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My first Nigerian wedding

nigerian gele

I say my first, but it’s not really. It’s the first in a very long time. The first in my ‘adult’ life, so the first Nigerian wedding I’ve been to where I was responsible for someone else and that I actually had to buy a special outfit for in traditional lace.

nigerian wedding lace

What did I have to do?

As it was a family member’s wedding, we had to wear the appropriate wedding lace in the chosen patterns. You could have the lace made into whatever design you wished as long as it used some of the material. I went for a really simple dress design because it took me weeks to find a tailor and we had very limited time to have it prepared.

We picked up the dresses for both myself and my daughter the day before the wedding and the tailor was running behind. It meant I was able to watch her make the dresses (which I’d given to her the materials for a week before) and I was impressed at how quickly she worked.

niegrian wedding outfits

What was the day like

Well the day was a long one with hundreds of people. I don’t know the exact numbers but we are definitely talking over 300 guests, all brightly coloured and many wearing the same lace as us. Both families have their own lace so it was easy to spot if you were a guest of the bride of groom from a distance.

You also had geles – head ties – which were coordinated depending on which party you were a part of. There were special gele stylists on site to tie your heads (for a price) and the queue was immense! In the end a member of my family tied mine for me and it looked fantastic.

There was lots of food, drummers and celebrations. It was also very long and unfortunately we had to leave before the reception finished.

nigerian musicians

What I learned

  • Give your tailor a deadline a good week earlier than you actually need your outfit for.
  • Take the times shown on the invite with a pinch of salt, it seems to be more of a rough target.
  • Tying a gele is a serious art form
  • Family you haven’t seen in 20 years will have no problem commenting on your weight, height and all sorts.
  • Nigerian weddings are colourful, bright and large events


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  • Reply Michelle September 6, 2015 at 11:34 am

    You look great! We have a large Nigerian community where we live, and I often see the ladies in all their finery, headed to church on a Sunday. It’s really interesting that there is a family lace, which denotes which side of the family you are from. x

    • Reply Tinuke September 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

      I’ve decided if I ever get married I’m incorporating a fabric dress code into the day’s shenanigans Michelle! It looked really pretty.
      We went to Asda in Harlow after the wedding (my sis in law wanted flip flops) and we got a few confused stares!!!

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