There was a time when all my friends and I talked about was whose 10th birthday we went to over the weekend and what color of BMX or Chopper bike we got for ours. We talked about who got or didn't get an invitattion to the MODE, Sisterhood, Babes-on-the-Pavement and Platform Sisters party. Those were high school cliques. Right from the day we walked through the gates of our high school into Form 1( First Form / Jss1) we talked about our valedictory service and what we would wear. When all that passed we talked about turning 18, new boyfriends, 'to-deflower-or-not-to-deflower', turning 21 and graduating from College. We shared pictures about some of these milestones, and at the time, grandioise occasions. We sent emails back and forth, from Nigeria to London to America. Emails flying back and forth, updating the posse with pictures and gist. Now we have gotten to a different stage in our lives, a stage of twinkling eyes, admiration, fantasy and pressure all bottled up in a package. Much of it accelerated with this technology called internet. Can you believe that all 5 emails that I have sent to two of my best friends in Nigeria in the past weeks have all been about someone's engagement, wedding or wedding website. Each time I chat with my friends online we usually start by saying, 'Yo Check this website out.. www.thiswedsthat.com'. I even got a death threat from my friend in Nigeria after I sent her the wedding websites and pictures of some of the blokes we all used to scope in our junior days in ISL. She wrote,"Let me just warn you now now. In your life, dont send me any such thing, cos now that I've seen it, I'm going to be miserable for the whole day. Glad for them, yes, but sorry for myself. At least till God has finished packaging my own for me". I don't blame her for the rage, sometimes you just want some memories to remain intact and uncorrupted. Sometimes we're in denial of how fast time is flying, how the lives of people we know are changing and perhaps even fear that our's will soon start changing radically (or not). I guess the journey of life has led me to the next stop; bus-stop of weddings. That stage in life when wedding bells are ringing every where. When you have wedding nightmares because the talk of the moment is a wedding or two, aso-ebi and bridesmaids dresses. It's a time that hits you so suddenly and the fact that I am a single Nigerian lady turning 26 in two days(my birthday is Tuesday March 14, I tried to hold out but it's difficult for me not to rave about my birthday, even if i'll be celebrating on my own) with a mother nagging about how she wants a grandchild is also not helping matters.
When the 'Aso-ebi' (matching lace and gele) fashion-flair, a typically Yoruba thing, went nationwide to becoming the highly produced and orchestrated signature for Nigerian occasions I thought that was the height for us. The craze went from being a thing for just the iyas and the-'and-Co's, (mothers and married couples) to being the outfit of choice for the bevy of girlfriends, the different families and in-laws, and all the cliques and clubs the wedding couple and their parents belong to. But trust Nigerians to always take thing to a different level, stepping up the game at every opportunity and raising the bar even higher. Forget Aso-ebi, that's for the mothers and the stylists (aka Tailaurent) to figure out. The Nigerian yuppies of today are going high tech with their ceremony and making the first port of protocal on the world wide web with their 'we-are-too-darn-hot' wedding websites. Forget the Wedding Channel powered wedding registries-slash-guestbooks. These ones come fully equipped with flash and music, not just for the index page, but some for each page you click on. The pictures are not just 'snap-shots', they are 'photo-shoots'; make up, wardrobe, adobe-photoshot and the whole nine. You think TLC's A Wedding Story is filled with mushy mushy sob stories of love at first sight, wait to you read how these couples met, how the guy calcualtedly spit game and orchestrated plans to get the girl, how the girl's friends tricked her into flying cross country to meet the guy, and how he proposed to her on the Eiffel Tower in Paris or on the River Thames, or how he had to get on his knees or on the phone to ask the girl's father. If nobody is getting the hint, Nigerian television needs its own 'Wedding Story'. To John Makawa, MNET, Silverbird, Messrs. Ben and Guy Murray Bruce, ya'll better get on this tip because I am talking about some serious ratings here.
This weekend alone I have seen 4 websites, 2 of which are my favorite so far. Check out Adeola weds Hakeem page which comes with a beautiful love-birds only photo session and a Yoruba theme song by Tosin Martins for the index page. I have not closed the page yet because that song just makes my heart melt. I have to say, that I give Yoruba musicians and the language two thumbs-up and an I-salute when it comes to love songs and romantic ballads. From OmoPupa to Olufunmilola, Ololufemi, Oruka and Olojowo, these songs make me retreat my 'Igbo-nationalism' card (aka tribalism) and want a Yoruba boy to serenade me with these lyrics. (Hint, hint, the applicant pool is being expanded to be inclusive rather than exclusive, after all we are God's children and there's room for all. However the right to be selective is still reserved for incasities.) Another cool thing about this page is that it was all built from scratch by someone in Nigeria and the photographer is also based in Nigeria. Check out the credits page for information. This is just another testament to the fact that the wedding business in Nigeria is no joke. I was chatting with my friends about the many ways one can make a lucrative career out of being a professional wedding planner in Nigeria. I won't say to much because this is part of my 'Get-Rich-Quick' business scheme. Then there's Diwura and Dotun which leaves me totally speechless because tears are welling up. They are so cute and their story and baby pictures....SOMEBODY PASS ME SOME KLEENEX.
