by The Toolsman
So the date is set. The invitations, sent. The venue, booked. Aso Ebi – imported plus Ankara and houdine for engagement. MC and DJ – check, better still, we’ll get a live band or what the heck, get D’banj. Caterer nko? We got that. Drinks are even going to be served by another firm. Then we’ll throw in cocktails, small chops. Gifts? Hell no. We’re not having some random handkerchiefs or plastic-ware items handed out. We’ll do blackberries at the door, whatever we do; we have to out do the brides family cause they might end up giving out cars or something like that. Welcome to the world of Nigerian weddings. According to an unofficial survey, it is considered as one of the top five industries in the country. I wont bore you with the details you already know. Today, I’ll be presenting you with Naija Weddings: 10 naked truths.
1. Bride price According to Wikipedia bride price is “an amount of money paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom.” Keyword being money here. So question is, who actually determines how much should be paid, on a second thought, pause, fast-forward and let’s ask ourselves, is this even necessary? What is really going on? Are women being bought as wives these days or maybe this is just tradition? And what happens when there’s a divorce? I asked because times have changed; bride price is no longer limited to just money anymore. Forget that. Get your “future- father-in-law that brand new Honda or a fairly used Toyota Corolla. Don’t neglect your future ‘MIL’ now, she wants a plot of land too and tonnes of tubers of yam to last her a life time or better still, an okada that’ll get her to the farm (true story)….
2. Engagement Event? I don’t understand the concept behind the engagement event? I thought the term engaged comes up once a guy proposes to a gurl and she accepts? Why then do we need to have a ceremony called the “Engagement”. This ceremony is pretty much the same thing as the traditional wedding. You have a court wedding; you then do the “engagement” and finish it up with the church. God forbid issues arise in future, which does the law recognize?
3. Awful MCs, DJs and Bands Must we have wannabe comedians as MC’s. If you can’t afford Julius Agwu and you get Julius Agu, at least make sure he’s funny. Don’t punish your guests who already hate the fact that they have to face crazy traffic to get home cause you started late. And if you’re going to get a DJ (if it is absolutely important to you), why not try to get a good one. Same thing goes for bands. You can get a gospel band but who wants a band to lead praise worship at a wedding?
4. Venue We have the church, the engagement venue and then the reception. Whoever said you couldn’t have all in the same place. Is there some sort of rule that says ministers/pastors can’t conduct a wedding ceremony outside churches? You tempt a pastor to get into a sermon when he’s in his church, hence the praise worship and actual alter calls during our weddings.
5. Aso Ebi Aka school uniforms, aka let’s make some quick money. Can someone please explain the logic behind “aso ebi.” Also, I think a lot of people would like to know, is this just a Nigerian thing? Did I just hear someone also say “it’s tradition, deal with it?” Originated from where exactly? Let’s attempt to define the term aso ebi. Aso ebi is a fabric that’s usually worn by…?
6. Catering Your guests are important and you should feed them right (having a controllable number of guests would help). However, since we cant control the number of guests, I wonder why people do selective catering. Pounded yam and swallow only for people seated around the high table. Other guests have to make do with our famous cocktail of fried rice and jollof while they see the luscious looking pounded yam being served on the other side of the hall. Same thing goes for drinks. Juice here, coke and fanta there…
7. Gifts It’s your wedding and you’re so concerned about the gifts you hand out. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against showing a ‘token’ of appreciation but that’s what it should be – a token. And can we please do it orderly? If you want to hand out gifts to other guests in my name, why not inform me ahead of time? It’s not so cool when I give out blackberries and you hand out bathroom slippers and lanterns to my guests???
8. Event Chairman Nigerian weddings = moneymaking ventures. Won’t you like to know the purpose of a chairman at a wedding? And what’s with the high table folks? The tables are quite high, no doubt and we all know why. Yes, it’s because they are the “highly” important folks, or not? We all know, in Nigeria, the fatter your pocket, the higher your table. Did I hear someone say wedding sponsorship?
9. Baker explaining the cake So the cake is there, we all see it. It looks good but we are already an hour behind schedule cause the bride and groom got here late from church so why do we need to hear what went into the cake? Isn’t it always the same ingredients?
10. Mo gbo mo ya (uninvited guests). This is probably the greatest of them all. How does a wedding with a guest-list of 300 people blow up to a thousand guests? Hello, I’m Uncle Dele’s bother’s cousin’s nephew’s stepbrother’s in-law’s third wife’s son. We’ve never met before but I’ve heard so much about you. Did he come with a gift? No? Will he eat? Definitely. He’s a relative remember? When you talk about having a small wedding in this country, people just look at you and laugh like it’s impossible. Well, good news is that I’ve actually seen it done before. Guest list, 200 guests, small garden, 2 hours and we’re done.
Well, these are my truths, got more? Let’s hear them.