Weddings are nowadays costly

Early last month, Mama Jimmy and I attended the wedding of one of her former colleagues who lives in another county.

It was by all accounts a colourful event, like all weddings nowadays and people were dressed to kill, starting with the bridal party. Cars had been colourfully adorned with ribbons and balloons, and the décor in church and at the reception venue was simply phenomenal.

Just before the service started, a gentleman came and squeezed himself right next to me. I took a quick glance at him and concluded that he could do with a very long and vigorous shower.

His eyes declared that he had not slept well in a while, and something about his breath informed me that he was a regular consumer of kumi kumi.

As we waited for the ceremony to start in earnest, Mr Kumi Kumi studied me quietly with his sleepy, half-open eyes. He then offered his hand, and I pumped a half-spirited handshake.

Through his breath, he confessed that he had not been invited to this wedding, but since he is from the neighbourhood, he felt it prudent of him to invite himself all the same. Then, in-between a couple of poorly spaced hiccups, he leaned over to my ear.

“Weddings have been left to the rich these days!” he snapped. “They have become too expensive for common people.”

My first impulse was to hush him, and I did this by throwing him a disapproving look, but he either did not see me or he chose not to pay attention.

“I have attended numerous wedding ceremonies in this church,” he went on. “I can tell you some of these people really struggle to put up their weddings!”

Love and Cherish

The remark struck me somehow, and, as the service was yet to begin, I reckoned I could do with some free gossip in the meantime.

I countered that weddings involve sacrifices, which couples must be prepared to bear. By bearing the challenge, a couple affirms their love and commitment to each other.

“Love?” he asked with discernible sarcasm. “What’s love got to do with it?”

I told him that love is the foundation on which stable marriages are built. Without love, marriages cannot work. To this, he smiled condescendingly.

“Okay, if that love thing of yours is so important, how come pastors do not ask couples if they love each other? Or you want to tell me that they forget to ask this question?”

Again, that was a good point. Still, a pastor makes you promise to love and cherish her for the rest of your life, I told him.

“Yes, I know that,” he rasped. “But that is not what I asked you. Let me put it this way: if you hear the reverend asking the groom if he loves the bride in today’s ceremony, I swear I will buy you one drink!” He then licked his finger and made a sign of the cross on his forehead, but I politely declined his offer. Still, the question was worth pondering. In all the wedding ceremonies I had attended, not once had I heard a pastor asking a couple if they were in love with each other.

“Hii mambo ya harusi imekuwa ni pesa sasa! This guy had to take a loan besides having a wedding committee. Do you know how much money has been spent on this wedding?”

Well, judging from the surroundings, I surmised that the wedding must have cost around two hundred thousand shillings.

“Wewe inaonekana unaota,” Kumi Kumi retorted when I quoted this figure. “Watumie two hundred thousand kwani hii ni birthday party ya katoto kadogo? “Just think of all the expenses that go into a modern wedding. These people have bought food for the guests, hired several cars, reserved something small for the reverend, hired a venue, hired a public address system, hired catering services, hired photography services and purchased a cake whose cost could easily dwarf the CDF allocation in some constituencies. I won’t even mention bridal gowns, rings and drinks.”

I was getting interested in Kumi Kumi’s drunken insights, but just then the choir burst into song heralding the start of the wedding as the bridal procession marched in. The ceremony had started.