So yesterday marked exactly 5 years that my darling unveiled his bride traditionally. I and ‘my Romcom’ (My romantic comedy) took a trip down memory lane and we laughed out loud on some behind-the-scenes brouhaha that weren’t funny at the time, despite the lovely pictures. I don’t know if this is peculiar to natives of Rivers State but there are some recurrent situations confessed by traditional brides and grooms that seem to drift towards the culture of Rivers State. I’ll tell you, read on.
Marriage is a beautiful thing and for first-timers the wedding generates butterflies as well. I remember how my excitement gradually turned into anxiety on that day. Hearing the speakers blare out song hits after hits, and different service vendors clamouring to get your attention can suddenly get overwhelming. Taking a peek and seeing a crowd all waiting for me to come out almost made me pass out. As if that wasn’t enough, there was a friction between the negotiators from my family and his. Which brings me to the question, Why are traditional weddings from the South-South so dramatic and expensive? Start brewing up your answers while I talk about things I wish could have played out differently.
The Wedding/Bride price List: I don’t know what they call it in English but it’s the list given to the husband by the Bride’s family, demanding items to be bought and presented to the bride’s family. Some have it very breezy and I thought my Romcom would have it that way, owing to the fact we are from the same place. I was so shocked when I saw the list. It wasn’t merciful at all. That gave me severe headache for weeks before the wedding. I had to beg my Dad to do something about it which he did. We took a lot of items out and it was a lot better. Only for the D-day, the traditional elders demanded for most of the things we had taken out and my Dad’s opposition fell on deaf ears. According to them, a valid negotiation involving the elders should have been done before the day of presentation. If I could reverse that, 50% of the demands should have been taken away. There are categories of demands. For the Chief, the Chief’s house, Mother, Father, Elders, Relatives, female peer group, male peer group and numerous groups I just can’t remember. Oh yes, this ain’t a movie. This is real. From research, weddings from the South-South are pretty expensive. It’s such a bummer. The demands can be outrageous and I don’t think any groom would be happy spending so much before the wedding. An unhappy groom equals an unhappy bride. Some cultures ask for a big trunk with assorted wrappers bought by the groom to present to the bride and I wonder how relevant that is to a 21st century bride, if not to open a boutique and sell them…tying all those wrappers isn’t realistic. You wanna know a hack for such demand? I hear you can liase with the bride’s mum and stock up the trunkbox with already used wrappers from wherever you can find, then buy a few new wrappers to present at the topmost layer of the box. You are welcome. Fact is, Bride’s Moms always want to help the groom because they are more compassionate. So if I could change things, that list would have been slashed even more.
The Negotiation itself: Not only did we deal with an expensive list, we dealt with negotiators who were determined to “carry out traditional rites”. At a point I could hear a lady’s voice, she was vehemently screaming, “if that is not done, we won’t let you take her”. Ehnnn?! Excuse me please, Aunty who are you Oh?….because I don’t know you and you are here raining on my parade. These people want to provoke my husband. You really need patience in these things. I was shocked that he had a smile on his face when I was finally unveiled. Why is it that in these situations, the bride has no say and mostly people who run these negotiations are not even familiar to you? They never consider the feelings of the bride but are hell bent on following “traditions”.
These incidents got me thinking hard for a long time. Knowing my parents were very simple people, following traditions didn’t make things simple. If I were to change anything, it would be that. Why can’t we just do away with the expensive list and go into what matters?…The bride and the groom. Anyway, after these, I had a swell time for the rest of the evening. Seeing family and friends made the evening beautiful. After all was done, we took a drive to a favourite spot by the poolside, still in our regalia and ordered some hot and spicy chicken wings while he sipped on his favourite beverage. That was all that mattered. It’s 5 years today and for every diaper I buy, I remember how it would have been bought from the ‘Wedding list money’, Ok..I kid. I am so grateful for the Man and Woman we’ve become after 5 years. I’ve seen growth in all spheres and one word describes it….GOD!
I can’t even imagine the expenses in today’s era when you are supposed to make an appearance in atleast 3 expensive outfits and have a facebeat worth thousands of Naira. Intending brides, I hail oh. Now, back to my question; Why are South-South traditional weddings dramatic and expensive? If you do not agree that our region has the most expensive marriage rites, tell us what tribe does. Wouldn’t mind hearing stories of your traditional wedding or wedding you attended. In two days, it will be our official 5th Anniversary, and I’d share with you what 5 years have taught me in marriage. Lol
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