First and most importantly have a budget to work with
Begin with the end in mind, plan with what you have, not with handouts, sprayed money or expected cash from friends, but with what you and your partner have saved, earnings, cooperative contributions or personal loans. The latter is an extreme case and should be considered as a last option. A classy wedding is not determined by the size of guests, money spent or wasted, it is by quality and taste. A wedding held under a tree, canopy, beach, or in your family’s garden can be classier than that held in a 2000 hall filled to overflowing capacity with rowdy guests, inadequately planned and causing you to be strongly indebted at the end of the event.
Choose your brides maids and groomsmen carefully, are they employed? Are you of the same financial class? Don’t make them pay through their nose so as to wear matching outfits, shoes and accessories. They may resent you for it later. Select just few, instead of the 50-man bridal train you always dream of, you can trim them down to 10 man train who are capable of meeting the expenses.
. your wedding items locally, flowers, refreshments, vendors, what’s the point of traveling to Dubai if you will still get the same experience in Obudu ranch and at a cheaper price.
Your pocket size should dictate the economic plan of your wedding. Miracles do happen, and help can come from different sources but those are on a standby mode, after all there is life after the wedding event, when the real marriage starts and you need funds to fall back on.
Inform guests, family and friends on time
To make proper budget for expenses, commit financially and make adequate preparation, you need to inform these people on time. Or else you may find yourself shifting wedding dates, chasing a friend for aso ebi money, months after the wedding. If you are planning an out of town wedding, let the guests traveling down know what to expect in terms of accommodation and feeding, if they are to pay out of their pockets or there is a prior arrangement. All your friends or family members, need not come to your wedding, so be careful of how many people you are inviting. The rule is that in Nigeria, you invite 200 guests and get another 200 guests free. The only way to restrict this is to have a destination wedding, not tell anyone or have a strictly by invite only wedding with bouncers at the door, if you are not afraid of offending anyone that is. No last minute invites, last minute guests are usually the ones who tend to bring the Owambes and wedding crashers.
Make scheduled visits
Take time to plan and arrange personal visits to parents, officiating ministers, wedding sponsors, groomsmen, and bridesmaids and inform them of their responsibilities, get them to commit and set definite targets on what is expected of them (cash, gifts,) and the day when you will get them. They will feel honored to be involved and motivated to give their best on your wedding day. It makes for easier planning and prevents last minute alternative arrangements. If the visits cannot be made, place calls instead, but carry everyone along with your plans. Scheduling visits ahead prevents unnecessary traveling later which can be a drain on your time and funds.
Be in control
Do not be overwhelmed by pressures (financial, family, and societal) or be burdened by worries. From the start of accepting an engagement, setting a date and meeting with vendors, try to keep a notebook, not a diary, solely for the purpose of detailing your wedding plans, if you want to go the modern way, there are useful apps like wedding planner, Evernote, note on your smart phone to help you create to do lists and keep records, schedule appointments, record conversations. Have a comprehensive and honest plan, set time frame for each task, Tick off as each task is completed and milestone is achieved. Edit and reedit them, listed in order of priority and importance, trim off excesses, save and print. Decide on your wedding themes, colours and program schedule.
Assign tasks and duties to trusted friends and family members only. In this part of the world, sometimes monetary reward is usually expected for every service rendered even by family member, some even trying to take undue advantage. But there are still some trusted friends and siblings who are kind to contribute their efforts and time, if not money, to the success of your wedding. It is understandable if you don’t have enough money to hire as many vendors as possible, so don’t pass up on friends who can offer their services for free or at discounted rates.
Your intended best man who is very good at managing situations and can keep track of everything happening can be your event planner, just look for an alternative grooms man. No point under utilizing the best hand if he/she can perform better with other duties. Get loyal friends, associates to handle the drinks, gifts, souvenirs, calls, relate with guests/vendors, and keep cash or someone to generally act as a buffer. But remember to ask them first and get their agreement. Your best bet is to hire an event planner, it will save you costs in the long run and avoid family or friend squabbles that may occur later on if situations go awry. At least you can rant, pester or fire your event manager.
Be on the lookout for giveaways and wedding promos
Fortunately, there are lots of wedding vendors who out of the goodness of their hearts offer discounts, giveaways and promos for intending couples. Free makeup, free decor, free souvenirs, free small chops, and free photography or get three services for the price of one. Like the My big Nigerian wedding promo which offers a fully paid , expense-free society wedding for lucky winners, other promos are usually given at off peak periods to promote certain services. Keep your eyes peeled out for them, better still, follow and network with the wedding industry players who put up these promos on their sites or social media pages , you may the next lucky winner.
Make orders early
The ideal time to start planning a wedding is a year ago, the next best time is now, but give at least a 3 months interval from when you make your orders and when you want the deliveries. Once y have an idea of what you want and the exact kind of wedding you desire, based on your budget of course, there are items and services you need to make bookings for and pt down deposits. Arrange, do fittings and take deliveries of wedding outfits weeks before the wedding day to have enough time for alterations. Importantly, conclude on the food and drinks, decoration, photography and wedding venue.
Ease stress and relieve tension
Smooth out all issues with your spouse and families (those are the ones who really matter) weeks before the wedding. Don’t allow unimportant matters give you undue stress. Resolve all issues amicably or seek for counsel. Fulfill all obligations (announcements, clean breakups from exes, payments) to prevent stress. You need to find inner peace and strength throughout the wedding planning stages till the wedding day. Hangout time with friends who motivate you, spend quality time with your partner and communicate, because you have fixed the wedding date doesn’t stop the courting process, learn each other’s habits and appreciate one another. Pray, eat good food, sleep early especially the night before the wedding, exercise, meditate, engage your mind and brains. Do your beauty routines and you will be surprised at how refreshed and lovely you look on your special day
Enjoy your wedding day
The only concentration needed on this day is for you to be just the groom or bride, it is not a day for agonizing over missing details, why Mr A is not present, if food is getting to the right table, number of souvenirs shared or stolen, booking of honeymoon suites, accumulated debts, if the cash sprayed or gifts received is the equivalent of the money invested in the wedding, why Mum is not greeting Aunty C. It is none of your business. Avoid guests or family coming directly to you to solve issues, read (5), an usher or a trusted individual should act as the bridge. Whoever it is you have chosen will act as your earpiece and mouthpiece for that day. Dance, eat and be merry. This is only one in a lifetime moment. The pictures and video footage must show you radiating happiness and joy on this day. You must be proud of every moment, such that it will still bring tears of joy and smiles to your grand children’s eyes, years later when they go through the family memoirs.
Remember there is life after the wedding
The wedding day has come and gone, all the guests have left, even friends and families can’t hang around for ever. Now it’s just you and your darling. The first few days as husband and wife will set the tone of your marriage, it’s ideal to lay a good foundation. Even on honeymoon, everything is not so merry, but the key point is to be able to overcome all issues together. Don’t spend all savings on the wedding, keep some for your honeymoon trip (you can decide to take it now or later), running the household and for prudent reasons.
Photo Credit – My Big Nigerian Wedding