Traditional weddings in Nigeria are a colorful event filled with a rich display of culture and heritage.
From the bright and catchy attires to delicious and sumptuous meals and even the entertaining music. No matter the part of the country, you are bound to have an interesting and entertaining time. But planning a traditional wedding in Nigeria is no easy feat.
My traditional wedding ceremony was about a week ago and I didn’t use a wedding/event planner. So it’s safe to say I planned it myself (with the help of my entire family.)
The food to be served at the Igba-nkwu is typically prepared at the bride's family home.
The rest of the compound is being set up for the event
Sitting area for guests is set up
It was my first attempt at such an event and I was like a fish out of water.
In this post I’ll be sharing the 5 important lessons I learned from planning a traditional wedding in Nigeria.
But first, for context…
I’m an Igbo girl from Dunukofia LGA and my partner also happens to be from Dunukofia LGA.
Bride is being prettied up and prepped for the occasion
This one singular fact made the traditional rites part of the ceremony a breeze. Because we have the same custom and rites, I didn’t have to bother too much about the first lesson which is:
Find out every detail, don’t assume:
Not everyone is gonna marry someone with similar customs or traditional rites. While blended cultures can be a beautiful thing and make for an interesting and colorful event. It can also be nerve wrecking. So I urge you to find out everything about what is expected, both from the bride and host family and also from the groom and visitors. Don’t leave anything to chance and don’t assume anything.
So that you will not serve the in-laws jollof rice on that day and they’ll tell you it’s only white rice and stew that they eat at Igba nkwu
Now you might roll your eyes but consider the aforementioned example, imagine the stress and disruption it’ll bring you on your big day? Won’t it be better to avoid all that by making certain you are clear on all the details? Food choices, drink choices, how they will be served, what is expected of you as the host or guest etc. Ask questions, don’t assume
Bride gets her pictures taken after the prepping
The second lesson was a doozy for me. As someone who likes to do things herself, I had to learn the hard way
Delegate before hand:
Its very important to understand that you’ll be handicap for the most of the day. As a bride, I was either getting my hair done, makeup done, getting dressed, greeting in-laws, etc. Even when all that was over, I was expected to sit on my pretty little throne and just smile and wave or dance.
My partner was in similar situation so we both had little control of things that day. Luckily, we had amazing family and even though I hadn’t properly delegated everything before hand, they were able to keep everything on track. However I know without a doubt that things would have been a lot smoother had I properly delegated and assigned roles before hand.
Couple is supposed to take pictures together but bride isn't ever serious a day in her life😩
FINALLY NAILED IT
Prepare for disappointments:
At the risk of sounding like an eternal pessimist, I urge you to prepare for disappointments at every turn. As much as you can, have a plan B on every front. From vendors/service providers to friends and family, heck even the weather. Some might be deliberate and others unintentional whatever the case may be, plan accordingly. It might seem a bit stressful and exhausting but better safe than sorry. It’s a once in a lifetime thing, do you really wanna be taking any chances?
Brides and friends dance to welcome the in-laws and guests
Another very important less to note, especially for over-thinkers and worriers like myself.
Don’t sweat the small stuff:
On that day you are probably gonna wake up with your heart in your belly and a million things on your mind. If you are anything like me then you’ll have a mixture of joy, exasperation and terror. You’ll probably be fixated on the million and one ways things can go wrong.
All your feelings are both normal and expected. But I’m here to remind you that up until that day you have worked and planned and plotted and honestly at this point there’s little or nothing more you can do.
Worrying and fretting won’t stop things from unfolding as they should, but they will stop you from enjoying your day and having the time of your life. So as much as you can, when you wake up that day, try to be as light hearted as you can be.
Bride is given palm-wine and asked to find her husband
Bride is supposed to feed him the palm-wine but this nigga thirsty AF
Don’t be afraid to be a bridezilla(or groomzilla)
I know you are probably wondering what I’m talking about did I not just say don’t sweat the small stuff? Yes, I did say that and yes I strongly believe that on that day, fretting will only do you harm. But leading up until that day, don’t be afraid to be a bridezilla. It’s YOUR big day and almost everyone has a vision for their big day. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down and insist(as much as possible) that everything is in line with how you envisaged. A little politeness here, a little stubbornness there is better than a pocket full of regrets and “had eye know”
Couple is admonished and counseled by the father of the bride
I hope these points help you achieve your dream event. I hope your your day is as beautiful and memorable as you’d want it to be.
If you aren’t getting married in December or the usual harmattan period, brethren, get a rainmaker.
See, I don’t know how that thing works and I don’t even know where to start from. All I know is that I got married in June and there was no rain on that day despite heavy rainfalls on the days leading up to and after the ceremony. Also, clouds were laden all day, no sun in sight but still, no rain.
So, yeah…. Like I said earlier, plan B on every front even the weather.
Couple cuts cake
Couple sits back and gossips about everybody at the event
Any tips you have from an experience personal or otherwise? Would really love to hear from you. So feel free to add any more points you think I might have missed.
Love & Light Always.