Always a Bridesmaid Never a Bride
Don't complain about being the glorified 'house-girl' of the day. It can pay off and result in your own wedding if the couple you are doing the bridesmaiding for are like some of the couples I have seen on these websites. There's a saying that the wedding day is for the bride. That's no longer the case. It is also for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen some of whom are equally eligible bachelors and spinsters. These days many Nigerian brides-to-be are sharing the spotlight and putting their single girlfriends right-front-and-center. After all aren't weddings the best place to meet 'the-one-who-completes-you' (as opposed to better half). Some of the pages have complete profiles, funny blurbs and flattering pictures of the bridal party. So when your girl honors you by asking you to buy a $200 dress for her bridal train, look on the bright side. Mr. Right could be a guest reading about you on the wedding page. Check out Ayo and Bade as they prepare for their May wedding. Then there's the celebrity couple worthy of a cover story. Nwando and Dalu actually did make it on to the cover of People Magazine. Yes they got jokes and they're tres cute. So is Obi and Ify who met at a conference for Nigerian professionals NIPRO. Finally we have something to justify these extra curricular trips to 'Reunions and Mixers et al'.
Not a Wedding Crasher, Just a Word-Of-Mouth Guest
There was a time when invitation-only weddings was a no-no. It was seen as snobbery. There are some who can pull that off without much trouble. For people with families as large as mine that could mean spending the first year sending bottles of wine and whisky to appease uninvited relatives who have sworn not to attend your newborn baby's naming ceremony. These days invitation-only is not just for crowd control but also to go easy on the pockets. Back in Nigeria there was a time when I hated weddings. They were so boring and only my parents bothered to attend. Actually I used to be very upset because I never was in the bridal party and when I finally made flower girl, I fainted. I only got to be a flower girl one more time and then I expired. From then on my younger sisters became the official rent-a-little-bride-and-flower-girls and I was the rent-a-chapperone. You know the one who gets a special dress from 'aunty', sulks the entire day, eventually gets to hang out with the party so that she's happy, but is not really in the party and gets pushed aside when it's time for 'bridal party stuff'. When I became tall enough to be a bridesmaid, the gawd-awful dresses just made it a thing of misery for me. The worst thing is that people never ask you directly, they ask your mother or father. At that point, you just had to do it. As I got older I couldn't wait till I was grown enough to go out on my own and attend weddings with my friends. I guess that was the Ovation-effect. I wanted to wear the gele, the nice tradition attires and the senior-girls get-up. Basically playing more dress up. It's a bit different here in America where that dress-up game can be a steep in the pock, especailly if you are, as I hear, in the Maryland area where there's a wedding practiacally every weekend.
Where I was going with all this long story escapes me but I will be attending a number of weddings this year and crashing one or two. There's one in NJ that I'm excited about. Don't worry I am not crashing this one, but just incase my invitation gets lost in the mail I got TWO back up plans... he he he. Then on Memorial Day weekend my girl Maureen will be doing her traditional wedding outside Charlotte and in December we'll be going to Jamaica for the real thing. That last part is contingent upon how well I can save. Then I'm crashing my friend's brother's wedding in Chicago, but that's allowed since I am my friend's guest. I have already gotten word-of-mouth/ Just-Show-Up invitations to some 2007 weddings fresh from the Valentine's Day proposals.
Anyways check out the links below for a few of the lovely Nigerian couples that are getting married or have gotten married recently. They're spreading hope for CENSUS 2020. Read their inspirational love stories and may be, just may be, something can jump start a jolt of romance in some of you Nigerian dudes reading this. May be some one getting ready to propose can try harder and put more effort into the proposal. As in a chick doesn't have to tell you a hundred times about her friends getting married before you get the hint. I know Onada disagrees but Sistas, there's nothing wrong with preparing ahead for that big day. As for me, I already know what colors I want (depending on what it is, I am flexible and can work the groom-to-be's colors into the scheme and make it work). I already know who's on my bridal train, where it will be and who will be officiating. As for the website, be ready for some hot-model-chick type pictures and some flash and flying effect. Those programs are not out yet so I can't give you any example. All other kinks can be worked out when God produces 'Ken' or shall I say 'Johnny'. I'm quite sure when the time comes there'll be some new addition to the wedding production circuit that we Nigerian's will be killing to death. Meanwhile If you have any links for cute couples with heart warming love tales or any cool wedding stories, tips or ideas please share. I'm just in the wedding mood for some reason, may be it's the hormones going hay-wire or the water in California. To our newly weds, grooms and brides-to-be. CONGRATULATIONS AND HAVE A HAPPY MARRIED LIFE!!!!YIPPIE!!
Rotola and Deji
Folu and Ayo
Toyosi and Wole
Omos and Akin