From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Their love may have been made in heaven, as they say. But it was celebrated on earth, on, Tuesday, June 13, 2022, without a formal reception. That was the way that Shadrack Omale, from Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, and Deborah Chagu, from Makurdi, Benue State, and the first child of her parents, chose to wed.
But in doing that, the couple who got married at ECWA Church, Makurdi, Benue State, got some tongues wagging. Asked to explain why they chose the route less travelled by newly married couples, Shadrack who graduated from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and Deborah, who studied Animal Production from the same university, laughed off the question and wondered why people would be so bothered about other people’s business.
Pressures and the couples’ stance
Ordinarily, the bride, Deborah, would have been worried that her wedding was going to be an unusual one, that day being a memorable day in the life of any woman. She should have been the one to roll on the ground and cry her eyes out, the one to wonder what the future would hold for her in the hands of a man who couldn’t afford money for food and choice wines on the day of their wedding.
But she vehemently defended the decision. “We just wanted to invite a few people, go to church, have a small wedding, go home and eat and then, every other person would see it on Facebook and just know that we are married,” she said.
Her husband agreed that she didn’t mount any pressure on him. But it was pretty difficult convincing people to see things from their perspective.
Why they opted for low cost wedding
On other things they did to keep everything within their budget reach, Deborah said: “I didn’t have to travel to America to shop for my wedding. In fact, one tactic that I used is that I shopped randomly for my wedding things. I noticed that when you tell people that you’re getting that thing for your wedding, the price would automatically soar. So, I just sat back and used my phone to purchase most of those things. I was buying things like that and nobody knew that those kinds of stuff I was buying were for my wedding. For instance, I got my shoe at a good price such that if I had told them that I was using them for wedding, the price wouldn’t have been the same. So, I didn’t travel anywhere to shop for my wedding. Most of the stuff I had to buy outside there were the things I couldn’t get here. My friend who was coming from Lagos collected them and brought them to Makurdi for me. And then, around here, my siblings helped me. They would just go and ask how much is this? And, the sellers would not know what it was for. By so doing, we were able to beat down the price on a lot of things.”
Shadrack recalled that before the wedding, Deborah sent messages to some couples and asked them what they did during their wedding that looking back now, they wouldn’t want to do it again. “Many of them said if they knew, they wouldn’t have bought a wedding gown,” he explained. “Others said they wouldn’t have spent so much money organising a reception after the wedding. So, we learnt from them and knew that what we were planning was not bad. There were people that actually wanted to do theirs this way too. Even my wife’s wedding gown is not the conventional type that you know. It’s a short gown sewn by her sister.”
So, how did it go? Was anybody impressed? For an answer, Shadrack recalled: “As soon as we were declared husband and wife, we moved to our cake stand and cut the cake right there in the church while the little refreshment we had, doughnuts and drinks, was being served. We had our photo session right there in the church after which everybody left and we returned to our house. And then, we started getting feedback from people on how we broke protocols during our wedding. We are still getting messages of commendation and some intending couples are also asking to come and learn how to have a low-budget wedding. We’re very excited that we could do this and still have a unique wedding with everything done according to plan. Even our parents that were initially opposed to our kind of wedding are now the ones calling to tell us how excited they are about it. They said many of their friends too have been calling to commend the wedding.”