Recently, a Kenyan couple was hailed on the internet for having a rather cheap wedding. This is an idea some Nigerians, despite our notorious love for parties and extravagance, will soon adopt thanks to the enduring recession.
Weddings are expensive in most parts of the world. It is worse here in Nigeria where a couple is expected to go through three weddings, usually accompanied by huge parties at the white and traditional. Some folks would even expect you to celebrate the court/civil wedding too.
Modern weddings have become glamorous affairs with a huge industry cropping around its planning and execution. The prices of pretty common place stuffs often triple when the word wedding is attached to them. However, for the more frugal among us, there is always a way to sidestep what you may deem in your wisdom as wastefulness and still have the most memorable day of your life. Check out these smart cost-cutting tips:
1. Have all the weddings on the same day and at the same venue
Rather than having your court, traditional and white weddings on separate days, celebrate all three on the same day; maybe court and white in the morning, then traditional in the afternoon - or as the spirit leads. Some churches and mosques issue marriage certificate under the law, so you can actually skip the court part, have the traditional and white, then throw one big party at the end of the day.
2. Don't invite "everybody"
Limit your guest list and make the event strictly by invitation. No, not everyone loves you Not everyone is your friend. And definitely, not everyone wants to come becomes they love you. Most people just go to weddings for the free food. They can cook and eat jollof and fried rice at their houses, so let them stay there. Invite only your close friends and family. Hopefully, they are not that many.
3. Rent and borrow
Rent, don't buy. There are many vendors who offer up everything - suits, wedding gowns, flowers, plates, utensils etc for rent. If you can't even afford to rent, then please don't be ashamed to borrow rather than buy some ridiculously expensive item that you'd only ever use once for just two hours max. But do remember to return all items in great condition.
4. Don't use a hall or some other expensive venues
Most newly married couple would tell you a major part of their budget went into renting a hall. Guy, maka why? If you have a really small guest list, then you don't need a huge hall. Better still, you can have an outdoor wedding. How about closing down your street? Just speak to your neighbours, get their permission and apologise for any disturbances beforehand. You don't need to pay a dime to host a party in front of your own home. Just be sure to clean up after and maybe send food around to your neighbours.
5. Rely on cheap, available and reliable help from your friends and family
Why pay a wedding planner, caterer, tailor etc when your best friend Sola has a good eye for colours and a sharp brain for bargains, your Aunty Simi is known for making the best jollof rice at Christmas, and your younger sister just got her freedom? As for a makeup artist, just ask that your neighbour whose makeup is always on fleek and who will not let you rest with all those links to makeup tutorials on Facebook. Finally, your hip-hop cousin could be the DJ.
These are just a few tips. There are many other and rather innovative cost-cutting ideas that some money-smart couples have applied to their weddings. If you are one of those couples, you can share your tips with us in the comments. Our pockets will thank you.