My inbox is full with text messages of friends and family asking me to join their wedding committees. I even got one from my ex. (Jesus!)
I’m not quite sure what happens in other countries, but in Kenya, when someone asks you to be part of their wedding committee, it is never to play an advisory role. Were your siblings and friends just honest enough, they’d probably say, “Hey! I’m demanding Ksh.800,000 from you to make my chic happy for one day.”
Now, I would understand if we were raising funds to assist a loved one with their medical expenses, or to give them a dignified send-off once they pass away. It’s even better when we pool our meager resources to pay school fees for an orphan.
But for a wedding?! Seriously? When did that become a need?
Some may argue that it all boils down to culture. ‘We’ve always done it this way. Africa is a communal society. A woman doesn’t just get married to her husband, she get’s married to her husband’s community as well. I say that’s bullshit. Marriage is about two people. When they wed, when they make love, when they make babies, when they fight and when they break up, it’s just the two of them. Even in a polygamous marriages, it’s about two people. Ask Jacob Zuma and while you’re at it, read your Bible, Genesis something something all the way to Revelation. You won’t miss it.
What you might miss is my take on weddings, wedding committees and inflated wedding budgets.
It’s Really Not That Necessary
No it isn’t.
- You just realized you’re pregnant.
- You know for sure that you cannot afford a wedding at the moment. (You really won’t break up if you just stay together.)
- You’ve lived together for more than five years, took the liberty to have sex repeatedly and even have a child.., and by extension children, and still cannot afford a wedding
- Your pastor/priest/ horoscope says that living together without solemnizing your marriage before God is a grave sin, and he convinces you to get married but is not willing to solely meet the cost of your wedding.
- You think your man is seeing other women, and out of insecurity you ask him where this thing is headed and convince him to marry you just so that he can be faithful to you.
- You are keeping track of the rising separation and divorce rates.
That Budget is Insulting
There is no nicer way to say this, but it’s got to be said. When you ask people to give you money to fulfill a certain objective not expecting to refund that money, it’s actually called ‘BEGGING.’ Now, if you’re going to beg for something, at least go about it humbly. Don’t push an issue as if it were a national crisis needing urgent attention. So when your wedding committee does not see the need for you and the bride to ride in a Limo when one of them is offering his brand new Premio, then the Premio it shall be.
It pisses me off to see some guy in the committee say “It is up to us to ensure that James and Nancy have the perfect wedding.” No it’s not. It’s just up to us to see that James and Nancy have a wedding, the quality of which should have been long determined by the couple’s financial ability. And still on begging, also note that…
Those Fund Raising Cards are Embarrassing
Who the hell came up with the idea of asking.., my bad, begging.., a total stranger to fund your wedding? How do you, by virtue of being a member of your committee, give me your fund raising cards to collect money for your wedding from my colleagues at work? That’s just wrong! There should be a law against such shady moves. And if the guys don’t feel any shame, at least the ladies should.
Girls, the fact that you are getting married to this man means that you’re entrusting him to take care of you for the rest of your life. That’s why you didn’t help him pay your bride price in first place. And though you’re a successful, career woman with a bank account to die for, you still will not meet at least half of your wedding expenses. It’s the man’s job to provide. But honey, when your future husband is out there texting, calling and emailing all his buddies and his buddies’ buddies for cash to wed you, what does it really say about him?
It’s a Rip-Off
Let me tell you a little story about some distant relatives of mine.
This couple, they’ve been together since they met in college 15 years ago. Well into their late 30s, they have a child who’ll soon turn 10 this year. Both husband and wife are highly educated.., and very convincing. My mom and I like to joke that they can talk their way through a tornado unscathed. For reasons beyond my understanding, the woman will not get employed and neither does she have a business that earns her any sort of income. On the other hand, her man cannot keep a job for more than six months and is always asking us to buy him a drink. When the two show up for a family event, they’re dressed to the nines. But you haven’t heard the funny part yet.
About two years ago, they announced their intention to have a church wedding. Please note, they already had a child. As is the norm, they got us all in a large committee and for months we planed and strategized, raised funds like the cash were going to Haiti, and yes.., had that colorful wedding. The gifts were so immense, it took 3 trucks to get them all hauled away into the couples rented flat.
Now, part of the funds we had raised was meant to cater for a one-week honeymoon in Zanzibar, but guess what? The couple did not go! Yup, they didn’t even book the resort. After the wedding, they went home, switched off their phones and locked themselves in for a week. Their little girl was only too eager to tell us how Zanzibar wasn’t.
Just Take a Loan
Have a wedding by me, baby…
I have waited for so damn long for Barclays to come up with a Wedding Loan. If they have one for moving house, or to enable you buy a 40” LCD TV (that would probably fall down and break when moving or blow during a power surge) I’m so sure they can come up with a wedding loan. They can even call it Oa Sasa! Or Ndoa Sasa! Anything, really. And the beauty of it is in the collateral. See, if you’re vowing before God and other witnesses that you’re going to be together for the rest of your lives, through sickness and health, poverty and wealth till death do you part, how will you not repay that loan? And just like taking a loan to start a business, you will do anything to ensure that marriage works. Separation, divorce or taking time off will not be an option. Should you go separate ways, the bank will send auctioneers your way to take away all the gifts you received during your wedding together with all the stuff you bought during the only happy year of your marriage. Awesome!
That said, let me extend this wedding invitation to all o’ ya’ll.