Nigerian Wedding Costs: How To Budget And Save
Many Nigerian weddings are glamorous affairs — which means they can cost a lot. With traditional Nigerian weddings taking place over multiple days — and hundreds of guests to feed and entertain — it’s no wonder that the cost of a Nigerian wedding quickly stacks up.
In Nigeria, weddings often cost between 2 and 3 million naira — almost £6,000. And if you want to have a traditional wedding in the UK, you’ll pay far more than this for a multi-day celebration. Reports suggest that some Nigerian weddings in the UK can cost upwards of £25,000.
So how can you pay for the wedding of your dreams? Find out how to budget and save for your Nigerian wedding in the UK.
Who will pay for your wedding?
In many Nigerian families, the parents of the bride and groom foot the bill for most of the wedding expenses. But some couples and cultures choose to split the cost in different ways. Sometimes the bride’s family is responsible for one day, while the groom’s family pays for another.
You’ll also need to decide if the groom and his family will pay the bride price. (While this is still widely practised in Nigerian wedding culture, more couples are choosing to opt-out of the tradition.)
Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to decide who will pay for what at their wedding. While having more contributors may increase your budget, it can also lead to compromise. So consider this carefully and check everyone has the funds to support you on your wedding day.
Where will you get married?
The location of your wedding is another big factor in setting a budget and sticking to it. Getting married in Nigeria often costs less than getting married in the UK — but planning a wedding across continents can be an organisational nightmare. You may also want to travel to Nigeria to check out venues and vendors — so you’ll need to factor in the cost of additional flights.
There are plenty of venues and vendors in the UK that specialise in providing traditional Nigerian wedding services. And since we’re all about helping growing communities in the UK save for what matters most to them, this article focuses on helping you save for a Nigerian wedding in the UK.
10 tips for saving for a Nigerian wedding in the UK
1. Start saving early
Start saving as soon as you know you’re getting married. Planning a big wedding on a budget can be hard on your finances, so it’s better to oversave than overspend.
Giving yourself enough time to save will keep your stress levels low, especially when the time comes to start paying your vendors. (Plus, spare savings can always boost your honeymoon fund.)
2. Set your budget
It’s easy to spend endless money on a wedding, so create a budget and do everything you can to stick to it.
Make sure your budget is realistic — a 3-day affair with 300+ guests isn’t feasible on a £5,000 (or even £10,000) budget. If your current cashflow won’t quite stretch to the lavish wedding you’re dreaming of, consider setting a date further in the future. Try not to take on extra debt to pay for your wedding — it can add financial pressure at the start of your newlywed life.
3. Make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves
Most couples have a long list of wedding ideas — but there are probably only a few absolute must-haves.
Make a list of your wedding essentials, and ensure you have a big enough budget to cover them. If your must-haves start to look a little ambitious, you may need to rethink your list, or push back your wedding date to give you more time to save.
4. Decide which traditions you will include
If you and your partner are from different backgrounds or tribes, you might want to mix up your wedding to include traditions that are important to both families. Do you want your guests to wear Asoebi? How about your partner’s family? Will you have a traditional wedding and a white wedding, or just one celebration? How about a religious ceremony?
These decisions can have a big impact on your wedding budget — so figure out how you’ll celebrate your customs without breaking the bank.
5. Know how many days your wedding will be
Multi-day celebrations transform your wedding into the event of the year — but the costs can quickly add up. Each additional day means paying for another venue, more food, and more guests. This isn’t necessarily a problem — but it needs to be accounted for in your budget.
To keep costs down, combine your white wedding with a religious ceremony. It costs £512 to get married in a church in your home parish. While this is more expensive than a registry office, it’s less than many other licensed venues charge, and you can celebrate your faith as part of your white wedding. Nikah ceremonies are also available in mosques around the country, which usually cost £100-300.
6. Join or start an ajo to help you — and your wedding party — save
An ajo, esusu, or adashe is a great way to save for your wedding. Not only does it help you save by keeping your money safe, it also helps your friends and family save for their contribution to your wedding (if they’re making one).
If you don’t know anyone who’s organising an ajo, learn how to start your own savings club.
7. Be frugal with your spare cash
If you’re planning an ambitious wedding on a relatively small budget, try to curb the impulse spending. Add homeware items, lavish experiences, and honeymoon money to your registry list so other people can treat you on your wedding day.
8. Find an all-inclusive venue
One way to keep costs down is to find a venue that provides everything you need for a beautiful wedding: from catering to table dressing. Not only is this more cost-effective, it takes a lot of the stress out of wedding planning.
This is also helpful if your wedding won’t be strictly invite-only. If there’s a possibility of a few extra guests, make sure your venue is prepared to cater for them, too.
9. Hire a professional wedding planner
A professional wedding planner is priceless — especially if you’re planning a big wedding, or a wedding in Nigeria or elsewhere abroad. While you’ll have to pay for their services, they may be able to help you find good deals with other vendors, saving you money in the long run. They can also bear the organisational burden, so you can enjoy the excitement in the build-up to your wedding.
10. Track your spending
Keeping track of what you’ve spent is the single best way to stay on-budget. Use a wedding budgeting app (or a spreadsheet) to stay on top of your wedding finances.
How can an ajo help you save for your wedding?
Savings clubs like ajos and esusus are a great way to give your Nigerian wedding budget a boost. Joining or starting an ajo means:
- Your wedding party can save together to reach your financial goals
- Nobody can withdraw their savings for impulsive purchases
- Your savings are safe and secure (in an ajo app)
- You can plan how much you need to save in line with your wedding budget
- Any savings you have leftover can be spent on your honeymoon or saving for your children's future
Find out more about setting up an ajo or esusu in the UK.