“I have always felt that Western wedding traditions sideline the mother of the bride — the father walks the bride down the aisle, the father has the first dance with the bride, often the father gives a speech while the mother doesn’t,” renowned writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes on Wednesday morning in an Instagram post where she shared images of her parents walking her down the aisle and another where she danced with her mother.
When she married her husband, Dr. Ivara Esege in 2009, Chimamanda decided to break several conventional norms associated with weddings. “Our wedding, many years ago, was small and lovely, just as we wanted it.’ She revealed. “I asked family and friends not to post any photos publicly. I wanted privacy.” Despite her global status, you will hardly come across a picture from Chimamanda’s wedding. In fact, her wedding was so private that many are still unaware of her marital status. Recently, she decided to grant the public eye two photographs of moments from her wedding she considers most memorable. “… My need for privacy is now superceded by my desire to publicly honour the rare and wonderful woman I called my mother. And I hope this perhaps inspires any young women (and men) out there who are questioning any kind of convention.” she wrote.
At Western weddings, it is customary for the father to walk the bride down the aisle and also have the first dance with her. This turned out differently at Chimamanda’s wedding, “Before the wedding, I decided that both my parents would walk me down the aisle. And I decided that my first dance would be with my mother. My father, who I often teasingly called DOS for ‘Defender of Spouse,’ was very supportive. He wasn’t much of a dancer – I inherited his unrhythmic genes – but my mother was. And my mother’s joy on that day was a gorgeous glowing thing,” she further narrated in her Instagram post.
In reference to these actions taken and many more, Chimamanda who revealed earlier in January 2020 that she invented her name, is arguably a culture influencer. In wrapping up her post, she went on to challenge convention and what we usually hold high as culture. “Convention is something made up by somebody and then repeated by others. If convention feels wrong for you, if your skin bristles and your spirit stalls at the thought of doing something ‘the way it is done’, then stop and act”.
She encouraged people to take action when they do not feel aligned with societal norms, “We can make changes. We can try and craft small slices of the life we want. We can unmake convention to make things more just, more complete, more beautiful. Not everyone will be happy with you, because it is human nature to try and conserve things as they are, but your spirit will feel full, and there is nothing more meaningful than knowing you have been true to yourself.”
Chimamanda’s rare wedding post is in honour of her parents, James and Grace Adichie who died 9-months apart. In May 2021, Chimamanda’s latest work, “Notes on Grief” was released. Written in 2020 during the weeks of her father’s passing, the charged piece gives a deeply personal account of the emotional pain that followed the loss of her father. Chimamanda had written this before her mother’s shocking passing on March 1st, 2021.