Bisi Alao was resplendent and glowing in her glory as the mother of the groom. She had called the CEO of Elizabeth R events, Ibidunni Ighodalo to organize a meeting between her and the Master of Ceremony. She respectfully gave clear instructions to the woman, asking her to eliminate the cultural practice of kneeling as they do not want their daughter-in-law to kneel. Bisi had lied to her that the culture in their family was for the bride to sit on the laps of her parents-in-law, as kneeling was a sign of weakness and slavery. As recent tradition, she wore matching outfits with the bride’s mother who is now her newly found bestie. Otunba Alao and Mr. Ayinde also wore matching outfits. The photographer arrived to schedule as instructed by the event manager. Bellanaija weddings had set the motion in stage for this wedding as Instagram fans laid in wait, expecting pictures to start pouring in. Running an earlier commentary of “how we met” generated a huge social media buzz and publicized the wedding. Lagos was the national party headquarters. Abuja was more laid back. Having a Lagos-like party with the Tejuoshos, Akinladejos, Alaos, and Adenugas in Abuja was actually a big deal. The media follows the money. Whenever Lagos money moves, the media moves. People who are naturally not a fan of the social media buzz went ahead to follow Funke on her Instagram page, after they read her story. “Such a strong woman”, “strong black woman”, “wow! She’s my senior from school o”, “black queen”, those were the comments they left on her page when pictures from her bridal showers were released. Funke is not given to the attention that wealth and success commands, perhaps because she was born into privilege and taught humanity while at it. However, her friends serenaded her with laughter as they read feedback from internet users to her.
Bimpe Onakoya, the artistic director of Maybelline, Newyork Nigeria, did not recreate her to a glorious bride, as some make up artistes do, she channeled her beauty and highlighted her features in a soft glow that allowed you see the beauty of the bride. Cameras flicked as the photography team took multiple shots from different angles. Every thing had to be in place and perfect, though the bride asked them all to ease into what they had to do. TY Bello had the signature look that screams “TY Bello” even when the picture is dispersed in a sea of a thousand pictures. Only TY Bello takes a picture like TY Bello. Ibidunni, walked in to gas the bride up for the day, showering her with encomiums while telling the beauty team they had thirty minutes to wrap up.
“We will be done in 15minutes. Just finishing touches on the make-up.”
“Aunty Bimpe, I love you. You make my work so easy.”
“We bless God, dear. Love you” Bimpe responded calmly. She sets herself to finish her work before hand and bless the bride in words and token. She considers it a privilege that she is a part of the team responsible for laying the foundation of a new home, a new generation, she does not handle it with levity. She gave the bride a reassuring maternal hug, said some prayers, and handed over the gift she had brought with her.
“Thank you, Aunty”. Funke gesticulated in gratitude.
“Congratulations, my love. I’m so proud of you” Bimpe responded. “Now let’s get the newest bride married to the love of her life!”
“Let’s just hold hands and bless this new home” Ibidunni joined hands with Funke and Bimpe in prayers, thanking God for the day and the future.
Funke sat back in the limousine reserved for the day as she watched the bridal train file out. Her maid of honour, Tinuke, one of her childhood friends who had flown in from Dublin asked if she should pour her a drink. Funke declined because she did not schedule a bathroom break and could not imagine a wedding ceremony where the bride left the solemnization to use the bathroom.
“This is so huge, Tinuke” Funke looked around “Is this even for real?”
“Wait until you see the reception, babe” Tinuke replied. “It is bigger than you think and you have not seen it all”
The parents of the couple came to the limo to be sure all was set. Beaming with smiles and full of pride for how far the planning had come, the event manager came around to inform them that they needed to be seated already.
“Daddies and mummies, please follow my assistant back into the church.” Ibidunni gently disengaged them from the bride. “Funke love, it’s time.”
The pipe organ went off with the processional hymn, the congregation rose, and the choir led the hymn”
“Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven”
The sound driven by the pressurized air through the organ pipes, resonated with the vocals, and the vibration was as though angels joined and quaked the foundations of the cathedral. This was the day everything stood still for Funke as she marched down the aisle, regal in white. There was Femi, standing at the altar, the most handsome she had ever seen him. His smile revealed marble teeth, his eyes glistened. He promised to make this happen and he has. Taking it each day, in faith, in love, they had gotten here. She was walking down the aisle to meet him. Her father did not walk her. Both families are somewhat iconoclastic. Her father had rejected the notion of bride price, and neither was Otunba subscribed to the idea either. Their engagement ceremony was more of the families coming to know each other and exchanging gifts. Her father had said there was no progressive logic behind a father walking the daughter down the aisle, if not to show that she was a child that needed to be handed from one man to another. So here she is, walking herself, she looked at her father, he nodded lovingly. Her eyes caught Bisi’s beam of smiles, she looked so beautiful. Bisi blew her a kiss. Funke smiled at her mom, Otunba nodded to cheer on. Her gaze went back to her love, standing at the altar, she saw the best man pass him a handkerchief. She saw that tears had welled up in his eyes. Her heart was moved. This was really happening.
“Do you take Olufunke, Ibidunni Akande as your lawfully wedded wife?” The priest asked Femi.
“I do”. He responded with enthusiasm.
“Do you take Oluwafemi, Adekunle Alao as your lawfully wedded husband?” The priest asked Funke.
“I do”. Funke flashed him her most assuring smile.
Back in the congregation, Otunba Alao slid his hand in his wife’s and squeezed it gently. He whispered in her ears “Thank you, Bisi Alao. I love you.” She wore a girlish smile on her face and soaked in the affection.
“Do you have it here?” she whispered.
“Locked in the car.” He replied.
The couple returned their attention to enjoying the solemnization of their children and the legal addition of a daughter to their family. The little gift they had prepared for the couple would be handed over at the reception. When Otunba promised Femi while they faced hostilities from his wife, that he would make it up to them, he had nothing planned as it were, but Bisi would later come up with a gift worthy of an atonement. It had gone as planned. They were able to purchase a home in Maitama in the couple’s name and had the documents and keys wrapped in a gift box.
“The Recessional Hymn” The priest announced to close the ceremony. “The couple leads the way, followed by the bridal train, their parents, then the congregation. The Recessional Hymn: To God be the Glory”
The pipe organ led a powerful introduction, as the choir caught up with it in deep basses, and high sopranos, balanced with natural tenors and amazing altos.
“To God Be the glory, great things He hath done”
Thank you for staying tuned. Do not forget Ali, Femi’s new ward. We shall meet him in the future. I do hope you are safe, healthy, and observing precautions as our nations open up amidst Covid-19. Stay safe, remain bold, and keep in touch. If you enjoyed this piece, you may share the posts, and drop your comments.