Why I love that I had a small wedding!

Why I love that I had a small wedding
Me on my wedding day, I will never forget!

I am Nigerian, and one of the landmark events in life is the Wedding. The coming together of two families to form another family. Such a blessing indeed to start a new life together, despite leaving the family you cam from. Leaving your fathers house, is a truly celebrated event. Big or small, it will be the most memorable event of your life.

Dowries, goats, yams and coral beads!

The Bella Naija Wedding

The typical Bella Naija wedding, I am sure you have already heard about it, is about having an extravagant, over-the-top celebration with over 500 guests, elaborate decorations, monogrammed dance floors, and bejeweled cutlery and glassware. The aim is to be featured on a media platform like BellaNaija where your special day will be made timeless by constant likes and double-clicks. You have to be the talk of the town, the ultimate bride, with wedding decor that captures.

Here are some qualifying features:
  1. Ridiculously expensive wedding dress, even better if it is hand-crafted with an extra long train.
  2. Decor and management by one of the prominent bridal planners, Dure Events or Conceal Affairs.
  3. Utilizing a premiere venue like Chatteau Cocomar or Petroleum Club.
  4. Having a well known DJ or MC, preferrably someone that everyone in the woke Nigerian community is aware of.
  5. The cake tower of life. If it is draped in gold or silver you earn extra points.
  6. Don’t forget the large dance floor with your monogram.
  7. The more floral arrangements the better, everyone knows flowers are expensive.
  8. The thrown. You cannot have a BN wedding and not have a thrown.
  9. Wedding invitations must be keepsake-able. Now is not the time to implement Office Depot… each invite must break necks and gravitate the strand of hair on those you have invited.
  10. Guests! Guests! Guests! More than 500 if you are somebody.

The only problem was…

I didn’t want a big wedding. If you have read my earlier posts you will remember that I am an introverand I prefer not to have all eyes on me. I can count my friends on my fingers and toes, and my husband is sadly no different. The thought of having such a huge wedding was overwhelming and more anxiety-provoking than anything.

But my parents wanted a big wedding.

I still remember my mother saying

“If you want a small wedding, then you and your husband can invite your one hundred guests, and me and you father will invite 4oo in addition.”

This just sounded ridiculous. Now we would be forking over at least 50 grand to entertain a bunch of people we could not name or identify. My husband, used to taking the path less taken but hating confrontation left the decision up to me.

I don’t even get invited to weddings!

I don’t know where to start, who to look to for insight. What was a good starting point, what were people doing, who was I competing with?

What kind of wedding dress should I get? What was the point of having a extra long train? Who would carry it for you?

What if people came and didn’t like the food? Or didn’t like me?

What if it wasn’t BellaNaija enough?

God, these were big problems for me.

My decision to go small is tough

One night I entered the bedroom and plopped onto the bed next to my husband and sighed loudly. He looked at the magazines and books  in front of me and already knew what I was going to complaint about.

“Ada, why do you have to have this big wedding if it is making you stress like this? Why not save the money and invest it somewhere else more important to you?”

Then it finally dawned on me.

My and my husband had already been married for a year. We eloped hoping to evade the whole wedding situation. We had purchased a home in a beautiful town and were planning for a baby soon. A big wedding just seemed like a big painful interruption in my life. Giving anyone $50,000 that I could use to pay down student debt or invest for my future or my child’s future felt outlandish.

Speaking with a random.

I vented to random young brunette at a coffee shop. I was hoping she would understand where I was coming from despite not knowing who the heck I was. But just like random conversations, with hidden angels, she said something that made me change my entire train of thought. She said:

“In my family, my parents always gives us a $25,000 wedding gift. They give us three options for the money. Either use it as a down payment for your home, spend it towards your wedding or keep it. Her two elder siblings put it towards their first homes.”

She smiled. I smiled. That was brilliant. It made me remember that this wedding was an investment, and the fact that I saw it as an EMPTY investment was killing me softly. This stranger helped me realize the flaw in my forcing myself to do something I didn’t think was necessary for the approval of my parents and my community.

When I brought this idea to my husband, he was confused because he said he had been telling me this all along. Sure, whatever.

Breaking it to my parents…

It was as if I said I were getting a divorce. We had decided we would use any money we were saving at that time and re-invest it in ourselves. We would still have a wedding, but it would only be open to very close friends and family. We would use the church we had attended for years, even though it was in the ‘hood.  We would use a small hotel with enough sitting for 75-100. We would have no real flowers. And I would buy my dress from a consignment shop and make my own bouquet.

