Nigerian Weddings: Shaming the Devil and Unrelenting Exes by Olubunmi Familoni
The big social event known as ‘The Nigerian Wedding’ has attained Olympic status, in size; one only wishes the status could also apply to frequency of occurrence — once every four years — and like the athletes, all the participating couples would gather and get the pageantry over with within the space of those 16 days, and we wouldn’t have to endure the frenzy of any more bridal gymnastics for another four years.
Not being a spoilsport, but one begins to get rather bored with seeing the same matches (most of them not ‘made in heaven’, or even anywhere close to the skies) every weekend — even the bloody Premier League goes on break sometimes.
I don’t even mind the weddings very much — you can choose not to go, or to look away; but they don’t even wait for the wedding ceremony before the photographic assault begins. And throughout the months leading up to the Big Wedding, the pictures turn up everywhere, everywhere you turn they’re there — turn your phone on, they’re crawling up your nose; turn the phone off, they’re all over the papers, magazines, on the news, and billboards!
Now there’s a photo-proposal trend in which the ring is no longer king, the photos are. Here’s what makes my nuts itch about the entire affair — so you make plans to pop the Q and slip the ring out, all slick as an eel, on one knee and all that mess; then you recruit one (or ten) of your unemployed friends to lurk in the corner with camera(s) (because in this early stage of the silliness it would be quite preposterous to engage the services of a professional photographer). The ones that kill me are the ‘surprise proposals’, where the girl has her friends around to capture the teary look of ‘surprise’ on her face when she sees the ring and claps her hands over wide open mouth in utter TV-game-show shock, blubbering like a drain. That’s cute. Well, considering how unimaginative we all have grown, this just saves us all the bother of thinking up a ‘creative’ proposal; all that matters is the publicity of it, just make it public and it’s the best proposal ever — public enough to shame the ‘devil’ (that is, the girl’s ‘friends’ and the guy’s unrelenting ex-girlfriends).
Before the poor guy is even up from his knee, the pictures and videos have popped up everywhere — BBM, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, wedding blogs, and just in case you had the misfortune of missing them in all those places, the girl is sweet enough to email them to you, cc-ing everybody else that thought she wouldn’t make it. Oh well, you can’t blame her, there’s a certain level of pettiness one attains upon being proposed to.
Oh, and if you see all the pictures and don’t congratulate her, or use the pictures as display/profile pictures, you apparently don’t ‘mean them well’. I don’t even consider you important enough not to mean you well. An ex hit me up early one morning with “Didn’t you hear I was getting married?” “Oh I did.” (Even Hellen Keller would have, the way you have carried on.) “And you couldn’t even say Congrats.” “Oh, congrats.” “Aren’t you happy for me?” “Fam, I barely have enough happiness for myself, now I have to spare some for your wedding? Gee, I’m over the moon you’re getting married then.” Of course I didn’t get an invite after that. Thankfully.
It used to be that the next stage in this comical nuptial-photography business was the pre-wedding photo shoot; then somebody thought the pictures just weren’t enough and introduced pre-pre-wedding shoots. The ridiculousness of it is not even in the event itself, it’s the seriousness with which couples undertake the valueless activity, posing and preening as if at a cockfight. The pre-pre-wedding shoots are those indoor ones, shot in the studio, with dreadful backdrops, and the photographer pushing you to strike those awful poses that make you look like something ghastly off old Nollywood-romance posters. The purpose of these pre-pre-wedding pictures is just to let the world know that it’s about to go down, and, more importantly, to let them hoes in the shadows know that this man is ‘taken’ (you can always tell that from how tight the clasp of her arms is around the poor fellow’s neck in the pictures).
The pre-wedding shoot is a more elaborate affair. This is the outdoor shoot; green everywhere, blue sky, bright white sunlight, and of course the silly matching Punch-and-Judy clothes (I hear couples come to these shoots with luggage enough for a thousand Vogue shoots). And the poses are even more ludicrous here, with enough space to spread their silliness around of course.
On the wedding day, these pictures appear everywhere — on sky-sized banners, on all the ‘souvenirs’ (from spoons to handkerchiefs to toothpicks), on the floor of the venue, on the ceiling, on the grass, in the water. . .
But the photographers haven’t had enough yet; they hijack the wedding from the entrance, shooting at everyone in sight, armed with about six cameras dangling from their necks. They have become such a mighty militant nuisance at these ceremonies that even Soyinka had to write about them in the article, ‘The Weapon of Mass Obstruction’, on sabinews.com.
Finally, the wedding is over, but the photographic assault is not, there are post-wedding pictures to be posted all over the Internet — photos of the tired couple chilling in the getaway car after the wedding, of them driving away from the venue, of them stuck in traffic, of them arriving at the hotel/airport to commence the honeymoon. At this rate, I fear that, in the near future, there just might be a photographer in the hotel room while the newly-weds consummate their marriage. I look forward to that one.