If there is one thing we, as Nigerians, are going to do, it is have a good time! This attribute can be linked to our well-known Nigerian spirit of resilience. No matter what new set of challenges we’re facing, we will make time to plan events and have a good time.
The event planning industry in Nigeria is one of the most extravagant in the world and a billion-dollar industry.
A notable part of the event planning industry closely linked to the wedding industry that has caught us by surprise in recent times is the marriage proposal industry. These two industries are intertwined. One is a benefactor of the other. Most times, the latter is a determinant as to whether there will be a wedding or not.
A marriage proposal is essentially a special moment where one partner is in a relationship and asks the other to marry them. It is an offer of marriage in a romantic gesture that often involves a ring, a heartfelt speech, and a memorable experience. This westernised practice and long-standing tradition of the man getting down on a bent knee in a fancy setup has seeped into our practices and influenced how we go about our proposals today.
This wasn’t always the marriage proposal practice in Nigeria. Back in the day, proposals used to be a lot simpler. Couples got engaged purely by exchanging dialogue, nothing more. A simple question and a straightforward answer. For some, they had an arranged marriage from birth. They would skip the dialogue step and go straight to the formal introduction of both families. Proposals were more of a formal announcement than a romantic gesture.
Today, the rise of the wedding industry and the use of social media in Nigeria have fueled the demand for extravagant and memorable proposal experiences.
Technology and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have provided a platform that reaches a wide audience. This has had a huge impact on the evolution of marriage proposals in Nigeria.
Younger generations, exposed to Western influences through media, education, and travel, have redefined traditional notions of romance and courtship. As a result, there has been a gradual shift towards more elaborate, personalised, and creative proposal approaches that reflect individual preferences and aspirations.
Nigerian weddings influence proposal planners who emulate lavish decor, elegant attire, scenic locales, live entertainment, and gourmet dining. These planners cater to couples aspiring to craft unforgettable moments, employing professional photographers and videographers for their services.
Technology has also made it easier for couples to access proposal planners to plan and coordinate these elaborate proposals designed to sweep the prospective bride off her feet.
Over the last 4 years, Nigeria has witnessed a surge in extravagant proposals, largely influenced by social media. Expectations for surprise elements and partners’ reactions drive individuals’ desires for elaborate proposals orchestrated by the groom-to-be.
Couples are constantly coming across beautiful proposal videos and images online, sharing their engagement stories, and garnering likes, comments, and well-wishes from friends and followers.
This builds on the lady’s excitement about what’s possible right here in her country for a proposal and, in turn, puts pressure on her partner to come up with something similar or better. This has led to a silent competition, where future proposers are not just in it to bring their partner’s dream proposal to reality but also to outdo the other person and have a viral-worthy proposal.
Proposal season is mainly between November and February. During this time, a lot of future proposers are overwhelmed by how to navigate their proposal journey.
They need a proposal planner, but in this part of the world, not many are aware of what they are called, if they exist, and where to find them. Little do they know that help is available, and there are people who have dedicated their careers to taking their proposal stress away and making it as seamless as possible.
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Despite the embrace of modernity, some challenges persist in marriage proposal planning in Nigeria. Socio-economic disparities, cultural expectations, the availability of similar quality proposals as seen in popular cities and experienced in less popular ones, and family dynamics can complicate the process, especially for couples navigating interethnic or interreligious relationships.
Moreover, the pressure to meet societal standards of success and status can impact the scale and extravagance of proposals, leading to financial strain or unrealistic expectations. Balancing tradition with modernity, authenticity with extravagance, and familial expectations with individual desires presents a delicate balancing act for couples embarking on the journey of marriage proposal planning in Nigeria.
The proposal industry holds immense creative potential, yet remains largely untapped. Sensitization about the role of proposal planners in the event industry is crucial for societal recognition. With few certified planners, meeting the demand for innovative proposals nationwide requires expansion. As the industry evolves, its future appears dynamic and diverse.
Nigerian couples blend tradition with innovation, infusing proposals with creativity and personalization. From centuries-old customs to modern spectacles, proposals redefine romance. Seeking authenticity over extravagance, couples prioritise meaningful experiences, celebrating Nigerian culture’s rich tapestry while embarking on a journey of love and commitment.
Jessica Ogieva, Founder and CEO at Project Propose, is a seasoned proposal planner that not only specialises in planning and executing luxurious personalised proposals in Nigeria but also devoted to teaching future proposers around the world.