I have attended seven weddings since I moved back 12 months ago. That’s a pretty small number as there is a wedding every single weekend. Six of these were in Lagos while one of them was in Abuja. I’m going to share/highlight on the different things I learnt at each one.
The first one (August 2013) was an engagement ceremony a few weeks after I moved back. It was pretty small, the colour was orange and brown. I didn’t have any trad in those colours so I wore my mum’s iro and buba. I didn’t wear heels because I had arrived a day or 2 before and the suitcase with all my heels was still in transit (it was being shipped).
- You do not wear oversized clothes to a wedding. You have to highlight your selling points. In other words, you are there to sell your market so dress to impress.
- As a lady, if you are not a family member or Aunty or close friend or cousin that is going to be running up and down on that day, you have no reason to wear flats, your heels should be on deck. I learnt this after one of the groomsmen told me ladies have to wear heels.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a hostess at an event? I can tell you as I was an usher at the second wedding (September 2013) I attended.
The bride was a choir member and the husband holy police (Redeemed Speak) at my church so she asked a few girls in the youth church to usher on her special day. I willingly obliged and was pretty happy when I received the aso ebi all the ushers were going to wear. She wanted uniformity so 6 of us turned ours into oleku.
- When working behind the scenes at a wedding, communication is key. I was the only usher who went to church for the actual ceremony. The others met up at one of the girl’s houses where they got their make up done by one of the girls who is pretty good at these things.
- You need to have an affordable, reliable, tailor that can interpret designs. The closer he/she is to your house the better for you. The other ushers sewed their oleku for N500 each. I used my mum’s tailor who charged N1,500.
- Being a bouncer can get pretty boring so they spend their time talking about/analysing the guests/bridal train/ushers. At this wedding, I was stationed at the door so the bouncer there was my gisting partner. He sure kept me entertained! First, he was yapping the bridesmaids, that they are old and not the most attractive facially. Apparently, there was only one of them he could “manage”. He said his future wife most have fine friends o! He actually scored these women over 10 and was giving them pretty rubbish marks. You would think he was handsome, but he wasn’t. It shocks me how people think they can judge other’s looks.
The third wedding (November 2013) I attended was my uncle’s traditional somewhere on the mainland. It was my first time attending a traditional ceremony from start to finish and there were a lot of things I didn’t know happened. My dad is his older cousin so we sat opposite the bride’s family.
- If your family member is getting married and you are on the groom’s side, make sure you have enough cash in your bag in small but reasonable denominations like N100 and N200. I was not aware that the bridal party will come round to the groom’s side expecting us to give money. At this point in my life, I was still getting pocket money as NYSC hadn’t started and I wasn’t earning much as an intern. We also had to give money to the musicians and the little cash I had got cleared, even the pounds (Remember, at this point I was an IJGB; I Just Got Back)
- As the groom, make sure your groomsmen have enough cash on them. At a point in time the alaga was passing the bowl round to get donations for herself, she said it wasn’t enough and the boys should do better. They heard this many times during the course of the event and I’m sure they left there with their pockets dry.
The fourth time I attended a wedding was as a musician. The Bride was a Masters student whilst I was in undergrad, we attended the same youth fellowship and I used to play the sax at our conventions/conferences. The bride wanted me to play the sax at a point during the ceremony and I was nervous. The day before the ceremony I was just like can rapture come so I don’t have to do this. It didn’t come so I had to man up and play. I had practised with my friend who has been playing for 11 years so we were pretty tight. The whole thing went smoothly and the band which we met that day, backed us up nicely.
- If you are performing or speaking at a ceremony, make sure you practise beforehand. Record yourself and watch it critically so you can change anything that needs work/needs to be changed.
The fifth one was a wedding of an older friend at church. Her mum suggested I get the aso ebi and so it was my first time tying gele. Remember the last church wedding I attended, I was an usher, this time round I was a guest. The bride is an event planner so everything was well organised. The colours were really beautiful too, I love yellow. There was a slight issue with the air conditioning so things got a bit hot and guests were advised to sit down and not talk too much as the movement will generate heat.
- Make sure you have a hand fan and pocket tissues. They are very essential!
- If you are a friend of the bride but you don’t know any of her friends, target someone that you know can dance so you don’t walk in with a boring person when you lead the way for a bride to follow.
So I flew from Lagos to Abuja for my sixth wedding. It was my friends sisters wedding and it was my second time in Abuja. Yes, that’s right I actually flew to Abuja for a wedding. And below are the 10 other things i learnt from attending Nigerian weddings:
- When attending a wedding in an unfamiliar city, there would be a lot of unfamiliar faces, not many aunties to greet or people you know. So make sure you have friends other than those in the bridal party that you can sit and gist with.
- If you’re a natural haired sister like myself, it wouldn’t be bad to invest in a wig for that glamorous look. I’ve got a baby face so look pretty young, long flowy locks would have made me look slightly older. Plus, the convenience with wigs is you can take it off and rock your fro the next day.
- Alternatively you could invest in beautiful eye catching accessories or be creative with your hair. It crowns your face and is very important in making or breaking your final look.
The seventh wedding I attended actually inspired this post. It was my family friend’s wedding and it was a pretty big deal. She’s a very special girl, I had to hold back tears at some point, it got pretty emotional at times.
- When attending a society wedding where a lot of people are expected e.g. 1,000 find an alternative route as there is bound to be traffic. My Aunty was stuck in traffic on one street for an hour. It took us about 20 minutes to get there as we used the alternative route even though her house is way closer to the venue.
- Sometimes it’s best to just get the Aso-Ebi. My parents got but didn’t remember to get for me. I didn’t remember to get for myself so just found something to wear on the day. I haven’t reached that age where it’s wedding season in my life and I have to dole out money every weekend so I have no complaints to make about the cost of aso-ebi. Certain souvenirs/party favours were only given to those wearing the aso-ebi, it was like their reward for buying it.
- Invest in nice strappy open toed sandals. I don’t really have any because I think my legs are fat and I don’t think they will look good in them. But these shoes are versatile and more practical than close toe pointed pumps/stilettos.
- On my table there were a number of aunties who had definitely done their make up professionally. I’ve only had this done once and that was for my mums 50th birthday. As a young lady, it is cost effective to attend a make up and gele tying class so you can perfect those skills. You are bound to go for many parties and weddings in your life time so just learn how to present yourself nicely instead of forking out 5-10k anytime you have an event to go to.
- If you attend a wedding as a single/with your parents, people will undoubtedly make statements concerning your to-be nuptials. E.g. “Your time is coming”, “I can’t wait to dance at your own, better shine your eyes.” Just smile and keep quiet or nod your head. In my head I’m thinking, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life, I’m still a corper, haven’t done my masters so I don’t know where all these people are rushing to.
I’m adding two for Jara so there’ll be a nice, even, rounded number of lessons.
- Make sure you eat before you go for a wedding, anything can happen, food can finish or you can get stuck in traffic, you just never know and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Take a picture of yourself before you leave your house so you know what you look like and so you can change anything you don’t like about your appearance.
I’ve only been for a few weddings and I am not an #AsoEbiBella.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I am sure there are many things you’ve learned from attending weddings so please share them in the comment box below so we can all be wiser.