Today, we are going to be ruminating on a very germane topic that has always put would-be bride and groom into confusion and trepidation. Although, this shouldn’t have been but for phobias of the reactions from parents (especially, mothers-in-law) and the expectations of well-wishers in quoth. Let me establish a fact, marriage is not a function of human beings but God unctions or instituted it so therefore, there are laydown injunctions.
Now, many people believed that if you don’t do a white wedding ceremony that something has probably gone wrong (either the wife’s pregnant) or did backyard marriage for yourselves (elopement method). This ideology is very bizarre and eccentric. Though, there might be an element of truth there but my incessant and pungent question remains, is white wedding really necessary at all?
Taking you down the memory lane, the issues of white wedding emanated from America and the first form of a white wedding dress is commonly ascribed to Queen Victoria at her wedding to Prince Albert, precisely on 10th of February, 1840. As a Queen, the white dress depicted her affluents and elite social status. Nonetheless, any other person then could put on whatever colour that pleased her on her wedding ceremony. White dress depicts purity, virginity, bridal joy, innocence intact, some of the brides usually paint their bodies white to show how elated they were.
Narrowing it down to us, in Nigeria, wedding has a different look from the onset. In the olden days, a man that has become matured enough to get marry would have to pass through laydown protocols for him to marry. For example, there is a period if Searching(looking for which woman that suited), Inquiries( he asked many a questions from her friends about her clan, background, shticks etc) this was the job of an intermediary. This is followed by a period of courtship. Then, Introduction when the groom’s parents go to the lady’s parents to ask for their hand in marriage. Once, all these procedures are successfully carried out, then a date it fixed for engagement and wedding. Afterwards, payment of dowry. Bride price was returned in Yoruba land because they believed that they are not selling their daughter. But in the East (Igbo), the husband would have to pay through his nose (bride price) to show his ability to care for their daughter. The most important rite then was the engagement ceremony which is anchored by alaga ijoko, now referred to as Master (Mistress) of Ceremony. The emblems for engagement are: kolanut, alcohol, sugar, honey, alligator pepper etc. They also bring yam tubers, oranges and other things as require by the Bride’s family. Followed by a period of entertainments and receptions.
In every wedding, money was always involved but the amount involved was not as much compared to the amount involved in conducting the smallest weddings in contemporary times. Marriage in Yoruba land is seen as an occasion for family members to reunite and catch up on current moments. In the olden days, they made things easy and simple for the couple. But now adays, you have to spend all fortune and even subscribe for loans before you are be able to conduct a marriage rite up to engagement phase. Some people stop at this stage, while many just go for court vows because of the money involved.
Two things I have always observed are: One, wedding is a day, but marriage is a lifetime contract. If you spend all you hard earned money in one day, you will live to everyday to regret your action. Two, your wedding can never be the best of weddings but you can have the best home. No matter how expensive your wedding is, someone else’s wedding will supersedes yours. The bottom line is that, extravagance in wedding is becoming a threat to allowing our people get married.
To wrap it up, white wedding, so called, has emerged, it has become an abrupt impasse for average people. Like I always say, ignorance is an enormous threat to life. Who will punish you when you do introduction, pay your dowry and go for court marriage? We ourselves are the problem of ourselves (black man mentality). We like to showoff and this is one of the reasons we are not going to be free. I’m a photographer and I have worked with events planners. I know how much couples pay for exuberant local and international delicacies, drinks, halls, rings, bouquet, confectioneries et al.
We need to get things right. Once we have taken the necessary steps and our parents have granted their consent and the law of the land has stamped our union legal. Every other thing is superficial and superfluous. I would like to end by saying, white wedding is not a must do or has no do-or-die sydrome. But if you have the money, you can satisfy your fantasies.