Weddings especially that of family and family friends are always a big deal. My family is no exception to this rule — though Lord knows I hate the whole brouhaha. Weddings are beautiful ceremonies, and by all means, and I have nothing against it.
But, egbami!! Why would I spend 40 thousand naira on someone else’s aso-ebi plus gele? And that is not including about 15 thousand for matching shoe and bag oh! And you must get the couple a wedding present that would set you back at least an extra 10 thousand. Please, in this recession, that’s almost 70 thousand for one weekend, and then somebody will not give me wedding souvenirs. Lailai!
So, back to the wedding of the week, one distant cousin I haven’t seen in decades is getting married. The family line is so convoluted, I have a very vague idea of how I’m related to this chick, but then mumsy has said we are related and the entire family must be present. Being the first born girl makes me automatically the children’s representative of our nuclear unit, who must buy all the aso-ebi [without help from said matriarch oh! Or even popsy. The old man carried face like he was totally deaf to all conversations, issokay].
So here I am now, decked in the expensive finery [at least the tailor didn’t disappoint this time] and still staring sullenly at account balance, even as I stuff my mouth full of hors-d’oeuvres [small chops oh!]. And trust me, I am ready for this people today. All six younger ones, siblings, and cousins alike have been placed at strategic points in the hall to see and grab each and every souvenir that passes around the hall.
You know how all those mamas would have used their eyes to size up their very own FAF (family and friends), and siphon all the souvenirs to these select few, irrespective of whether they bought the aso-ebi or not; oh boy am I ready for them today.
As reception proceeds, I stop all the waiters and overhead trays to get a taste of every food item that is served. Any time I start feeling like respecting myself and forming posh girl, I catch a glimpse of my email alert screengrab that I used as my screensaver, and my brain resets itself. Let’s leave the fine girl for another day abeg, I mean I had to pay one babe some 2k to quickly touch up my face for the fine girl effect na!
As we oohed and aahed over the bride and groom’s entry dance and first dance, I studiously kept my eyes opened and well trained on all the Iyas with their bourgeois gele who were the likely suspects for wedding souvenir sharing. The minute the bride finished dancing with her father and she and groom went to take their seats, I spotted one mummy leading some youngsters bringing in cartons.
Quick as lightning, I sent little sis to as my mother if she knew the woman. Once that was confirmed, operation greet till you drop was enforced. Sis, using mumsy as cover went to greet the woman just as the first item was being extracted from the carton. With my younger sister’s enthusiastic greeting, on both knees in the middle of the aisle, mama had no choice but to gift her with the fancy, customized wallet, which immediately reported in my hands.
This continued throughout the wedding, from 20 naira detergent to tissue paper, branded knickknacks and electronics to customized handkerchiefs, this was a matter of get till you drop. And I sure as hell was not dropping any time soon, and neither was anyone in my squad of merry wedding souvenir collectors.
At every angle were something was distributed, at least 2 agents were working to collect multiple souvenirs. Where hustling was required, we dragged and yelled with the best of them, and where finesse was necessary, I became my cool, calm, haughty Lagos chick persona.
This was war, and I sure was up to it. By the virtue of my aso-ebi, I am entitled to every wedding souvenir, and no hoarding, selfish mama was gonna stop me, if na to drag, we go drag am.
Oh, and by the way, the jollof was on fleek, say all you want but I can never get tired of Nigerian party jollof.
By the time we had stuffed ourselves full on party jollof and the somewhat boring moimoi, it was time to give presents. As I reluctantly went to drop my gift that had been padded and wrapped to look quite big and gorgeous, I made sure both mothers of the couple saw me and would endeavour to give me their personal souvenirs in appreciation.
At the end of the reception, I had 2 heaps of wedding souvenirs to take home, but I was thinking of how to get them out of the reception venue, without grabbing people’s attention. In the end, I stopped thinking of what people would say and took the souvenirs home — they are my entitlement for buying the aso-ebi and gele!
Share your struggle for getting wedding souvenirs below.