Weddings are days full of promises and ” I dos”, they hold a special appeal to the couples getting married and the guests gathered to celebrate them. A bride, in her heart of hearts has always dreamed of the perfect romantic wedding , though she hires wedding consultants and professionals, she usually knows what she would like her perfect wedding to be like, her desired venue, the ring she wants, the right number of guests, look of the invitation and the song to be played at her first dance, the professionals are necessary to help her in making the right decisions and at affordable rates too.
First and foremost is deciding where the wedding is to be held, because a good environment gives the right ambiance to where exchange of vows will be taken, from a simple intimate affair at home to an elaborate destination wedding, the sites for reception and ceremony determines the wedding mood and extent of guest list. In choosing a reception venue, don’t be limited by the traditional choices of halls, canopies and marquees, let your mind drift as many possible scenic settings as possible.
Though your perfect choice may need restorations or additional decorations, but with the right planning, early bookings and working with a wedding site planner, it can be made ready in no time.From marriage at sea, rooftops, chapels at alma mater, rustic lodge, lush gardens, to ballroom with acoustics especially designed for live orchestra I have listed below, some overlooked but marvelous romantic settings for wedding receptions. These unusual locations, I believe have better backgrounds for videos and pictures than the normal, run of the mill weddings.
1. Restaurants: Their advantage is that they are great work work and stress savers, they come with professional staff and reliable menus. They can also customize your own personal linens, special lighting, silver serving pieces ,menus commemorative menu cards. Just make your reservations early to ensure every detail is right. Depending on your menu choices, you can request for special dishes to be served. Chinese, Italian, continental, traditional and a mix of culture restaurants abound all around.
2. Museums: Children, Books, antiques museums will also make amazing wedding spots, Lovers of art and culture, imagine getting married in such an historical environment, the museum contents will also make a great background Example is National museum, Festac. Lagos
3. Gardens:- Plantation , walled secret ,roses,botanical, zoological gardens, in whatever form, whether the garden is at home or farmland or a public place . The garden themed weddings,I usually see in black american movies looks beautiful and shows family values are held in high regard.
The choice of garden should be inspired by your likes. Say, if you love flowers, go for botanical gardens, if it is animals, zoological will be ideal Examples are botanical and zoological gardens in Ibadan. The zoo wedding can incorporate a safari too. And if you have an horticulturist as a friend, you can request for the use of his rose or flower gardens with a commitment to show you wont hurt his creations or liable to pay for damages. To make the garden reception more magical, have an overhanging arch of flowers made for your grand entrance. Lovely…
|A typical garden wedding setting|
4. Waterfronts : Beaches and Lakes. Whats more scenic, than a view of clear and clean water, coconut/palm trees, lots of sands to dig feet in and cool music to rev up the party. I have always love beach wedings, they look classy and intimate, they are ideal for those who want to trim down guest list to the minimum, moreso, weddings should be limited to couple, close family members and trusted friends. Berry Dakara’s wedding is an inspiration for this type of wedding. Examples of Locations are Eko tourist resort, Ibeju- Lekki, beaches in Victoria Island and Badagry parts of Lagos.
|Berry and Cakes wedding at Eko tourist resort|
5. Mansions and old houses:- These include Chateaux,Historical houses ,estates, and landmark residence: Imagine getting married in Dangote’s , Ibrahim Babangida’ house or in the prestigious Aso Villa, all those acres, large parking space and rooms at your disposal, I guess that is only likely if you are related to any of the landowners. In fact, I have my eyes set on one old house in Mokola, Ibadan, heard it was the former cultural center, it will sure make an amazing wedding reception location.
|Imagine walking down these stairs in all white splendour|
6. Religious buildings: – Apart from the fact that your religion requires the wedding ceremony to be held in the place of worship, Chapels, minarets, campus youth centres also make perfect wedding venues. You also get to receive additional blessings from your spiritual leaders, to minimize budget, you can request for a small reception to be held within the grounds of the buildings to save cost of transportation.
7. Public Parks: National and amusement parks can be used for more than picnics and birthdays, they make great spot for weddings too, while some people’s dream wedding destination is Disneyland (Florida), you can create your own fantasy here by using the parks that are in Nigeria such as Agodi gardens, Trans amusement park, both in Ibadan and National park, Central Abuja. The children will love your wedding, seriously, while the adults whisper and dance, they can do their thing on the swings and slides, once foods and drinks are aplenty.
8. Club houses and Local gymnasium centers: Nigerian night club owners will do well if they can use their centers during the day to make some money and not wait till nights, some social centers like Planet one , Maryland and Kingsize, Ikeja are really stepping up their game, with the addition of facilities that will conveniently cater for a small sized wedding guests reception. Also youth centres, gym arenas , fitness and dancing venues are alternative choices. Social clubs like Lagos country club, Lagos tennis club, Ibadan recreation club already offer services for wedding parties.
9. Hotels/inns: Nowadays, most Nigerian hotels come with a mini hall for events, the advantage lies in that you can bargain with the hotel management to get affordable prices for out of town guests, also the decoration price is reduced if more than one person is using the venue, the costs can be shared.
