Coming from Salima the other week in 2010, one female colleague made my day. She would normally sleep every time you have her in the car. Nothing like sleeping sickness but I presume it borders on working hard during the day serving mother Malawi. But somehow she was awake the whole one and half hour of the trip. Strange. Very strange.
But the issue is not her being awake but the discussion that kept her awake. She listened attentively and threw in very sound words of wisdom. I had mentioned of some distant cousin of mine who would be getting married soon and was lamenting about the huge wedding costs that were largely falling on me. “Achibale akuwuthawathawa ukwati umenewu, ndiye wandilowa m’thumba osati masewera [My relations have left me to bear most of the wedding costs],” I complained.
‘Why do you people complicate weddings? Wedding is about taking sacrament under a church minister. The rest of the celebration thereafter should be in moderation in line with the family’s financial capabilities”. The female colleague wisely commented.
This reminded me of last year when another cousin was getting married. The young man came to my house in the night, just like Nichodemus, and told me of his intention to marry. Good intention indeed.
He wanted the wedding to be at Lilongwe Golf Club and planned to use a Toyota Fortuner on the big day. I looked at him with admiration. The young man was ambitious and rightly so—after all this is an event that usually occurs once in one’s life time.
“So how much have you saved so far?” I asked the cousin. “I have around K51 000,” he responded with all the innocence. I laughed my lungs out but not for long because he stared at me in wonder.
“Will the wedding not cost you more than that?” I asked him. “Of course, that is why I have come to you, cousin. I will need your help.” Oh! My foot. This was ridiculous.
This young man desired a wedding that would cost over K2 million and all he had was not even three percent of it.
After thinking long and hard, I got wiser and told him “Achimwene ukwati uwu tikachitira kumudzi. Tituma uthenga kwa adzakhali kuti akonzekere mawere a thobwa [We will have this wedding at the village and we will serve sweet beer.”
I consulted relations and they were all in agreement. So we had a wonderful wedding at Chataghalala Village in Rumphi. We all danced to gumbagumba music and malipenga. We had a few goats slaughtered and people drank ‘wamasese’ all night long. And what more? ‘bevula—perekani-perekani ’ brought in around K189 000. The couple started off their wedding with no pressures of debt baggage. They are now living happily in town.
This is just the tip of how one can easily circumvent the many financial challenges that weddings are symbolising these days.
When one is planning to get married, one must be ready financially. Wedding committees are not there to provide financial resources but to help the bride and groom plan their wedding. Often times, we have seen people shunning wedding committees simply because they are forced to contribute heavily. Just think about it—already by being in a wedding committee, you are volunteering your time, effort, and so should not be overstretched to even make financial contributions.
If not planned properly, weddings can be a drain on resources not just for the couple but even the entire clan and friends. Like donors, relations are now getting wedding-fatigued when it should actually not be so. Let us make weddings a pleasure not a pressure.
Have a blessed weekend.