I love weddings, I really do. What’s not to love? I absolutely cherish the look on the groom’s face when he first sights his bride walking in. While everyone else is up and fixated on the bride, I’m busy studying the groom’s expression. Yes, I’m eccentric like that. For me, that look never gets old. I love the exchange of vows and all the emotions that come with it, especially when the couple writes their own vows.
But that’s about it. I’ve tried in vain to find more reasons to love attending weddings. Not even my love for party jollof rice can fuel my lack of enthusiasm. Maybe it’s because all I’ve ever attended are over-crowded Nigerian weddings that go on for what seems like an eternity. Frankly though, there have been a few I have really enjoyed, especially after the wine kicks in.
Firstly there’s the crowd and the gate-crashers! I’m not a social butterfly and weddings bring out the social awkwardness in me. Call me boring if you wish, but I’m a sucker for small intimate gatherings. None of all that Lagos-style ‘owambe’ please! I laugh as I type this, because ‘small’ doesn’t describe my family. We took God’s mandate to ‘reproduce and replenish the earth’ pretty seriously. Oh well, a girl is allowed to dream right? A friend once told me that at her wedding a few years ago, she burst into tears immediately she stepped into the reception hall. No, it wasn’t tears of joy, it was tears of “who are all these people!? Why are they here!? I don’t know half the people here!”. I laughed at her then, but now that I find myself contemplating the M word, I can’t help thinking that’s gonna so be me. I come from a family where “we will be hosting 10 people” always ends up being a mammoth gathering.
Then there’s all that bridal train brouhaha. The first time I was part of a bridal party I was a naive 9 year old “flower girl”, oblivious of the cost of the bridesmaid dresses, or whether or not the bridesmaids had combed the length and breadth of Idumota Market in search of burgundy shoes at the bride’s insistence. Several years and a few bridal parties later and I’ve become familiar with the struggles of a typical Nigerian bridesmaid. I have worn my fair share of unflattering bridesmaids dresses, dug out my savings and then some to pay for aso-ebi fabric that the tailor totally ruined. My big size 42 feet have walked the stalls of Balogun Market in search of a certain color of shoes to no avail. My dear friend, let’s call her ‘Adaora’, is getting married in a few weeks. The other day I asked about her wedding colors and aso-ebi so I could prepare and she goes “which aso-ebi? I can’t be bothered. Biko, come as you are.” I laughed so hard. Very lazy geh, that Adaora, but brides like her will surely live long.
Don’t even get me started on the wedding colors. I remember as a curious little girl reading the wedding invites my mom brought home, typical wedding colors were blue and red, orange and purple, gold and white, basic colors that everyone knew. You can imagine the confusion in my childish mind when I first saw ‘pastel blue’ on an invite. My artistic albeit childish imagination couldn’t fathom what that was. And no, Google wasn’t a friend in my day. Many years have gone by and wedding colors now have even the most artistic of us running to Google. How do I explain to Chinedu from whom I buy fabrics that Turquoise which is greenish-blue is different from Aquamarine which is bluish-green?
I wonder what the ‘big W’ is gonna be like for me when it’s time. I wonder if I’m gonna be true to myself and keep it ‘small’ and intimate or succumb to pressure and go all out. I wonder if it’s gonna be payback time on those evil friends who have made me spend an arm and a leg and then some on ugly dresses. Don’t judge me, you’ve probably thought worse. I wonder what it’s gonna be like, I really do.