5 Nigerian Couples Talked To Us About Getting Married During The Pandemic

August 26, 2020

COVID-19 threw a well-aimed spanner in everyone’s plans this year. Nobody escaped unscathed. Some of Miss Rona’s victims were people who wanted to tie the nuptial knot and spend the rest of their lives together. Instead, they found themselves donning Sanwoolu face masks.

However, some brave couples decided to go ahead with their weddings. I wanted to know what it took to get married during the pandemic, so I reached out to a few people who said their vows despite the coronavirus.

Mojola, 26

We initially planned to get married on April 18 and it was supposed to be massive. We had paid everyone; the vendors, the venue, everything. When we tried to get refunds, all the vendors refused, saying we should let them know when we’re ready to do the wedding.

Our parents were meant to sponsor most of the wedding. Nevertheless, my husband and I had spent more than 3 million already before the government announced the lockdown.

We later decided to get married in a private registry ceremony. We still plan on having the ceremony later in the year, when everything has cleared up. Our families and friends are still on our necks to have a proper wedding ceremony, so that’s what we’re going to do. Besides, all our money cannot just go down the drain like that. So we’ll wait.

Zipporah, 25 

“My husband didn’t even get time off work. We got married during his break. Even during the wedding, he was replying to work emails.”

We originally planned to get married in April and we had planned a huge ceremony. We already paid for everything; the hall, the caterer, the band. Everybody was ready for the wedding, flights had been booked from all over Nigeria, clothes had been sewn, everything was set.

Then, the Federal Government announced the lockdown.

We tried to get refunds from the vendors but you know you can’t get all your money back from Nigerian vendors. The venue and decoration guys still haven’t refunded any of the money till date.

After waiting for a while, we decided to go ahead with the wedding in a much smaller way.We finally married on the 4th of June in a small ceremony. Because the state government hadn’t allowed places of worship to open fully yet, the pastor placed a 20-person limit on the ceremony. We didn’t even use microphones, just to avoid attention; police had been arresting whole weddings at the time.

My husband didn’t even get time off work. We got married during his break. Even during the wedding, he was replying to work emails.

Right after, we had a small reception for guests. The number of guests suddenly ballooned because tons of people in the area got wind of the wedding. Many of them were without work due to the pandemic so they came for the food. 

This really increased the cost of the wedding. Added to the fact that the pandemic drove up the price of everything, it ended up being more expensive than a regular wedding.

Muyiwa, 32

I proposed sometime in November 2019 and planned our wedding for April 4. Two days to our wedding, the Lagos State Government imposed the lockdown.

Of course, everything had been paid for, people had come into town and everyone was set. We waited to see how long the lockdown would last for. When there was no end in sight, we opted for a very lowkey wedding on May 27, which we had at my wife’s father’s house.

There were only 20 people in attendance. Everyone was wearing a facemask, even in the wedding photos. Interestingly, we never planned to hold a reception for our original wedding. We were just going to go to church. So we didn’t pay any money to vendors or anything, lucky for us. 

My wife is from Delta and you know how expensive Delta weddings are. We spent about 2.5m for the traditional wedding, and most of that was on feeding. The traditional wedding list from the bride’s family also took a bulk of the money. For the revised wedding, we spent less than 300k. We didn’t even have to spend on food. The smaller wedding was ideal for me because I personally don’t like being around crowds. God just worked it out for us and it was perfect. 

Imade, 27

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Imade-1024x1024.jpg

We set a date in April to allow ample time for his family, who lived in the US, to come down and prepare. Then COVID happened. We had no idea what to do. We didn’t know if or when we were going to do the wedding.

Eventually, we decided to just get married anyway in July, when the lockdown was finally eased. His parents still couldn’t make it down because of the international travel ban. They were represented by his sister and uncle.

We had our traditional wedding on the 1st of August. Every single person was wearing a mask. Even when we were dancing, people were coming to spray us one by one, not like you usually find at weddings, just so they could maintain social distancing.

We couldn’t get much of the money back. Most of the vendors all insisted on taking a service charge out of the refund, mostly about 30%. And even at that, they are all saying they don’t have the money.

There was no reception at our white wedding on the 8th of August. We just received church blessing and a small reception for friends who travelled and that was it. We had about 150 people in attendance in all.

For our original wedding, we had spent about 10 million. For our scaled wedding, we ended up spending about 2.7 million, in all.

Dami, 24

“I’m the firstborn and he’s also his parent’s firstborn, so that wedding has to happen. Besides, we’ve already spent about 25 million. And I just want to dance on my wedding day, abeg.”

We set our wedding for April 12 in Lagos and it was going to be huge. Unfortunately, our flight to Nigeria was canceled in March.

We were supposed to have over 1300 guests in attendance. People had booked their flights to Nigeria from London. We haven’t even attempted to get refunds because we decided to wait till December or next year to have the wedding ceremony. 

We already had a court wedding here in London. We had a few people as witnesses and that was it. 

I’m the firstborn and he’s also his parent’s firstborn, so that wedding has to happen. Besides, we’ve already spent about N25 million. And I just want to dance on my wedding day, abeg. 

You might be interested in “I Was Fired From Work While Sick”: Stories From Nigeria About Surviving Coronavirus

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Olufemi Fadahunsi

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