Thursday, September 06, 2007

Longest Day

This has been the longest day ever! It's 20 to 4pm and I've still got 2 more hours to go.

I hope you all had a fun Labor Day. The second of my 3 good friends got married on Sunday. The wedding was incredible. She looked so beautiful. You know how you can look at a person for years and know that they are pretty or cute but when you see them all done up, they just look outstanding? That was her on that day. At both the rehearsal dinner and the Big Day, she was flawless. Now, this friend is Nigerian and both events were based on traditional Nigerian rituals and customs. I felt like I was in Coming to America. I told my friend that I was so excited and I was. This day had been in the planning stages since January 2006, basically.

The outfits and head-ties were stunning. I also got to eat (ok - taste) alot of standard African dishes including Fu-Fu, Moyin-Moyin (I think), Chin Chin and some other things I can't remember. Oh and I know I butchered the spellings of these foods. So, don't stone me!

At the reception, after my friend changed into a beautiful traditional outfit, her elders performed a few really touching rituals. Oh first, let me say that if you ever go to a Nigerian wedding, make sure you carry a bunch of singles. During almost every dance, guests came up to the dancing bride and groom and 'pasted' money on their bodies. You guys that frequent strip clubs would be familiar with this practice. But for those of you that are unfamiliar, you just take the dollar and stick it on the persons sweaty forehead or tuck it into the sleeve or collar of their outfit. For those of you with Skylark frequent shopper cards, do not try to stick the money in their g-string, brastrap or garter belts. This would not only be frowned upon but might just get you kicked out of the party.

It got to a point where there were soo many dollars, you could barely see the dance floor. I would advise parents to have a talk with your children before experiencing this ritual because it is not cute to have your little one on the floor trying to steal the couple's money. I saw one little girl on the floor with a wad of cash in her hands. I told her to put it back, that it belonged to the couple. She looked at me with big doe eyes and said, 'This is for my momma.' What could I do? Even though I'm old school, her momma might not be and I was not trying to get in a fight over some dollars. And maybe they needed the money more than the couple.

Another interesting ritual was the handing over of the bride to the groom's mom. We all know that back in the day, when a woman got married, she then 'belonged' to the groom's family. Seeing my friend's female elder's perform this ritual and then the subsequent dance with the mother in law was really touching. We all know modern brides that never cleave to the husband's family. How many grooms seriously think about what it really means to take care of another person? In the speech to the mother in law, my friend's oldest sister said something to the effect of, 'You're now responsible for nurturing, loving and supporting our daughter.' Now, I know her family will always be there for her, but, what I took from that ritual is that you really have to choose your partner carefully because THEY have to be your support system from I Do to infinity. That seemed pretty deep to me, especially since I've only ever liked, no loved, one set of ex's parents. I realized that I can't get by with just loving my person, I've gotta love his main people too. No couple is an island.

I felt so honored to have been a part of her special day. I don't take it lightly. If I don't believe in the couple, I have been known to refuse to be a bridesmaid. Just like my other friend's wedding, I know that I'll never forget this experience.


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