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 seat close to the buffet table and make sure they eat ALL the dishes being served at that wedding. They don’t care that they are embarrassing their family members; all they want is some good ole food.
These are some examples of uninvited weddings guests found at Nigerian weddings. I am sure you know some of them yourself…and even other types.
Most times, the bride is super stressed on her wedding day…and so is the groom. Now, imagine this scenario. The chaos at the food court is becoming unbearable and the couple begins to worry about the order of things. They cannot eat because lots of people have gone to complain that they didn’t get food. The groom has gone to the caterers four times already and he is just tired. When that uninvited guest shows up, they are adding more stress to the already tense situation. The bride is wondering if the person is the groom’s guest or her parents’ guests. The groom is wondering the same. The entire situation results in the bride having a horrible day instead of the fairy tale event she had paid good money for; or more likely, that her husband has paid good money for. My question then is, why do that to a couple?! Why be the bitterness in their sweet day?!
Back to my opening story.
It is not something to struggle with. IF YOU WERE NOT INVITED TO A WEDDING, STAY AT HOME! You will not die. Your ‘reps’ will not drop. Your belly will not complain. If the person did not invite you, it could be for some reasons; maybe they planned for only a certain number of people, maybe they want a very private ceremony, maybe they are cash strapped or just maybe…MAYBE THEY DON’T WANT YOU THERE! You shouldn’t have to wrangle out an invitation or guilt them into giving you one. In fact, it stinks of desperation to beg for an invitation and desperation is a not a good look.
I don’t buy this nonsense about not driving people away from your wedding. Some people say it is in bad taste. Some are afraid of being ‘cursed’ by their village people, some people don’t want to attract ‘beef’ to themselves and some others are just people-pleasers. Isn’t it bad taste to carry yourself to a wedding you were not invited to? And if you really want to be afraid of your village witches, how about you just roll up and die because they will follow you everywhere you go and will be on hand every time something good happens to you. I have been asking why a person would ‘beef’ me because I did not invite you to MY WEDDING. Is it your wedding? Are you the one that will spend the rest of your life with my spouse? And for people-pleasers, I do hope that you know the uninvited guests are usually the ones with the most negative report about your wedding. So while you are pleasing them, they are planning to wreck you. Is that what you really want?
A couple’s wedding is never about you! It is not about the Aso ebi you bought. It is not about how you look. It is not about how the wedding can up your Instagram status. It is completely not about you!
It is about the groom and his bride. It is about their family and friends and maybe colleagues whom they want to share their event with! It is their perfect right to invite you, not invite you or ‘uninvite’ you. It is also their perfect right to ask security to walk you out of their wedding if you have no proof of their invitation. I remember seeing a story where a couple made a flex banner saying, ‘Áso ebi is not a guaranty of entrance to this wedding’. I felt bad that people opened themselves to such blatant disrespect just because they wanted to attend a wedding. Come on! Get some self-respect!
I used to want that big society wedding but I have come to the realization that the more people you invite to a wedding, the more likely you will have uninvited guests turn up. So last last, people might just hear I have married when they see my Facebook status change. No time for all this drama abeg!
If this post pain you, abeg, no vex. Na just article!