Nigerian Royal Wedding

It has been a year of royal weddings. First there was Prince William and Kate, then Monaco’s Prince Albert and Charlene — and Nigeria has just had a royal wedding of its own, the wedding of Nigerian bond trader Olawunmi Taiwo and Yoruba prince Taiwo Olashore in Lagos last month.

The pair tied the knot over two days of ceremonies. First a traditional engagement party was held, followed by what’s called the “white wedding,” when the bride wears the white wedding dress.

More than 1,000 people attended the wedding, including a number of esteemed guests of the bride’s father, a Yoruba king.

“In Yoruba culture … when you marry someone, you don’t just marry the person but you marry the family,” said bride Taiwo.

“You can’t get engaged without the father’s permission, do the introduction, follow the steps. It’s very important because both families literally become one,” she added.

To help out, Taiwo hired a wedding planner Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, who’s been behind some of the country’s biggest parties, to make sure also the entire family of the bridey is happy.

Taiwo bought her wedding dress in Dubai and selected the cloth for the engagement dress locally in Lagos. The cloth is sent to more than 600 guests to have tailored for their own dresses for the wedding. The chosen colors also set the scene for the design of the entire ceremony.

The women in the wedding party, including the bride, wear dramatic head wraps known as “geles” — a particular fashion in West Africa.

After the engagement ceremony is held, it’s on to the wedding day. It was held as a Muslim ceremony after Taiwo’s father’s beliefs.

Once the rings have been exchanged, the party begins. Bride and groom dance down the aisle, ushering in an evening of food, drink and dancing.

For father of the bride Jide Taiwo, it’s a proud day. “Like any other parent anywhere in the world you feel delighted, you feel grateful to God for everything,” he said.

But despite all the traditions and ceremonies, the marriage difference from the past in Nigeria is that women has changed their roles to be given the same opportunities with men.

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