Wedding ceremonies in Nigeria are great, especially the ones organized in the western parts of Naija. While a lot of the celebrants are expected to observe certain traditions and follow certain rules, the guests are not spared either, as there are certain etiquette rules they too have to abide by while attending the occasion.
If you are visiting Nigeria and planning on attending a wedding, you are going to want to put your best foot forward. And that means getting well acquainted with what the rule book says.
To give you a head start, we would give a few tips you should know as a wedding guest.
1. Do not wear any shade of white
The general idea is that the brides wear white or shades of white, including ivory, cream and very rarely beige e.t.c. You are not allowed to try and upstage the bride by wearing anything that is primarily white or a dress in a shade that is really close to white.
You can however wear something with a touch of white, as long as the white does not dominate your total ensemble. Actually, to be more detailed, you are also not allowed to wear anything that will keep all attention on you rather than the bride.
Stay away from really plunging necklines, and thigh high slits. It is her day and it is important she has all the attention and shine.
2. Ensure you follow the couple’s photography and social media rules
There are so many social media platforms now and its users are always very keen to upload photos of awesome moments of the event to their social media platforms.
While most couples will allow you to do just that at the wedding, ensure you do not overshadow either the bride or the groom in the photo. In other words, do not post a less-than-flattering photo of the bride even if you happen to look really cute. We know it’s difficult not to get carried away.
Again, remember to include the couples’ hashtags on all the wedding photos. If you aren’t sure what they want, just do not post anything. Also, try not to get in the way of the professional photographer who has actually been paid by the groom to take official photos of the wedding. Do your thing but do not in anyway take the shine off the couple.
3. Do not bring a Plus One on your discretion
Unless there is a crystal-clear ‘plus one’ clause on your invitation, please do not come with anyone else including your boyfriend, girlfriend, bestie or even child.
The couple makes their budget and plan according to the invitations sent out and affirmed, and so, bringing extra people just makes things a lot more difficult as regards seating and catering. We know in Nigeria, people don’t think too much of bringing uninvited guests, but this isn’t too cool.
4. Take a gift to the wedding
The norm for Nigerians is to go to the wedding, dance eat and go home. Unless they are related to the bride or groom, they hardly attend with a gift. A few , especially those in Lagos, justify not gifting the bride and groom with the excuse that they paid for Aso-ebi or they will spray cash on the dance floor, but should that suffice?
Is that even the same thing? Unless the invitation specifies “no gifts”, it is important that you take a gift in honor of your invitation and to show your thoughtfulness.
Great thing about this is that you have up to about 6 months to give the bride/groom a wedding present, so if you miss your chance at the wedding itself, you can still send them a gift later on. Must this gift be in material form? We think that depends on how close you are to the couple.
5. Go easy on Souvenirs
Souvenir time is always a bit chaotic and problematic in Nigerian weddings. No matter how negligible the package or empty the goodie bag, wedding guests tend to see it as a gold medal and go extra lengths to secure as many bags as possible for themselves and even friends that did not attend the event.
Some people even now take some part of the decoration, like a floral arrangement or centerpiece on the table, home. It is important to note that weddings are not a (grab and go) opportunity. To be attended just because of what you hope to get from it.
If you have that mentality, please scrap it. Wait for your turn when souvenirs are being distributed and if you see something on the table you want to take home, ensure you ask the bride or groom or wedding planner first or a close relative to the couple.
6. Attend every second of the wedding ceremony
The norm in Nigeria is that wedding guests skip the church ceremony and just go to the reception event as they never want to sit through that long religious ceremony. You hear people say “I came for the food”
Not attending the church or mosque ceremony is not an acceptable practice though, as the couple who sent you an invitation expect you to join them for the full event.
The religious ceremony and reception go hand in hand. You may think the bride and groom will not notice, but the truth is that they remember who shows up and who does not…and they also remember those who leave early too.
So here you have it. At your next wedding, ensure you put one or two of these tips into practice…