Money Matters

Don’t Let The Wedding Ruin Your Marriage (Part 2)

Nimi Akinkugbe, Money Matters with Nimi continues the discussion don’t let the wedding ruin your marriage. (See Part 1 here)

Money MattersWho pays for what?

In the past, tradition was not financially kind to the bride’s family who was expected to cover most of the costs.Nowadays both families tend to play a role and the division of costs is largely dependent on each family’s financial standing and of the bride and groom themselves. It is less about tradition and protocol, but rather, about circumstances, common sense and who can afford what, that should dictate who pays for what. It is only when you know how much will be available that you can start to plan.

Attempting to split the bill between two families can be complicated so there must be absolutely clarity about how much each is willing and able to support. The couple and their families should meet and have a frank discussion about this. Early and frequent communication is key so that the families get a good sense of the couple’s desires and expectations. One must be sensitive as money conversations can be awkward; sometimes the family that is contributing more might feel entitled to more control.

You don’t want relationships to be strained even before the wedding. Do not feel bad if you are a parent of the bride and cannot afford to pay for the entire wedding. Very few people expect that anymore. Don’t be railroaded into wiping out your retirement savings just to keep up appearances. A wedding need not cost millions of naira.

For late in life marriages, as the couple might have been working for many years, they should be able to pay for their wedding expenses themselves even though family members might offer some assistance.


The “Bride Price” or “Dowry” is the monetary payment to the parents or guardians of a bride by the groom on account of marriage. The amount varies from one culture to another and there is no fixed amount on how much can or should be paid. It ranges from a token sum of a couple of two thousand, to millions of naira. The dowry can be a mix of monetary value and household items, food and livestock.Some families opt out of this tradition and waive the dowry altogether.

Don’t jeopardize your retirement plans

It is nice to always want to put your children first, but it is not necessarily always the best thing. You cannot afford to sacrifice your retirement to fund your children’s weddings. Whilst it might be nice to move in with your children in your twilight years, you do not want this to be because you are penniless. Your retirement planning, your emergency fund and medical insurance must be your priority, ahead of wedding plans.

Should you borrow?

It is never wise to begin a marriage carrying significant debt. Try to discourage your son or daughter should they be considering borrowing to finance their wedding; encourage them to mark the occasion with a modest ceremony and celebration. They can have a bigger party later. No one should go into mountains of debt just for one day.


Consider inviting fewer guests. Today, couples are confidently inviting only those people who are most important to them. Simpler, scaled-down and more intimate weddings are becoming more popular. Destination weddings are one of the ways that couples have been able to reduce the numbers of guests and have a more manageable day.

Yewande Zaccheaus, CEO of Eventful Ltd, a leading event planning company in Nigeria says “Most of the weddings we organize range from 1,000 to 2,000 guests. Our African heritage of large circles of family and friends who simply must be invited to the event does make weddings extremely expensive. We now recommend a small engagement and a larger wedding or a large engagement and a small intimate wedding, as a practical way of reducing costs. It really is quite unnecessary to entertain the same 1,000 guests twice in the course of a few days. Many clients are catching unto this revelation and this helps to reduce their costs significantly. We keep telling our clients, there is life after the wedding day!”

A small wedding, by Nigerian standards, of say one hundred guests with an intimate reception in a nice restaurant will save you lots of money; yet this won’t even cover the cost of renting a hotel banquet hall. A weekday or off-season date as opposed to a December weekend will also be cheaper.

Shared costs

In many churches and wedding venues there might be more than one event holding on the same day. It is worth considering sharing some of the costs so that both parties can benefit from the splendid floral and other decor particularly if there is a relatively neutral colour scheme; beautiful flowers for a 10 am wedding can still be retained for a noon wedding the same day. Hold the marriage ceremony and reception at the same venue will also help to keep costs down.

“Get a little help from your friends”

You will find that there could be significant savings if you would just ask. In lieu of a gift, a relation might offer to host one of the ceremonies in their large garden, your talented friend might want to use this event to showcase photography, culinary, music or make up skills. A family member might provide the getaway car, and with the use of a vacation house and the gift of air miles you could have a wonderful honeymoon.

It is about the marriage and not the wedding

Research shows that financial concerns are one of the most common sources of tension in relationships and have some part in most divorces, yet most couples go into marriage without ever broaching this subject. It may not be romantic, but it is important. Don’t let the wedding ruin your marriage; remember it is about the marriage and not the wedding.

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.

For more personal finance tips, contact Nimi:
Email: info@moneymatterswithnimi
Instagram: @MMWITHNIMI
Facebook: MoneyMatterswithNimi
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