Get the Wedding of your Dreams without Killing your Bank Account!
The glitz and glamour that usually accompanies weddings can be overwhelming for engaged couples especially for those on a tight budget. Those big weddings that have exotic food and drinks, bole and fish on the side, popcorn and ice cream for the kids, smoke machines and disco lights should not overwhelm you.
It’s not impossible to have a glamorous wedding on a budget. All it takes is planning. Here’s a few tips that can help, gotten from experiences.
First of all, make a list of everything needed. Be very thorough.
Food, drinks, decoration, photography, hair and make-up, canopies for the traditional wedding, music and DJ, bridal wears and accessories, train(bridesmaids, little bride and groom, grooms men, ladies in Aso-Ebi, etc.), bride and groom’s parents wears, ‘The List’, brideprice, tables and chairs, cake, wedding invitation, wine for inviting extended family, thanksgiving wear, souvenirs, etc.
Don’t let the list scare you. Be thorough, ask wedded couples about their mistakes so that nothing takes you by surprise. The worst thing is forgetting to budget for an important thing, like a photographer.
Don’t be the groom rushing out on the morning of his wedding, searching for where to get cold drinks, more tables or a cooling van. Be prepared.
Now let’s break it down.
- Court Wedding.
This is usually the cheapest. You don’t really need to buy much.
The bride and groom can use nice clothes if they already have that. If not, the bride only needs a nice gown, hair-do, make-up and shoes.
Make-up artists are everywhere now. You don’t need to hire the most expensive make-up artist on instagram. Truth is you should already know someone who knows someone who’s a make up artist. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. They are not all so expensive.
About two or three cars needed to convey family members to the court. Family members should be bride and groom parents and siblings if any. You don’t need to invite the entire family, uncles and aunts or even best man and chief bride’s maid for your court wedding. Luckily, family members have their own cars and others can join them.
After the signing, take the family to a nice inexpensive restaurant and buy lunch. This will reduce the stress of cooking and it’s not that expensive.
This can be the most expensive of all because of the crowd, attires, expensive beads etc but luckily, time and wisdom has changed it all.
- Dealing with the Crowd
You don’t need a huge crowd for this wedding. Make it a small one with only extended family members and very very few close friends.
These days, traditional weddings are not held in the village anymore. This is probably to avoid the crowd of villagers that troop in or because of distance. Big crowds only bring about theft, confusion, quarrels and juju (yes, juju, voodoo,African magic, etc). It can be held in the bride’s house in the city. If her parents reside in the village, it can still be managed.
Extended family members include uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews and nieces.
- The List and Bride Price
First, the List and bride price have to be ticked off. These days, bride price are not millions and billions. Usually it’s a small amount just so it won’t appear that the girl is being sold.
The big money is spent on the List. That list contains everything imaginable. Be prepared to buy goats, yam, powder, oil, soap, fish, rice, cream, etc. And don’t complain about it either. That’s just cheap and doesn’t look good on you.
After printing the wedding card, you can buy a carton of Eva wine or Pure Heaven to invite her uncles and aunties and all those ‘important’ people. This shouldn’t be your headache.
- Bride’s Hair
For hair, the bride needs to buy a nice weave to be used also for the white. Hair depots usually have gorgeous hair that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
The make-up artist can be a friend or the friend of a friend. Ask around. Ask for help. You’ll find a good make-up artist. It could even be someone in your department or office or a friend’s sister etc.
- The Train.
The train does not need to be as long as Mississipi. Four or six of the bride’s friends can serve as her escort. You don’t need to buy matching wrappers for them to tie. Tell them to bring their own wrappers to tie for the first outing. They should also come with their own blouse, usually the colour of the theme. Those who don’t have can borrow or use the ones they have. Then you buy a set of matching wrappers for them to tie under the blouse. Gbam!
- Bride Attire
Bride Attire can be expensive but that depends on the tailor. Good tailors are scattered here and there, not everywhere. She will need to sew two awesome blouses, tie some expensive wrappers and rent some magnificent beads. Sometimes, the bride may know someone who makes beads. She may even be a beadmaker. This reduces the cost of buying beads for her escort.
Buy and tie the two gele at the market and keep. Don’t wait till the last minute.
- Canopies, Tables and Chairs
Hire canopies, tables and chairs from a retailer in the village there so you won’t have to pay transport costs. Make sure they are without leaks and they should arrive at the venue the night before so they start setting up as early as 5 am.
Some would advice you to go pay the village rainmaker so he prevents rain from falling. If you’re a christian, don’t! if it rains, not that i pray it should, enjoy it as showers of blessing. just kidding. it won’t rain.
Wedded couples should recommend a good and reliable Dj for you. You might even get a discount from that. But ensure the DJ and his or her equipment and speakers are at the venue the night before or very early in the morning.
Music should wake up the entire village that day. It sets the mood and gets everyone excited and ready to help.
