We are barely through with the first quarter of 2014 and I now have a total of 10 weddings to attend…not 1, not 2 but 10; make that 9 because I attended the first one last weekend (that’s a whole different story). Before you think I am the wedding Grinch, let me state that I am actually very happy for all my friends that are getting married and I am also tapping into the ‘anointing’ of finding love and the happily ever after that comes with it. However, with weddings come expenses not just on the family but also on the friends of the couple like having to buy the wedding aso-ebi.
It would be unfair to assume everyone knows what the aso-ebi is so let me explain myself. Aso-Ebi is a Yoruba term, which literally translates to family cloth, as Aso means “cloth” and Ebi means “family.” Traditionally, aso-ebi was the fabric which members of the same family wore to identify themselves at events such as weddings and other ceremonies. At a wedding, for example, members of the groom’s family would wear a particular aso-ebi fabric, while members of the bride’s family wore a different one. Through the years, the aso-ebi tradition has now become something for both friends and family and has spread across all tribes in Nigeria and maybe Africa.
Honestly, I don’t have a problem with buying aso-ebi but I have a problem with the pricing of these fabrics and the differentiation of non-asoebi wearers at any wedding. In most cases, the family of the couple significantly increase the price of these fabrics with the motive of covering the wedding costs but where do you draw the line from adequate pricing to pure exploitation. Then at the weddings, non-asoebi wearers are treated as the rebellious friends with their presence almost insignificant to the big day
In the past, couples would be buried in gifts of all shapes and sizes but these days friends almost forget to bring gifts for the couple due to many reasons, one of them being the amount of money they may have spent prior to the wedding itself. As a friend of the bride, you are either paying for the bridal shower, or the bridesmaid’s dress or the often overpriced aso-ebi. I mean after you may have spent a minimum 50,000 naira for a friend’s wedding, what else do you want to buy for them again? Call me cheap but mehn a lady works hard for her money and some of these things are over budget. Let’s not even talk about getting a make-up artist because these days amateur make-up does not cut it, getting new shoes, having your hair done or gele tied by a professional, or requesting custom-made jewellery to match your outfit. The total cost of only being a guest seems to be increasing with each wedding. If I had to spend 50,000 per wedding and with a total of 10 weddings in 2014, I am looking at almost 500,000 naira on just looking good at weddings that are not mine… that’s someone’s yearly salary o.
I often wonder why there is so much hype about having aso-ebi or buying the aso-ebi of a friend when in most cases, the outfit is worn only once and left in the wardrobe for many months to years. Most times, I ask for the colours of the wedding and strategically get an outfit in that colour so I can always repeat it at a later date but the problem with that is when I get to these weddings, I am never identified as a friend of the couple and end up hustling for everything including small chops (imagine!)
On that note, even though I do not totally agree with the aso-ebi hype and overpricing, I am willing to buy if and when the aso-ebis make sense and to support my friend getting married. I must admit though, they make wedding pictures look really nice and rich.