The mo mi mo e is the first stage of the 8-phase event known as the Nigerian wedding. It is the official ceremony to introduce the bride and groom’s families to each other.This event should be one of the smallest in a regular wedding ceremony but in my case its going to be just as big an event as anyother.
With the make up artist working on my face and the photographer taking the preparation photos, I am once again reeling inside of me that I am getting married to the man of my dreams, Dapo. My phone pings and its a text from Dayo. I open it and read, it goes
“We are outside – waiting under the sun as traditions demand we should.I have never been so happy to stand in the sun in my life. I cannot wait till the last of these ceremonies to have you as my wife, but if to get there I need to stand in fire I will. See you soon”
I reply saying I cannot wait to be his wife too and that I am trying to get ready and will see him soon. My face painting session is over and I head over to the closet to bring out my Iro and Buba and the aso oke. I look and reminisce over what a challenge it was to get our mothers to let Dapo and I wear the burnt orange and maroon fabric with gold gele as opposed to the purple and white or purple and gold they had picked for the bride and groom’s families. After the meeting, in which we all had with the wedding planner when they decided on the families colors, I had gone behind their back to pick my outfit with the wedding planner. They were furious at first but they got over it.
I am all set to go except that the veil has not been put over my gele. I take a second look at myself in the mirror and I am happy with what I see. My friends Tola, Sade and Bolanle are also dressed in their matching brides maids outfit and we sit on the bed for the photographer to take a group picture. Just as we are about to take the picture, my mum comes into the room and she tells me its time for me to dance out. We file out of the room and head downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, my mum send her longest-serving maid to inform the master of ceremony and the musician of my intended arrival. Not long after, the MC announces our arrival and the musician starts to sing. Sade sets my veil down to cover my face and dance into the sitting room with my mum leading us in a single file.
I have reached the front and the moderator has asked Dapo to point at his bride from the file of us. He walks out and reaches for me and I take his hand. The moderator then asks if I want to marry him and I answer as expected. We both kneel for our parents to pray for us and after that we take our seats as members of both families take turns introducing each other. They start with my family and then my father chiefs and then move over to Dapo’s family. Sitting in this room called the big sitting room rather than the throne room as it should be called, I think to myself ‘ I did not know it had this much room and could take this many people’. My father built this room to entertain his large number of guests compensating for not living in the actual palace.
The introduction is concluded and everyone heads to the banquet hall for the meals to be served as the musician plays loud, live fuji music with his band. As the meals are served I head to the smaller sitting room for some staged pictures with Dapo. Although I am not a huge fan of pictures because I never know what exactly to do in them, Dapo leads the way and gives me such ease. We took our photos candidly affectionate positions and all can say is I love them. With our mothers busy trying to make sure everyone is well fed and my friends helping them, I am able to sneak Dapo upstairs with me to go and change into a more comfortable outfit.
Dapo waits in the room whilst I get changed in my custom-made traditional lace dress. I try to do it as carefully as possible so as not to ruin my gele. I call Dapo to come in with me to help with my zipper which he does. For some strange reason we both look up at each other and smile in the mirror as he zips me up. I ask what he will like eat and make arrangement with my mum’s maid for it to be brought upstairs. Dapo and I are deep in out gist when my mum comes to announce that its time for us to come and greet the guests. So hand in hand we stroll downstairs and greet all the guests by going from one table to another. Once again I am glad I had taken off the beautiful Manolo’s I wore earlier(gifted to me by my husband to be two days after I showed him the material for our outfit) and traded them in for a pair of flat shoes.
Exhaustion is all my brain screams at me right now. I am glad that against our mothers demand that we make it a Sunday evening event. At least I have the whole day on Sunday to recuperate before work on Monday. I turn to look at Tunji who has kindly offered to drop me home because Dapo had to go off with his parents. “have you guys picked a date for the wedding” Tunji’s voice interrupts my reverie.
“No we have not set a date yet but we are thinking sometime early in September. At least we still have 6 months to plan the wedding”I reply
“ok oo, just let me know when you have settled on a date and after you pick the aso ebi”he said and from there we started discussing work until he dropped me off at home.
Mo mi mo e – the introduction ceremony
Iro and Buba – a Nigerian tradtional outfit consisting of a top and a wrapper
Aso Oke – a type of Nigerian fabric made with woven thread
gele – Head gear
Tola (Adetola) – a Nigerian name that means wealth is equal to the crown
Sade (Afolasade) – a Nigerian name that means we use wealth as our crown
Bolanle (Abolanle) – a Nigerian name that means I meat wealth in my home
Fuji – A genre of Nigerian music meaning High life music
Aso ebi – A uniform outfit worn at Nigerian ceremonies.
Oladapo (Dapo) – A Nigerian Name that means- a mix of wealth
Tunji (Babatunji) – A Nigerian name that means – Father has returned