Thursday, 29 December 2011

The New Money Making Venture 

This year I got the highest number of wedding invites than I have ever received my whole life. Everyone just seemed to be getting married this year. There were loads of "aso ebi" offers most of the time and it dawned on me that I must have under estimated the importance of aso-ebi in a wedding. It was a sure banker  every Saturday there was always a “HML Lagbaja” or something similar on BBM, twitter and facebook. As a result of all these, it wasn’t easy to feign ignorance to what seems to be the newest means of making money these days via weddings. It is called "aso ebi" and it is the latest thriving business in town. What is the original meaning of aso ebi? I’ll like to take a walk down memory lane to explain this. The term "aso ebi" is a Yoruba phrase which literally means family cloth. It’s as simple as that. The first wedding I ever attended or let’s say the first wedding I recall attending was my uncle’s wedding in 1994 and I remember my dad's family wore a particular fabric. I can’t remember what the exact colour of the "aso-ebi" was, but I know that particular fabric was worn only by family members. No colleague at work, no church members, just family. And back then I thought it was really cool seeing the whole family in one fabric while other guests were dressed in their diverse personal attires. These days, the "aso ebi" means…erm…honestly I’m not sure what it means anymore… I have a few guesses though;
 a.) A means of making some money (in some cases a lot of money) either by the bride, her siblings, a friend or whoever is in charge of the "aso-ebi".
b.) A way of making your wedding colourful and beautiful, hence the need to sell a particular fabric to your friends.

Others just do it for the sake of it like one of the weddings I attended during the year. I’m not sure what category this wedding falls under…now the reason for my uncertainty is this: the fabric wasn’t pricey at all therefore it didn’t fall into the first category. However, it didn’t fall into the second category either because this wedding was everything but beautiful as it was overly colourful. When I got into the hall, I wasn’t sure if I was at the right wedding because there were about nine other different fabrics that also served as “aso-ebi” which were totally different from that which I was putting on. So when I asked my friend who was a close friend of the bride’s family why there was so much diversity in fabrics, he said (i) the bride’s friends took one fabric (ii) the bride’s relatives took a different fabric (iii) the bride’s mum’s friends took another fabric (iv) the bride’s colleagues at work took a different fabric (v) the bride’s church members took another fabric. I thought I had heard enough, but he continued (vi) the groom’s family took an entirely different fabric with a totally different colour from that of any other group (not like the previous groups worked with any particular colour either, but that of the groom’s family was soooo off point) (vii) the groom’s colleagues at work had another different fabric (viii) his mum’s friends took another fabric and finally (ix) the fabric that his colleagues and friends took wasn’t enough, so they had to get another totally different fabric to sell to those friends and colleagues of the groom who didn’t get the other fabric meant for them. Oh my good Lord!!!! You can imagine how I burst into laughter. This wedding totally looked like a children’s carnival/funfair with all the colours of the rainbow complete. All in the name of aso ebi. I just couldn’t stop laughing the whole day. It would have been a different case if everyone just came in their different personal clothing, but selling out aso ebi and the whole venue still looks like a funfair for children, then I find that very hilarious. 

Now if your reason for having an aso ebi on your wedding day is to add colour to your wedding or to make it look like a children’s carnival or funfair, I absolutely give you my full support. My major concern is when you choose to use the aso ebi as a money making venture. Just for the record, people hardly ever wear the aso-ebi after the wedding day. Personally I’ll hardly ever wear an aso ebi after the wedding day. Apart from the fact that most of the time, the fabric is of inferior quality and may not look as good after it has been laundered, no one wants to go out months after a wedding, feeling all fly and decked up only to find the person next to you wearing the same cloth as you. I don’t find that sexy at all. So if I choose to wear an aso ebi again, I’m only trying to get value for my money as well as many other people. Again I may buy an aso ebi at the cost of N10,000 and refuse to buy a N7,000 aso-ebi. The reason is simple if the fabric in reality is worth N8,500 I’d rather buy it for N10,000 than buy a fabric that cost N1,200 for N7,000 all in the name of aso-ebi… Haba sister is it the money on top of the aso-ebi you want to use to do your wedding??? 

I’m not saying you should dash out your aso-ebi, but why use it as a means to enrich yourself??? If I’m correct, we are the ones doing you a favour by buying your aso-ebi, don’t push your luck by making it hassle for us. A few months ago, someone sold an aso-ebi to me at N6,000. I can bet that I’d find the exact fabric in wuse market for less than N1,500. The only reason I took the aso-ebi was because my mum offered to pay for it or else there would have been no way I was going to agree to use my pocket money to buy it. Recently someone I’m not close to, sent me a message via facebook to be on her bridal train and that the cloth was N20,000. Mtscheeeeeewwwwww!!! Someone I’m not close to oh! I just told her I was sorry I had to resume law school and so I would not be available to be on her train. It’s as bad as the only thing linking us together is facebook, she didn’t even have my phone number! Then I’ll come and sponsor her wedding *long hiss*. Very recently, my younger sister paid N10,000 for a bridal train dress… truthfully, the highest the bride could have spent on that cloth was N2,000. When we saw the cloth on the morning of the wedding, we just shook our heads. Sadly after the wedding my sister just dumped the cloth somewhere I’m sure she will never find it again. It is so heart breaking that people do things like this without the fear of God.

Ps. To all those who are into the aso-ebi business. If you have to do the aso-ebi thing, do it for the right reasons. Don’t turn it into a money  making venture because your guests/friends may buy your aso-ebi quite alright, but don’t think for a minute that they do not know that the aso-ebi is over priced and is triple the cost price and that they have been duped.

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