guest post: my big fat african wedding / audrey akande
Growing up I always envisioned what my wedding day would be like, I didn’t have every detail planned but only one thing came to mind and that was BIG! As a proud Essex girl I’ve always been fond of a bit of diamanté so when I got engaged in 2016 it was going to be game over. Before getting engaged I always assumed I’d be a bridezilla, driving everyone around me crazy with my meticulous planning but thanks to my amazing planner I was more relaxed than I anticipated until about two months before the wedding when the stress started.
There are many things people don’t talk about when planning a wedding, I know for me I wanted to give everyone the experience of a lifetime and that was mistake number one. We always see the final results of a wedding day on Bella Naija and various other Instagram blogs but very few people talk about the realities of planning a big wedding, the expense and the stresses that come along with it (like for us having to spend our honeymoon fund on last minute costs). Of course I loved my wedding day but there were many points where I questioned if I was doing the right thing…..the wedding, not the marriage.
As someone who had a huge African traditional and white wedding within two weeks of each other I’d say ask yourself this….is it all necessary? A lot of us have been conditioned into thinking we need a huge spectacle of a day when, in actuality, you can have something intimate and just as gorgeous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shaming big weddings because I understand the desire, and for us it was imperative that we celebrate with people that have supported our relationship from day one and after eight years that’s a lot of people, but be sensible, ask yourself will these people be there for you once the party is over? If the answer is no they don’t need to be there.
You hear the figure £30k being thrown around and the guess what? it’s not a rumour! so if you plan on having a huge wedding in or around London make sure you and your fiancé PLAN, SAVE and SAVE some more. The Venue and food alone can cost £20k and food is one thing you can’t skimp on. If you’re rich and have the funds then this doesn’t apply, but – for young couples who want to have a lavish wedding – I can’t stress the importance of saving, because as a soon as you mention the W word everything increases by 20%. Research vendors, collate as many reviews as possible. Did I mention my hairstylist was three hours late and I HATED my wedding hair? These are things people don’t share but I feel compelled to. Thank God for my amazing make up artist who was beyond professional and ended up doubling as both hair and makeup later in the day. Everyone told me I looked stunning but there’s nothing like feeling it within yourself and I simply didn’t.
Family pressure is inevitable I see so much commentary on social media about what people will and won’t allow their parents to do and it’s easier said than done. Don’t let what you’re seeing on Instagram force you to do something that is out of your price range, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.
Remember the reason you’re marrying this person and think long term. If you can’t imagine marrying this person in a registry office and still being happy then revaluate what you’re doing. Stunning pictures and memories are something you can still achieve without the hefty price tag. Once again I’m not shaming big weddings and if you have the funds to have your dream wedding then please do, but for young couples starting a life together what would you rather have? a beautiful home, or beautiful pictures with no home to put them in?
Audrey Akande is one third of the award-winning Receipts Podcast, an unfiltered, honest and genuine podcast speaking on everything from relationships to race to religion. She also presents a radio show as a trio on BBC 1Xtra.