We’ve talked about what really happens at a bachelorette party. But what’s on a soon-to-be bride’s mind before she says “I do?” In this article, eight Nigerian women reveal what and how they felt leading up to their wedding day. 

1. “Nigerian aunties and uncles were the real brides at my wedding”

— Yemisi, 36, married at 34

I got married in 2020. Weeks before my wedding, my face was covered with pimples due to stress from my aunties and uncles. They wanted to control how many people I invited, how much food we ordered, my dress — everything. My parents didn’t make any demands, but they allowed their siblings to stress me. Even my siblings whom I expected to be more supportive were didn’t help. It felt like I was an outsider planning my wedding. My opinions weren’t respected.

A month before my wedding, we were still battling over the guest list. I was over it. I had to take a step back. Anything that didn’t concern my dress and makeup wasn’t my problem anymore. I left my parents and their siblings to sort the rest out.

2. “I felt guilty for grieving my late boyfriend”

— Amaka*, 51, married at 29

The man I married wasn’t who I thought I’d end up with. My previous relationship only ended because my partner died. We’d been together for our final three years of uni, and I’d hoped the rest of my life would be with him. But life happened.

When I met the man I eventually married in 2002, I wasn’t actively looking for a relationship. I was 27 and still grieving my late lover. It’s not that I didn’t like my soon-to-be husband; I just wasn’t emotionally ready to commit. But then I fell pregnant and had to revisit my stance on commitment.

My family wanted me to keep the baby. His parents were thrilled at the thought of a grandchild. I was 28 and uncertain. He’s a great guy, but I often found myself missing my ex-lover. A month before my wedding, I felt grief, guilt and fear — I was a wreck. I was upset that I couldn’t let myself love a good man. I couldn’t walk away from the wedding, though — my baby needed a father. After a year of being married, I learnt to focus on the present, and learn to love the man I married.

RELATED: 10 Things To Be Prepared For When Planning A Wedding In Nigeria

3. “I was planning a wedding after being deported from the UK”

— Feyi*, 48, Married at 34

In 2004, I travelled to the UK with my older sister and her family. It was my first time. I was 29 and thrilled by the ease of life abroad. When it was time to return to Nigeria, I asked to stay back. I didn’t have any papers, but I knew I’d figure it out. My sister didn’t object. For the first two years, I focused on surviving. I worked menial jobs and earned enough to rent a flat. I was doing okay.

When I felt settled in 2006, I met a Jamaican man who was born in the UK. We courted for two years. He knew I didn’t have my papers, so legally getting married was difficult. sadly, in 2008 I was deported. But at least I didn’t get banned from re-entering the UK.

When I got back to Nigeria, my lover and did long-distance relationship for a year. We still wanted to get married, but we wanted to give it some time. At least for things to settle. After a year, he came to Nigeria for our traditional and court wedding. Once we made it legal in Nigeria, applying for a spousal visa was possible. I was hoping for the best.

A month before the wedding, I was only focused on how everything would work out. I wanted to get out of Nigeria. My only fears concerning marriage were our differences. He was a relaxed man, and I tend to be quite loud. He’s also the type that wants to apologise all the time, and me, I’m just stubborn. In terms of culture, we both liked spicy foods. But, seeing him connect with my family didn’t allow me to overthink my flaws or our differences.  

When we finally got married and met all the legal requirements, I applied for a spousal visa. The deportation issue slowed it down, but in a year, I was able to join my husband. 

4. “Seeing my wedding dress made everything seem so real”

— Amina*, 25, married at 24

At 24, I got married to my university sweetheart. My wedding was in late October 2021 and I’d been planning since April. I had a vivid picture of everything I wanted. So a month before my wedding, I was adding finishing touches, finalising plans with my event coordinator and making sure my husband was ready too. For the most part, I was on beast mode. I wanted perfection.

The emotions about getting married happened to me at my dress fitting. I felt so beautiful. There were no fears or doubts. We’d been together for four years. I’d been excited but scared by the thought of making things official, becoming a wife, but wearing my dress made everything feel…real. 

RELATED: 5 Things We Need To Normalise At Nigerian Weddings

5. “I was scared of losing friends and overwhelmed with the thoughts of being an actual wife”

— Chigozie*, 50, married at 20

I wanted to get married right after secondary school. I was 18 then, but my parents kicked against it. I was their only girl, and they wanted me to get a university degree. In the 90s, that was a big deal for parents. So I decided to get into uni first. 

During my second year of university, I got married. A month before the wedding, I was scared of how lonely I’d feel becoming a wife because I’d be the first out of my female friends to get married and things would change. Right after classes, I’d have to go back to my husband’s house. I wouldn’t be able to stay in the hostel and gist with my girlfriends. I’d be a wife.

My parents were still strongly against getting married before obtaining my degree. It was until one month before my wedding that I understood why. And a few days to D-day, I cried. It was one thing to think about marriage in secondary school, and another thing to actually be getting married.

6. “I was frustrated with my wedding location”

— Bunmi*, 31, married at 30

I got married after the lockdown in 2021. My parents and grandparents were paying for everything, so we had to settle for the location they picked — Kwara state, just because it’s my hometown. I spent the month before my wedding begging them to switch the venue to Lagos. They didn’t agree. I was mad because I knew my friends wouldn’t be able to attend. 

Besides the location issue, I wasn’t overwhelmed about marriage. I’d known my husband for 10 years. My only concern was making sure we weren’t running into debt after the wedding. That’s where our families came in. Even my wedding dress was sponsored by my aunt. I didn’t have to stress myself financially. 

My only regret is allowing my grandparents’ photographer to cover the wedding. The photos were blurry.

7. “I was still processing my divorce a month before my second marriage”

— Ose*, 51, first marriage at 27; second marriage at 43

My first marriage was an abusive one. We weren’t officially married for the first five years of our union; we just lived together. When I was 27, we finally had a court wedding in the UK. Before that, I was too scared to leave the marriage. A month before the court wedding, I was living the same life I’d lived — scared and unhappy. 

Seven years later, I found the courage to leave the marriage. I filed for a divorce and moved back to Nigeria. I met the man I’d marry seven years later who made me feel safe. I could have an opinion without being scared of getting hit. So a  month before our wedding, I felt free.  All that mattered was my future. 

I’m still processing my previous divorce in the UK, but at least my life isn’t as scary.

8. “I was overworked and stressed out”

Eniola, 24, married at 24

I got married this year, in 2022 at 24. The whole thing was super was stressful, as we planned the entire thing in less than two months. Our parents had known each other for years, so everyone didn’t see the point of wasting time. I didn’t know where to begin but thank goodness for friends.

My best friend is the reason I got through it. She’d pray with me, follow me to the market to shop for materials, and comfort me when I got overwhelmed. Without her, I’d probably have delayed the whole thing.

Work also stressed me out. I was in between wedding plans and submitting briefs. The worst part was the search for an apartment in Lagos and the unnecessary questions people asked? I wanted to stick a fork in their eyes.

ALSO READ: A First-Timers Guide To Attending Nigerian Weddings



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