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How to Avoid Late Guests For Your Nigerian Wedding

Are you currently planning your Nigerian wedding and you’re getting nervous that your wedding ceremony will start late because your guests will be late?


If so, I have a trick that I use with my clients that almost guarantees no guests will be late to your ceremony. If you want that tip, keep on reading.


I’m Bisola and I plan and design Nigerian weddings for couples getting married in the U.S. I work with couples who want an epic wedding day that their guests won’t stop talking about.


Now, you may be thinking “Bisola, if my guests are late, I’m still starting my ceremony on time.” You say this now, but your feelings may change on the actual wedding day.


In my seven years of planning, designing and executing weddings for clients, I’ve had a couple of brides and grooms ask me on the day of their wedding to delay their ceremony start time because a large portion of their guests were late and they wanted to walk down the aisle to a full audience.


That’s when I decided to get creative and figure out how we can avoid this in the future.


Now, we both know that Nigerians are not the most punctual.


And I can say that because I’m Nigerian myself. Although I’m always on time.


But we can do a couple of things to make sure their tardiness does not negatively impact your wedding plans.


Because the truth is, if your ceremony starts late, it cuts into the time needed to take pictures during cocktail hour and eventually the time lost gets taken away from your reception time which means less time on the dance floor. And we don’t want that.


So, you’re probably asking “what’s the solution, Bisola?”


No. we’re not just going to put a completely wrong time on the invitations. This can easily cause a big logistical problem for your guests and your vendors on the day of the wedding.


What I suggest you do is have a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. A pre-ceremony cocktail hour is a relaxed environment with music, appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages available to your guests before the ceremony begins.


Your guests, whether they are on time or “late”, are able to relax and mingle before the ceremony actually begins.


The timing you place on your invitation will be the start time of the pre-ceremony cocktail hour. You can still word it as the ceremony start time on the invites.


It can be 15 – 30 minutes before you want your ceremony to actually begin. I would not exceed 30 minutes as the guests who will arrive on time will show up anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes before the time on the invite and you don’t want them waiting too long. So, if you want your ceremony to start at 6 PM, have your ceremony start time on the invite as 5:30 PM and have your caterer, bar service and DJ start their services as 5 PM for those guests who will arrive early.


Now, if you guests are still late past that, I would definitely start your ceremony on time.


I hope this tip was very helpful for you. If you want more guidance on your guest list click this link to download my 8 minute video on how to get a handle on your Nigerian guest list. You’ll also get access to my guest list template that I provide to my clients.

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