It is not unpopular among the Yorubas to have destination weddings in Nigeria. Destination used in the loose sense as Nigerians are more familiar with destination weddings to the abroad. Wedding Ceremonies among the Yorubas are usually at the hometown of the bride’s parent and relatives travel from far and near for such joyous occasion.
Do not doubt me when I say the Yoruba Traditional Wedding in Nigeria is a hella dramatic and fun too if you ask me. I was at my Cousin’s destination wedding 😀 last weekend and it was all drama, smiles and good memories.
The Wedding Ceremony would usually take two days, Thursday or Friday and a Saturday. The first day is the Traditional Wedding and is also sometimes referred to as the Engagement. This is a day for the display of the rich and vibrant Yoruba Culture, Food and Attire. Lets I forget, it’s also a day for drama at its very best. With the Alaga Ijoko (Sitting Chairman representing the Bride’s Family) and Alaga Iduro (Standing Chairman representing the Groom’s Family) trying endlessly to outwit each other and making money off the Groom and his relatives at every point, the drummers enthusiastically beating their drums in praise of whoever would paste mint notes on their foreheads and a lot of dancing, the occasion is a sight to behold.
The traditional ceremony starts with the arrival of the Groom, his friends and family who have come to seek the hand of his betrothed in marriage and unfolds like a rehearsed play. The groom is asked a couple of questions about his intention at the event, he is asked to pay some money to be admitted into the venue, pay for his presence to be communicated to his in-laws, pay to meet his in-laws and continue paying in every denomination and currency untill his pockets are empty. The bride finally dances in with her friends, the engagement letter is read by the immediate sister of the bride, gifts presented to the brides family a lot of prayers and even more dancing and jubilation.
The Church Wedding which takes place on a Saturday Morning is also usually another dramatic endeavor in itself especially if the bride parents belong to one of the old denominational churches. Ours is the Methodist and trust me the preacher did not relent until he had inculcated the tenets of a successful marriage in the new couple, he also asked them for a recap of the teaching and did not hesitate to fine the couple if they missed. The unending offerings and donations to the church was not left out and can never be. If you’re like me and familiar with the system, you’d be sure to have a lot of small bills, for contributing to the diverse projects the church is currently engaged in. If nothing, these churches always building 😉 .
After the church service is the Reception program, apart from the first dance, cutting of cake and other activities normally lined up, this is where you meet the category of people who do not see the need to come for a boring sermon but would rather head straight to the food venue and choose a seat very close to one of the catering stands, people like my friend Patricia 😀 and usually me also 😛 only in this instance I was on the train.
This is also where you meet all the new additions to the family, the new children , in-laws and relatives you have never met. The kneeling down to greet elderly family relations in a snugly fitted dress is the nerve wrecking part. I met my cousin’s little boy for the first time, my Dad’s mum’s sister’s daughter, my cousin from my dad’s side and a host of others which I really cannot remember the connecting dots.
A lot of preparation goes into the weddings in general, more on the part of the bride and her family, the groom and his family and also on the part of the friends of both parties. Dresses which might only be worn on the occasion and never again are made, fittings are done, a lot goes into make up, hair and also photography, not to forget the bridal shower and a host of other expenses.
Planning usually takes monthsand the costss no matter how small the ceremony is are enormous, however, the joy and emotions that comes with the occasion makes it priceless. Have you ever traveled to attend a wedding? What was your experience like?