Have you attended a wedding ceremony recently? Did you take a second to observe the celebrants? Did you notice the gaily dressed up bride grin from ear to ear and dance spiritedly from pillar to post. But I am asking if you really watched the groom. How he sauntered absent minded to the altar, his voice almost cracking up as he recited his vows; for better for worse. Even the jokes of a brilliant stand-up comic failed to win his smile. A frozen smirk-smile played on his lips as he danced blandly in stark contrast to his female companion to the beats of a hired drummer. His grave look is borne more from the huge debts incurred in organizing the wedding ceremony than anything else. Though this is exaggerated to an extent the picture isn’t much different for several Nigerian bachelors-turned husbands. The prospects appear bleak as he grudgingly carries his bride to a honey-moon with sour beginnings
The desire to make history by having a society wedding is increasing every day despite the fact a society wedding isn’t a guarantee of a long-lasting marriage. An international agency once reported that the most expensive weddings were held in Nigeria, and this is no Western ‘bad-belle’. Now the average Nigerian gets married three times; traditional, religious and court; all these processes come with a huge attendant cost. I coaxed a couple of colleagues on a heated debate on how much does it costs to stage a decent wedding in Nigeria. Most agreed, with present fluctuating costs, perhaps in the range of 1.5 million to 2 million naira ($18,000) , an outrageous amount by any standards , going by the income of both celebrants who do not earn nearly half of the sum annually. Unanimously everyone agreed that the sum was ludicrous but why go ahead when you don’t have the back-bone.
Several factors have contributed to the wedding crisis in Nigeria; sadly most are caused by the celebrants. Not everyone is a loser in Nigeria’s wedding racket. From the villagers who know next to nothing about the celebrants to the customary court officers who demand for packets of biscuits and sweets before the wedding certificate is issued, the list is endless. Opportunists’ family members of the bride often enrich themselves by charging outlandish bride prides-sometimes as high as ($4,500). In some eastern parts of Nigeria it is almost embarrassingly a human auction sale, where the bride goes to the highest bidder. It was once reported that a hapless young man developed high blood pressure after collecting three sheets of requisites from his in-laws before he could wed their daughter
There is nothing wrong with the westerner who attends a registry or church to be joined by a judge or a priest? I know some would say that tradition is sacred. But what do you make of a custom that leaves newly married couples in debt and penury even before they set out as husband and wife. It is not new to observe newlywed couples quarrelling and fighting with purveyors of post-wedding ceremony expenses.
Things should be done moderately to avoid future catastrophe. Our sisters should cut and sew their clothes according to their size. For the family is an essential building block of our existence and modern civilization.