Monday, 12 March 2012

To Hell With The Wedding


          

               I know the female folk are going to chew me up after they read this piece while the guys will be thanking me that finally someone had the guts to say it. Whoa, here goes, almost everyone thinks of having a hubby or wifey one day. Ladies begin to imagine their wedding from the time they lay their hands on a Cinderella book. However, life is not that fairytale we read, the reality is always far from it especially if you live in a country called Zambia. Getting married in Zambia almost borders on a nightmarish experience.
                Over the weekend I attended a friend’s wedding and it got me thinking what he and his bride had to go through to put it together. Even though it was a modest wedding one can only imagine the preparations that went behind the scenes. In Zambia, before you consider getting married a guy really has to think twice. It is rarely the question of do I want to get married rather can I afford to get married that guys grapple with. Honestly speaking it costs an arm and a leg to say, “I do.” Let me attempt to break it down.
                Before a guy can consider getting down on his knees to propose, he must be well aware that his decision will come with a little something called lobola (bride price). The lobola that is charged these days is not some pocket change. The amounts that are charged are sometimes too exorbitant as if the parents have found their gold mine. The lobola usually depends on the ladies family and usually the amounts are well above K5 million. Once this hurdle is out of the way then we are in for it. The lady starts to dream and the bills start coming.
                Immediately the lady will announce to the whole world that she is getting married, flash her engagement ring to anyone who dares look at her fingers, change her Facebook status to read engaged, start arranging the dates of the kitchen party, mabeto (if you are entitled to one) and of course the wedding. Regardless of whether you attempt to convince yourselves that you want a modest wedding, you are still going to spend huge amounts of money. 
                Based on my research through inquiry from workmates who have gotten married and from a site called Dear Zambia I have gathered that a decent wedding will probably cost you more than K25 million, this by the way is for an average wedding. There are many things that gobble up the costs such as venue- K5 million, cake- K2 million, decorations- K3 million, catering- K5 million, wedding dress- K4 million, groom’s suit- K1 million, rings K1.5 million and other miscellaneous costs (these are even generous amounts). This is just for the wedding mind you, bear in mind that if there is a kitchen party you will be required to fork out as well. Then there are costs that cannot be quantified such as the stress. In Zambia the bride wants to be the wedding planner, the decorator, dress designer, caterer all wrapped in one. By the time the beautiful day arrives she is exhausted to the bone. The cost is also not only on the couple marrying but the friends and family too. Gone are the days when on a line up you can expect to receive a free suit. The bridesmaids and best men have to buy their own attires. I have no qualms about this but if five close friends invite me on their line up that is a cost I cannot afford.
                Do not get me wrong, I have no problem about having weddings, if we can afford them that is. However, let us be honest about this most of us cannot afford it. The problem is that most of our ladies cannot just understand this and over their dead bodies will they accept it. If a guy needs to rob a bank or get a loan, so be it but deny her a wedding thou shall not do. You are even in trouble if your fiancée has grand scale plans of a wedding to resemble that of the royal wedding or Kim Kardashian. Ninshi wapya. Weddings are beginning to lose their intimate touch they are more to do with making a statement than celebrating the occasion. It is as if it is a competition to see who will have the designer dress, hire the best venue or whose wedding will be the talk of the town. All this is definitely not worth the cost that will be incurred. Honestly, why have 200 people at the reception when you barely know half of them. Most of them are friends of parents, friends of friends, gate crashers and none of them will be there at your time of need.
                It is definitely not the best way to start a marriage in financial difficulty, paying back debt that you could have avoided. The money spent on the wedding could have been invested to set you up for the future or put into a trust fund for your kids education. There would be no regrets of the money that has been wasted to entertain people you will never see again.
                So I have a simple solution to all this. Instead of a wedding, I would prefer going to civic centre to register the marriage it merely costs K300, 000- K600, 000 depending on how quick you want to register the marriage.  Then jet off to Livingstone, Mauritius or even Paris for the honeymoon. I would not mind making a little junior in Paris or Mauritius.  The cost of this will be far less than the cost of the wedding and it will definitely be money well spent.
                In conclusion, we cannot run away from the fact that a wedding is a very expensive occasion. It requires a lot of financial resources most of which the average Zambian does not have. I think it is time that our ladies understand that sometimes a wedding is not necessary. If a guy can afford it then you have every right to demand one but if he cannot please understand. I brace myself for the backlash of this piece from the ladies and may all the guys agree with me by saying, “Aye.”
               
