We all know that Nigerians all over the world are known for their high taste in everything – from luxurious cars, to jewelries, houses and outfits, our fellow citizens sure know how to spend money. And, so it wasn’t surprising to read the report on Forbes describing how the wealthy Nigerians go all out to spend any amount they want on their dream weddings. In most countries, the choice of the wedding event is dictated by the word ‘budget’, but when it comes to the Rich Nigerians, budget is not a problem and that is thrown to the winds.
In this Forbes report, Funke Bucknor, CEO of Zapphaire Events , one Nigeria’s leading wedding and events company described the extent in which Nigerians will go to plan their wedding events: “Our core clientèle is mainly made up by millionaires. They will not hesitate to spend the money in order to get what they want. If they need to fly in an artist from America, or a decorator from Dubai or London, they will do so.”
Additionally, Elohor Aisien, Nigerian-based beauty-queen now event-planner, also concurred with the fact that Nigerians spend a lot of money on drinks including Champagne at the weddings: “Nigerians love champagne, so the most money will be spent on drinks as well as food. On Nigerian weddings there’s food from 2pm till midnight.” So, considering that an average Nigerian wedding will have around 1000 guests, with the bigger ones having between 2000 and 3000 guests, the choice and cost of champagne served can become very significant. Aisien further said “Old money Nigerians may keep things more subtle, new money Nigerians are more concerned with letting people know that they’ve arrived. Magnums of Dom Pérignon will often be their drink of choice. In a way it’s become this competition amongst brides. They’ll ask me: ‘How many bottles did she have? I need more.’”
The 33-year-old beauty queen who owns the event planning company ‘Privé Luxury‘ described her experience planning a Nigerian royal bride and one of Nigerian’s most popular female artiste ‘Tiwa Savage‘. “I did the wedding of Reukayat Indimi, who comes from a royal Nigerian family, which hails from the north of the country. According to northern tradition, the bride can’t leave the house during the month leading up to the wedding. Since the bride didn’t have her wedding dress yet, I flew into London with a model who fitted several dresses for her. Elie Saab is a popular choice of wedding dress amongst Nigerians, whereas most grooms I work with want a Tom Ford total look. Vera Wang is also very much in demand, since it fits well on the Nigerian body type,” Elohor says, who may also tick the box that says “celebrity wedding”. In 2013, Elohor’s company also planned one of Nigeria’s most talked-about weddings for Nigeria’s leading female recording artist Tiwa Savage wedding to husband Tee Billz. Their destination wedding was held at Dubai’s Armani Hotel, part of world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa.”I have a good relationship with the Armani Hotel in Dubai, they love Nigerian weddings,”Aisien concludes.
The lavishness of money spent on Nigerian weddings have been criticized when one considers that majority of the citizens don’t even have up to a dollar to spend on their daily livelihood. However, others claim that if there were no lavish Nigerian weddings, a Nigerian economy would also not exist. “I appreciate them spending this money, cause without these weddings I don’t know where the Nigerian economy would be,” says Weruche Majekodunmi, owner of Newton & David, a local company that specializes in event design and décor. “The weddings keep our economy going. Normally the rich Nigerians will spend their money abroad, whenever they go shopping. Thanks to the wedding industry the money is being invested back into our economy. Jobs of caterers, tailors, carpenters and upholsterers are being sustained. Prior to these major weddings, the profession of make-up artist wasn’t even considered a full-time job,” she explains.
Weruche further said, “It has happened three times in the last five years that I’ve organized a wedding that cost over $2 million. They spent the most on food, Cristal champagne, entertainment and gifts to their guests. At one wedding all the invitees got their wedding outfit with their invitation. At another wedding they handed out microwave ovens, smart phones and rice cookers, to all of their guests. At some other weddings they’ll fly in their guests and arrange their accommodation in case they decide to get married overseas. You must understand, that our reasoning is different from that in the West.”