The Univited Wedding Guest

Wedding Guests.Image: North of Lagos Blog A while ago, two of my favorite radio personalities – Gbemi and Toolz – came under heavy criticism for allegedly calling out two brothers for attending any and every society wedding; whether they are invited or not. When I read the tweets by Gbemi, I didn’t know whom she was talking about, just as I am sure most Nigerians didn’t. I also didn’t know if she was talking weddings in general or the upcoming nuptials of her friend, Toolz. Soon enough, Toolz seemed to confirm it was about her wedding when she tweeted that Gbemi was a straight shooter. Even at that, I still felt it could have been about anyone. Two brothers decided to tell the whole world that they were the reason for Gbemi and Toolz’s tweets. The brothers, whom I had not heard off before their social media rants and whom I will not dignify by putting up their names were very crude in their abuse of the ladies but especially of Gbemi. I was guessing they didn’t touch Toolz because they still wanted to attend her wedding. Either way, it was an embarrassing affair. And quite frankly, I don’t want to be a female in the lives of those guys; the levels they went bordered on unfettered misogyny. When I read the story, and the ensuing drama on twitter, it got me thinking about Nigerian weddings. Each year, weddings are getting bigger and bigger, catering to more and more people and requiring a whole lot of money to plan and execute. I know that Nigerians are effusive people but the problem is that, as a result of this trend, many couples start off their marriage with tons of debt. This debt is usually borne by the husband because many ladies don’t believe in equal partnership. This means that the man starts his marriage counting the cost…and most likely hating it as the marriage proceeds. So you can imagine the pressure a man has to put up with to cater to his invited guest, talk more of his ‘uninvited guests’. Uninvited guests are classified into some of these categories; 1.     The ‘old friend’: these are the ones that will hear of your wedding, search for your number, and call you to gist. They will play it out and wait for you to invite them. When you don’t, they will ask when you are getting married, forcing you to either lie or blurt out that you are getting married on so so and so date. When you tell them about your wedding, they will then tell you that they will clear their schedule for you, effectively boxing you into a corner. Still under this group are those who hear of your wedding, call you up and straight up go, ‘So you are getting married and you did not tell me?! Is this how life is? Na wa for you oh! If you like, no invite me come your wedding, I go still show! Turn up baby!’ to which you would laugh awkwardly and tell them they are invited. You know when you put off the phone, you would hiss for Africa. 2.     The ‘friend’ of a family member: this is one of the most common forms of uninvited wedding guests you can see around. They know your sister, brother, mother, father, cousin etc. and feel it is their right to attend your wedding. In fact, the people they know are surprised to see them at your wedding. They hug and kiss but they are wondering ‘who invited this one’. You smile at them when they come to greet you but you keep trying to figure out who they are. 3.     The social climber: people like OC Ukeje, Ajoke Silva, Florence Ita Giwa, Folorunsho Alakija, 2baba, Olamide, Ben Murray Bruce and even the wife of the Vice President are pegged to attend so these people want to be seen where the crème de la crème are. They want to be featured on Ovation, Bellanaija and City People. They don’t mind being described as ‘…and friend’ as long as people see them at this big society wedding! They would be chummy with the bride (who by the way is forcing a smile with this stranger) so that they get a chance to be featured on these big magazines. These ones are rich but they are not in the limelight and even if the best talent coach trains them for 10 years, they will never be great ‘artists’. So, they become ‘celebrities’ by association and the more they are seen at events, the greater their chances of being featured in a movie or music video; even if it requires 70 takes to get their only scene done. 4.     The attention slore: this guest is the one that is so in love with events that they are practically everywhere. It doesn’t have to be a wedding, but a wedding is a plus. He/she may not be invited to a wedding but they will buy the Aso ebi, sew the latest style, turn up in an expensive ride they rented last night and carry in the biggest gift (which might be cheap but who cares; size is everything, isn’t it?). Usually, when the bouncer sees such people, he is not too eager to harass them; after all, it could have been a computer error that resulted in the missing name. In fact, they will usher said guest to one of the seats close to the high table because of their distinguished head-to-toe look. The bride doesn’t know the person per se but that big ass gift is inviting and she smiles even though she is not happy. By the time she opens the gift and sees that it is an ugly plastic shoe rack, she would have wished she sent out the uninvited guest! 5.     The ‘longer throat’: this person just loves party Jollof rice and a wedding is the only opportunity for the person to eat cake and drink a whole carton of Five Alive. There are so many people like that at weddings every weekend. They

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