The songs are different, the atmosphere is almost romantic – as romantic as Lagos, Nigeria can get anyway. It is there in the more varied inflections in hovering conversations everywhere (the out-of-towners are back in town and ‘pho-ne’ is back in play! If you ever lived anywhere out of Nigeria for more than a year, time to refresh your memory on how you used to ‘try’ to speak) … Am I alone in feeling like I live in the Hamptons at this time of year? Where do all these people come from? They look Nigerian but sound (a good number god awfully so, but some generally up to it) mostly American and British!
The lines are blurred between Christmas and the wedding season and this was especially felt by me when a bride insisted she wanted the band to play ‘Oh Holy Night’ for her bridal walk at her wedding ceremony… the look on my face must have been one of unbelievable incredulity because she laughed, hit me and said ‘…or maybe not…!’ *Deep breath*
Anyway, where were we?
Quick question: You do know that when you are invited to a Nigerian wedding (and it does not matter how – could be on Facebook, by text message, at a bridal shower you tagged along for, by invitation card (you get to sit in the VIP area .. lucky you!) by ‘famzing’, overhearing a conversation, newspaper publication etc. – that you have rights…right? Well the answer might just be that you most apparently do.
So listen up and keep the list where you can easily find it!
1. You have to be acknowledged at the event! Yes, you can waltz up to the MC or send an ‘orderly’ with your name, title, village, home town, LGA (if you don’t know what LGA means, you are not Nigerian and should NOT be reading this) and ask for special recognition to be given to you – it generally goes like this ‘Hon Chief Dr Barr Yusuf Ikechukwu Danjuma Offfr. OPO. Ffrc… I never understood what those meant.
2. You are entitled to any choice seating of your personal choosing – even the nice lounge ‘presumably’ set up for the bridal party – ‘presumably’ because the event planner/designer must be joking if they really did not intend for you to sit right there.. arrant nonsense.
3. The father of the bride has to remember you: You go and greet him: Ah! Daddyyyyyyyy! This, naturally is said with you making all the appropriate side to side head movements, with a huge, nice smile, halfway kneeling on the floor, halfway hugging him. And the poor man, on his daughter’s special day, not wanting to offend anyone opens up his arms to receive you with a smiling but slightly quizzical expression on his face which you quickly quell by rapidly whispering the connection while you hug him ‘Daddy, I was Ese’s boyfriend’s cousin in undergrad and we all came for your 60th – do you remember me???’ Hug ends and he nods reassuringly…and BAM! you are set for the day. The event assistants (who you make sure are watching at the time of your almost feral approach) are now re-assured there’s a firm familial connection there and you feel more confident to proceed to the next ‘right-full’ stage.
It’s an art!
4. Any hostess, waiter, security, venue staff etc. is your personal valet and they can: retrieve your shoes from your car (if the planner isn’t gracious enough to make dancing shoes available) go and scout for your driver if he’s not picking up his phone, buy you gum from the pop up store down the road, not to forget to buy [large] plastic bags to keep all your souvenirs in – the ones that rightfully belong to you, the ones you hustled for plus the ones that you discreetly moved to your side of the table when you thought no one was watching and the ones your neighbour forgot. The wedding rocked for you!
4. You have to be in all the pictures- family, friends, work colleagues, church, society etc. And just to make sure, you commandeer the official photographer to take a personal one of you with the bridal party in the background.
6. It is dancing time.. ‘Singing ‘to the right, to the left..to the right to the left to the right…ahhhhhh! Hands on your head..oooosheyyy!’ But wait oh! I don’t like this song oh- it’s not my personal favourite…ehn! Ehn! Where is that event planner? Eh! Madam event planner..!!! Please tell the DJ to change that song.. Yes! He should change it.. ‘I’ want that ‘Aiiiiyeeee…Aiiyeee..she no wan Ferrari…she no wan designer….’ you tell the planner while making all the appropriate jerks and stops to the song!
7. Where is ‘the’ champagne? What Champagne sir? Is this not a party? How can ‘they’ spend this much money on a party and you are asking me ‘what champagne sir??’ Come-on don’t be rude!
8. It’s party time. ‘Sssssss’ you call an event assistant with a loud hissing sound and when you have their attention, crook your finger authoritatively in a ‘come hither’ gesture and when they are close enough, hand them a piece of paper with your name on it ‘I’m about to go and spray the couple- give this name to the band..ehn ehn one more thing .. the last name there is pronounced …. the ‘g’ is silent ..if he makes a mistake, I will just come back to my seat.. that’s the end! *bewildered look*
9. You have the right to know how much was spent on the wedding – ‘Wow! Oh wow! Is this Nigeria? *Looks around the design of the event space…ehn ehn please oh, this wedding is ‘too much!’ How much would this cost..? In fact, I want something finer than this – you know the groom’s father and I are in the same club and I want to ‘show’ them! Sir, that’s confidential info – we could get your event specifics to be able to come up with a figure’ Come on don’t give me that nonsense! Give me an estimate – Do you know who I am? It’s in your best interest to speak quickly!! Sir I could give you a range if that’s okay? Okay..let’s hear it.. It’s between – & – … Whyyyyyyyy? Ahn! Ahn! Am I going to carry the hall to my house???? Haba!!
10. When are you serving the small chops? We have eaten the food – it is only small chops that is remaining!!
Every season is wedding season around here… *straightens the iro on the aso-ebi for this Saturday’s wedding. Madam tailor, this blouse is not tight enough oh …ah! And the back please let it be lowwww like that Tiwa Savage’s dress… you know the one? ‘We’ will kill them at this wedding!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Atholpady