She looked at me and rolled her eyes. "He’s not my uncle...He's my sugar daddy..."
Tolulope Popoola shares with us memoirs of a Lagos wedding planner, a flash fiction series of 8 stories. It's been an interesting one so far and today we will proceed with yet another interesting episode. If you've missed any of the preceding episode, you can check it out here.
I was meeting my prospective client for the first time. Usually, I meet brides-to-be with a friend, a sister or their mum. So this meeting was unusual because the bride came to my office with her uncle.
We talked about the dates they were looking at, what kind of wedding she wanted, locations, their budget, the guest list and so on. After she explained what her vision for her wedding was, the bride seemed happy to go with all my suggestions for vendors. Her uncle didn’t have any objections either. This was looking good. At the end of the meeting, I was happy to take her on as a client, and we set a date for our next meeting.
But as time went on, and we started planning the wedding, I noticed something. She was asking me to split the payments for the vendors into different amounts, and send them to different people. One uncle was paying for food. One man who was her dad’s friend was paying for the DJ and live band. Another older cousin was paying for drinks. Within two weeks, I was having to deal with several men paying for different things.
One day, I met with her and her fiancé. They were talking about paying for their hotel accommodation when she mentioned that one of her uncles had given her money to pay for a hotel for eight nights. Her fiancé was surprised.
“Which uncle is that?” He asked.
“Uncle Shola, you don’t know him,” she replied. “He’s based in Abuja.”
“I thought it was Uncle Mike that was based in Abuja. The one who got you a new car two months ago.”
“Nooo, Uncle Mike is in Lagos here, but he travels a lot. He’s out of the country now but he said he’ll try to be back for the wedding.”
“You have many generous uncles,” he said. “How come I’ve never met them?”
“Sweetie, they’re happy for me that I’m getting married. Don’t worry you’ll meet them on the wedding day,” she responded.
I was watching with interest, but I didn’t say anything and we carried on talking about the plans.
On the day of the traditional engagement, just before the ceremony was about to start, I was running around coordinating when one of the ushers came to me.
“The bride says she needs to talk to you urgently!”
I turned around. “Why?”
“I don’t know ma.”
I sighed and went to look for the bride. She was in a separate room from the main hall, where she was supposed to wait until she was called to dance in with her train.
I met her frowning and looking worried.
“Hello Bimbo, what’s the matter?”
“Sorry, I should have told you this before now. Look at this man.” She showed me a photo on her phone. “Please don’t let him sit with my side of the family.”
“But that’s your uncle,” I said. The photo was of the man she came to my office with, on our first meeting.
She looked at me and rolled her eyes. “He’s not my uncle. He’s just sponsoring my wedding.”
“He’s my sugar daddy. All the other uncles paying for the wedding are his friends. He just called me now and said he wants to sit down with my family, but I trust that you won’t let that happen.”
“I see. So you want me to stop him from coming to the wedding he’s paying for?”
“No, just quickly create another table for him and his crew, not my side or the groom’s side. You know, somewhere neutral.”
I shook my head and did as I was told.
Later, I watched as the bride and groom danced the night away, surrounded by her “uncles” spraying them lots of money.