Wedding ceremonies in Nigeria are great, especially ones organized in the western parts of the country.
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, Jumia Travel, Africa’s No.1 online hotel booking portal, shares 6 rules for wedding guests in Nigeria
Do not wear any shade of white
The general idea is that the brides wear white or shades of the colour, including ivory, cream etc. You are not allowed to try and upstage the bride by wearing anything that is primarily white or a dress in a hue that is really close to white. You can however wear something with a touch of white, as long as the white does not dominate the ensemble. Actually, you are also not allowed to wear anything that will keep all attention on you rather than the bride. Stay away from plunging necklines, and thigh high slits. It is her day and it is important she has all the attention.
Ensure you follow the couple’s photography and social media rules
There are so many visual platforms now and users are always keen to upload photos of “awwh-worthy” moments to their social media platforms. While most couples will allow you to do just that at the wedding, ensure you do not trump 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. 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 not bring a Plus One on your discretion
Unless there is a crystal-clear ‘plus one’ addendum on the invitation, please do not come with anyone else including your boyfriend, girlfriend, bestie or 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.
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 Asoebi or they will spray cash on the dance floor, but should that suffice? Unless the invitation specifies “no gifts”, it is important that you take a gift in honour of your invitation. Great thing 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 something.
Go easy on Souvenirs
Souvenir time is always a bit chaotic 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 even more than one for themselves. Some people even now take some part of the decoration, like a floral arrangement or centrepiece on the table, home. It is important to note that weddings are not a grab and go opportunity. 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.
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. This is not an acceptable practice though, as the couple who sent you an invitation expect you to join them for the full experience. A 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 remember those who leave early too.
Nkem Ndem is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel