We woke up the next morning around 6 am to prepare for the wedding. We had to have our make up done, and have a photo session before heading to the church for the wedding. The make up artist asked why I didn’t have any artificial lashes and I lied that I had an eye problem and couldn’t see with it. Thankfully, she didn’t pester me and went on to give me a make over. When we had all gotten ready, we went downstairs to take pictures using the beautiful hotel scenario.

We had just finished the photo session and were heading to the car that would take us to the church when I heard my name from a distance. It was a familiar voice but I couldn’t identify who it was. I turned to see Idy, the man I met yesterday during my evening walk.

He ran over to me and I greeted him.

“You look really beautiful,” he said. “I almost couldn’t recognise you.”

“Thank you,” I said with a shy smile.

“Have you taken any personal picture yet?”

“No, we are running late so I’ll do that after the church service.”

“Let me help you take a quick one. I like the hotel background.”

Before I could say anything, he brought out his phone and asked me to smile as he captured my picture on his iPhone.

He showed the picture to me and it was really beautiful and sharp. Oh, the power of iPhone camera. It was nothing compared to the Gionee phone I was using.

“Please can you send it to me via Bluetooth,” I said bringing out my phone from my clutch.

“iPhone can’t send pictures via Bluetooth. Give me your number and I’ll send it via Whatsapp.”

Huh! Was this a trick to get my phone number.

“Edidiong! We will leave you o,” one of the bride’s maids shouted.

I quickly called out my number as he dialled it on his phone and hurried off without saying good bye. All I was interested in was my iPhone pictures.

 

We were late to the church. It has almost become a norm in Nigeria that brides come late to the church wedding. I don’t even understand why but I think it’s so wrong. Why keep the whole church and guests waiting for you just because it’s your wedding?

In Uyo, after the church wedding, is usually an hour or more of rowdy photo session. Then the reception comes next which is always done in a hurry because of guests who came from a long distance and have to return same day. I used to wonder why these guests can’t book a hotel room for one night or leave if they want to instead of rushing the couple. It’s their day, if they want to dance the whole day and night, allow them instead of rushing them during the reception.

I once attended a wedding that the bride’s uncle literally went to push the couple to move faster during the entrance dance. I was embarrassed on their behalf. If you want to leave by 4 pm or earlier, you can leave. There’s no law that says all guests must wait till the end before they leave.

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Anyway, back to Maureen’s wedding. We were late and she was asked to apologize to the church. After the church ceremony, we stood outside for pictures. It was such a rowdy session and someone almost pushed me down just because he wanted his face to show in the picture.

The reception started by 2:30 pm and it was done in a hurry. We had planned to do a special dance with Maureen but the chairman of the occasion will not let us be great. He told the MC to cut out some items on the program without even consulting with the couple. Maureen felt really sad. After all our dance practice, we didn’t dance again. And she had paid a dance instructor to teach us how to dance. You can imagine how it annoyed her. It annoyed me too. I had to sacrifice most of my weekends and some evening just for the dance lessons.

Then sharing of food and drinks was an eye sore. People were struggling as if they had not eaten for the past 90 days. No, this is not an exaggeration. Some were even packing food inside black nylons they had hidden in their bags. Souvenir nko? Matured women, old enough to be my grand mother were climbing on top of each other just to get souvenir. I felt like entering the ground in shame on behalf of them. I even lost appetite just watching people struggle. You know the annoying thing. The food was in excess. The souvenir was in excess. And these people were struggling as if their life depended on it.

I wished Maureen had arranged that the souvenir be given to people at the entrance of the hall. She should have done it such that when guests arrive for the reception, they receive a souvenir at the door and get a seat. No need to struggle.

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At the end of the reception, all the unmarried ladies were asked to come out as the bride prepared to toss her bouquet. I was single but too shy to step out and catch the bouquet. So I sat down and watched other ladies go out to struggle for the bouquet. Some people believe that whoever catches the bride’s bouquet at the wedding will be the next to get married. I don’t know how true this is but I believe it’s just for fun.

The wedding came to an end and Maureen and her husband left to their hotel room where they would be spending their night. There was no arrangement for the bridal train after the reception and we were all left to find our way back to our respective homes. I had earlier in the morning put my sleep over bag in the car that took us to church from the hotel so I rushed to remove it before the reception ended. I was glad the wedding was all over and I would now have time to focus on my academics and especially prepare for my exams which was scheduled to start in two weeks time.

But first, how do I find my way back to the hostel?

END NOTE: This is a fiction story series and episode 20 of #UduakObongStorySeries