In Africa, marriage is considered a very important milestone everyone has to get to. Most especially in Nigeria where I come from. I’ll almost say marriage is the one of the key things that has to happen in your life and when it hasn’t shown up at a particular age, the pressure begins to set in (both pressure you put on yourself and the pressure that comes from society). You see yourself getting pressured by people, they might not out rightly say it to your face( sometimes they even dare to), but your girls start getting engaged/married one after the other in your circle and then it begins to dawn on you that you’re the only damsel at the single’s table at every wedding.
The pressure might be coming from your own parents. This is very common in Nigeria especially with the females. When a daughter in the family begins to hit her late twenties, her parents( especially the mother) begins to get uneasy. This sounds funny but they make it sound like you getting married will do them more good.
For example, they might come up with reasons like, all their friends sons/daughters are married while some are preparing to get married. They go as far as making references to the one they attended the past weekend etc. They see it like it’s only logical for their friends to attend theirs too, sometimes they come with their desire for a grandchild and the women can be overly dramatic about this. That particular scenario of seeing your mother cry because she wants you to get married can automatically put you under pressure.
Some parents even go as far as match making their children and compelling them to come together because of the relationship they have built over the years, not putting into consideration the feelings of their children. Some parents make it sound like they are doing their children some kind of favor when they attend other people’s functions and purchase aso-ebi. They usually say ‘I’m doing this for you oo… so that when your time comes, they will buy too”. They believe they are doing you a huge favor and the least they deserve is a warm hug and a ‘thank you’.
For Nigerian parents, your wedding day is more like their own wedding day. It is rare to see a Nigerian mother not showing so much interest in the planning and coordination of her child’s wedding even if it’s just an introduction. They are always fully involved and sometimes the excitement can even make them go over-board and even get in trouble with some few people.
On your wedding day, If you’re not a public figure, I bet you, you will be able to count the guests you and your spouse invited . Most times 60-80 percent of the guests at elaborate weddings are from the parents of the couple. They go as far as having different uniforms (aso-ebi) for different sets of guests.
The word ‘aso-ebi’ goes way back, it is a Yoruba word that means ‘family-cloth’. It is mostly what the members of a family are supposed to wear at the family function they are organizing( it might be a wedding, funeral or even a birthday). In those days an aso-ebi can only be considered when it’s a big event. They do this so that the invitees will be able to identify them as a member of the family. Aso- ebi is so important now that people rate the price of the fabric to the standard of your wedding. So most nigerian parents go big, they are definitely not going home. Lol,
When people say your wedding day is more like your parents wedding day, it’s very understandable because they are 100% involved in everything from venue to catering/drinks to music and even the aso-ebi etc. Sometimes couples don’t have a say because usually the parents are the ones paying for the expenses so you might as well give in to what they want and all they want from you as a bride or groom is to show up with your spouse and everyone is happy.
Yes, they might go as far as hiring a wedding planner but they are the actual planners in the real sense of the word. It is only a few times that couples have their way and go for what they want, which might sometimes be a beach side or a garden wedding with only 30-50 people in attendance for the vow ceremony but after that, the main ceremony( the big reception) still takes place. Couples who prefer intimacy at their events are happy now because the presence of the pandemic has forcefully brought about social-distancing which has made intimate events and small ceremonies highly recommended now.
Whenever you come across a small and intimate Nigerian wedding, just have it in mind that it could have been more if the parents had their way regardless of their social status. At the end of the day it’s all a show of love for their children and that is the most important thing!!!
Thank you for reading, until next time. Bye.