The Naija Diaries|| Oyin weds Femi

Hey guys, hope you're all good and well?

Don't you just LOVE weddings? I think it is a beautiful thing to witness the joining of man and woman as one in the union of marriage; finding that one person, your best friend, your 'ride or die', the person that you're going to spend the rest of your life with....guys isn't that amazing?!
Yes, I am aware that I sound like such a cornball but I can't help it, I'm a hopeless romantic you know I just love love (even though I've never actually been in love *sigh*, God is in control sha). My cousin's wedding was actually one of the main reasons I went home for the holidays (besides trying to escape the harsh winter). 'Aunty' Oyinda- yes I know I said she's my cousin but I have to add the title of 'aunty' when I address her because she's older than me (something I'm sure my fellow Nigerians can relate with)- so anyway, aunty Oyinda has always been one of my favourite cousins; she's a beautiful, kind, compassionate, funny and smart woman. My favourite memory of her is when my family and I visited her family in Zaria (for my non-Nigerian readers; it's one of the towns in Kaduna, a northern state in Nigeria) when I was a kid. I had brought this one doll with me and aunty Oyin made a number of outfits for my doll but my favourite was the two piece velvet suit she made from scraps of material from her mum's shop. I was so happy and I couldn't wait to go back to school and show all my friends, and I repeated the story so many times to anyone and everyone that would listen.

One day after our arrival to Lagos we set out on the 5-ish hour journey to Ilorin (a town in Kwara state) which is where the engagement and wedding took place, two days before Christmas. As expected, the days leading up to the big day were hectic and busy for those involved, the house was brimming with family guests and well wishers who all contributed in some way to the success of the wedding. That also meant that I got to see many family members that I had not seen in a LONG time which made me extremely happy and of course I was hit with some "Lami, do you remember me?!"questions and gosh it can get so awkward if you don't remember and they start to tell you memories they have of you and you're REALLY hoping for a memory to resurface but it just isn't happening. I always feel bad because here I am being embraced  with so much love from this uncle or aunty who is so excited to see me again and I'm just there like "oh, I'm so sorry, I don't remember". I guess when I'm older, I'll get my comeuppance from my younger relatives.

As mentioned earlier, both the engagement and wedding ceremony took place on the same day which meant our day started EARLY, like I was really up by 5 am, putting my dress on in the dark and hoping that my shoes matched. Normally when I attend Nigerian functions such as wedding receptions, they usually end at 11pm or midnight so with that in mind I was dreading the day because I kept thinking "how the hell am I going to be able to last from 7am when the engagement started till midnight when I thought the wedding reception was going to end. The wedding reception actually started at 1pm and finished at 6pm- looking back now I realise how silly my assumption was, like who would even have stayed till that late and what would we still be doing by that time?!
They don't call it African timing for nothing- I don't think the engagement started at 7am as planned in fact by that time I'm sure I was still in my underwear getting my dress altered and being my mum's MUA and with everyone running around and stressing (as expected) the only thing on my mind was "I can't come and kill myself, we'll get there when we get there" but I suppose it was easy for me to have that mentality after all I wasn't the one getting married. Anyways after all the commotion and sweating ( I sweat a lot and the grace of God was my makeup setting spray that day), we finally made it to the venue and everything just kinda fell into place. Both the engagement and wedding reception took place at the same venue called M&M hall- guys the hall was beautiful and so spacious, like the tables were nicely spaced out and gorgeously decorated and it wasn't cramped at all. I've been to a number of Naija functions (in the UK) where a million tables have been squeezed into a tiny space and there's barely any room to breathe let alone dance so you can imagine how refreshing this venue was to see. The venue also had a beautiful garden at the back of the hall which is where my brother and I spent our time taking outfit pictures.

The engagement ceremony was really beautiful and this was the first time I actually paid attention to what was going on with regards to the various steps and traditions involved especially as I was part of her bridal train and also had small roles to play. I got so emotional when her parents started crying and when her dad pulled out his handkerchief to wipe his tears I started to well up and then aunty Oyinda started crying and in that moment I don't think words were needed to express how they were all feeling- the tears and the emotion behind them spoke volumes. What a gorgeous bride she made, am I right? Uncle Femi (Her husband), is indeed a lucky man.
Moving from the engagement venue to the church was a much smoother transition and I think the mass started on time; but that may be down to the fact that priest kept to time and was not about to wait for late comers. Aunty Oyinda had asked me the night before to do one of the readings and I was feeling cool and confident until I reached the altar and all of a sudden I was extremely nervous I swear I could hear my own heartbeat and it took all of me not to trip and fall on my face. I read the first half of the bible passage at supersonic speed because of my nerves but after taking a deep breath I slowed down and read the rest of the passage at a more comprehensible pace.
My mum had planned to make cocktails for the wedding reception in addition to all the other things that she was already going to be serving so I decided to help her make them and that folks is what I spent 80% of my time doing so I kinda missed the programme of the reception in fact I didn't even see the married couple until like 30-35 mins to the end when we were dancing and spraying money. Guys I didn't even catch the bouquet although to be fair, I was too busy wolfing down a plate of fried rice and that at the time was way more important. Although I missed quite a lot of the action, it was consoling to know that all my efforts in the kitchen were not in vain as I was told by a large number of guests that they really enjoyed the cocktails and some said they were even upset that they had missed out on the cocktail action (or maybe they just added that part to make feel better haha).

"Lami, we should be doing your own next o", "Lami won't you go and catch the bouquet", "Don't let it be too long before you bring someone home o", a few variations of the famous "when will you marry" question that I was asked before, during and after the wedding.I know this is something my Naija ladies can definitely relate to and these questions don't always come from "concerned" family members, they can sometimes come from our peers especially those who feel as though having a boyfriend or being 'Mrs Somebody' is the be-all-and-end-all of life. Well first of all I'm only 23, I don't have a boyfriend (or a male friend that I'm 'talking' to) so how can I even be thinking about marriage when there isn't even a potential groom yet?
 Looking from their point of view though, I suppose our relatives might just be looking out for us and might not see how pressurising such questions can be (although some can just be forceful and malicious) but I think what they need to realise is that the rising generation of young women are different and evolving; we have a voice, we have a lot to say, we're self-reliant, we're ambitious, we have our own plans and dreams and we don't need to rely on men to get what we want in life. That is something that my mother taught me from a young age- to be independent and never rely on a man or wait for a man to provide for me. Marriage is a beautiful and sacred union and finding your life long partner is amazing and I pray that God guides and leads me to the person I'm going to marry WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT - I am certainly not in a rush. Ladies, there's no deadline and you don't have an expiry date so please forget whatever your age mates are doing because each person's journey is different, I know people my age who are happily married and have beautiful children but that doesn't mean I'm 'behind' or that I should automatically follow that path . So ladies, please don't fold under pressure and rush into something that you're not ready for or get married for the wrong reasons so that on your wedding day, you too will smile genuinely like my cousin and just like her, your tears won't be those of sadness but of joy.

All in all it was a great day, I had such a good time and I wouldn't change anything about that day (well....maybe my choice of shoes) and at that moment I felt so happy to be surrounded by my family whom I love very much, to be surrounded by so much joy and happiness and I just knew that if I had not attended I would have regretted it . How I wish I could post all the pictures from that day because I honestly love them all but I think that would be overkill. I can't believe it's already been a month since their wedding, wow time sure does fly! I hope this past month has been filled with bliss and I pray that God continues to watch over and bless their union, and whatever tribulations they may face (and hopefully there won't be many) I pray that instead of dividing them, it will only strengthen their bond and bring them closer as they support each other. AMEN
 These lovely pictures were taken by Charles, my brother who as you know takes majority of the pictures I post on here and my social media *inserts shameless plug* if you are a blogger /any other kind of creative or if you're just looking for a good photographer to take good quality pictures at your event then be sure to hit him up on his insta @c_oguns.  

Thank you all for reading, hope you enjoyed it!
Until next time, take care and God bless xoxo

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