Why do we want expensive weddings?

I am not a big fan of wedding ceremonies and my close friends know that I will do anything possible to dodge them. This month is different, I have attended two weddings already and I have two more pending. In one month I will have attended more weddings than I have in the last three years! I clearly did not have a choice because the couples are my good friends.

In my last article I emphasised the importance of formalising ‘marriages’. In response to the article, some men said the reason they have not done so is because women have become too demanding and made the exercise very expensive. I do not buy that because I tend to think the only people that should determine the cost of a wedding ceremony is the couple. Besides that, there are various acceptable types of marriages, meaning that we all can find one that suits our level and budget.

For instance, civil marriages anywhere in the world are affordable. In Rwanda, all one needs is to secure an appointment in order to give ‘notice of marriage’. Notices of marriage are the legal preliminaries to a civil marriage whereby each party to the proposed marriage must attend in person before a registrar and declare that they are legally free to marry and produce certain documents. After giving a notice of marriage, one fills the necessary application forms, and presents all the necessary documents after which a wedding date is set. On the day of the wedding, at least two other people must be present. These are prepared to witness the ceremony and sign to that effect. I know several people that did civil marriages, went out for lunch with their two witnesses and lived happily ever after. There are others that did the civil marriage but still threw a lavish party for friends and family because a wedding ceremony is a ‘communal affair’.

I agree wedding ceremonies bring people together and yes, I love eating and drinking, but I also want to do it within my means. Don’t forget that weddings have become a serious industry involving decorators, fancy car hires, gowns, suits and all the glamourous stuff all of which are not getting any cheaper. With that in mind, I have never understood why a couple would hold wedding fundraising meetings for almost three months to enable them ride in a limo for that one day, only to retire to a small place they call home, probably heavily indebted because some pledges were not met. Others have taken bank loans to finance that special day then spend ages repaying them to the detriment of their own financial security in the marriage.

Jackie, my friend, says people are under pressure to beat wedding standards set by other couples without understanding our different financial abilities. They, therefore, struggle beyond their means to show off in what is considered ‘a family affair’. The end result in many cases is an expensive event with relatives, school mates and neighbours they have not heard from in years coming to eat and drink and criticise everything about the ceremony. I therefore suggest that more of us begin to consider the possibility of having small, intimate and affordable weddings. Let us try to invest more on the longevity of marriages as opposed to the one day extravagance of weddings because there is no guarantee in marriage, except that the two people love each other and are willing to make it work.

 Follow Jackie on Twitter