I Got Paid To Make Grooms Cry On Their Wedding Day

January 27, 2021

As told to David Odunlami

After I wrote the story about the guy who attended a church that was essentially a cult, my appetite for telling stories of everyday people and their most random experiences increased even more, and I decided to go out in search of these stories. I didn’t find anything. Well, not until my friend reached out to me and said she had a friend who, between 2017 and 2019, made a shit ton of money writing. 

A lot of people make a shit ton of money writing, I thought. What made his experience special? 

The answer: He was writing wedding vows for people.

That caught my attention, so I contacted him, and we talked about how he went from being a regular UNILAG boy to making people cry at weddings.


“I used to write on my WordPress blog a lot in 2017. It was mostly poetry. I would think of some cheesy lines, write them and publish them. The feedback I got was always fantastic. People would always talk about how great a writer I was and how my words moved them. Sometimes I’d get on Twitter, find one of my followers who was also a writer and do a joint project with them. Those were fun times, but I was broke. I was constantly looking for ways to turn my writing into money-making opportunities, and I wasn’t finding any. I was getting frustrated.

Then one day, I got an email. At first, it sounded like one of my fans just being “extra” and sending their love, but I soon realised that this was different. The tone was different. This person was telling me she loved my body of work, but she was also advising me to try something I’d never heard about before: wedding vow writing. She sounded like she knew what she was saying and, at the end of the email, she asked for my phone number. I sent it to her. 

About a week later, I got a call. The woman on the other end sounded like she could take away all my problems at the snap of a finger. I’d never heard such a beautiful Hausa accent before. You can hear money in people’s voices, you know. She was inquiring about my wedding vow writing services. Her sister had given her my number, and she wanted to meet to discuss plans on how I’d get it done for her. She was getting married soon. We made plans to meet up and set a date. 

The meeting venue was the Lagos Oriental Hotel. I’d never been somewhere like that before, so I was anxious. My anxiety worsened when a front desk employee walked up to me, asked me for my name and took me to a reserved table. When I looked at the menu, I laughed. This place wasn’t for me. A few minutes later, the front desk employee came back and told me that whatever I wanted had already been paid for and that I should make my order. I didn’t want to overdo anything, so I ordered a glass of wine. I was early, so I had to wait a while.

About 20 minutes later, my client arrived. She looked exactly the way she sounded. Let’s call her Maryam. Maryam was gorgeous, I can’t lie. I didn’t even mind that she pronounced my name wrong.  She spoke and moved with the grace of angels, but I digress. I had never done this before, but I’d planned for how the conversation was going to play out. It was simple: I’d ask them for information about their partner, record them speaking, and write something out of it. And that’s what I did. 

She spoke for two hours. You could tell that she wanted to do something amazing. She told me why: her husband-to-be was a hopeless romantic, and she wasn’t. He loved public proclamations of love, and she didn’t know how to do any of those things. But she wanted to pull something off at the wedding that would blow his mind. I understood. 

When we finished, she asked how much I charged and it was at that point I realised that that was the only thing I hadn’t thought about. So I panicked and said N50k. She laughed. I wanted to enter the ground. 

“Do you want to pay now, or later?” I asked. 

She wanted to pay now, so I gave her my account number. N100k. That’s how much she sent. And it wasn’t a mistake, Her reason: “You can’t put a price on creativity.”

So I went back to UNILAG and took my friends out that night. I was rich. I spent the next week putting all my best efforts into delivering the best wedding vows I could. She needed me to deliver it in person, so we met at the same hotel again. By the first read, she was in love with it. I’d done a good job, but now I needed to finish the job. She needed me to teach her how to say it to convey the message the best way, so she got a room for me and we spent the whole weekend together in the hotel doing drama lessons. Best weekend of my life. 

When that was done, she gave me an invitation to her wedding in Abuja and paid for my flight ticket. A black Prado picked me up at the airport.

At the end of her speech, her husband was crying. Everyone was crying. And I sat in the back thinking, “I did this, and I love it.” It wasn’t about the money. It was about seeing people happy. 

In the next two years, starting from Maryam’s circle of friends, I got referred over and over again. After some time, people started having me sign NDAs. I was charging between N150,000 and N200,000, and getting flown out for weddings.

The first man that ever contacted me was extremely rude. I’d suspected that he was a jerk from the way he spoke to me on the phone, but I met with him anyway. When I told him to tell me about his partner, he flew into a rage, talking about how I was a young man who should have been doing better with his time than scamming people into paying me so much for just writing wedding vows. I was so confused. Till today, I wonder what he said at his wedding. 

Maryam and I still stay in touch. Sometimes she randomly sends me money because she remembers her wedding and wants to appreciate me again. Sometimes she gives me writing jobs. I’m super glad I met her. 

Referrals started dwindling as 2019 came to an end. By 2020, they were non-existent. I think the pandemic had something to do with. In any case though, I’m honoured to have brought a beautiful spark to so many marriages.”


Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

David Odunlami

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 30, 2020

If you read today’s Naira Life, you’ve probably been triggered. However, there is hope. We’ve put together a guide for you to figure out how to get your money up. And the first step is to find out if you are underpaid by your employer. Come along on this journey: 1) You’re not earning in […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

March 1, 2021

All your friends are in love, and you are part of the ‘’God when’’ association wondering when you will get your own boo. We are sorry to break it to you that you may never find love due to the reasons stated below. 1. You are best in English Anyone who mistakenly sends you a […]

March 1, 2021

Do you know what one of the most awkward things in the world is? Your friend comes up to you, handing you their phone to listen to their music while smiling hard, their eyes filled with hope and love so you listen but realize, it just isn’t good. Then they ask you, what do you […]

March 1, 2021

February went by very fast, but Twitter NG users had a lot to laugh about. From tweets about Valentine’s day to an entire generational war, here are some of the most hilarious Nigerian Tweets from February 2021. 1. You had to be there to understand this one. 2. This sage advice. 3. Violence? Yes, please. […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

More from Hustle

February 8, 2021

The experiences of queer people any and everywhere are far from monolithic. Oppression takes many forms and, sometimes, the fact that you can or cannot pass as a member of a non-marginalised community is what determines how much or what type of oppression/marginalisation gets thrown your way.  Passing, in the simplest terms, is the ability […]

January 12, 2021

“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week. The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is an Alaga Iyawo. These […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X