Rwanda: Secret to a Happy Wedding - Don't Count On Contributions

13 October 2019
opinion

Tina came across a business lady in town who sells nice shoes at a fair price. She couldn't resist but to ask for her mobile phone number so that they keep communicating whenever she brings in new stock.

The following day, the sales lady called Tina and they had a chat. Basically about life but not business. In a week's time, they had built and enhanced a friendship, not really very close friendship, but friends who could talk on the phone at least once in two days.

In the second week of bonding, the businesswoman added Tina to her wedding WhatsApp group without her consent.

The WhatsApp group, consisted of over 50 people, kept Tina's phone flooding with messages. It became infuriating. She pondered why the lady never inquired whether she was interested in joining the group anyway.

Tina kept quiet because she was frustrated by being in a WhatsApp group with many strangers and also being forced to contribute to a wedding for a person she hardly knew.

However, when the pressure mounted up, she had to exit the group because even if she had decided to stay, she had no money to contribute, so it seemed a wastage of time to remain in the group.

As if that wasn't enough, this business lady started sending reminders of the wedding meetings in Tina's inbox and requesting her to bless her wedding with any amount of money she could afford, through mobile money.

Tina kept ignoring the messages because she had more pressing problems that required her time and money than the wedding of a person she had just met.

The saleswoman resorted to calling Tina on her mobile phone because she thought she wasn't being kind enough to respond to her messages. Although she explained why she couldn't be of help, it didn't stop the messages from coming.

Tina got frustrated, stopped picking her calls, and even deleted her number. The last she recalls is that the wedding happened without her contributing, or attending.

Are weddings becoming an inconvenience? In the last few years, Whatsapp groups or social media forums are the new forms of mobilizing funds to financially support friends, children, relatives, and colleagues, who are getting married.

Usually, after forming the group, people begin listing their pledges and sometimes indicate when they will remit their pledges.

However, the question many people are beginning to ask is whether a couple should plan a wedding based on other people's contributions?

Mathew Rwahigi has been married for six years, the trick he used to have a stress-free wedding was saving money. He didn't hold any wedding meetings as he believed a wedding is a celebration and not a burden. A few of his friends who wished gave him some money without him asking for it.

"My wife and I used the money we had saved and spent it on just the necessities; we had a simple, but an awesome wedding. I believe a wedding should be in someone's means. Organizing an affordable wedding saves the couple the burden of running into loans or getting disappointed by people.

What is of great importance is the civil wedding. If possible the couple can have a simple reception of a few people, just relatives, and close friends. In the future, if the couple is financially stable, they can hold a reception to celebrate their marriage. It's not about how much money a couple spends, it's rather how much joy they feel," he notes.

Rwahigi points out that, today, weddings have turned in to showbiz, a number of people organize weddings that are beyond their budgets.

He further adds that for a couple to be on a safe side, if their budget is Rwf 3 million, they should have at least Rwf 2.5 million. This reduces the pressure, even if people don't top up all the remaining money, the couple can reduce on a few things on their budget and the wedding day still goes on as planned.

Damien Mouzoun, a Kimironko based family Counselor emphasizes that in the dot com era, marriage ceremonies have become extremely expensive that some partners have to rely on donors to make it a reality.

"There are those who rely on others for their own affairs and generally get disappointed when the expectation is not met. It is all a matter of education and experience".

Mouzoun further adds that marital life awareness must be the main priority of young couples than just the wedding ceremony. If they can afford it or have people willing to fund it, then the ceremony can be extravagant.

"It is too idealistic to plan a wedding by mostly relying on the contribution of the other people, not even your biological parents," he states.

Olive Dusabe, a wedding planner at Rwanda wedding planners says a wedding has to be planned by two people, putting all their energy, money and time. Other people should just be invited, of which they can decide to attend or not.

She stresses that any budget can do a wedding. No need of breaking the bank to have a dream wedding, however, it is advisable to cut off expensive things from your budget. If a couple has a big compound and gardens, why not use that for a reception and save the money that could have been spent on a hall.

The wedding advisor adds that if it is not a rainy season, it is preferable to choose gardens for the venue, as they are cheaper compared to Halls.

For Dusabe, stress comes about when a couple starts comparing themselves to different weddings they have attended or seen and expected to have exactly that on their day or even better, forgetting that everyone is blessed in a unique way.

"It's better to be unique and maintain quality but not quantity. The more people invited, the more expensive the wedding will be because that means, more food, chairs, drinks will be needed. Keep it small but fancy," she urged.

The wedding planner also notes that some things are not necessary, a couple doesn't need to hire an expensive band or cultural group but rather, invite one musician or two to entertain.

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