It’s so shameful to find that there are only a handful of bridal clothing stores in Lagos I refuse to say in Nigeria as a whole as I wouldn’t be on authority if I said that but still it begs the question that asks why almost 85% of Nigerian brides go abroad to buy their wedding gowns... Even the so called handful bridal stores in Lagos are a total waste of landed property. My friend J, a soon to be bride later on this year, myself and a mutual friend, set out on a trial dress hunt for the big day about 2 weeks ago and we were in for the shock of our lives! So our first stop was a bridal store on Opebi Ikeja I don’t seem to remember what it’s called now, but we go in and it’s partially set up, the store owners are staring at us probably wondering if we came to rob them off or murder them. So I say Hiiiii! They’re still a bit confused so I give a very lengthy introduction as to why we are at the store and all, it finally sinks in, then there’s only one dress out of their very many boxes set on the floor and they are trying to force my friend to try it on after telling them she’d like structured style gowns and this was a very huge mermaid style gown. So in frustration, we leave asap!!!
The second store wasn’t any impressive this one is called Rose Blossom Bridal, there isn’t much in the store and it seems like almost everything is being made in sequins at least that’s what we see the owner of the store and her assistants doing, sticking on stones and sequins on all the gowns. I had been in the store on my own prior to our visit and didn’t want to judge the owner as she was cold and very unfriendly at the time but this second time endorsed my feelings about her. But I’m still wondering how any one opens up a business such as that of a bridal clothing store with a cold and unfriendly attitude towards intending customers and hopes to make sales in a store that lacks character and has no variety to choose from?
The third store was more than frustrating nothing spectacular so I remember not what they named it! But it’s on Opebi in Ikeja in the same line of shops as Avanti a popular clothing store/boutique. We go in, there are 2 to 3 customers in there, I look at the array of clothes on the hangers none caught my eye but the price tag on one did, it was selling for 105,000 Naira which is approximately £400+ not too much at all for a girl’s big day if you ask me but it was hideous!!! And it was exactly the same gown that was being forced on my friend in store number 1! Ridiculous! All the while we are in the store making all these mental notes, no one had spoken to us, the sales assistants were busy talking at the till, one of them momentarily glanced our way but decided we weren’t worth her precious time. And just as we walked in, we walked out. Easy.
Store number 4 is called Above & Beyond, this one is not primarily a bridal store but they cater to brides too, the men tending the door way are nice and courteous, the first nicety we had experienced the whole day! We go in, walk down to the bridal section but unfortunately there are a couple of dresses tightly packed on the rack but no one to help take them down for fitting and all of that but there’s just this one on the mannequin but it was a mermaid style gown not what J was looking for anyway. So the store manager comes out asks us a few questions and says we can’t just leave the store, and that we had to buy an item even if it's one dress. We get it, she was trying to play marketer and funny in her own way but errr honey, one can’t just buy a random wedding gown just to please a store owner!
And the winner for that day: Drum rolling........... Wait for it... was.. Havillah!!! This one I had heard good recommendations about but was highly disappointed after spending 2 minutes there. We are properly welcomed, store is practically empty and it had that same dress as store number 1 and 3 and all 10 to 12 gowns, terribly dirty! But my friend J was so upset having been to all these other stores but was able to muster enough good will spirit to try on one she thought looked okay and then this elderly store attendant duly snatches the gown away from J saying she had to agree to pay for it before trying it on, so if she can’t agree to the payment terms and decides if she likes it or not then she can't try it on, plus she would be charged also for dry cleaning fees!!! Absolute rubbish if you ask me!!! 3 of us stood shell-shocked as we processed this information and silently decided it was time to go home which left us with one question to be answered by none: How does one decide on a dress in 5 minutes, try it on, fit or no fitting, pay for dry cleaning and pay for it cash down and take home as WEDDING DRESS??? I still get mad whenever I remember this because this sales assistant argued so blindly with us that there wasn’t any real need for J to try it on because she was sure it’ll be a perfect fit and so on and so forth.. It was too much for me! At the end of this futile search, J finally decides, buying/ordering a dress abroad IS the only way.