Am planning my wedding already! Well not exactly because am ready to marry now or have become “endowed” all of a sudden, it’s my family. The thing is my younger sister got married last weekend and am next in line. According to my family members, that’s a qualifying factor for marriage- not the attainment of a Nobel peace prize for literature or a fat bank account but just because everyone else is married.
Funny enough, I have also begun to give it a serious thought like a lady would. I cannot say their hounding me every other day over the issue is the only impulse repelling the inertia towards the aisle. My girlfriend has also been a major force pushing for the grand ceremony. She has finally gotten allies on her side and this “unholy” alliance is both overwhelming and irritating. Don’t get me wrong, am all for forever- happy-ever-after unions. It comes with major perks like free sex and free sex. Who can complain about that? But the way this folks are going about it, I begin to ask whether there is still such a thing as free will. For instance on my sister’s wedding day, my relatives kept saying, Itua, na you remain o! You are next in line o! The most bizarre and rather obnoxious one was when an aunt of mine who does event planning and catering services for a living walked towards me with a rather whimsical smile and said: “Abeg when na your turn, make una hire me”. And I smiled back until I realized she was serious. It took the remnant of gumption left inside me to leave without revealing my distaste. She didn’t know whether I was in a relationship or not and am sure she didn’t care. All she was concerned with was the business angle. I certainly do not blame her at all. Economics drive motives nowadays so she’s allowed to make a buck or two off me. At least that way the money will circulate within the family.
Well, I admit the pressure has gotten to me so much so that am going to have to vent in print! I would say a thing or two about what I know (and hate) about weddings and marriages in general as I begin to plan towards mine…
Marriage in itself is wonderful. It was instituted and ordained by God primarily for companionship and also for procreation. The joy of raising a family is an experience and an adventure especially when it’s with someone you love (or can tolerate). The biblical account of the first marriage didn’t really state whether there was a wedding ceremony in the sense. Am guessing there were lots of fruits to eat and probably wine. There was no wedding gown, tuxedo or áso ѐbi’s because the couple were stark naked. This portrays a clear picture of simplicity; a far cry from what we have today. Am not advocating Stone Age philosophy (considering am referring to paradise) but the truth is that the monies spent planning and executing weddings these days is astronomical. Am working the cost estimate for the simplest wedding I can imagine and the word “million” keeps coming up. Money for introduction, traditional wedding and then the “white” drives prices through the roof. When Albert Einstein said, “everything should be as simple as possible but not simpler”, he probably had a wedding in mind.
A wedding today isn’t just an occasion, it’s an event. It begins with the introduction, where the bride’s family meet the groom and his family “formally” as though they have never seen him before. The same guy who has been frequenting the house and shagging their daughter is now formally introduced. It’s so funny really. All so that we can have Fááji. Hypocrisy or just tradition, I cannot say which but that’s the least of our concern money wise. The cost estimate here even if she is from Anambra state should be under a hundred thousand naira. Ibo kwenu!
After the “introduction”, then the next stage is the traditional marriage. Here, it’s another chance for the bride’s family to spend some **ing money (Arsenal fans know what I mean). The groom pays some money to take his bride legitimately (am guessing what he’s been getting before now has been for free). After the dowry and bride price have been exchanged, and the kinsmen have been well fed, the union can be consummated. Cost estimate even if you are from Anambra state should be at most half a million.
THE WEDDING PROPER.
You have to find a venue, a decorator, a caterer (am still in doubt whether people still cook themselves again), and an event planner (they help take away lots of stress).
Also finding the perfect wedding gown can be a pain. Good wedding gowns cost an arm. If you get your gown and tux from Mary’s Bridals or David’s Bridals and your rings from Tiffany and Co., you are certainly in good company. Whether or not you can pay for it is another matter all together. Even if we were to be very conservative, purchasing commodities from Vera Wang would still be out of reach for most people. Bottom line, more money! On the romantic side, the couple also have to choose a song they will dance to. This too cost money as you have to find a good DJ to give you the sound that fits the hall. Speaking of DJ’s, last week I discovered to my horror that you can have all the money in the world and be a guru at planning but all you need for it to rain on your parade is for a DJ to screw you up. A certain DJ Blend decided not to show up at all for the wedding. He probably got drunk partying the night before and decided he had better things to do than to honor an agreement. If you are planning a wedding or a party or anything at all, you need to avoid him like a plague especially if you live in Abuja. Luckily for us, we had a back up that we called-in under short notice. Praise Ye the Lord.
I can go on and on about cost. The only respite for some couples is the revenue derived from the sale of Aso Ebi’s’ that help raise money for the wedding. Also, monies sprayed during the ceremonies usually help to settle unpaid bills if it is not pilfered. To think that a CBN governor almost closed this lucrative spraying business for no reason other for self aggrandisement is ludicrous.
A friend of mine had a court wedding a while ago and I really envied him for his courage and most especially the simplicity. I know I would be daydreaming if I proposed that simple but wonderful union to my fiancé. She would rather kill me than not have the big wedding (of course am joking about the killing part). And no, she is not materialistic. She is the most loving person I know and yet there would be no compromise on such issues. So I won’t bring up a court wedding for fear of my life (again am joking, she really isn’t violent). The truth is that something in me also wants to be in the spot light for once in my life. I want to be to be seen by all. I envisage a reception hall where all are gathered of me for me and by me. My wedding should be a place where I am the centre of attention and that desire for recognition is a basic human need. Not to forget the gifts you can get after the wedding. The era of plastic coolers, cups and trays is gone. People get as “little” as flat screen TV’s, washing machines and microwaves these days. A lady friend of mine once told me that I shouldn’t rush into buying electronics appliances for my house because I was sure of getting them in my wedding which brings me to the investment aspect of marriage I will discuss some other time.
I believe that marriage is the race and the wedding is the starting point therefore more resources should be ploughed into finishing the race rather than starting it. Our culture encourages short term gratification over the longer lasting outcome. The showmanship and “bigmanism” lifestyle we adopt now have influenced more people into outdoing themselves. My hope is that we try to model unions after the one in the Garden of Eden. The book of Proverbs (chapter 24:27) advises men to provide for themselves adequately before thinking about marriage. This scripture is the only trump card I have left. While I hold this card tenaciously for dear life, I would say in deference to Mr. Einstein that a wedding should be as simple as possible and possibly simpler.
©2011 Ewoigbokhan Otaigbe Itua