When the lockdown, and consequent ban on mass gatherings was announced in March, people on social media joked about how there has never been a better time to get married. To some, however, it wasn’t just a joke.
Donn Kwizera (not real name) proposed to his girlfriend last year and was set to wed in May this year. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, he says they were left with only two options, either to put off the wedding plans or plan for a small wedding.
“I come from a family that cherishes flashy weddings and will gather all they can to see to it. This too was my wife’s dream wedding, a lavish wedding. Though my plans were to give her the dream wedding, I have never wanted a big one. So for me, the situation has somewhat been a blessing in disguise,” he says.
Dancers entertain guests during a traditional wedding. Net photos
The couple had their civil wedding a few weeks ago and with the recent cabinet’s resolution for religious weddings to resume, but with attendance capped at 30 persons, he is planning for their church wedding in about two months’ time.
He has now resorted to a small wedding affair without flair, a ceremony with only close family members and few friends. His reason? The economics of organising a big wedding are beyond his reach. It is just too costly and time consuming.
A wedding is a very important occasion in virtually all societies. Many Rwandans, right about this time, would be getting ready to attend weddings. Ironing new suits and dresses, ordering gifts for the happy couples, rehearsing wedding songs. But as we all well know by now, 2020 is no normal year.
Mable Gatera, had her wedding last year. For her a wedding for most people comes only once in a lifetime, which makes the occasion even more significant. The pandemic, however, should teach us that the trend of holding extravagant and increasingly expensive weddings should give us reason to re-think our choices.
“Parents are mostly the cheerleaders for massive weddings because they want to compete with weddings of another relative or friend. It is as if some people have changed the entire purpose for having a wedding from exchanging vows to showing off to society,” she says.
“The couple, instead of being concerned above all, their commitment and vowing in the presence of others, are about pleasing others. Decorations, cakes, reception venues, fleet of cars, large bridal party, and so on, make people forget the core values of marriage,” she adds.
Seith Uwizeye, an IT specialist, believes that in the post-pandemic period, people will naturally, look forward to socialising again.
However, Covid-19 having caught the world by surprise, gatherings could not be the same any more as many people will be cautious of their health.
Venues with large space, a well-thought-out seating arrangement and an open-air or outdoor wedding will be the new norm to enable guests maintain social distancing.
“We were also seeing many cases of virtual weddings for our friends in the diaspora that can’t make it home in time. I project that after seeing how possible, time and cost effective this is, many couples could adopt this for maybe one of their weddings,” he says.
For beautician Esther Kabageni, a wedding is a mere event that happens in a few hours, and that afterwards there is a whole life of marriage to take care of and possibly children which require lots of money.
She believes that encouraging small weddings would be a good way to support young couples build their family.
“It might not look obvious but young intending couples have a lot less to spend than any other generation before them. We had been dealing with a trend where every occasion calls for big celebrations, which wasn’t the case in the past.
Our parents and the ones before them had one grand wedding and that was it. Young people have been going by every trend even when they do not have the means to, just so they can fit in.
I believe it’s the role of the older generation to encourage intending couples to spend within their means because they have to worry about their own future while also taking care of their children,” she says.Follow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo