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Ella Adenaike: Lessons I Learned From My Wedding

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Being a new bride myself, I encountered some interesting and awkward situations during the planning process and I’ve heard other brides talk about their encounters. Though hardly discussed, here are a few of the many things you might actually need to think about.

Choose Your Bridesmaids Carefully

You’ve probably heard that before, but have you thought about what would happen if one (hopefully not all) of your bridesmaids annoys you before your wedding day? We are girls and come on now, we are all guilty of pretending to like that same girl you can’t stand! (God bless the boyfriends and husbands who have to listen through our rants.) Trust me! Your wedding is definitely not the time or place to pretend, especially if we’re talking about people who would be standing next to you the whole day! So choose those who are truly your friends and bear in mind that true friends fight but they also make up.

Replicating the Girl Scouts
This is a very interesting and sensitive area. Considering the unlimited options to choose from – including choices of aso ebi, gele, bridesmaids dress, hairstyle, shoes even, etc – brides surely have a plethora of channels to flap their Bridezilla wings (note the use of ‘their’ as I’m sure I wasn’t a Bridezilla… or so I think).

This happens to be an area that impacts a part of me that I’m very particular about – my look!!! Before being a bride, I was a bridesmaid. I hated when the bride chose that awful looking dress just because ‘bridesmaids can’t outshine the bride’. Or when the bride, in the spirit of making the bridesmaids look alike, required that the bridesmaids rock the same hairstyle, despite different tastes and head shapes. Don’t get me wrong. I, just like most brides, definitely had a vision for my wedding. This vision required some coordination and veto power to sanction or prohibit some styles (I still maintain I wasn’t a Bridezilla!).

However, I made sure not to have rules like we were still in high school. I love fashion and love to express myself through my look. In the same vein, I have no interest in squashing the personal styles of my beloved bridesmaids. As they say; one good turn deserves another. So my philosophy was something along these lines – it’s the bride’s day but the bridesmaids’ body so let’s work together.

The Bridal Shower
Few months before my wedding, someone asked if I would be having a bridal shower, and my answer was: “well I wouldn’t know but I’ll know if I have friends by the wedding day”. That was obviously a joke but my point is that bridal showers are usually planned as surprises. So here’s a dilemma just like the ‘getting the perfect engagement ring’ dilemma. It’s supposed to be a surprise so you can’t participate in the planning process and that just might be problematic (I promise I’m not a drama queen). So how do your friends and family know what you want for the shower? How do they know that you want your guests to be in rainbow colors with a hint of mint green versus all white, etc? How do they know that you want a ‘bride-to-be’ sash versus a crown, to go with your attire? My advice: start telling them your ideal scenario once you get engaged. The shower is indeed a kind gesture on the part of your friends and family but it doesn’t hurt to politely inform them of your ‘ideal’ shower party. But be sure to call it ideal so it’s clear you’re not demanding. Also, please ensure you’re talking to those for whom you would reciprocate the love.

Let me tell you a quick story. I got engaged about 2 years before my wedding day and we started planning right after we got engaged. We decided on the total number of guests we would invite in order to achieve our goal for the wedding. Remember I said 2 years? So 2 years before the wedding, we knew X amount of people and chose the total number of guests based on that. Fast forward to the year of the wedding, our friends and acquaintances grew to X+Y (…and I thought I would never need algebra again). So where did that leave us? Lesson Z: if you have a maximum number of guests you can invite, endeavor to leave some buffer. If not, have your speech ready for that awkward moment when someone you weren’t planning to invite reminds you they haven’t received an invitation to your wedding (weird!).

I know this is by no chance an exhaustive outline of things to think about as a bride-to-be. So go on, scroll down and share your great, funny or even awkward epiphanies as a bride-to-be, bridesmaid, wedding guest, (invited or uninvited). No matter what your wedding planning drama ends up like, just do the best you can, surround yourself with the right people and try to relax. It always ends up coming together for good on your big day. It did for me – can’t you tell?

Photo Credit: Lightyear Studios

33 Comments

  1. missusK

    January 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I think most importantly relax and have fun. As much as you want the perfect day, accept that you can’t control everything.

  2. missusK

    January 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    And are the bridesmaids that important? I have 2main girlfriends and none of them were on the train. I realized early on that I needed them more on the ground taking care of my other guests than holding my train and co. weddings are fun as long as u can relax and focus on the important things.

    • Slice

      January 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Now they won’t be in the positions of honour in the pics. U may ve missed the point of bmaids

    • B!

      January 10, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      A bridesmaid is supposed to help the BRIDE, not take care of the Bride’s guests. She is not a waitress or an escort. If you need someone to look after the event for you, then that’s what servers are for.

    • bisola

      January 11, 2015 at 12:16 am

      I think you are missing the point.
      There are times when you have friends who are like your sisters or family who can be your ‘eye’ when you are sitted at the reception and can help you oversee important stuff
      Now! Who would I give the key to my room to if I forgot something ?
      My bestie,thats who. Cos I would do same for her at her wedding.in fact I would be charged with making sure her husband’s people or her colleagues get some food and drinks.
      Why?
      Cos I am probably the only one who even knows them in the first place or cares enough.
      Thats why you see some sisters of brides not volunteering to be on the train cos they would be too busy.

    • Iris

      January 10, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Geez, these are your main girls who, in my opinion, should have been just as important (if not more so) as the guests and you made them take care of other guests? Na wa o

  3. Biola

    January 10, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Interesting article…..when le boo shows up, I’ll def be needing this.

  4. Eve82

    January 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Don’t hold people to ransom or manipulate them to throw a bridal shower for you. It is very selfish and self centered. You make it sound like it is an entitlement….gosh!

  5. Fume

    January 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    be prepared not to be bothered by the guests that will tell you they didn’t get food, drinks or same amount of souvenirs as others even when other people who sat with them can confirm they did,

  6. i no send

    January 10, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    my solution is …. elope and save money and stress and have a reception much later when you have money

  7. Lolo

    January 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I love love love this piece!I literally have about 2 friends,like seriously lol so I guess it’s easy for me to just settle with having a maid of honor only rather than a full train!I agree with the point of choosing your bridesmaids carefully but what beats me the most about most Naija brides is the idea of choosing the finest and best packaged girls you know whether you don’t know their middle name or you just met them last week e no concern you!I wonder where that shit even originated from that’s how I was made Maid of Honor in Aug 2014 by a girl I met at NYSC Camp in Nov 2013.I did not understand at first I was flattered but a tad confused until I thought of it at length and my bestie iterated the same we were just shocked lol Her other friends she had known since childhood or high school were her bridesmaids when I now asked her after the wedding she then said”Ahn ahn,you dunno!It’s because we are both fair and tall na,and the same stature” lol I just stood there like “huh??” hehe.

    • Bayo

      January 11, 2015 at 8:21 am

      So in short you are subtlety giving us guys your selling points eh? Tall, fair and probably beautiful. Nice PR Lolo. Lol!

  8. miss Pynk

    January 10, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Understand your personality and that of your spouse.
    I announced i didnt want a bridal shower, ended up having two – my aunts and cousins threw theirs, and a friend decided to go through my phone and plan another. As i have no sisters, no one to bring up elaborate ideas. My besto had her own full spa day for me also.

    I declared i didnt want a train, couldnt deal with drama and stress. My best friend volunteered herself as a maid of honor,she picked her dress, hair style etc. My husband decided he wanted 4 groomsmen, he did his thing. I still dont see the point in trains….

    i wanted family and close friends at my wedding. My father decided otherwise – we met half way, he got to plan and pay for his 1200 guest traditional, all i did was show up.

    Aso ebi – went to balogun with 2 friends, i gave them a color, they picked the fabric and price was decided. I did 40 friends for n15k and once it was sold out it was sold out. Some people could only afford gele, so i sold them just that.

    My formal i found a location with no direct flights from lagos, a travel agent that knew how to take directions. Had it beachside Zanzibar on a wednesday with a 20 minute vow ceremony and a 6 hour reception complete with an Asian buffet, a limbo line (yes my dad was on it) and musical chairs. 51 guests, no order of ceremony for the reception – just prayer and all else followed, and peace of mind. All i wanted was for everyone to be relaxed and party. I also was at the spa for 3 hours before my 6pm ceremony.

    in hindsight the things i would have done differently is spent a lot less on my wedding dress and shoes. I realised i wore my shoes for all of 45 minutes before i wore flats and danced my butt off. My husband kept stepping on my dress too.

    the point of my whole epistle above is that we sometimes fixate so much on the wedding day and how perfect it has to be that we forget we are marrying an imperfect person. Let fantasy about weddings not delude us as to what marriage is.

    pynk360.com

    • Bayo

      January 11, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Fairytale

    • Ib

      January 11, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Noooo!I liked this comment by mistake. Bayo needs joy in his life. BN delete my like

  9. Iya

    January 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    My thoughts….if your friends can’t throw you a bridal shower at all, please don’t hold it against them because let’s be honest, it’s not compulsory. At. All. If they don’t throw you an ‘ideal’ shower please don’t hold it against them either because it’s a ‘favour’ after all. As for brides who charge friends a RIDICULOUS amount for bridesmaids’ dresses….there’s a special kind of reward for all of you…lol…

    • Ib

      January 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      AMEN! lol

    • Iris

      January 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      YES! That bridesmaid dress thing is not funny. It’s bad enough that you’re making them pay for the dress. It will now be more expensive that anything in your wardrobe that you plan to wear more than once. Honestly, I don’t know when paying for your own bridesmaid dress became something that was taken for granted.

  10. Ib

    January 10, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    I hope to be a very stressless bride, so help me God. My wedding is not a competition…we don’t need that kind of energy. I hate it when brides say my way or the high way, but I am paying for all of this though so I need to interject my 50kobo…Faam!
    Bridal shower isn’t mandatory! Don’t guilt trip your friends into throwing you one. If they’re truly your friends and they love you, they would do it. Weddings should be full of joy, laughter and fun all the way. Your friends don’t need to become enemies after your wedding. Bridezilla is never a good look.

  11. ina

    January 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    really love and appreciate this piece and the comments and m glad to know its not or feel entitled to having a bridal shower… in mycase where my closest friends are aall married, i have deecided to use their little kids as my little bridesmaids n grooms men(IDK if thats what they are called). like missuk said, id rather the other friends to just relax and enjoy the day or help out in some way where necessary. i wanna remeber every single second of that day and not stress out and worry about what she did or dint do..

  12. Ibukun

    January 10, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I’m definitely not having bridesmaids, I sincerely don’t see the need for them. I’m not interested in any bridal shower, don’t want to burden anyone. I’d rather plan an engagement party. Not interested in asoebi either.

  13. Fashionista

    January 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    You are not supposed to drop hints about your shower abeg. The writer and other brides need to understand that the shower is a gift from your friends and they will throw you what they can and not what you dictate.

  14. $exyD

    January 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Yinmu….that was what I said till my family member and my hubby’s family hijacked Some stuff…and if you don’t allow them, na war…I had to give in to some things but other important factors like the venue, couples cloths, I made sure I reigned supreme.
    My point, you can plan to have a particular type of wedding in mind but other things might crop up esp from family members

  15. oj

    January 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Don’t want bridesmaids. Thought bridal shower was supposed to be a surprise party planned by friends.
    But on a serious note, you were engaged for two years? Why that long? (Hey, I’m not hating o, just wondering why)

    • BlueEyed

      January 12, 2015 at 6:14 am

      But what’s the rush in getting married immediately your engaged? Are you scared he might leave? He already put a ring on it, what’s left is just a ceremony. enjoy the engagement period, marriage is not a walk in the park. That said I don’t fault people who get married almost immediately.

    • Morolake

      January 12, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Ever heard of broken engagement? Oh well, some guys put a ring on it still doesn’t work out. So whether you get married immediately or at a much later date just make sure you are constantly praying.

  16. Queen Spicey

    January 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    When the time comes, am having a maid of honour and that’s it. And no bridal shower, I’ll pass.

  17. India

    January 14, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    My advices to brides to be is slow down and take it all in. Be present and don’t sweat the small stuff. remember that the most important thing is that you’re making a huge commitment to the one you love so all that really matters is you and him. everything else is icing on the cake. That was the attitude I took during my wedding and it was near perfect. The only thing I didn’t like was that the DJ messed up the father daughter dance. I’m very much a daddy’s girl so that meant a lot to me. But I didn’t let it completely ruin my day. It will go by so fast, try to enjoy every single second.. Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, it would be disingenuous to say otherwise but trust me, take the time to enjoy being a bride to be and then the bride. but don’t abuse your bride card!! Use it wisely :o)

  18. Jade

    January 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    @fashionista well said.lol!

  19. Nma Nazzy

    January 18, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Great points!
    And I love that look on your face; you were slaying and loving it. I need more weddings! (Don’t look at me. I know I’m still single)

  20. Em

    January 20, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    My wedding was just two weeks ago… I had 11 bridesmaids!!! (Don’t let me get started on the girl drama) I had a reception dress cos I wore a ball gown for church, but the most annoying part of the wedding for me was when I realized my bridesmaids didn’t know where my second dress was shortly after the church service!!! Omg!!! I was on fire, at the end of the day they realized they forgot it in the hotel where we stayed and went back for the dress! My girls came after reception had ended cod we had our governors wife over and they had to end the reception on time!!! So after spending money and plenty effort on a second dress I didn’t get to wear it. Long and short of it… Have bridesmaids u can count on, and make sure they can go miles to see u happy. I didn’t dance with my friends at the reception cos they were up and doing looking for my dress and I didn’t get to wear my dress!

  21. ed

    February 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Awwwww Em so sad.

  22. xynthalbert

    February 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Trust me! My bone friends just can’t be bridesmaid cos dey will be too busy trying to put things in place on my behalf cos I’ll do same, however!! Even if dey get to be bridesmaids, dey sure will know what to do without being told! Dats why dey r my bone friends

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