               
               
                

38 comments:

  1. True but the expirence is priceless, the memory and also the test of how well you can work together.
    I think a man should work hard and prepare. The pressure is self induced really because if you have no money then you simply dont. If you will spend your whole life with someone then you can be honest.
    Men who love deeply tend to sacrifice because they know it will please their partner and that is just beautiful.
    Men want to please and women love weddings so just man up or find someone who shares your views. Its the logical thing to do but if you know she is way out of your league so much that you are playing a differnt game all together dont propose, leave the girl find a simple woman but tell her that you are broke, some chicks save up for thier day.- Shots

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I do agree, well personally I am not against the idea of someone having a wedding. The point is only have a wedding if you can afford it. There is no point in having what you cannot afford. It is clearly not rational to get a loan for a wedding. Indeed I will sacrifice for my woman and want to give her the wedding, but what is the essence if after the wedding I can barely feed her, that is even more crashing. Big ups to the chicks who save.

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  3. Aye.! Well done for getting this out there!

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  4. I am a lady and i dont mind saying this is so true! i dont mind saving up for the honeymoon...and have a fifty people party for the wedding!

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  5. Dear writer, i have a question for you. Would you be pleased with a guy who takes YOUR sister to civic center just minus wedding? Would it make you happy if your sister is married according to your prescription above?

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  6. Hi Anonymous, I would quite frankly. Because what is the point if she has a white wedding and the next month she is asking to borrow some cash from me and they can barely make ends meet.

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  7. i say live within your means, period!

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  8. She. Said.It, you are so right. It is what I am exactly advocating for. If you have the money go ahead and have a wedding but if you do not have the money do not put yourself through the stress

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  9. I do agree with u.ma man women always want things for free...weza u likit or not...

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  10. Aye...i can`t agree more.You are spot on.

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  11. U re rite esp if thngs dnt turn out as planed, i'v a frnd who is stresd coz sh cnt hav ha pefect weding, th fianc lost hs job afta payng pat of ha lobola n nw hs runing a smal busines, do u thnk its rite 4 ha 2 tak cr of most of th wedng cost.

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    1. In my opinion, the lady taking care of most of the wedding cost is fine if she can afford. I think the idea that it is the man who has to cater for all the costs, can be put to the side. If the guy had the means he would definitely have footed the bill. Unfortunately, he does not have the means.

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  12. Like someone above said,Live within your means.If the guy is sincerely unable to provide a wedding but has the burning desire to marry and treasure you regardless,I say go for it.However,some guys, can well afford to fork out millions for a car but not have enough for a wedding?? A sacrifice is valueless if its given to one who will never appreciate it.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, you are right live within your means. If you cannot afford it don't have it, if you can then go ahead. It all about do you have the finances for the wedding

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  13. Interesting article just a few months ago my then girlfriend and her friends, as we were at the brothers wedding...lovely wedding by the way'...But I couldn't help but listen to what wedding plans and expectations she had for Us already when am still in my final year university...considering the fact that for her 25 is around the corner and time is running out for her...she was so short sighted at reality..

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  14. Hi. I'm Zambian and female and couldn't really be bothered with a wedding either,regardless of whether I can afford one or not!! the thought of entertaining people I hardly know doesn't go down too well with me.. call me cynical but don't really think it's worth the stress, prefer a shopping honeymoon myself!!

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    1. Hi Anonymous, eish we need more women like you. I think it just depends on whether one wants to be swayed by friends and family and refuse to face reality.

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  15. Finally people who can reason..eish! wish i could drag my relatives from the village to this blog! then all my worries would end....sometimes though,in my case for example,the family DEMANDS one and does a ka tools down for you whn they actually nid to be helping make the payments!.. however,my encouragement to all brides to be who dont want a wedding reception like me....stand your ground.... even if thy complain n say stuf.. stand your grounds....like I am doing...no reception...PERIOD!

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  16. Hi Anonymous, I have friends whose family are making all these elaborate wedding plans and yet no one gives a ngwee. You would think they want the weddings they never had. I think families sometimes just want stories to tell. But we must get past that. There is no law that says we should all have weddings. Good for you stand your ground.

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  17. Am a lady n u have read my mind thats EXACTLY wat am doin honeymoon paris even saving apa fpr it... sooo lol say SOME females its not all of us..... generalisations.........