10. Water borne vessels –Ships, boats, Yachts: You watched Titanic (the film)right, then you must remember the love scene where Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) danced, sparks actually flew. The ambiance of a water borne vessel is just right for a romantic wedding, you also get to enjoy the lull of the ship’s movement and serenity of the flowing waters. Infact, a boat cruise will also give your guests another adventure, Just ensure the invited guests RSVPd their invites as planning boat cruises can be quite expensive, also make sure there is medicine on board to prevent seasickness and if the sharks, dolphins also take part in the wedding ceremony , all the better for you.
|Kola Aluko’s yatcht where Beyonce and Jayz vacations|
11. Theatres/ cinema houses: Film or opera houses usage should not be limited to movies or musicals alone, they can e designed to function as a wedding venue too. Considering that these locations already come with great lightnings, stage setup, set design and sound proof walls, you can also request for a live performance of an in house orchestra, which I bet will add glamour and glitz to your wedding. The only weak point is there are not enough table settings to go round, but there will be large projector to display the wondrous and beautiful moments of the couple. This will be a video or slide show of how the couple met, their prewedding shoot , church service and reception pictures. Examples are Baba Sala cinema, Agbowo, Ibadan and National theatre, Iganmu. Lagos.
12. Air crafts: Whats more imaginative than saying “I do” in a flying aircraft , Nigerians will not forget in a hurry, the above the sky 1997’s wedding reception of Omotola Jolade Ekeinde (popular Nigerian actress) and Captain Matthew Ekeinde which took place aboard a airplane. It was something out of the ordinary at the time and till now, not many have been able to pull such stunt. Other alternatives to an airplane are helicopters, hot air balloons, air gliders and if you are so brave,try space vessels, that’s more of being suspended in space.
|Omotola stepping off the plane on her wedding day|
13. Rooftops, balconies, Terraces-:Whatever space you have upstairs, in a house, hotel or any sky rise building will be an ideal but unique wedding location. The one that comes to mind is the video location of Olamide’s Shakitibobo video, the terrace of Oriental hotel, Lagos. Well, I trust you not to be distracted by the goings on in the streets below , but when you choose secluded locations or those high up, distractions or lack of concentration won’t be a problem after all its your wedding day, am sure you will only have eyes for your partner.
15. Carnivals: The most famous of he Nigerian carnivals is Calabar and Osun Osogbo carnivals, similar to the popular Nottingham carnival (London), if you decide to have your wedding reception, just make sure your guests get the idea and make their way to these shows, or else most of your wedding party will consist of strangers, but it will be fun, entertaining and spontaneous.
16. Railway stations: Thank Goodness, the Nigerian railway service is being brought back to life, but you can have a mini excursion organised for you and guests and party during a train ride. Just visit the nearest railway station and inquire if you can charter the train for a day to take you From Lagos to Ibadan or farther depending on the hours involved and bring you back. Get your family and friends to assemble at the take off point and enjoy the ride of your life. Remember to Have catered foods, drinks and waiters aboard to see to your needs.
17. Woods/ Forested areas: Unique farmlands, woods, with the right mix of fairy lights and decorations, you can set a woodland alive especially at night for a picturesque wedding. This is different from Igbo Irunmole. There are lots of wooded areas and forest reserves in Nigeria, ask a local tourist board for more details.
18. Stadiums : It is high time we show more of our sports passion than watching league matches, taking bets and buying jerseys, why not have your special day at a local stadium with your guests all turned up in their favorite jerseys of course, more like showing off your logo. If your partner is in tune with it, have a football styled wedding or a mix of your favorite sports that you and spouse are passionate about. During off season while there are no scheduled matches, you can definitely get the stadium rented at almost zero costs, consider all that field, seats and enough parking space all to yourself for that day. Seriously if you are working on a low budget, you need to give your local stadium a thought. Enyimba fan or not! If John Ogu (Nigerian footballer) can propose to his girlfriend in his club’s club stadium, don’t know why not he cannot also have his wedding there.
19. Hilltops and Mountain tops: Idanre hills(Ondo), Olumo rocks(Ogun state) are perfect examples of height wedding sites. There is nothing as exhilarating as having a party up in the hills, you feel on top of the world, almost can touch the sky if you reach out for it.
20. Old factories and warehouses: These are also ideal wedding locations, they cost less than the usual event halls, and they only need some clearing, cleaning and decoration. By the time a decorator is through with this venue, am sure you will find it hard to recognize. Before you decide to use any of these locations, get the right permits and investigate if the buildings are still up to standard or the repairs needed are minimal to avoid unwanted situations that can cause irreparable damage.
For an adventurous couple, a destination wedding (That’s basically a wedding in a far-off land, not necessarily outside your country) might just be perfect for you, its appeal is in weaving fantasy together with fairy-tale setting and transporting your guests for an extended . You can also combine the ceremony with a honeymoon after the reception.
If you decide on a destination wedding, you need the services of a good travel agent and wedding coordinator. Use one that can investigate or is knowledgeable about the requirements for marrying in your chosen destination or foreign country.
Above all, you as the bride especially, don’t forget to make a grand entrance on your wedding day.
When you are ready to plan, my wedding inspirations will help you make the right choices and bring romance to your wedding.
P.s: Am sorry most of my examples are in the south west, they are the places am used to, but you can also make your suggestions. No one paid me for any advert; the places stated are entirely of my opinion.