How to Plan a Small Wedding and Still Surprise Your Guests

May 24, 2019 Kayode Oseh

A wedding day is a memorable day that you can hardly erase from your memory. While some people see it as necessary rather than obligatory, Others may see it as obligatory rather than necessary. But whichever way you see it to be, planning a wedding is a very interesting and a very overwhelming task.

You have to understand that you must not be Dangote's daughter or Mike Adenuga's son before you plane for an amazing wedding ceremony. You can actually plane a stunning wedding ceremony with a very decent budget and at the same, wow your guest. You can plan for nothing too extravagant and have people giving good reports on how fabulous your wedding was.    

Below are some simple guide lines on how you can plan a scintillating wedding on a low budget.

Set the Wedding Date

You need to have this date at the back of your mind when renting venue, shopping or hiring vendors – everything must be done and completed in good time, before this date. Most brides get stressed because of the rush when their wedding date is close by and a lot has not been done. So. it helps starting right after the marriage proposal/ engagement.

Keep the Parents Informed Early

Every Nigerian parent has been looking forward to that day when they would call everyone they know to the wedding ceremony of their child – you know, they love it the-bigger-the-merrier. So, it can be hard convincing a Nigerian parent that their son/ daughter wants to have few wedding guests – why would anyone want to deprive them of the joy of sharing a family celebration with plenty, which had always been the ‘tradition’. To avoid, or reduce, protests from close families, and also ensure that they cut down their guest list, it is advised that you let both families (bride’s and groom’s) know ahead of time that you want a small intimate wedding.

Keep Your Budget Small

Make a spending budget, but keep it small. Prioritize your expenses by spending the most money on the things that matter most to you, and spend the least money on other not-so-important areas – that’s how to have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, on a small budget. For example: if your top priority is having a designer gown and you’re least concerned about bringing a music band, then you may want to splurge on the designer wedding dress and then hire a DJ instead of a band.

Another example: if your top priority is having a World class wedding photographer cover your big day, and you’d rather use your father’s backyard as the wedding venue, then by all means do so. It’s all about splurging on your top priority and keeping other areas low key. Remember, it’s not appropriate to cut corners when it comes to catering for your guests.

Stick to Your Budget

When it’s time to start shopping and hiring vendors, stick to your budget – cut out any unnecessary unplanned expense item.

To keep your budget small, skip the unnecessary extras. For example: make a simple wedding cake with one or two tiers instead of a very tall cake. You may want to forget about wedding souvenirs, cut out having a music band – instead hire a professional DJ – it’s cheaper. You may also want to have a photographer, but no videographer. Forget about having wedding reception dress changes – wear your wedding gown for both the church ceremony and reception. Simply focus on giving your guests a good venue, great food and pleasant music.

Keep the Guest List Small

Isn’t it obvious that a small wedding would keep the number of guests small – and expenses lower? After all, why do they call it “small” wedding? So, working backwards from your set budget, you can easily determine how many guests you can afford to feed.

It’s okay to keep the guest list to immediate family only, especially if you (bride and groom) have a large extended family. When planning a small Nigerian wedding, it can be hard to decide who and who to invite/ not invite, use the tips in this post for the simple rules to follow when trimming a guest list. Be aware that you can’t successfully keep away all uninvited guests, but you can try – don’t be alarmed if some show up.

Strategize on How to Limit Unwanted Guests

In Nigeria, weddings are traditionally an invite-everyone affairs. Even if your invitation card reads “strictly-by-invite”, you’re bound to have uninvited guests. And, if you have more wedding guests than planned, you risk having the food get finished – and even some of your important guests may not get food (while the uninvited may have been served first). So, you need to figure out a way to keep unwanted guests away.

. Some options to limit the number of uninvited guests include: hiring some mean-looking bouncers, locating your wedding venue far away from your/ your parents’ home – that means, a day before the wedding, you (bride and groom) have to move in to hotel rooms close to the wedding venue, to ensure that you and your bridesmaids and groomsmen are not late to the wedding.

. Other ways to limit uninvited guests include fixing the wedding date on a week day or not-on-a-public-holiday.

Book a Low-Cost Wedding Venue

Once you’ve made your budget and know the maximum number of guests you want to invite, start searching for a suitable venue that is within your budget and not too big or too small for the guests you’re expecting. If you’re on a budget, low-cost wedding venue options include: to rent a cheap but nice outdoor garden, or a community hall or any other cheap venue.

If you have a big backyard, you may even consider having your wedding reception at your backyard – or ask a family friend or relative for permission to use their spacious backyard. To keep the wedding venue decoration cost low, find a hall that requires minimal decoration or a beautiful outdoor venue with beautiful, natural scenery.

Be Honest with Friends

With small weddings, you can’t possibly invite all your friends and office colleagues. You bet, the uninvited among them will feel hurt and bitter, but it’s best to be honest when asked about it – let your friends know that you are keeping the wedding very small and limiting the invitation to close family.

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