La' Heiress Blog


Why Nigerian Weddings Don’t Start On Time

Does Nigerian Weddings Start On Time?

The simple answer is Yes and No. This article will explain why I answered this way.

Nigerians by tradition are naturally not time keepers. Nigerians believe in being fashionably late to events, meetings etc… and somehow this translate to events as well.

Thankfully, having a wedding planner reduces the lateness as we now have measures that we deploy to ensure that people keep to time. Especially those that their absence can affect the event drastically.

Note: Even with all these measures put in place, it doesn’t necessarily mean that some of them will keep to time. It’s just to reduce the lateness by about 50%.

How lateness can affect the traditional, church and reception Nigerian weddings.


For Nigerian traditional ceremonies, it is important that the key parties (the parents of the couple) are present and seated before the Alagas (Traditional wedding hosts), can proceed with the event.

The parents of the couple are single-handedly the most important guests to be present before the traditional ceremony can begin.

If the parents of the couple aren’t on seat, the traditional ceremony won’t start until they arrive.

TIP: If you are having a two-in-one day event (that is, the traditional and wedding reception on the same day), please beg your parents if you have to, to arrive on time so that their lateness does not affect other activities for the day.

Another reason why a traditional ceremony may be delayed, is if the traditional hosts, also known as the Alagas aren’t present.

By tradition, there should be two traditional hosts (alagas). One for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s family Alaga Iduro and Alaga Ijoko.

If paraventure, one of the traditional hosts is not present, the traditional ceremony won’t start as well. So both hosts needs to be present for the traditional ceremony to begin.

On few occasions, one alaga may be able to handle the hosting duties for both families but this needs to have been pre-planned. The alaga must have been informed before the event day that she will be handling the hosting duties for both sides of the family. (The bride and groom’s family).

The last reason why the traditional ceremony may be delayed is if the couple themselves are not present. If one or both the bride and groom are not present, then the traditional ceremony may be delayed.

Note: The traditional ceremony can start without the couple but it will be delayed unnecessarily if they are not present at the venue, as the hosts will be trying to while away time by doing other things.


Many churches in Nigeria have cultivated the habit of keeping to time, so it is very unlikely that the minister’s will be late to the ceremony venue.

Contrary to the traditional wedding, the ministers would start the ceremony even if the key parties are not present. The ceremony will continue with or without the couple or couple’s parents.

It doesn’t really matter if anyone is present or not, the ministers will start without them.

Note: Please note that in as much as many churches don’t wait for the key parties to be present, some churches prefer to wait. So if you want your ceremonies to begin early, then be present early enough.

You can also read: Top 11 Wedding Hymns In Nigeria

TIP: It is advisable to create or have your planner create a wedding morning dress-up timeline for the couple and glam team who will be present at the hotel. Makeup and hair alone can take up to 2 hours or more. So it is important that time is managed properly, to avoid lateness to church, as church ceremonies start most times at 10am.


The reception ceremony in my opinion is the one event that mostly doesn’t start on time and for a number of reasons as well.

1. The number one reason a wedding reception ceremony won’t start on time is if your decoration is not all set by the time your guests starts arriving.

Note: A lot of factors can cause this particular delay, if the hall has an event the day before your own event and it ends late, it could cause the decorator to start late and this may eat into your wedding timeline.

If the decorator is naturally slow, this may also cause a delay. More so, some halls are very difficult to work with and have a knack for stressing vendors.

2. Another reason your wedding may not start on time is if the MC is not present as at the timenthe wedding ceremony is to begin.

TIP: Nigerian wedding MC’s have the habit of arriving fashionably late. So if you want your MC/Emcee/host to arrive early, give them the time you want them to be at the venue or you can also tell them that your event will be starting an hour earlier than stated on the invitation card.

2. Similarly to the traditional ceremony, the second reason a wedding reception can start late is if both parents are not present at the venue.

Some MC’s make it a priority to see both parents of the couple present at the ceremony venue because according to the order of events, once he starts, the next thing on the programme is welcoming in the parents.

3. Another reason a wedding reception can be delayed is if there is a delay with the decor and the hall is not set at as the start time of the ceremony.

4. A technical or electrical issue with the venue can also cause a delay with the ceremony starting on time.

Related: Picking The Perfect Reception Venue

How to prevent lateness at Nigerian weddings

1. Create a timeline and ensure that key parties stick to the timeline. A member of the planning team should be with the couple at the hotel, to ensure that the vendors keep to the timeline.

This is a sample timeline we created for one of our events @laheiress

2. Tell and plead with the key family members ahead of day to keep to the timeline. Inform them about the time you would want them to be at the respective wedding venues and keep reminding them.

Do not assume that they know these things

3. Ensure that all vendors are kept up to date about the set up timeline. Give them a time you want the venue decor set up to be done. Have someone or your planner supervise the decor set up to ensure that they finish the set up at the right time.

Also inform your hosts about the start time of the event and keep tabs on all of them to keep them on their toes.

Note: Some Nigerian wedding vendors have no respect for time. They will graciously take their time and some will just drag things unnecessarily. It can be really upsetting.

I hope this helps…

You can also check out some weddings we have planned here

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