SO YOU JUST GOT ENGAGED AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO START PLANNING A NIGERIAN WEDDING…
First of all, congratulations because now all the “when will you marry?” questions can finally stop.
But don’t celebrate too quickly because remember, you’re Nigerian/marrying a Nigerian/in the vicinity of Nigerians. The planning is about to start and as someone who has experienced the
trauma trials joys of planning a Nigerian wedding, I feel the need to share some survival tips so you won’t be too surprised as time goes on.
TIPS FOR PLANNING A NIGERIAN WEDDING – PT 1
1. RELAX, THIS IS NOT REALLY YOUR WEDDING
Remember that feeling of happiness when you got engaged? Multiply that by 1,000,000,000 and that’s how your parents feel. Because FINALLY, their time has come and they will shine.
When bae and I got engaged, one of the questions our parents asked was “what do you envision for your wedding day?”. In my mind, this was an opening for us to express ourselves and the dreams we had for the wedding. But alas, as time went on, it became clear that the question was just for formality sake. Don’t be fooled, your parents have a vision of what they want the wedding to look like, who they want to invite, music they will dance to, food they will eat, and aso ebi they will wear. Whether you show up or not, they will turn up with their friends.
Best Practice = Pick your battles. Most things aren’t worth fighting for – I say this now, but it was a hard lesson. Plus, on the wedding day, you should be so busy turning up with bae and friends that you won’t notice the little things you were crying about during the planning process.
2. NIGERIAN VENDORS WILL CALL RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY
It is when you start planning a wedding that you will fully understand the mindset of your fellow Nigerians. Everybody wants to hammer [to make it big; hit the jackpot] and for vendors, every wedding is an opportunity to do just that. I once got a quote for bridesmaids bouquets and the price that this vendor called for a single bouquet…
Lowkey, I think when vendors have their annual meeting, this is their agenda:
Best Practice = Start planning the wedding with a certain budget in mind. If it’s not an essential item, don’t get it or look for a much cheaper alternative. If it’s essential, still look for a cheaper alternative or bargain like your life depends on it – because it just might.
3. “RUDE” IS ONE OF THE LANGUAGES YOU’LL LEARN
There’s no other way to explain this than with a true story.
My maid of honor and I started a group chat with a potential designer that would sew the bridesmaids dresses. We had never met the person nor seen much of her work before, so naturally we were full of questions because we needed make sure she was the right person for the job. I mean, this was going to be one of the biggest days of my life so of course I wanted my girls to look fabulous. We asked for some samples of her work, a price quote, whether she’d be able to make alterations within a day (some bridesmaids were flying in a day before the wedding) – but apparently, we were asking for too much because she sent this message shortly after:
Honestly. What is customer service?
I think what cracked me up was the fact that she left the group chat. Like she said her thing and then she was like *drops mic*. Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe my emotion. But at that point, I had acquired my PhD in ignoring and moving on so I did just that. After all, there are many fish in the sea.
Best Practice = Call on Jesus. He’s the only one that can save you from cursing these people out.
4. “On Time” is a relative term
We all know that Nigerians and being late are like this:
But when it comes to wedding planning, the frustration can get real if something isn’t ready on time. We had to substitute some items on the day of because they weren’t ready on time.
Best Practice = Order/buy/sew/rent everything well in advance. In fact, tell vendors your wedding is 2 months before the actual date. But if something is late or taking too much time, don’t sweat it, find an alternative.
5. “NATURAL MAKEUP” IS ALSO VERY RELATIVE
There are a few things in life that annoy me.
- Burnt plantain
- No plantain
- Instagram brows & caked makeup
Caked makeup seems to be the specialty of some makeup artists in Nigeria. I had a bridal consultation with one makeup artist and the first thing I said was that I wanted very natural makeup for my wedding. Actually, the first thing I really said was “what are you doing?” because she just started painting my face without asking me what I wanted. I’m actually so confused about why people don’t ask what you want before starting the work but that’s a different story. Anyway, the makeup artist nodded – you know that nod they give when they’re going to do whatever the hell they want anyway?
After this disaster session – which happened the day before my wedding by the way – I booked a new makeup artist. There was no time for a consultation with the new person so I put my trust in her Instagram page – because after all, everything is real on Instagram right?
Let’s just say I shed some real tears on my wedding day.
Best Practice = Always have a bridal consultation and insist on the look you want. If they have to wipe your face and start from scratch, so be it. After all, it’s your day and you’re allowed to be a diva. But don’t shout too much oh! Before they design your face and leave. I have warned you.
Watch this space for the continuation in my next blogpost. Till then, happy wedding planning!