Dealing with Guest Attendance and Nigerian Wedding Crowds – How to accommodate uninvited guests at Nigerian Weddings.

There are basically two forms of invitations that can be sent out to wedding guests.

Weddings can be strictly by invitation – where invites are sent out to only those the celebrants what to see at their wedding. The invites may admit just one, two or a stated number. With this type of invitation, it is easier to manage the attendees and effectively cater for them all. Here, you as the celebrant knows exactly how many people will be in attendance after you have received their RSVP.

…But because Nigerians are very welcoming and would not want to offend anyone on their joyful, happy day, we accommodate everyone and anyone that comes in whether invited or uninvited to merry and celebrate with us. So we make our weddings an open invitation!!!

The question then is how do we accommodate these uninvited guests so that we don’t end up offending them (as this was the main reason why we did an open invitation).

First, Define these:
What are the guests expectations for your wedding?
Every typical Nigerian guest wants food! Jollof rice to be precise! Lol. They want drinks. They want to sit down. They want gift (souvenirs). Give them these and they will be H-A-P-P-Y.

What is the max you can accommodate and cater for?
From your budget, how much can you afford to spend on food, drinks, hall space and souvenirs? How many people can you really afford to give these to? Now defining this would allow you know your limits to the number of guests you can accommodate.

Decide on your number of guests.
Now you know, decide on your number of guests – that is the number of people your budget for food, drinks, hall space and souvenirs can accommodate. The mistake a lot of people make here is to decide first on the number of guests and then they start trying to force their budget to cater for the amount. This might lead you to over spending or even having a poor quality wedding which i hope you don’t want. So decide on your number of guests. 500? 300? 200? 100? or 50?

You can read my blog on budget allocation to know how to allocate budget for different items*

Who are the most important people that must be in attendance?
Now that you know the max your budget can accommodate in terms of guest size. Decide on the most important people that must be in attendance. Note that they should be at most one-third of the people that your budget can take. Start with family members, close friends and relatives before “facebook friends”…just saying. So if you can accommodate 500 people, list out about 150 most important people.

Print and Distribute Invites to the most important people
Still on the example, you can handle 500 people, print only 150 invites and distribute to key people. Meanwhile work with your vendors as if they would be catering for 500 people. That is to say, look for a 500 capacity hall, cook for 500 people, etc.

Do not forget to get an RSVP from all your invited guests.
So call your guests a month to your wedding to find out if they would be attending and who they would be coming with. This would allow you roughly estimate the number of guests you should expect from your invited guest list. Now invited guests would usually not come alone. They may come with their entire family and circle of friends or they may not attend but give another one-third of your estimated guest size to your invited guests company. That is to say if you invited 150 guests out of 500 guests, add another 150 as the number of guests your invited guests would bring.

How are you sending out invites?
You can send out invites via prints copy or electronic copy. Electronic copies have become very common with social media, websites, text and emails, it becomes easy to send out invites and not only that but it also becomes easy for people to spread the news!!! So the more info you post out there to invite people to your wedding via electronic invites, the more the news spreads and more people you receive as uninvited. These make up the remaining one-third of your wedding guests.

On your wedding day, you’ll have just the right number of people you can afford to cater for without offending anyone by making it strictly by invitation. But then how can you limit the number of guests to only the people you want at your wedding without sending out closed invitations?
I’ll discuss on this next.

Please drop your comments and questions in the comment box below or send me a private email on:
I’ll be available to answer all possible questions you may have.

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