This Wedding checklist has been designed to ease the stress that comes with planning Nigerian Weddings. It breaks down the most essential tasks you will need to complete based on a 12 month engagement period. Unlike any other wedding checklist that exists, this one includes Traditional Wedding tasks as well. Keep in mind that this is meant only as a general guideline. There will surely be additional steps unique to your wedding. Don’t forget to create daily and weekly lists. This will make larger tasks on this wedding checklist more manageable. Make sure you delegate appropriate tasks to the relevant friends and family members.
10-12 months to the wedding
- Congratulations on your engagement! The first step will be to announce this to all relevant parties. Be sure to go out of your way to personally inform people who may be offended if they hear the news indirectly from other sources e.g fussy aunties and long lost best friends across the continent.
- Share this wedding checklist with all friends and family members helping you plan the wedding.
- Select a wedding date. The traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony will be held anytime from the same day as the white wedding ceremony, to a few months before.
- Start a wedding file or folder to keep records of all contracts, vendor quotes and wedding documents.
- Choose a date for your Introduction, where you are officially introduced to your new family for the first time. This is the first part of most traditional wedding ceremonies.
- Discuss a wedding budget and how expenses and duties will be shared between the two families.
- Draft a preliminary guest list to get an estimate of guest numbers. Request lists from both sets of parents. Doing so as soon as possible will prevent you from searching for inadequate venues, and giving vendors wrong quotes.
- Select bridal party members and inform them.
- Choose the church/mosque ceremony location and confirm date and availability with the leaders.
- Decide on whether you would like to hire a wedding planner and book one if necessary.
- Start hunting for the wedding reception venue and secure this as soon as possible.
- Select your wedding theme and wedding color schemes, including aso ebi colors and wedding reception colors.
- Start researching wedding dress ideas. It’s never too early as some custom gowns take up to 5-8 months to prepare, and alterations and multiple dress fittings eat up extra time.
- Search for bridal hairstyle and make-up inspiration.
- Visit fabric vendors to choose your Introduction outfit. Start thinking of wedding day aso-ebi ideas as well.
- Select and secure a Wedding Photographer for both the white and traditional weddings.
- Select and secure a Wedding Videographer for both the white and traditional weddings.
- Start researching and booking other wedding vendors, especially those who handle one wedding per day.
- Start Honeymoon planning to get the best flight and hotel rates.
7- 9 months to the wedding
- Buy your Wedding Dress. The earlier the better.
- Finalize the Guest List, compile addresses and send out save the dates.
- Choose aso-ebi for family members, friends and guests attending the white wedding and traditional wedding.
- Choose the bride and groom’s attire(s) for the traditional wedding.
- Take engagement photos to be displayed at your wedding, on your wedding website, and party souvenirs.
- Research and secure a Makeup Artist for both weddings.
- Research and secure a Hair Stylist for both weddings if two different people will be handling your makeup and hair.
- Book the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for your reception.
- Select a Band for the reception for both weddings.
- Select a DJ for the wedding reception.
- Book any other musician/entertainment.
- Choose a Caterer for both weddings and decide on menu.
- Choose an Event Decorator and florist that best suits your requirements.
- Order your English and Traditional Wedding Cakes.
- Create a wedding website to share details of your wedding with friends, family and other guests.
- Finalize Honeymoon details and make necessary reservations.
4-6 Months Before
- Finalize and present traditional wedding list (engagement list) to grooms family.
- Order your wedding invitations, thank your cards, programs and other personalized stationery. This isn’t done too early to allow for changes in venues or dates.
- Choose your white wedding hair accessories.
- Buy your white wedding shoes, purse and jewelry (earrings, chains and bracelets).
- Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments and ensure that hair accessories and hair style are complementary.
- Choose a second wedding dress if you will be wearing two.
- Choose the Groom and Groomsmen attires and ties.
- Choose the Wedding Bouquet and Boutonnieres.
- Buy and inform your bridesmaids’ of the gown you have chosen. Take varying body shapes into consideration.