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    1. Hi Mwiza, my bad for generalisation but none of the females I know think like you. They want their dream wedding or even a crumb of it come rain or sunshine. It is quite sad to see sometimes even those who cannot clearly afford it, want the unnecessary pressure.

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    2. Lol u clearly need new friends.... n am so sad i think some guy on facebook jus copied n pasted your this n put it up as his own tsssk

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  18. I agree with you. I think people shud learn to live within their means.some of the amounts pipo spend on weddnz they can even buy plots and other well meaning things that will be of use to them and their kids.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      That is my whole point from the very beginning. Invest the money for your children. If you are a millionaire yes have the wedding but like most of us are not why spend all that money jst for one day. And the reason is so you mum or relatives can brag about something and keep themselves busy towards the wedding, aikona.

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  19. I recently got engaged. Right after the announcement (and my splashing of the ring) our two families started to disagree on stuff. The main disagreement being where will the ceremonies be, Copperbelt or Lusaka....neither family wants to travel...smh
    My fiance and I initially wanted a small quiet garden wedding but now we are at the "You know what, lets just grab a friend or two and go to civic center" point to be honest! And I don't mind it 1 bit.
    I did overhear my mother saying to her sister that she wouldn't settle for a small event since this will be the first wedding in our family...what do I think? Boo-Hoo! *takes bags drives to civic-centre*

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  20. cool! - So with this vie in mind - I figure we'll go to New York for our honeymoon.

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  21. I would just like to say that as a female I feel your point is very valid. There are women out there who would also like a simple wedding/blessing in church or a lets run down to the register and SAVE OUR MONEY. But it would be taken as unlady-like… and frankly I think people what to live up to other expectations due to culture, social norms and “keeping up with the Banda’s”. I feel this is bizarre especially when you are left broke, yet I have sometimes fallen into this trap. Think as a couple moving into building a LIFE together is important to define who you are as a couple and say “hey we are doing this simple thing, so family fall in line or don’t come”. You might be frowned upon but I think showing a united front in how you wish to be as a couple will only help communicate your message of 'simple and not going broke' before you have even began you married life.

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  22. Very interesting topic and I agree with you weddings in Zambia especially are becoming more like some competition of some sort. But really people need to be realist . This mentality of solely depending on a man to provide for the whole wedding expenses is absolutely ridiculous. Of course he needs to provide for me and the family once we married . But why plan extravagant weddings when it's going to financially affect you in your first months of marriage . People gotta sit down plan save up then see the way forward . Plan within your reach and budget. I would rather get a mortgage than splurge on some extravagant wedding ceremony

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  23. Wow....I thought this was a Nigerian thing. Seems it is an all Africa phenomenon. The marriage is more important than the wedding. Our women should remember that. After all the jamboree on the wedding day, everyone leaves the couple to clean up after themselves. Let's be wise, be reasonable, be realistic...

    www.africanstorytellers.blogspot.com

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  24. Aye and Aye not!!! I am a Zambian female about to get married to a wonderful man and I gotta say sometimes the preps make me wanna elope!!! hence AYE!!! but I love the whole planning experience and the spending ofcos #GottaLoveBoth... I wouldn't trade it for anything AYE NOT!!!. I am a project management junkie so I look at planning my wedding and marriage as my grand project. lol. piece of advice yes plan for the wedding! but more so the life after the wedding.

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    1. Thank you for reading Anonymous. You have rightly pointed out project management is key. You do not start a project if you know that will not have the resources to complete.

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  25. Better late than never....

    Totally agree....

    I went to the Civic Centre,....

    Had a small party and braii afterwards... And we had a Kitchen party later on....

    Frankly Speaking, i never saw the sense in them years back, but Kitchen Parties make more sense than the Wedding Receptions.....!!


    So,... Yeah.. AYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  26. Aye! You speak my lingo bro, I am a woman and I do not want the stress that comes with some of these celebrations. When I told my mother that I didn't want a wedding she said she would pay for it. What she doesn't get is that whether my man and I have the money or not, we just wanna keep it on the low and like you said, jet off to Mauritius after, am definitely saving up for zat nothing more.

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  27. AYE

    I would mind not having a wedding but my family is expecting one from me.

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  28. Very true. And even though both the bride and the groom don't want a big wedding, their relatives take it upon themselves to put all their energy into changing their minds and forming "committees" to raise money. Weddings seem to be the platform for parents and/or aunts and uncles to show off their relation and sometimes use them as an excuse to eat and drink as much as they want at no cost to them.

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