The Nigerian wedding industry is the epitome of the saying, “It’s expensive out here”. From make-up to hall decoration, the cost of an item is most likely to double — or even triple — once the word “wedding” is mentioned.

Wedding vendors be like…

The intending couple aren’t the only ones affected by this account balance-reddening venture. In recent years, bridesmaids have had to dig deep into their purses to afford the expenses that come with the position. We spoke to six Nigerian women about what it costs to be a Nigerian bridesmaid.

May, 29

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦800k

I spent that much on one wedding because I had to take flights to the bride’s village for the traditional wedding and then to Abuja for the church wedding. That cost about ₦300k. Then I spent about ₦150k on two outfits, ₦50k on make-up and contributed ₦30k with the other bridesmaids to throw the bride a bridal shower. 

I can’t remember how I spent the rest now, but I still bought her a gift and took her out to eat one time. Then there was the cost of transportation within both cities and spraying money during the reception. I even had to borrow money for my flight back because my salary was delayed a bit. The expenses were worth it because she’s my childhood best friend. I wouldn’t spend that much money if it were someone else. 

My usual bridesmaid budget is ₦100k – ₦200k and the outfits take most of the money — specifically sewing. Aso-ebi can cost between ₦15k – ₦50k, and my tailor charges between ₦30k – ₦50k. I try to limit bridesmaid activities to once every two months because of these expenses.

Rebecca, 26

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦300k

The bride lived on the outskirts of Lagos and didn’t provide any accommodation. She expected all six bridesmaids to manage in one room in her dad’s house for two days. I couldn’t do that. I think I spent about ₦80k on hotel fees alone — I stayed three days because I was too tired after the wedding. 

I actively avoid bridesmaid activities — because where is the money? — but when I have to, I try to keep my budget under ₦100k. That almost never works out because I still have to spend on Uber cabs, make-up and outfits. And good owambe make-up starts from ₦20k. How much is remaining?

Ola, 31

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦400k

My husband and I drove from one city to another for that wedding, so a good percentage of the ₦400k went into servicing and fueling the car for the six-hour journey.

Out of that ₦400k, I also contributed ₦30k for the bridal shower, ₦20k for the wedding gift and ₦60k for hotel accommodation. Aso-ebi was ₦45k and sewing was ₦15k. I also had to buy shoes, a new purse and new hair. The hair cost about ₦100k.

I think a reasonable bridesmaid budget is ₦200k, especially with how expensive things are now. At least, I don’t do it every weekend, and I can only be a bridesmaid for people I care about.

Chioma, 23

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦150k

I’ve actually only been a bridesmaid once in my life. The expenses would’ve been more than that, but the bride is my close friend, and she was very understanding of the fact that I was going through a rough time.

The aso-ebi cost ₦50k, but she gave it to me for free. I used ₦50k to sew it and contributed ₦15k for the bridal shower. I made souvenirs for the wedding and that cost ₦35k. Make-up cost ₦15k, and the rest went into transportation, spraying and helping the bride pay for random things.

I feel like ₦150k is a reasonable budget for a bridesmaid. When it’s not like I’m the one getting married.

Prisca*, 26

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦200k

This was a few months ago and the money I spent still annoys me because I’d already accepted to be a bridesmaid before realising I’d have to buy two different aso-ebi for the traditional and white weddings. That cost ₦40k. The bride also asked all the bridesmaids to do a ponytail for the wedding, so I had to install a 360 lace wig. That cost about ₦120k. Then there was still make-up, hotel fees, styling and the rest.

I’ll make sure to confirm what I’m expected to buy before I agree to be a bridesmaid again. Spending more than ₦100k for someone else’s wedding is wild.

Jola*, 30

Highest amount spent bridesmaiding: ₦250k

I was the chief bridesmaid and a lot of that money went into getting outfits for the engagement party, traditional wedding, white wedding and afterparty. That also meant triple the cost of makeup (because of the three different events) and transportation. The bride handled accommodation and feeding, though. So, that helped.

My usual bridesmaid budget is ₦80k – ₦100k. Most of my friends don’t like wahala and a good number of them combined the traditional and white wedding on the same day. One-day weddings are usually more cost-effective because you’re just spending once. Right now, my motto is, “Count me out of any wedding that goes over a day”. 

*Some names have been changed for anonymity.

NEXT READ: Why Did I Have Kids? — 7 Nigerians on Deciding to Become Parents



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.