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Dolapo Omotoso: The Culture of Entitlement at Nigerian Weddings & Events



Do you know who I am?

The statement above is usually uttered right before an invited guest disrespects a vendor or ridicules the hard work of a planner. Do you know who I am is usually thrown at the door to the bouncers when you show up with your friends with a “Admits One” access card. It is thrown at the usher politely telling you that those tables are reserved for certain people and that your own provision has been made for you. The most iconic one is thrown at the service point when you are trying to prove your superiority and disrupt the flow of food into the venue to prove you are not “regular.”

Having worked with various event planners and coordinators, I get to hear couples’s expectations for their weddings, how they want it to be as beautiful as their budgets can allow. Then the wedding day arrives and one Mummy or Daddy Lagbaja causes chaos.

I have often wondered why this happens and the answer is the same irrespective of what ethnicity you come: it’s the culture of “entitlement.”

Entitlement can be a healthy thing. But everyone needs to recognize that while their own self is important, it is also equally important to recognize and respect the rights of others.

The first step is: How do you spot the entitled people at weddings and events:

  • When the access card says it admits only one but you come with friends who aren’t invited.
  • If you don’t follow the seating arrangement because you feel you are too important and should be seated in front.
  • You make your way to the service point to demand instant service, even though you don’t know who contacted the caterer.
  • When the invite says no kids allowed but you feel that doesn’t apply to you.
  • The moment you fight for souvenirs.
  • The moment you request for second servings at others’ detriment.
  • The moment you stand up, block the walkway and bring out your phone to take videos at the detriment of cinematographer and photographer.
  • The moment you spray money when the MC announces no one should yet.
  • The need to speak to the bouncers, ushers or planner hastily to assert your superiority.

If you tick any of these boxes, I am glad to announce to you, that you, sir or ma, are entitled. The sad part is most times this behavior is exhibited by the elderly guests at a party, those uncles who come in to introduce themselves as the father of the bride, or close friends to the parents.

How then do we nip this culture?

First, as couples and planners, keep the list of people approved for special privileges short throughout the planning process and on the day of the event. Approval, to certain people, is like dousing gasoline on an already present fire. Trust your planner and try to keep your circle tight.

Entitled people thrive on approval and a grandiose view of themselves. They are the family members or friends who are always fetching for compliments, or oftentimes are insecure about their positions in your life.

Try to make them understand that it’s a special day in your life and you have it under control. They can be hostile and overly emotional but be diplomatic and firm with them.

Speak to your parents to tell their friends who come to everyone’s party intending to act like superheroes to tone it down. You have a planner.

To the party guest, try to respect people and listen to instructions. The event planners are the agents of the couple, listen to them. The couple didn’t pay money to get videos and pictures they won’t be proud of. Use the people surrounding you instead of causing a scene. Ask the ushers, call the coordinator, and be patient. For them to invite you, they would have made provisions of some sort for you to drink and be fed well. If you want to take a friend, ask that she at least gets an after-party pass if there is one. Respect the couple.

I also feel we need to talk to our parents to take it easy at another person’s event. Try to respect their wishes. Maybe our generation can get this right and fix this.


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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