Aso-Ebi MADNESS! – A Personal Encounter

I’ll start by clearing up some things; I’ve never been married and I am not engaged so I write this purely from one side of the aisle. I’ve reached the age where everyone around me seems to be getting engaged and even the chronic non-wedding goers like me is forced to attend a few. So imagine my discomfort when I reluctantly decided to attend the wedding of an old school friend and she mentioned that she would send her driver to drop off the aso ebi. Aso- Ebi literally means clothes of the family and I concede that it has evolved to include close friends as well, but I mean, I was not one of her close friends anymore and I felt and still feel that aso ebi should be for your inner-circle of friends.
Anyway, I decided to buy it to support her and since she mentioned that it was Ankara and Aso Oke, I figured it wouldn’t cost me much. I couldn’t have been more WRONG! After her driver dropped it off, I called to find out how much it cost so I could send the money over and she said “Ah just 17 k, I didn’t want to pick expensive aso ebi like other brides I know”. I was dumbfounded. 17,000 Nigerian Naira for Ankara and aso oke??? What really baffled me was that she thought it was cheap. I returned her aso ebi and explained that I couldn’t make the wedding anymore because of family commitments but I did use part of the 17,000 I would have spent to get her a gift.
Can somebody please tell me why brides feel because it is their special day it is everyone else’s as well? For real? Boo, you are a princess to your man alone. Please don’t bankrupt your poor friends because you want to top person X, Y or Z’s aso ebi. My irritation with this issue is well known and I keep hoping someone will tell me something different but instead I hear outrageous stories of 50,000 naira asoebi and even asoebi as high as 80,000. Most of these brides are not even working yet let alone their friends.

I’ve been told that the sale of aso ebi is a way for some brides to raise money for the wedding. To those brides I say: please have the type of wedding your family can afford. DO NOT have your friends pay for your wedding. What is really wrong with our society? Why do we keep turning beautiful aspects of our culture into perverse displays of our greed and fake lifestyles? Aso Ebi was born in the tradition of family members wearing similar clothes to show support for the celebrant. It is not a money making scheme. Remember, not everyone in a family can afford exorbitant prices for clothes and I am sorry (I know I’m going to get heat for this) but it takes away from the whole point when you see two levels of asoebi in one family; one for the rich folks and one for the poorer relatives. I am not referring to situations where there is aso-ebi for young people and one for the older folks; I’m talking about when your cousin Shola or Nneka’s mum is wearing the aso-ebi you picked for members of your staff because the one you chose for so called “family members” is too expensive for them.
It is only fair that I say something to the people who encourage this behaviour. To all FRIENDS, it is okay to tell your friend that her aso-ebi is too expensive. In fact, tell her that I said you will not be bullied into spending half of your salary for her aso-ebi in addition to buying her a bridal shower gift and wedding present. I understand that we get caught up in the euphoria that our friend is finally going to the Promised Land (her hubby’s house) but as friends it is important to call each other to order. For those who go along just to belong… your issue is one for another post.
So, to my yet to be married ladies, please remember that though your wedding day is important, your marriage is most important. Do not bow to pressure from your mum or one of your aunts that sells lace or anyone else for that matter. When picking asoebi, remember that your friends can only wear it for one day. They love you and want to celebrate with you so reciprocate that love by being considerate of their finances.

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