Twenty-four-year-old Plateau indigene, Lisa-Rinret Moses-Scouty, surprised onlookers when she stormed her ‘white wedding’ in an all-black dress. The church wedding which was held on a Wednesday in an Evangelical Church Winning All, Jenta Mangoro branch in Jos, also had no formal reception. In this interview, she shares with GODFREY GEORGE what informed her decision
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Lisa-Rinret Moses-Scouty. I am from the Mwaghavul tribe, Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. I am 24 years old. I am married to Moses-Scouty Gulu. I am a graduate of English Language and Education from the Federal College of Education, Pankshin (affiliated with the University of Jos). I am currently an entrepreneur. I make bags and other household products
You were spotted wearing a black dress as opposed to a white dress worn by most brides for their “White Wedding”. What informed your decision?
I like that the “White Wedding” is put in quotes. This is because I am black and not white (laughs). That is on a lighter note. I don’t know if there is a set rule that a white dress must be worn for wedding. I see the wedding day as a day of joy and so a person should go ahead to do what makes them happy on that day.
For the record, black is my favourite colour. If I had worn any other colour other than the black dress I wore, I am not sure the day would have been joyful for me. This is because I will just be doing what others are doing, and that is one thing I am not known for. I always like doing things differently; I love changing the narrative. I believe someone used a white dress for her wedding and other saw it and copied it. So, I feel it is only fair to allow every bride use her choice of colour for her big day, hence my use of black.
Was your husband aware of your choice? Did he buy the idea?
My husband was fully aware. At first, I was looking for a way to tell him I didn’t want a white gown for my wedding but I didn’t have the courage to, for fear of what he might say. But, one day, when we were making plans for the wedding, he brought up a random talk, saying he would be more than happy if I wore a black dress on our wedding day. I was not sure I heard him clearly. He repeated it, “Do you know how happy you will make me if you wore a black dress for me on that day?”
My joy knew no bound that day. I had already bought a white material and my friend was already working on a white gown, but with this new development, I immediately called her to hold on with that. We had to go buy a black material and made that instead of the white one we had earlier planned to use. His uncle was also aware of the arrangement and didn’t object to it.
Your husband didn’t wear a suit for the wedding as most men usually do. Was it a plan to just be unusual on that day?
It was a plan. We both wanted something different, something different from the norm. My husband is not the suit kind of person. For the period of about three years that I knew him closely, and even the times I saw him from afar, he rarely wore a suit. In fact, I have never seen him in a suit. I even thought he would wear a T-shirt with a jean and a pair of sneakers for our wedding. It was amazing to see him ‘rock’ that agbada.
What church was your wedding held?
It was held at the Evangelical Church Winning All, Jenta Mangoro, Jos, Plateau State. The church did not have a problem at all with our choice of dress. The Reverend told me on the day I asked him what he thought about me wearing a black dress as against the white wedding dress for my wedding that he didn’t mind wedding me. He was like, “Even if you come dressed the way you are right now, I will wed you, because what a couple wears at their wedding has nothing to do with the marriage.”
People will say that the idea behind the White Wedding has always been wearing a white dress. Don’t you think that by wearing a black dress, you may have defeated that purpose?
(Laughs) Well, that is someone’s idea and this is mine. My wedding was a wedding, a holy solemnisation and not a “white wedding”.
Many people believe that the colour black comes with bad omen and should only be worn for mourning. Do you buy that sentiment?
I feel that what you believe in works accordingly for you. So, if colour black comes with a bad omen for others, fine. For me, black symbolises power, boldness, elegance, strength and sophistication.
I have seen people wear white to attend funerals recently. Should I say that they are rejoicing over their loss? People who say that should please go back and check the meaning of the colour, black. Even if black means “bad omen”, it is what some people sat down and decided. Does that mean that we, Africans, are a bad omen because we have black skin? Don’t you see how that argument is flawed? God made all these colours and I chose one of the colours to be my favourite. What is wrong with that, please?
In the comment section when you posted your wedding pictures on social media, some people said you have not wedded ‘according to the precepts of the Christian faith as white symbolises the purity of the bride’. What is your response to that?
I wish the people who made those comments will show me where it is written in the Bible that a bride should put on a white dress on her wedding, or where it is written that there is a particular colour or type of dress a bride should wear before she is ‘bride’ enough to marry.
It saddens my heart when I see people shouting for no reason. Most of them wear the white wedding dress, which, according to them, symbolises purity, but they are pregnant or have already been living together for years. Some even have children but decide to go to church to get wedded and they will wear a white dress and tell me that they are pure. What kind of purity is that, please?
So, what do we say to the husbands who do not always wear white suits? Will it be safe to say they are not pure husbands? Does the colour of a dress or outfit make one pure? I don’t want to say much about this but those who know me know that I stand with purity and abstinence and that I did till I married my husband.
What was the reaction you got when you stepped into the church with the dress and your husband in agbada?
I am not sure I saw any other reaction apart from love, support and admiration. My father personally told me he loved my choice and was proud of me even before I stepped into the church. Everyone who saw me stepping out of the pastorium was so excited. They were shouting and jumping, trying to come see a ‘new thing’, I guess. But we all were excited, I will say.
Some said it was because you couldn’t afford a white wedding dress that you went for a black one. Is this true?
No, it wasn’t. I would have rented a white gown or sewn one, but then, I would not have been as happy as I was on my big day. The black lace I used was in no way compared to the white I had earlier bought, but my love for black was more.
How were you able to convince your bridal train to rock your black dress with you?
They are my friends and they were there to celebrate with me. This means they will do anything possible to see me happy on my big day. I didn’t need any convincing. I just told them I would love them to wear black to my wedding and I got the material for them. They didn’t know I was going to be wearing a black dress, too. It was a secret between me, my fiance then, and my friend who made the outfit.
Your wedding was also held on a Wednesday and there was no reception of fanfare as we have these days. Is there a reason for that?
(Laughs) It was what we wanted. We wanted to break the norm of ‘Saturdays are for weddings’, and tell the whole world that you can have your wedding anyhow you want it and the day you want it. I remember weddings were once held on Sundays. Then, Saturdays became the trend. Who started that anyway?
For the records, there was an overflow in the 1000-capacity church auditorium on a Wednesday wedding held without a ‘reception’. There was food in excess and people ate and had their fills. The bottom line is, whoever wants to come to your wedding will come, not minding the day or time. You can have that wedding you always dreamt of, just the way you like it.
What advice do you have for young couples like yourself who may be finding it difficult to plan a wedding because of the cost?
I will say that one lie that the world has sold to young people, especially women, is that their wedding day is the best day of their lives. But that is not true. This saying is one of the reasons young people kill themselves, trying to make the wedding the best day of their life. Your wedding day should be the beginning of the best days of your life because marriage is to be enjoyed. I will say to them to cut their coats according to their cloths. It is their day and they should just go ahead to do as they want.