Want to know what things that a bride-to-be (and groom) should do when preparing for a wedding in Nigeria? Then, this post is for you – read to discover the 21 simple steps you must follow to stay sane and organized when preparing for a fab wedding in Nigeria. After publishing many articles here on list of things to do when preparing for a Nigerian wedding, yet, almost every week, I still receive a couple of emails asking for tips on how to start planning a wedding. So, in response, I thought to distill down the things to do before a wedding in 21 steps. You could say that this is the bride’s (and groom’s) manual for a flawless wedding event.
First, you need to know that you can’t plan a wedding alone. You need other people to assist you with the pre-wedding planning and the day-of-wedding coordination. You also need to coordinate the vendors you choose to work with. If you’re too busy, hire a professional wedding planner to do the running around on your behalf.
21 Simple Steps to a Fab Wedding in Nigeria
So, here are the steps to follow and things to do when organizing a wedding in Nigeria:
- Start early to plan the wedding (at least 6 months before the wedding day);
- Make a list of people who can help you with different planning work. I like to call this your ‘personal wedding planning team’. This can be made up of your bridesmaids, close friends and family and/ or a wedding planner. By the way, if you have a wedding planner, that person will do everything about planning and coordinating your wedding – so that you can go to sleep and show up pretty on your wedding day, sure that everything is in control. It’s a good idea to follow up with your wedding planner or helpers every week – it’s easier following up with one person that all the many vendors involved in a wedding.
- Contact those people in your list, that you want to assist you in the wedding planning process – don’t assume they should know (they are waiting for you to ask). Ask if they can find the time, and let them know you’d be delegating some wedding tasks to them. Ask your mom and her friends, aunties, family members and friends. Choose bridesmaids and maid of honour (chief bridesmaids), and ask them to help out in your wedding plans.
- Make a wedding checklist and timeline for your team to work with. After you’ve told a couple of people that you’ll need their help, next is to tell them what to help out with, so write down a wedding planing to-do list, of things to do from now to your wedding day. AFTER doing that, you should assign one or more work from that list to each person you’ve asked for help. You know these people, and what they are good in or love to do – so use that knowledge to assign your wedding to-do-list to them.
- We already made you ready-to-use wedding checklists – this one to prepare you for your traditional wedding and this checklist to keep you organized when preparing for your white wedding – click the links to download each one. The wedding timeline is about adding dates of when to do things, to your wedding to-do list.
- Involve your fiance too – assign him some things on your wedding planning checklist (you may want to ask him what and what he can help out with, OR just choose areas that you know he can do well). Generally, men love helping out with setting the wedding budget, planning for drinks, hiring the DJ and planning the wedding music playlist, making arrangements for the sound system for the day, negotiating the venue price, planning what the boys (groomsmen and asoebi guys) will wear, planning the honeymoon trip. Some guys also love to join their brides during food and cake tasting (when looking to choose vendors).
- Make a budget list and a budget. Make a list of the things you need to buy or rent for the wedding. Find out how much each one costs, and then total up the costs. That is your wedding budget. We already made you a ready-made wedding budget list, with all items filled, all you need to do is fill how much each thing costs – click here to download it.
- Make a list of the types of vendors and suppliers you needfor the wedding preparation. Most Nigerians have a couple of family members around who are willing and ready to help out with cooking and some other areas, so that you won’t have to pay vendors for some services. In any case, write down the list of things that you would need to hire people to do for you; also make a list of the things your family members and friends will do for you for free.
- Decide on the type of venue you will use – outdoor or indoor? If outdoor, will it be a garden or a family house backyard or an open field? If indoors, will it be a hotel or an event center or where?
- Search and interview vendors and venue managers: Start asking around an compiling names of possible vendors who will help you put things together for your wedding. Visit them, ask them some questions, see pictures of them at work and of their works at a previous wedding, and fix a date to taste food and cakes , and inspect possible venues.
- Plan for Coordination of the main Wedding Day: Assign a few people to oversee/ coordinate things on your wedding day (when you’ll be on the stage). These people would have to be at the wedding venues very early and leave after everyone. They’ll be making calls early to followup with vendors to be early to do the decoration, to set the cake, to bring the food and drinks, and so on.
- When your wedding is in high gear, these are the people that’ll be in the background quenching any fires or show-stoppers that may come up. Plan this team ahead of time; tell the people you select to do this, and spell out what you expect them to do. Be sure to give your helpers (planning team) useful books or resources that could help them plan your wedding like a pro – ask them to read up our detailed guide to planning a wedding reception, as well as our step by step guide on how to coordinate your wedding reception yourself, with help from your close buddies and without the services of a wedding planner.
- Follow up with your wedding planning team on a regular basis, check off list of work already completed and attend to issues as they arise.
- Record every wedding expense. Make a list of what you spent on and how much, making sure you stick to the budget you started with.
- Gradually transition your role as a lead planner to a few trusty pals. 4 to 8 weeks before the wedding, assign a team of your trusty pals to coordinate/ look after activities on the wedding day. Go over the list of things they need to do before, during and after the religious / church joining ceremony, as well as before, during and after the reception – including the contact details of all your wedding service suppliers (vendors) and what’s left to do by them or how much left to pay them. Also, arrange how to hand the final payment to the key person, for onward payment of the vendors on the wedding day (when you’ll be busy getting married). Yes, write down the list and distribute to them.
- 4 to 8 weeks before the wedding stop all involvement with anything wedding planning, hand over the remaining things-to-do to your able personal wedding planning team or hire a wedding planner to finish it up and coordinate the wedding day. Most brides start feeling overwhelmed and totally stressed up a few months before their wedding, and so it’s best to hands off any time you feel that way. You can find wedding planner who is ready to finish stuff up for you – it even costs less than having them start from the beginning of the planning process.
- Spend the last days to your wedding getting routine beauty fixes, makeup and hair trials as well as having your engagement shoot.
- Give your photographer your list of must-take wedding day shots. You can download and print our ready-made wedding photography checklist template from here and then hand over to your photographer.
- Have an engagement shoot (e-shoot): Schedule a day with your photographer, and your fiance, to get glam shots of the two of you – these would the photos that would go into several of your wedding things such as your wedding website, printed on your souvenirs, your wedding stationery and more.
- Pack a wedding day emergency kit: Do this alone or together with your chief bridesmaid/ maid of honour and let her take custody of the kit on the wedding day. Click here to see a list of what to pack as your wedding emergency kit and why you should have one.
- Treat and bond with your girls (bridesmaids): From a few days and up to a day before your wedding, spend more time with your bridesmaids and groomsmen, going through the wedding day itinerary and making sure there’s nothing left out.
- Do a last-minute check on things: A few days to the wedding day: Confirm things with your venues (reception and Church/ worship house), the rentals suppliers and your wedding service suppliers (vendors). Make sure they are finished or almost – and monitor them closely up to the wedding day. Note that you don’t have to do this yourself, assign the task to a trusty friend or family member.
- Relax and be married: Go to your wedding ready to be a guest, knowing that you setup an able team to take care of everything behind the scenes as you party.