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My Nigerian Traditional Wedding: The Top 5 mistakes I made that you should avoid

Chances are that if you are reading this you are planning both your white wedding and traditional wedding. Everyone understands how tiring it is to plan a white wedding, but we hardly show appreciation to people like me and you who are planning two weddings - Kudos!

I believe many can relate when I admit that my white wedding took centre stage, leaving most of the traditional wedding preparations in the hands of my parents and family members. In hindsight, I realise the significance and the positive impact it could have had on me had I been as involved in planning my traditional wedding as I was with my white wedding.

Whilst I do feel like I got a lot of things right for my traditional wedding, amidst the excitement, I found myself stumbling through a series of mistakes that taught me invaluable lessons. In this blog post, I will share my missteps and 'horror stories' so that you can avoid them and approach your big day better than I did. So join me as I spill the 5 big blunders I made and the insightful tips I've picked up to help you successfully navigate the traditional wedding planning process.


MISTAKE #1: running on empty

I had every intention to eat during my traditional wedding, in fact, I had even asked my wedding coordinator to set food aside for me and I was determined to have at least 30 minutes together with my husband to sit down and eat in between outfit changes. But there is usually so much happening on the day and with all the excitement, if you're like me, you may find that you don't have an appetite.

Not making eating on the day a priority was definitely one of my biggest mistakes

The traditional wedding day was very long, and we had done THREE separate entrances with three outfit changes throughout the day - not to mention we danced all the way into the hall for each of the entrances and of course, the venue was very hot - by the third entrance, I was DRAINED as I was running on empty by this point.

Unfortunately, when I finally decided I needed food in my system there were only leftovers. I was looking forward to dancing the night away with my friends and letting loose, but by then I was just hoping my knees wouldn't give way, and looking back on my wedding videos, I can tell I just didn't have any energy left!

Tips to take from this:

  • Bring Tupperware (plastic containers) with you to the venue, and at the start of the wedding ask a bridesmaid or a pushy auntie to pack you some food

  • If you have a wedding coordinator, or a close friend/family member , let them know beforehand that they need to force you and your partner to carve out 10 minutes to eat together. Even if things are running late, an extra 10 minutes will not ruin the day.

  • You've spent months planning this day and it can feel overwhelming and exhausting, you need energy, so force yourself to eat something, even if it is small bites throughout the day

MISTAKE #2: not Vetting my vendors properly

I'll be honest and say I did leave majority of the vendor-hiring for my traditional wedding to my parents, including the photographer and videographer. I didn't vet them properly and from what I saw I thought their work was okay at best, but yet was expecting that they would miraculously produce out of this world content for MY wedding day.

I got married in 2022, so with how advanced videography has become, I was expecting an 'instagrammable' 4K video with highlights of your wedding with some really cool effects;

what I got was a 5 HOUR long video with no editing and what's worst is that the cameraman's battery died twice during the recording!

I would definitely advise you to have your traditional wedding captured the way you want it to because you don't get these moments back. So although I thank God for my amazing guests who captured great videos and photos, I wish I would have had it beautifully captured by professionals.

Tips to take from this:

  • Check your potential photographer and videographer's past work. Ask to see a broader portfolio than what they show on their socials. This helps to really see if you like their editing style, poses, shots etc.

  • Ask the videographer/photographer for your white wedding to also capture your traditional wedding in case there's a special discount from the double booking - but this means one photographer has all content from both of your wedding days, so it's a risk to consider carefully!

MISTAKE #3: TRYING SOMETHING NEW - my hair was a disaster

You'll hear people advise to avoid firsts leading up to your wedding as much as possible; don't start a new skin routine a few days before, don't eat a new exotic dish the night before, don't try a completely brand new hairstyle - yet here I was the day before my wedding...

I never had a ponytail done before, and so I decided I would have one for my traditional wedding. I found my stylist on Instagram and I won't go into it, but basically the hairstyle just didn't work out at all.

So, the night before my wedding, I sat and cried in my car feeling hopeless because my hair was a disaster

THANKFULLY, my close friends own a luxury wig and extensions company (Nu Hair). They had already sorted out a pre-styled wig for the white wedding, so I reached out to them and thankfully they agreed to also provide me with a wig for my traditional wedding. When I tell you this wig was PERFECT, I couldn't believe my luck.

tips to take from this:

  • If you want to do a style you've never done before, trial it first!

My husband and I featuring the wig that saved the day!

MISTAKE #4: my hotel room was absolute chaos

Not giving myself enough space was a HUGE mistake. I had booked a hotel because I had decided getting ready at my parents house would be too stressful. The morning started off calm and relaxing but that quickly descended into absolute chaos. By the time the makeup artist, gele stylist, maid of honour, mother, sisters and nephew (!) had arrived the room was packed and hot and petty arguments started to break out. The more people in your immediate vicinity, the more chaotic everything will feel.

I vividly remember sitting on the floor in the hotel corridor just for some peace and quiet. Also, because the room was a mess and cramped it meant I couldn't take any nice 'Getting Ready' photos.

tips to take from this:

  • If you are booking a hotel room to get ready in, make sure that room is only for YOU to get ready in.

  • If you are staying in a hotel with bridesmaids or family, keep one room clean and tidy so it can be used for pictures (worked so well for my white wedding!)

  • Have your own bridal room at the actual wedding venue, a place where you can change, eat and rest. Make sure you limit the access (and don't let the aunties know where the room is!)

MISTAKE #5: Expecting EVERYTHING to go perfectly

Don't let minor hiccups affect your mood - some things WILL go wrong, guaranteed, no matter how well you plan. When I look back at some footage from the wedding I laugh because I can see the frustration in my face. I had made a strict schedule with my wedding coordinator and did my best to think of absolutely everything, but when 100+ more people than expected arrived on the day, a lot of those plans went out the window. But you must remember that you are the BRIDE! Yes, it is your wedding but you're not expected to be a problem solver. Enjoy the day as much as you can because it will go by so quickly. Hire a wedding coordinator or planner or make sure your bridesmaids/family are on job to put out any 'fires'. Make sure you surround yourself with people that will keep your spirits high and will shield you from anything going wrong on the day.

Tips to TAKE from this:

  • Smile through it! Even if something annoys you, think of the pictures and videos! Just keep smiling

  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Whilst things can go wrong, you can limit how much goes wrong by planning out the day with your wedding planner or your family. Give realistic time slots and allow for things running over

Looking back at the wild ride of a Nigerian traditional wedding, I feel grateful for the amazing experience it was.

Our culture is so rich and beautiful and so we owe it to ourselves to do the traditional wedding day justice. Traditional weddings shouldn't be a burden we get out of the way to appease our parents, they are windows into a rich heritage that deserves our respect and admiration!

I hope that by sharing my mistakes you'll be better equipped to avoid the pitfalls I encountered. Though I made some blunders, I had one of the best days ever!

If you've found these insights helpful, let me know if you would be interested in learning about the things I planned successfully by leaving a comment below.

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