The Ultimate Nigerian Wedding Guide: From Planning to Happily Ever After

In Nigeria, weddings are not trivial events. More often than not, Nigerian weddings are carnivals, cultural events, statement-making, and fashion festivals. Weddings are an avenue for the affluent to stage souvenirs and aso ebi competitions. 


The Nigerian wedding is hardly solely determined by the groom and bride. It’s a family event. In some instances, a wedding is a multi-day cultural phenomenon with no expense spared. Families and friends that come from far and near must be fed; visiting in-laws must be kept happy and contented; and of course, the naysayers must be silenced with a talk-of-the-town owambe that will last late into the night with the littlest of hitches. 


However, behind the scenes, the gaiety and flamboyance of the typical wedding could be the products of weeks—sometimes, months—of frenetic and draining preparation. 


As the excitement of planning begins, it’s important to approach each phase strategically. From the magical proposal to planning the intricate details of the wedding day, let’s get into the essential steps in wedding preparations that require thoughtful consideration and meticulous planning.

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Engagement and pre-wedding planning

For an intending groom, how do you plan the perfect lovey-dovey proposal? This is your time to shine. Here are some steps to ensure a memorable proposal: 


Reflect on your relationship

Consider what she likes and dislikes. What excites her? Think about whether she would prefer a public or private proposal. Also, ensure that you both are on the same page about marriage before you even begin anything. You can get her perspective on marriage by striking up some conversations about the future and her stand on marriage.

READ ALSO: How To Pick Your Wedding Colour Combos

Choose the right ring

Pay attention to her jewellery style or ask her friends or family for advice if you are unsure. Discreetly find out her ring size by borrowing a ring she wears or asking her friends or family. “When my husband wanted to propose to me, he got my ring size from my roommate who is also my best friend,” said Oyindamola Adegunlola, the 29-year old CEO of Lanies Foods who has been married for over six years. “In fact, they did all the planning without me getting any hint into it.” 


Plan the proposal

Choose a location that is significant to your relationship. It could be the place where you had your first date, your favourite spot, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go together. Also, consider the right time. Think about a moment that won’t be overshadowed by other major life events or stress. Great holidays such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas provide the perfect atmosphere for a proposal. My husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. The timing was right, and the day was perfect because I really wanted him to do something different for me that day, although I wasn’t expecting a ring. 


Personalise the experience

Include elements that are special to your relationship, such as a favourite song, poem, or activity. If you want your partner to fall head over heels in love with you again, do something different and give her a memorable experience that will linger. You know what she/he loves and admires; do it and give her a memorable experience she would love to talk about.


Also, prepare what you want to say. Write down your thoughts if it helps, but speak from the heart on the big day. It will be a mess if you just slam a ring on her finger without some expression of love. Don’t be shy to express your feelings.


Plan the details

If you’re planning a public or semi-public proposal, make sure all logistics are handled. This could include reservations, permissions, or setting up any surprises. Bring your videographer to capture the event. Involve her family and friends if she will appreciate it.


On the proposal day, try to stay calm. Drink some water if you’re too nervous, and take a deep breath when you’re tense. Speak from the heart and pop the big question. After the proposal, take a moment and enjoy the day together. Afterwards, you can both decide whether to announce it publicly or keep it private.


For your pre-wedding, the both of you should sit and decide what colour, theme, and clothing choices you want to go for. Be careful not to overdo it at this time. Also, be mindful that wedding plans are not entirely down to the two of alone. 


The wedding

(That sounds like someone’s wedding hashtag already!)


Initial planning and budgeting

The budget is the first thing to consider for a proper wedding plan. Ask yourself, “How much do I want to spend on this wedding? How much do I have currently? Will I get financial support from friends and family?” Answering these questions genuinely will guide you successfully on all other decisions.


Discuss with your partner whether you want a traditional wedding, a white wedding, or a combination of both. Have it in the back of your mind that having both wedding types is more costlier than just having either.


Draw up a list to decide the number of guests that will be in attendance. This will influence the choice of venue and logistics. Again, the family plays an important role in shaping your budget. Involve them.


Introduction and engagement formalities

Plan the traditional family introduction where both families meet and give their consent to the marriage. Before you visit each other’s families, make sure to learn about their culture, norms, taboos, and religious practices. Staying prepared will ensure you don’t get thrown off balance. 


At the introduction, you may be asked to pick a date for the wedding. Choose a wedding date that accommodates both families and aligns with cultural or religious considerations.


Venue and vendors

Choose a venue for both the traditional and white wedding ceremonies. Whether you opt for an open-air setting or an enclosed hall, be sure to book well in advance. If you’re selecting a hall, check for amenities such as changing rooms, ventilation, and at least two entrances, and ensure the hall is easily accessible for your guests. If your budget allows, a wedding planner can help manage the details and reduce stress for you.


Keep the potential weather conditions in mind as well. If you are getting married during the rainy season, prepare for a possible downpour. Think of each guest’s experience and how you can prepare for a seamless flow of guests during the ceremony.


Also, research and book vendors such as caterers, decorators, photographers, videographers, musicians/DJs, and makeup artists. Check out their services and, if possible, review samples of their work. Don’t settle on the first option; conduct a product and price survey of several vendors before making your decision.


“When I had my wedding in 2022, I trekked and climbed bikes to inspect many halls. I even went to inspect my catering vendor’s cooking space to be sure that it was clean and that what my guests will be getting won’t purge them and leave a bad impression on my wedding,” said Funmi Oghuan, a medical laboratory scientist. 


Legal and administrative requirements

Schedule a date for the legal wedding at a marriage registry. Ensure you have all necessary documents, such as birth certificates, affidavits, and consent letters if required.


Pre-wedding events

If you’re big on bridal showers, go ahead and gather your friends and family and plan your dream shower. A pre-wedding shoot is necessary to capture memories and use the photos for invitations and décor. Have fun in the process.


Traditional wedding planning

Choose traditional attire for both the bride and groom. This often includes clothes in rich and often textured fabric like aso-oke, ankara, or lace. From hair and makeup to nails and accessories, this is the perfect time to go all out. 


Be sure to have the necessary traditional items for the ceremony, such as kolanuts, palm wine, and other cultural symbols. Also, plan the sequence of events, including traditional rites, speeches, and dances. 


White wedding planning

Select wedding gowns and suits. Consider bridal boutiques and tailor-made options. Go for fittings and ensure that your entire outfit will be comfortable throughout the wedding. If having a church wedding, notify the church and confirm that the officiant will be available on your day.


Also, arrange transportation for the bridal party and guests if needed. Book accommodations for out-of-town guests and the bridal party. Send out invitations well in advance and confirm RSVPs.


Final preparations

Conduct a rehearsal to ensure everyone knows their roles. At this stage, anything can happen. So, verify all details with vendors and the venue to avoid last-minute surprises. Prepare an emergency kit with items like safety pins, a sewing kit, and first aid supplies. Your maid of honour is needed now more than ever. Delegate tasks to trusted friends or family members to manage the day’s activities. You could assign each member of your close family a task to oversee. 


On the wedding day

The day has arrived. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment. Some things will annoy you, but shake it off: it happens at all weddings. Instead, focus on enjoying your special day with your partner, family, and friends. Create memories and dance. Bask in the euphoric feelings that come up in this new chapter of your life.



Send thank-you notes to families, guests and vendors. Plan and enjoy your honeymoon, be a baddie, and don’t hold back. In fact, leave your home training at home and have fun with the love of your life.


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