- Buy your Traditional wedding shoes and bag.
- Buy your Traditional wedding jewelry (beads) and other accessories.
- Buy the Wedding Rings. Account for time needed for engraving and additional sizing if necessary.
- Discuss Rehearsal Dinner: Who will be hosting? Venue?
- Order Rental Equipment: e.g. marquee, tables, chairs etc.
2-3 Months Before
- Start Buying items on the traditional wedding list (engagement list only relevant to the grooms family).
- Choose Bridesmaids accessories.
- Book wedding night accommodation.
- Book Transportation for couple, family and wedding party.
- Send out wedding invitations, aso-ebi and gifts for the aso-ebi purchasers.
- Begin personal shopping for clothes needed for pre-wedding parties or honeymoon.
- Begin organizing transportation and accommodation for out of town guests and the wedding party.
- Schedule a wedding rehearsal and notify everyone involved.
- Inform DJ on Father/ Daughter song, First dance song, specific processional music and any other *Must play* songs.
1 Month Before
- Ensure bridal party receive their dresses, other accessories and tuxedos.
- Discuss and confirm bachelorette party.
- Write vows if you choose to personalize them.
- Buy Wedding undergarments.
- Confirm all details including location, date and time with all vendors.
- Confirm all details including location, date and time with all vendors.
- Organize car decorations.
- Schedule a final dress fitting, and make sure you are wearing shoes this time. You should also have a bridesmaid there to learn how to bustle your train and fasten your buttons.
2 Weeks Before
- Check the weather for your wedding day.
- Confirm your total wedding look – ensure you have all necessary accessories for you and your bridal party.
- Finish personal shopping.
- Finalize honeymoon plans.
- Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon.
- Purchase gifts for your bridal party.
- Go for final beauty treatments: spa, facial, wax. This is not the best time to experiment.
- Create a seating chart and finalize seating arrangements. This is quite difficult to enforce, so at the very least, place cards designating some tables to important family members, friends and colleagues should be visibly positioned.
1 Week Before
- Confirm final guest count and inform caterer and reception venue.
- Have final consultation with all vendors.
- Pack an “emergency kit” for the wedding day which may include: safety pins, tissues, cosmetics, hairspray, needle and cotton, headache pills, and mints .
- Confirm honeymoon bookings and have ready all necessary documentation: tickets, passports, traveller’s cheques, etc.
- Pack for honeymoon.
- Rehearse the church ceremony with the ministers. Rehearse the wedding reception with your wedding party.
- Arrange with your reception to have a table available for last minute gifts. Ask family members to move gifts home after wedding.
- Sit down and organize the actual wedding day into some sort of time schedule. Provide the wedding party with the schedule.
- Break into your shoes! Wear your wedding shoes around the house and on the same kind of floor you’d have in the wedding, until they are comfortable.
- Ensure that all vendor payment deadlines are met.
- Practice your dance moves. Don’t carry last on your special day.
The Day Before
- Confirm that all members of the wedding party are organized and well prepared.
- Appoint your official *Cash Collectors*.
- Have a massage, manicure and pedicure and relax.
- Complete your evening skin routine so that your skin is moist for your wedding day make-up.
- Get to bed early!
On the Day
- Eat a good breakfast.
- Review your on the day wedding schedule.
- Relax and pamper yourself.
- Be at the ceremony at least five minutes early.
- Smile and enjoy – this is your special day !
- Party Hard! Komole, Azonto,….etc!
After the Day
- Send out thank you emails, write thank you notes and make thank you calls. An 8-week period of grace is the norm.
- Ensure all vendors have been fully paid.
Although this wedding checklist has been designed for a 12 month engagement, we understand that not all last that long, so all wedding planning activities mentioned in the wedding checklist above will be carried out in a much shorter time period. Also, hiring a wedding planner (recommended) will considerably reduce your workload as they will be handling many of the tasks on your behalf.
Good Luck and Congratulations!