the road might be much less expensive. For a traditional marriage, opt for a live band rather than a music artiste. Also try sending invites by email and social media, as against printing the customary invitation cards.

Buy in bulk
If there’s something you’ll need a lot of, buy it in bulk to avoid the more expensive retail prices. Asoebi can be bought in bulk i.e wholesale.

Accept help
In some parts of Nigeria or maybe some families, marriage is like a communal responsibility. Some people donate cash gifts prior to the wedding or take up the responsibility of paying some vendors for the couple. If you have such an opportunity, grab it.

Use local vendors
In a situation where you have to do your traditional marriage in your village, use the good local vendors. Instead of paying a make up artiste or photographer from the big city, find the good ones in your town. They’re there. If you’d have to bring one from the big town, know that you’ll pay for their transportation, accommodation and feeding.

Think outside the box
Turn the box inside out. Tear the box. These days, wedding venues/rental halls cost a lot of money. Why not try a beach or garden wedding? They’re less expensive, different and classy and it shouldn’t cost too much to set these places up.

Also, the couple can wear one set of clothes through the wedding. Wear clothes that are comfortable or can be easily transformed into comfortable clothes, rather than changing into other outfits.

Use old things
This might not sound like much fun, but it could be. Re-use some of your old possessions like shoes, wristwatches, your sister’s veil, your mum’s beads, the list is endless.

The best way to smash this is if you mix and match old and new things together. You’re still the belle of the ball.

Go to the market
Not every time, buy online. Sometimes, enter Lagos market by yourself. When you get there, ask questions. Keep asking till you find what you’re looking for. You’ll be amazed at the world of useful resources you’ll find at affordable prices!

DIY (Do It Yourself)
There are things you can make yourself. Literally. For example, you can pick out flowers from the market and make your bouquet and those of your bridal train.

Dance, Dance, Dance
The longer the couple dances, the longer guests are forced to ‘spray’ money on them. ?

Thanks for reading and let’s know your ideas.

Photo Credit: Iodrakon |

Nkechi is a lawyer, writer, entrepreneur and mum. She seeks to make sense of the world around her by research and writing. She shares her thoughts, experiences and insights on her blog, where she blogs about lifestyle, motherhood and inspiration. Follow her blog, on twitter and instagram at @kech101.


  1. Brenda

    May 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Very good tips. Thanks for sharing although I must say you will need to have very dependable friends to help with the planning so its important to choose the right ones. Years ago, the bride’s friends were the hostesses and they were actively involved even on the wedding day, not to mention the bridesmaids. Today its a different ballgame. The friends just sit down and cross their legs until its time to ‘party’ or take fancy pictures. Not their fault though as they assume they don’t need to do a thing but you will always spot out the very few on their feet with watchful eyes. Still on the subject of friends, the bride does not mind expensive drinks,edibles and a special D.J at night for friends who would not even witness her exchanging vows at the church ceremony but are only interested in the reception.

  2. Noms

    May 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Useful tips for those who have ears and are willing to compromise for the “my dream wedding fairy tale”. If you can’t afford it now, there will be landmark anniversaries to do “tins”. I’m getting married soon and it’s going to be a destination wedding “my home city in Delta State… The oil city… ? “. I will not pay for a reception venue for a few hours that will cost a one year rent of a 2bedroom apartment….
    Seriously considering renting a dress…
    I don’t need advice on accepting “eeeeppp” from family members and friend…
    If I could afford it, I would have loved to have my wedding in Zanzibar,Tarzania or Santorini,Greece beeettt for now…

    • Vee

      May 7, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Congrats my fellow Deltan

    • Anon

      May 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Oh my fellow Deltan!!!! It is the cost of halls that pursued me from Lagos

  3. Pamela

    May 7, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Useful tips. Some senseless people that worry what people will say incure huge debts after their wedding forgetting there’s life after 2hours reception. SMH

  4. Mary

    May 7, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Very educating. I will keep the tips in mind.
    Planning on time is also an essential key to making the wedding ceremony a success.
    I like that part that you mentioned Dance Dance Dance *smiles*

  5. Baby Gurl

    May 7, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Also, ditch the N150K plus MUA. It’s pointless. This random lady did my friend’s wedding makeup some months back for N7,500. It was amazing and on trend and it lasted through the reception w/o any touch-ups! By the way these are the most practical money saving tips ever! Thanks Nkem.

    • Zara

      May 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Chai! Who is this random lady o!

  6. Nana Ama

    May 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Very very useful
    My wedding is about 4 months away and I think I have already adopted some of these tips

  7. Ree

    May 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Very insightful and useful tips. I liked the” go to the market” tip. Laziness has become the order of the day where online has taken over everything.

  8. Nkechi

    May 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks guys!

    • Mary

      May 12, 2017 at 6:11 am

      You are welcome

  9. Emma

    May 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    nice tips for the wise

  10. Mary

    May 12, 2017 at 6:12 am

    You are welcome

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