They should arrive at the village the day before. Make sure they are well acquainted with the location so they don’t waste time looking for the right house or village. Use your bargaining skills and get recommendations. These things, there’s always somebody who knows somebody who will be willing to give you a discount.
- Bride and Groom’s Parents Attire.
Sometimes, you may have to buy the attire the bride’s parents will wear. If necessary, do this without complaining but also don’t be extravagant. You should establish a good rapport with them so they can understand the situation.
Buying from a restaurant or a cake outlet is always advisable if the caterer does not bake cake. Some of them will go and buy from a cake outlet making a huge profit from your pocket. Visit the cake outlets and know the prices yourself. Be not deceived.
Again, the couple may know someone who makes cakes. Always ask around so you don’t spend more than you need to.
It will be very painful when after borrowing and spending so much, somebody will come and say ‘you should have asked me. I know someone who would have done it better and cheaper too.’
- Food and Drinks
Food and drinks won’t be so expensive here because you’ve not invited everybody yet. All the same, make enough preparation so there’s no room for complaints and grumbles. It’s a small trad after all.
If the women are doing the cooking, ensure that you work hand in hand with the bride’s mother.
If you can’t afford a cooling van, put the drinks in big drums with ice blocks to cool them. Entrust the drinks to an impartial friend. Some greedy people would want to keep most of the drinks for themselves. Give this job only to a trusted impartial friend.
- White Wedding
Now you can invite the whole world, friends, distant friends, secondary school friends, university friends, office workers, neighbours, enemies, etc. And don’t forget that they will also invite their own friends. Let them. After all, this is the only one they are attending.
You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that you may be feeding battalions that day except you’re the type that don’t have much friends. Don’t be cheap. Buy enough drinks and food.
- Reception Hall
Ask around for good halls that can contain your invited and uninvited guests. You may have connection with someone who owns a hall especially if the church is a big one with lots of facilities. Book the hall on time so there is no confusion.
Ensure that you are at the hall the day before to check on the decorators, cleaners, parking spots, security,etc. Make sure there is a secure room to keep your drinks and a clean rest room for your guests.
- Food, Dj, Decor
You already have these from your trad. Bargain with the food contractor, the decorator and DJ. Don’t pay the first asking price.
Here the decorator should be very creative. Ensure they have enough chair and table covers.
The MC determines the mood of the wedding. Dull MCs make dull weddings. Sometimes, the MC is usually a cousin or a friend. If not, ask around for a funny and innovative MC and book them on time. Some of them have two or three weddings on a Saturday. Don’t agree with that. Look for somebody who will be committed and give all his attention to your event.
- Tables and Chairs
Rent enough tables and chairs. The chairs should be more than the tables, just in case of overflow.
- Wedding Gown and accessories
The bride’s wedding gown can be rented, her accessories bought. Ensure the bride’s shoes are very comfortable for easy movement. We don’t want any accident.
- The Train
You don’t have to sew gowns or buy suits for the train.
Buy the material for the train from a big market like Aba Market. Let them pay for the gown which should be a short fancy style to reduce cost of buying material. You tell them the colour of shoe they need to wear and they’ll handle the rest. Nowadays, people don’t need a long procession. Minimum of four or six bridesmaids and groomsmen will do.
You don’t also need to pay for the grooms men suits. They are your friends. Chances are they already have suits. Don’t choose an off colour like brown or green. Black or ash is a neutral colour.
You also need a little boy to carry the ring. Okay, maybe a cute little girl as your little bride. Just because they are cute. You just may buy a teensy weensy suit and gown for them. Oh, you also will pay for the little bride to make her hair. Sometimes, their parents might fund all the cost. Sometimes, they won’t.
Your make-up artist should be contracted to also make the chief bridesmaid up. The train can do theirs themselves. Chances are that one of them is already an accomplished make up artist. The make-up artist should meet with the bride severally before the wedding to determine what make-up style suits her the most.
Now, you should take the bride and her train to a hotel the night before the wedding. She doesn’t need the stress and crowd at home. Besides, her pictures from that morning at the hotel will give the air of glitz and glam. Ensure the photographer and videographer record her dress up at the hotel and the preparations at home too so the photo album and video comes out detailed.
Cake can be bought or contracted. Book for the white wedding cake as you book for the traditional wedding.
You don’t have to buy iphones as souvenirs. This is where you get creative. Big markets usually have so many souvenir articles. Buy the much you can afford. Most times, family members help out in this area.
The necessary ones are the jotters and the branded paper bags with your pictures. When going to buy the souvenirs in bulk, take along someone who is conversant with that market so you don’t get cheated. put on your game face and don’t be afraid to price. its your money, your wedding.
You should get about five or six cars ready to ferry the wedding troop to the church and reception. Please, get reliable and trusted drivers. Friends and relatives usually help out with this. Ensure that the cars get back to the owners at the reception.
- Dance, Dance, Dance
Yeah you’ve spent a lot on this one-day wedding. You might as well enjoy it. Let go of every inhibition and dance your way into a new life.