They didn’t think I was crazy. As sad as they looked, my mother admitted that she never saw me doing a big wedding, she just hoped it would happen.

“This my darling daughter, she likes to stay in her own business”

She laughed. My fathers sulked, he asked that if he funded the wedding, could they do one in Dallas the coming year. Sure, I shrugged. They asked if I could at least allow them to have a traditional wedding in Nigeria, they would fund that too. Ok, I agreed.

And just like that. I had the most beautiful day I could ever imagine. I had tears in my eyes. There was no one in that hall that didn’t love me. My parents, aunts and uncles, in-law and great in-laws danced the night away. My mother surprised us with a cake and had the hall decorated. The men in my life made speeches and I was so moved. And when me and my husband got home the following day, he gave me a big smile and exclaimed:

“Guess how much that cost us?!”

I won’t say.

I still look back on the pictures and smile.

Pictures (just a tease):

Why I love that I had a small wedding!
Exiting the hotel
Why I am so glad I had a small wedding
My father walking me down the aisle!
Why I love that I had a small wedding!
At the alter
Why I love that I had a small wedding!
Two families come together!
Why I love that I had a small wedding!
Happily married
Why I love that I had a small wedding!
The happiest man in the building besides the groom!

 

Sneak Peak to my traditional wedding, post coming soon:

Why I love that I had a small wedding!
Traditional wedding

Letting Baby’s Hair Free!

Why I decided to let her hair be!

 

 

We are in such a society where everyone and everything has to look good. People are constantly taking pictures, you are under pressure to look picture perfect at all times. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some embarrassing moments where I’ve clutched my 22 pearls thinking:

Oh my baby girls hair looks horrible!

Continue reading Letting Baby’s Hair Free!

Being the Sick Patient

I am writing this, sitting in a pharmacy drive thru, my chest is burning, I’m am laboring to breath and I’m having BH contractions. It started yesterday when I went to the OBs office for a run-of-the-mill check up, glucose tolerance testing. I spent the night before coughing and wheezing and honestly wanted to cancel the appointment, but I figured I should just get it over with.
Continue reading Being the Sick Patient

Nigerian Girl – Korean Face Regimen

LET’S TALK FACE

I really hate fads, I try to stay away from them, but I couldn’t help but take interest when I heard about the Korean Skincare regimen. When I looked into it, it was about belaboring the face-washing routine with the thought that if you pampered your face, you would have great results. Well, in some many times that we are brutal to our faces with the sun, make-up and harsh detergent face washes… I didn’t mind to pay back my sensitive skin. So I looked into it, ridiculous as it seemed.
Continue reading Nigerian Girl – Korean Face Regimen

Balancing Act – Working Mother

I feel like I am in a constant balancing act.

I console myself by telling myself: I am not the only one with a family. This is do-able.

  1. Being the best professional and healthcare provider and perfecting my craft
  2. Being a great mother and wife
  3. Being whole and one with me

Continue reading Balancing Act – Working Mother

Erinma Turns One

Can you believe I have been a mother for one whole year? I definitely cannot, it flew by so fast!

I still remember bringing my baby  home and wondering if I would ever sleep again, wondering if I would ever hear the sounds of bird chirping outside the window, wondering if I would ever regain my sanity. Now I have watched her crawl, fall and take her first steps.

  • She runs across the living room and into my arms.
  • She squeals with so much emotion, babbling in her baby jargon.
  • She still isn’t eating, she refuses solid food or anything not in her bottle.
  • She is in the 99th percentile for height, the 87ile for weight. Her pediatrician is worried about her speech, but we feel she is doing just fine. She has the motor skills of an 18 month old.
  • She chases the big kids.
  • She investigates everything, opens the toilet and tries to reach for the water before I swoop her away and make a bee-line for the nearest sink.
  • She has the most perplexed expression when she is pulling clothes out of drawers and papers out of binders. Determined, she sets out to pull items of low counters.
  • She only lets you make her hair when she is watching ChuChuTV.
  • She enjoys long walks in her stroller and cries when you arrive back home.
  • She has 10 little teeth that she will not allow you to brush.
  • The only word she says is “Daddy” but anything can be “Daddy” so we are waiting for her to use the term correctly.
  • She always steals the show.

Many say she is such a cute baby, but all babies are cute, however I would love to think my babe is the Queen of Cute.

I have been a mother for one year! I still can’t believe this. We made it!! And  we are gonna keep making it!