The A to Z of planning a Nigerian wedding

You are discussing wedding details with a friend or your wedding planner, and there are so many terms you do not understand! We get it - weddings, especially Nigerian weddings, have a lot going on and many words to familiarise yourself with. So we have put together a list of commonly used terms to make wedding planning easier. Happy reading!

/#/
2nd dress: This is the elegant outfit that some brides change into after their first outfit (which could be for their religious or traditional ceremony). For the Nigerian bride, the second outfit is usually quite sparkly and stylish but comfortable enough to enjoy the rest of her ceremony!

/A/
Access cards: couples give their guests access cards as a way of automatic entry to their event. It saves the bride and groom (and their planner) the stress of sorting out and identifying uninvited guests on their wedding day!

Applique: ever wondered what makes bridal dresses sparkle - it is probably applique! These are pieces of lace or other fabric sewn onto dresses to give a different effect. Appliques come in different fabric types and colour options, so don’t be afraid to explore what applique style will bring out the wow in your outfits!

Aso-ebi: With Yoruba roots, aso ebi means ‘family’s cloth’. It is a fabric selected by the couples and their families, typically in the colour(s) of the day, and sold to guests ahead of the wedding. Aso-ebi comes in different fabric types; common options are ankara, lace, and even velvet. Guests have the freedom to sew whatever style they choose.

/B/
Bouquet: these are attractively arranged bunches of flowers. They come in either artificial or natural flowers, but those with real flowers are more pricey! The bride and her bridesmaids will carry it at the ceremony. In some cases, the bouquet’s colours match that of the event.

Bride price: a combination of gifts and money given to the bride’s family from the groom and his family before the bride is traditionally handed over in marriage and considered to be another man’s wife.

Budget: this is a term you hear almost everywhere, but concerning weddings, it is simply the amount you are willing to spend on the various wedding items. A well-thought-out wedding budget should reflect the couple’s priorities and financial situation; no one else’s.

/C/
Coral Beads: an accessory worn by brides and grooms during traditional weddings. Like the Benin culture, coral beads play a significant role in weddings in some cultures.

/D/
Dessert: a sweet dish served at wedding receptions, usually towards the end of the event. Popular dessert options at Nigerian weddings are waffles & ice cream, cake slices, mousse, and donuts. However, because desserts can stretch the wedding budget, they can be ordered only to cater to younger guests!

/G/
Gele: is a traditional hair tie donned by Nigerian women for everyday use and events like weddings. The gele worn by the bride on her wedding day is more extravagant with its extra layers. Gele can come in a range of fabrics from aso oke to damask.

Gift registry: also known as the wedding registry, is a wish list of items you and your partner would like to be gifted to start your new life together. You can use wedding websites that provide registry services to share your gift preferences with family and friends.

Guestlist: a list of invited wedding guests. This list is a must if you want to have an invite-only wedding! The couple will draw this list with their families and share it with the wedding planner or coordinator to manage their guests on their big day.

/L/
Live band: a group of musicians who perform live music at events, including weddings. They usually have specially designed playlists just for weddings and specialise in remixes of popular afrobeat songs.

/M/
MC: aka Master of Ceremonies whose day job could be as a media personality or comedian. You could hire a professional or ask a friend for a favour but make sure your MC is confident with the mic! A good MC ensures your event lineup goes according to plan and keeps you and your guests entertained.

/P/
Photographer: a person responsible for capturing all the special moments at your wedding events! Your wedding photographer is with you throughout most of the day, so choose a photographer whose company you will enjoy!

Pre-wedding shoot: often referred to as an engagement shoot, is a photoshoot for the couple before the wedding day. The pre-wedding photos are used in elements of the wedding like decoration or branding of souvenirs.

/R/
Reception: a celebration that follows the wedding ceremony. Nigerian wedding receptions include many rituals and traditions, but they often have a meal, music, and dancing. The reception is held to celebrate the newlywed couple and as a gesture to thank the guests in attendance.

Reception after-party: this is the party after the reception party! As the grand finale of the wedding events for the day, it is usually a time for more music and dancing! In some cases, food can be served to guests but could be limited to finger foods.

/S/
Souvenir: gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception. Friends and family also share souvenirs with other wedding guests to show love to the couple.

Small chops: everyone’s favourite! These are finger foods served at events and usually a combination of puff puff, samosas, spring rolls, mosa, and grilled chicken. If you want to go fancy, add seafood options.

/V/
Videographer: a professional whose role is to capture your wedding on video. The videographer edits all the footage documented in a way that tells the beautiful story of your wedding day. You can watch the final product of the videographer’s work, the wedding film or video, with your loved ones to reminisce on that special day.

/W/
Wedding coordinator: unlike a wedding planner, the wedding coordinator focuses only on executing the wedding day or days flawlessly. Their roles include overseeing vendors, managing the timeline, and overcoming any unforeseen challenges during the festivities.

Wedding hashtag: A unique hashtag that signifies the wedding itself and makes it discoverable as an event on social media. One-click on the hashtag reveals all the lovely pictures of the couple and their guests at the different wedding ceremonies. It is usually a mix of the couple’s names followed by their wedding year.

Wedding planner: a professional who helps couples (and their families) plan and execute their wedding events. A good wedding planner will save the couple time and money and ensure that their event will run smoothly! However, keep in mind that the final word on invitations, venues, caterers, flowers, and music belongs to the couple.