Category: Nigeria, Ghana, 2015

A Wedding ( Technically, an Engagement) to Remember

I am having trouble with the blog app, so I am trying to publish what is a draft of this post and hope to modify/finish this afterwards.  If there’s a delay in future blogs, that is why.  There may not be any photos.

January 2

Start the wedding day with buffet breakfast in hotel with Kipharts and Chase, delightful former roommate of Ayo (the groom at U of AZ) and now a high school history teacher in Seattle. Up to the room to dress for the wedding. This is a major project, which takes half an hour with a dresser to complete (for the women; guys do it all by themselves). My best guess, from the design of the male costume, is that Nigerian males do not pee. Here are a few photos from Carol’s dressing:





Best way to give you an overall view of the wedding ceremony is through this script of the proceedings:


​ 11.00am – 12.00pm:​ Arrival of bride’s family
The bride’s family is expected to be seated, waiting for the arrival of the groom’s family.
The Alaga ijoko is also expected to have arrived.

12.00pm – 12.10pm: Entrance of Groom’s family with choruses
The Groom’s family enters the hall with singing and dancing to the glory of God.

12.10pm – 12.15pm: Opening Hymn
After the Groom’s family has settled in, the Alaga ijoko would ask everyone to arise to sing the Opening Hymn.

12.15pm – 12.20pm: Opening Prayers
The opening prayers will be said by a representative of the bride’s family.

12.20pm – 12.35pm: Purpose of Gathering​​​​
The formal introduction of the groom’s family will be done by the Alaga Iduro stating where they are from and the purpose of their visit.​

12.35pm – 12.50pm​: Ushering in of the groom and his friends
The groom and his friends make an entrance amidst drumming and singing. He goes straight to the bride’s family to prostrate with his friends. While he prostrates, every member of the family is asked to stretch forth their hands and pray for him. He gets up and takes a photograph with the bride’s parents and goes ahead to do the same with his parents. He would then be ushered to his seat on the stage by his friends and takes a group photograph with them. ​​

12.50pm – 1.10pm​: Ushering in of the bride and her friends
The bride comes in dancing with her friends amidst fanfare. She goes to her parents, gets on her knees to appreciate them and they in turn pray for her. Still on her knees, every member of the family is asked to stretch forth their hands to pray for her. She then sits in between them to take a photograph. She goes ahead to do same with the groom’s parents; and they also in turn pray for her and welcome her into the family. She then goes to kneel before the groom and place his cap on his head and sits by him on the stage.

1.10pm – 1.35pm: Presentation of Proposal and Acceptance
After both letters have been exchanged, a younger sister of the bride goes ahead to read the letter presented by the groom’s family. The family of the bride then accepts the proposal letter.

1.35pm – 1.50pm: Introduction
A formal introduction is conducted. Both families are introduced and properly recognised.

1.50pm – 2.05pm: Engagement
The bride is asked to go to the gift arena and pick whatever she so desires. She picks a bible and shows everyone what has been picked. The groom goes ahead to present the engagement ring to the bride. Afterwards, the cake is cut and the first official meal of the couple is served.

2.05pm – 2.10pm: Special Prayer for the Couple
The couple kneel for their blessings. A special prayer is said by an elderly member of the family. After this, family, friends and well wishers are told to stretch forth their hands and say a word of prayer for the couple.

​ 2.10pm – 2.15pm: Closing Hymn

​ 2.15pm-2.20pm: Closing Prayers

While this gives you and idea of the order and scope, it does not begin to describe the pageantry and feast of sights and sounds. Unlike weddings we’ve experienced, this is decidedly a union, not simply between the bride and groom, but between the families. There is much drumming, processions of groomsmen, bridesmaids and finally the groom, and then the bride, prostration in front of the parents of the bride and groom, money doled out freely and openly to musicians, mothers of the bride and others. Here is perhaps a too-heavy dose of photos, featuring us, the Kipharts, Sola and Funmi, and the bride and groom (but you can flip through them quickly):

















The costumes/dress of the guests and wedding party is fabulous–fine, colorful and rather spectacular.
The minute by minute schedule above is a bit misleading.  For example, we were scheduled to leave for the wedding site, a convention hall rented for the occasion, promptly at 10 AM, fully dressed.  Well, the dresser who as to help Carol dress and make her up arrived in our room at about 11:35.  Needless to say, the bride’s party, of which we were a part, did not arrive between 11-12, more like 1:30.  Probably nobody but us expected much different.
Once the festivities began, they proceeded pretty-much as planned, moved along expertly by a woman hired for the occasion as an MC.  It is an elaborate performance, highly religious, with Jesus thanked profusely throughout for making everything possible.  We are seated at the front, with family and (other) close friends.  I’ve been freed by Sola and Funmi to push myself forward as I choose to take photos (“there is no protocol” they tell me.
Once the pageant begins, the food, drink and partying begins.  A life band plays continuously (without break). For the two and a half hours we are there.  It’s a totally joyous and wonderful affair, exceeding our extremely high expectations.
The party continues after we leave, though it probably not last much longer.  Except that there is an “after party” for Feyi and Ayo’s friends in a separate facility at the center–and Jesus only knows how late that one will run. We and the Kipharts return to our hotel to relax and work on the blog (which just crashed, so you may or may not ever read this).

10 comments to A Wedding ( Technically, an Engagement) to Remember

  • Sharon

    Dear Arnie and Carol,

    This is AMAZING! You both look GORGEOUS!

    Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!

    Sharon (and David)

  • lauri pollack

    This is a wonderful visual delight. What an experience for you both. Again, thank you for sharing. Love the photos.

  • Eve

    Gorgeous! Healthy, happy and safe 2015! Love sharing the experience even from afar!
    Thank you. Much love, Eve.

  • Paul

    Fabulous photos of everyone. You both look great! Happy to see that your journey has kickstarted with such joy and friendship.

  • Barbara Reynolds

    Love those hats!

  • Kay Osborne

    Wonderful….Carol is stunning…Arnie has never looked better…

  • Rick Trenkmann

    You guys look great.

    A pretty long trip for a wedding.

  • Alison

    Thrilling and magnificent!

    You both are splendid – in any dress and culture.

  • Wendy

    C and I would like a do-over on our wedding so we can enter with dancing and singing and drumming! And C would like to start playing some Nigerian weddings. This is phenomenal and the pictures are terrific! I read this aloud to everyone over dinner. Max got to see the pictures four times as we passed my phone around and he wedged his way between the chairs.

  • Verna

    Oh my goodness, how beautiful! You and Carol look so fabulous. How wonderful to be part of such an amazing experience.

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