Nigerian Wedding Planning Simplified: Selecting the Right Venue

Planning a Nigerian wedding is an exciting journey filled with a lot of hopes and dreams. One of the most important decisions in the beginning of the process is picking the right venue, which can greatly affect your wedding experience.

As an experienced Nigerian Wedding Planner, I understand how challenging this can be since I guide a lot of clients through this decision. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to choose the right venue for your Nigerian wedding, tackle the common questions that come up and address the key things to consider when making your decision.

Crafting the Perfect Venue Vision

As you embark on this quest you have to consider several pivotal factors that will influence your decision. So, you’re probably thinking, “What should I prioritize when selecting a venue?” Here are the key considerations:

Confirm the venue’s availability on your chosen wedding date. Certain popular venues may book dates quickly. Securing your date well in advance is a prudent move to avoid disappointment.

Begin by evaluating the venue’s capacity, ensuring it comfortably accommodates your guests. Overcrowding can diminish the guest experience, while excess space may dilute the atmosphere’s intimacy. Striking the perfect balance is paramount.

With Nigerian weddings, knowing your max guest count is extremely important. Many couples make the mistake of rushing to start planning the wedding without having a handle on their guest count first. I always ask my clients to get their guest list on paper in black and white because many times the number in your head is more conservative than reality; especially when you consider the guests of your parents.

Nigerian culture is also a culture where we need more room in the venue than normal. We have entrances that require space for large groups of people to dance in together, our receptions have more people dancing so we need larger dance floors, our larger guest lists often require 2 buffets which take up room. I could go on and on. So, there must be extra room in the space to accommodate these things.

Evaluate the venue’s aesthetics. Does its inherent charm align seamlessly with your wedding theme and style?

Depending on what you value most, the look and feel of the venue may be very important to you and it’s a lot less stress on the budget to decorate a venue that is more in line with your vision versus completely transforming a space that may be cheaper but you do not find appealing.

Also, if you care about details such as how the bathrooms look, if the parking lot is freshly paved, etc. make sure you request to see all parts of the venue during your tour.

Contemplate the venue’s location in relation to a major city or airport. It’s more of a personal preference of how far your venue should be from a major city or airport but remember to prioritize the convenience of travel for your local and traveling guests.

Venue Restrictions:
Probe into any venue-specific restrictions or guidelines. Are there noise limitations, time constraints, or regulations regarding outside vendors?

For Nigerian weddings, we often need a few key things: the ability to bring in an outside Nigerian caterer, a reception that can end at 12 am or later, and some clients like the ability to bring in their own alcoholic beverages because some venues do not have specific drinks that are desired. If a venue agrees to provide concessions that they do not normally do, always get this in writing.

And if a venue allows outside catering or other concessions for an additional fee, make sure all fees are communicated to you in black and white.

Weather Contingency:
Always inquire about and view (in person) the venue’s contingency plan in the event of inclement weather. Inclement weather is not just rain, it can also be too hot, too windy, too cold, etc. This consideration is particularly pivotal for outdoor ceremonies or an outdoor cocktail hour.

I always stress that if you do not like the rain plan option available for a venue, do not book the venue. If you are struggling to pick between your remaining venue options, always go with the one that has a more appealing inclement weather option so, If for any reason you will have to use the contingency plan, you won’t be disappointed.

Accessibility for Vendors:
Many facilities say they can host weddings but the back-end logistics for vendors to load in or do their job well is very difficult. Difficulty loading in or accessing the venue will result in more fees from vendors due to increased staff or complex logistics needed to complete their job properly.

When touring the venue, always ask about vendor access and how easy it is for them to load in. Look at other aspects of the venue that guests won’t see like the load in doc and the catering kitchen so you are aware of what your vendors will have to work with. Take pictures and videos to show potential vendors so they can take that into consideration when they are providing you with pricing. It’s better for all parties involved to know of any issues in advance.

The Pursuit of the Right Venue

Your wedding venue sets the stage for your once-in-a-lifetime celebration. To embark on this journey, you may wonder, “How many venues should I consider touring?” While there is no strict rule, I recommend going through a process of evaluating all options and agreeing on three to five venues to tour in person. This balance ensures a diverse selection while maintaining a manageable scope, allowing you to find the venue that harmonizes seamlessly with your vision.

Each venue has its pros and cons. I often equate the search for a venue to the search for the perfect home. Although you may have a laundry list of what you want, no venue (or home) is perfect (unless you build it from scratch) so focus on your non-negotiables and must-haves when evaluating your options. The key is discovering the venue that resonates most profoundly with your unique vision.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Before we conclude, let’s navigate through common mistakes couples encounter when selecting their wedding venue.

Exceeding Your Budget:
The venue is always a big chunk of the wedding budget, especially if you select a venue that requires you to use their in house bar. So avoid falling in love with a venue that is beyond your budget so you do not introduce undue financial stress.

This means you must have a detailed budget plan in place before you start the venue search so you can understand what you can afford for a venue without exceeding your overall budget.

Booking Without a Blueprint:
Hasty venue decisions without a clear wedding plan can lead to confusion. Develop a well-defined list of overall priorities, a budget breakdown and guest count estimate before committing to a venue to maintain clarity and direction.

Ignoring Weather Considerations:
Nobody wants inclement weather on their wedding day but we cannot underestimate the unpredictability of the weather. All potential outcomes must be considered and planned for. Ensure a contingency plan for outdoor weddings to avoid disappointment should the weather prove uncooperative.

Neglecting Guest Comfort:
Prioritize the comfort and convenience of your guests to ensure a joyful celebration. Select a venue that aligns seamlessly with their needs.

Choosing the right venue for your Nigerian wedding is a significant decision, and it’s a process that deserves careful consideration. By touring multiple venues, considering capacity, aesthetics, and the practical details, you can simplify this journey.

With thoughtful planning, you’ll find the perfect venue that sets the stage for a beautiful and unforgettable Nigerian wedding.

If you want to take a look at some of the gorgeous venues we have had the opportunity to work in, take a look at our portfolio for a little inspiration.

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