How to derive value from your Nigerian wedding ceremony

by Ugodre

Over 90% of women change their names when they get married. Photograph: Mode Images Limited / Alamy/Alamy
Over 90% of women change their names when they get married. Photograph: Mode Images Limited / Alamy/Alamy

Just how does one know if a wedding ceremony was successful and value for money spent? Most people erroneously consider wedding ceremonies as valueless, a once in a lifetime splurge and except for gifts getting nothing in return to cover their expenses commensurately.  But that is certainly not true especially in economic terms. To view wedding ceremonies economically, one will have to ask what is the value most expect to obtain when they organize weddings. Value is defined as the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.The most important reason why people have wedding receptions is so they can share their joy with friends and family as well as entertain them. This certainly fits the bill of a definition of  value even in economic terms.

Back in September 2012, I accompanied a friend to a wedding abroad which I thoroughly enjoyed. There were lots to eat and drink and enough fun that most invitees did not end up leaving till late. The word invitees in this wedding was not just a conjecture as it was followed almost to the letter. On arriving at the reception, there was a notice board where all invitees had to check to identify their sitting positions. Fortunately, my friend had anticipated this and informed the couple ahead of time since I was not invited ensuring that I did get a sit despite not being on the guest list.  This is a typical format for weddings abroad and shouldn’t really be a surprise. However, I have attended strictly by invitation wedding ceremonies held successfully in Nigeria.

It is important to note that, the wedding reception in Nigeria had bouncers and security personnel at the entrance which all but ensured uninvited guests were politely turned away or made to wait whilst they made alternative sitting arrangements. I also noticed that all invited guests were called ahead of time to confirm if they will be attending and who they may wish to accompany them. That way, guests already knew it was risky to come along with uninvited guests.

Organizing weddings that is strictly by invitation makes a whole lot of economic sense. First of all, you can easily determine the number of invites and then prepare your catering budgets accordingly. We have all seen several weddings were the couple spend large sums of money on refreshments yet important invitees leave without being able to eat or drink. So while you spend what you have, you do not get the benefit of satisfying the guest that you have invited to come and celebrate with you.  Weddings Ceremonies done strictly by invitation also helps reduce the chaos associated with crowd control and scramble for refreshments. What is the point sending invitees to people who probably have little or no connection with your personal life as at today. Your close friends, family, colleagues and business associated or customers are usually an ideal guest list.

Another very important metric would be determining a logical way of determining if invitees actually enjoyed themselves. Whilst this may sound rather awkward, it can actually help measure cost to benefit of engaging the services of wedding planners respectively. For example, just how do you know if a wedding planner delivered a fantastic wedding?? Since deriving value in wedding is not only about beautifully decorated halls and good food, knowing that your invitees are satisfied and had a wonderful time is by far the most important measure of success. This makes a feedback form a viable option. Forms can be placed on guest tables where invitees can express their anonymous opinions about the wedding. Whilst this might posse an emotional concern as no one will want to hurt the feelings of a newly wedded couple, the result can be produced in such a manner that only the wedding planners and organisers are scored. That way if a wedding planner is scored below 50%, it is unlikely that they will be recommended by the couple. Feed backs can also  be extended to DJ’s, caterers, ushers etc.

I have also observed that wedding ceremonies held on weekdays mostly churn out lesser crowds and are cheaper to organize compared to those held on weekends and on public holidays. The reason is obvious as most people are engaged at work and so may not be able to attend weddings. I believe couples on a low budget can adopt weekday ceremonies to ensure maximum value is derived. In fact, by choosing to wed on a weekday, it is highly unlikely that you will not have a dedicated priest at your wedding. You simply avoid the mass wedding scenario.

Deciding what type of liquor to serve in a wedding is also very crucial to controlling cost and yet deriving maximum value. For example, in a ceremony where there is a plethora of alcoholic drinks there is a risk that some guest may be disposed to premium selection. For example, when invitees have an option to choose between a premium champaign and a normal one, they often go for the former, leaving unused drinks behind and sometimes disgruntled invitees should it not be available. People do know that some invitees at weddings are VIP, therefore why not limit premie drinks to them alone. Most invitees will just be happy to drink what they see provided you do not show them that they have a choice for something better.

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