Hidden costs killing your Nigerian wedding budget

When setting up the budget for your Nigerian wedding, it is quite easy to overlook certain lurking expenses. Picture this, you’re only a few months or weeks to the wedding and you realise you have to pay for certain services or items which puts you way above your planned budget - Not fun!

When last minute expenses begin to accumulate, trying to make up for them at a later time may actually cause a dent to your finances.

We’re here to ensure that budgeting for your Nigerian wedding goes as smoothly as possible. So of course, what hidden expenses should you be on the lookout for when planning your Nigerian wedding?

Image: Natasha Fernandez

1. Logistics
If there’s one thing that could hinder the smooth running of things during your wedding, it would be the failure to prepare for your logistical needs prior to the time.

When making preparations for your big day, certain logistic expectations have to be catered for. For instance, if your wedding is taking place at a location different to where you live, perhaps in another state in Nigeria, flight arrangements need to be made, and at a reasonable time. Plans also ought to be made for the transportation needs of both the couple, their bridal party to and fro the venue of the wedding. Also, if you are covering transportation for some or all your guests, definitely consider how this impacts your budget and plan ahead.

2. Additional vendor charges

Image: Joaquin Egea

Wondering why your small chops invoice is higher than you expected? Well, it could be due to charges! Some vendors, particularly those relating to food and drinks, charge additional costs when delivering their services. These extra charges include transportation costs, service charges and equipment/ decor rental.

When budgeting, get clarity on which vendors may charge additional fees and what the scale of this would be based on your wedding type and size. Ask your wedding planner or coordinator for advice and if you’re not using one, speak to a friend who has recently planned a wedding or even vendors!

3. Lodging
With weddings today, it is very common for the bride and groom (and sometimes, their bridal party) to get ready in a hotel - whether this is to avoid the stress of travelling from a long distance or to take advantage of the luxurious hotel settings for their pictures. Whatever the reason is, lodging into a hotel or another type of accommodation has its benefits.

However, this cost is sometimes not obvious when preparing a wedding budget. To avoid the headaches from last minute bills, do plan ahead on the hotel situation - find out what hotel rates are, clarify on who needs to be lodged and decide how long you will need lodging for!

4. Pre-wedding care

Image: Sora Shimazaki

Pre-wedding self care is very crucial! Whether it’s a spa treatment, a medical checkup or even yoga sessions, the cost of these self care activities should be included in your budget! A change of wardrobe or a complete underwear haul is also a common choice for many brides. Regardless of any activities that you feel you especially need before your wedding, plan ahead and include them in your intended costs, so you don’t get stunned by the last hour realisation that you need those things.

5. Bathroom services
Bathroom services are essential, particularly if you plan on having an outdoor wedding, or a wedding with many guests and likely to last a whole day. Your guests’ experience at your wedding might be negatively affected if there are inadequate bathroom facilities or if they find themselves with poor services. It’s a provision that is quite easy to forget, so do plan for this if you believe your wedding will need this! Speak to experts and get a quote to factor into your wedding budget!

6. Nigerian wedding traditions

Image: Eru Iyawo by Abby

There are certain wedding traditions in Nigeria that require extra expenses. For instance, almost all cultures in Nigeria require payment of dowry and gifts to be presented during introduction ceremonies, and during the wedding itself. Certain other cultural rites that ought to be fulfilled according to tradition require expenses too, e.g. money for the Alaga at Yoruba traditional weddings, or money to be sprayed while dancing. All of these expenses are unique to the traditional Nigerian wedding culture, and thus should be catered for when budgeting for your wedding.

7. Family expenses
It is a known fact that in Nigeria, much importance is attached to family. Sometimes, a couple may choose to bear the wedding related expenses for close family members. For instance, they may take on the cost of their parents or in-laws’ attire, or even the aso-ebi for their younger siblings and close cousins. If this is the case, such expenses should be included in the main budget very early in the planning process, and not as an afterthought.

Brides and grooms, while these needs and their respective costs may appear simple, remember that the simplest things are the things most easily forgotten. Planning well ensures that you are adequately covered when it comes to finance, and hopefully avoiding any big surprises.