Many new generalized wedding practices were originally European ideas that we acculturated, for example the white puffy dresses and church weddings. Christianity, to Africans was a European suggestion and in some way, coercion. So, I find it ridiculous to believe that a wedding ceremony independent of practices which weren’t initially our culture or way of life isn’t good enough.
This summer, sometime in August, I had a chat with a female friend with whom I discussed how unconventional my idea of expressing romantic love is and how I am teaching people to respect my views.
Before we dive in, I have some confessions. I dislike wedding ceremonies. I don’t like going to parties, particularly weddings and before you even think about it, don’t worry, I have heard enough of “Nobody will attend your wedding if you keep thinking that way.” My response, “Well, who said I'd invite anyone.” I often joke that there will be only about six people at my wedding: Me, my husband, and the priest, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I have also wickedly daydreamed of having my wedding in a far country, in the middle of the week like a Wednesday. Benefits: all the people I don't like won't be able to attend the wedding. Additionally, no reasonable person would want to leave work for a whole week, spending so much money to travel for a wedding. If my wedding is on Wednesday, lets say in South Africa, people will want to travel on Monday, arrive on Tuesday, attend the wedding on Wednesday, travel back on Thursday and get to their home country by Friday - losing a whole-week's earning except if they are financially buoyant. Even if they attend, the likelihood of bringing an unnecessary plus-one will be very small. Lol, it's a very wicked thought, I know!
Since immigrating to the United States, I have only attended one wedding so far, but I have seen countless on social media, which I am not a fan of. I dislike modern weddings. I dislike that there have to be about six ceremonies for just one marriage, especially for Africans: Introduction, bachelor(ette) party, the cultural wedding, church wedding, reception, and thanksgiving. I hate the noise, I find life in absolute peace, quiet, and solitude which many weddings today lack. May weddings today want “noise,” many couples want to be the talk of the town, want to have buzz for their weddings with things like customized couple #hashtags which I don’t care for.
Also, except it is a professional event with tangible long-term benefits, I don’t like being at gatherings where there are too many people at once. I hate the wedding ceremony hype and don’t know how to fit in or participate in it. I dislike the wedding dancing, this new idea of choreography even for the brides and grooms that barely know how to walk well. I hate puffy white dresses; I dislike white dresses in general. I hate pointed or tooth-pick-like ended heels for brides or just even for any occasion at all; you can’t catch my spirit reincarnate in any of those things. I hate the masking-wedding make-up that women have to do. I don’t even like wearing make-up at all.
I am a mental economist, and I obsess over financial comparisons. It doesn’t make sense to me that too much money is spent on wedding clothing, building decorations, for a moment or a so-called wedding day and continued ceremonies. I would overthink what other valuable, life or financially lucrative thing I could invest that much money into.
Before marriage and weddings, let’s backtrack a little bit. I hate public proposals – the drop the knee, pop the question asking someone to make a life-time decision within split seconds. I would rather have a good conversation about it in private, where I can have the opportunity to say no as much as I am expected to say yes. I dislike big rock-engagement and wedding rings. I would rather shop for a ring with whomever I decide to marry so I can participate in the decision of what will be worn on my finger for a long time. Besides, the only jewelry I truly enjoy wearing, for the most part, is just earrings.
I dislike Valentine’s Day, and my annual Valentine’s Day shade-throwing posts are evidence. It feels so suffocating to me that love is only so dedicated to one day of the whole year. I am the type that would instead celebrate Valentine’s Day the week after or other several random days of the year.
I am not a fan of the conventional model of romantic love, and I know I am not the only one. Okay, maybe my own is a little too much; I agree.
I believe that romantic love has been commercialized and overly monetized in a way that the moments and expressions of it are more about competing on who can do or show more than merely the expression of love. Our great, great, great, great grandparents’ weddings weren’t as lavish, but the marriages were still blessed, and here we are. I want to know what the celebration of love could still look like if we removed culture out of it or the current “trends.”
I think the worst is when I see couples become financially unstable soon after their marriage or when divorce happens after so many material investments on wedding ceremonies. Don’t get me wrong; that these misfortunes happen doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give love a try. It should only help us re-evaluate our expressions of love.
If you believe or value otherwise, then good for you.
When I shared a brief portion of this post on WhatsApp, many people, some, even married and mostly females, reached out saying they wish they stood their ground on desiring simple weddings. One person, in particular, said she wished she hadn’t done her wedding the way “her mother imagined her wedding to be.” She wished she did it her way. I think many parents especially mothers who put unfair pressure on their daughter’s wedding to be how they want, should realize that they don’t want to be the reason their child won’t truly enjoy that precious day. Parents, especially mothers, should realize that it is not their daughters' responsibility to live the life they wish they had or have the weddings they wish they had.
And for those that say, “You only get to do it once, so it better be extravagant” especially in reference to the church weddings and reception, I disagree. I’ll express my love and communion to love simple as I like for that first time in the sake of an official communion. But, if I change my mind, the world is going in a direction whereby a person can have their wedding again and again and again as much as they wish or they feel like recommitting to their lovers. So, if I change my mind, until my last breath, there is an opportunity to have a new wedding.
Moreover, many new generalized wedding practices were originally European ideas that we acculturated, for example the white puffy dresses and church weddings. Christianity, to Africans was a European suggestion and in some way, coercion. So, I find it ridiculous to believe that a wedding ceremony independent of practices which weren’t initially our culture or way of life isn’t good enough.
I digress; one time, I was exploring the history of puffy gowns for females. I can vaguely remember what I discovered but one of the videos I watched showed how puffy dresses began in European cultures because the European women felt insecure to the curvy body sizes of black women, especially their robust bottoms. So, they started making puffy dresses as a way to make up for their lack of curves. This eventually transformed into something that demonstrated status-differentiation especially during the times of slavery. Such history makes me question many things about current romantic ceremonies and expressions especially for females.
I think many females can relieve themselves of the burden of having weddings like everyone else: particularly, aspiring for a repost on social media by Bella Naija. I can’t remember the wedding dress of the bride from the last wedding I went to. I can barely even remember the food or the feeling I felt from being there because it wasn’t so meaningful to me. It may have been significant to the couple, but the lack of meaning it had to me as a guest was proof that my choice of romantic expression only has value to my partner and me alone. Therefore, I shouldn’t be concerned about impressing people. I don’t need to invest in making other people feel comfortable about my choices of romantic expressions or love at all.
I don't have any idea of what I want my wedding(s) to be like, that's if I ever have one. But until then, I will remain informed about all the things I dislike in weddings.
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© Oyindamola Shoola 2020