I am 32 and my fiancee is 27. We are to get married in October this year. I thought I would be happy about this but, right now, I am just stressed. She and her friends are making the wedding so expensive to the point of it being unaffordable for me.
Our initial budget was Sh300,000 but this has shot up to about Sh750,000. Her justification is that friends and family should contribute to our wedding just like we do in theirs. We had planned to contribute half of the budget then ask friends to help us but now with this budget, this is way above my means.
She will hear nothing about cutting costs, arguing that we are compromising on quality. She has threatened to boycott the wedding if we go with cheaper service providers never mind that she is not contributing anything. She has become unreasonable, sometimes even insulting my manhood. This is not the beautiful and understanding girl I was dating. I want to get out of this soon. Please advise me.
What the readers say:
Ochieng a wedding should be affordable but not a show off and leave you burdened in debt. That woman is misleading you and has no respect for you. You should do a wedding befitting or friendly to your status other than impose something you will regret for the rest of your life or leave you in debts and ruin your future or marriage. If you still love this woman despite her disrespectful to you form a wedding committee to oversee everything under your close watch.
If she is not willing to listen or have the budget done within your means ask to postpone the wedding as you define the best route out of this relationship. First she has shown you her true self and she will always want to have her way, probably in everything, and this will stress you to death. Remember that it what lies inside the hearts of people getting married that determines the happiness in the marriage not the cost of the wedding.
The red flag is out that is a sign that this woman is a selfish manipulator. She is going to give you a very hard time when you marry her. You should take some time and think about these demands. If she is threatening you over a wedding, what will happen after the wedding? If she truly loves you then she is supposed to understand you and help you mak the right decisions not blackmail you into doing what she wants. Open your eyes and see what you are getting yourself into.
This matter is not just about the wedding and the wanting to show off. The planning for your wedding has given you an opportunity to see and understand your girlfriend’s perspective on a number of issues. This includes her financial prudence and public opinion.
Demanding to have expensive suppliers is not so much for her but for the public. She is suffering from ‘what will people say’ syndrome. Unfortunately you are the only one to receive the pressure and to carry the burden, especially now that she is not contributing to the wedding.
Whereas there is nothing wrong in having a lavish ceremony there is everything wrong in going beyond your means to have one. This will push you to get a loan or overburden your friends and family members. I hope she is aware of the ever increasing complaints and impatience that most wedding committee members raise when they realise that the concerned couple is to a large extent relying on them.
Although weddings are special and they happen once in a lifetime I still agree with you fully that you need to stick within your means and budget. If there be sacrifices to make that too should be within your means. If she is presenting areas that need genuine adjustments they should be within your budget.
Getting into debts for the sake of impressing the public will give you an unnecessary rough start in your marriage. Try and make her understand this. If she still insists and threatens to break up with you then let her be. Most likely this is just the beginning of her unreasonable demands. Why wouldn't she demand to live in a house whose rent is beyond you among other things?
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology
Ochieng, this is now very common and weddings have become emotional affairs especially for the ladies. They have been marketed as the most important day in a woman’s life among other things therefore whatever the bride wants, the bride ought to get. We (Africans) have copied and pasted this concept from the west with a lot of ignorance about the general assumptions and background of their weddings key of which include that the wedding is financed by the bride’s family. Nonetheless, we shall deal with the situation as it is - not as it ought to be.
Principally, within our African and Kenyan set-up, the bride usually has no worries about the budget because one, she is the bride (it is the grooms responsibility) and two; she has a committee to help with planning and fundraising by making the expensive wedding everyone’s responsibility. However, the reality of this is that if she wants a more expensive wedding then she ought to lead the pack by digging deeper into her pockets before asking others to do so. Everyone would want to have an extravagant wedding but these are often very expensive. Even where family and friends are willing to contribute, the wedding couple ought to contribute a significant part of the budget not come up with high budgets financed by the already strained pockets of family and friends.
So she wants an expensive wedding, she will hear nothing about cost cutting measures and she is even threatening to boycott the wedding. As a matter of fact I would encourage you to boycott the wedding first; call it off and give some flimsy excuse or just say you will have a wedding when you can afford it and make this clear to everyone. This should get her thinking and get her to play ball. If she comes back cut the budget down even lower than the initial estimates because after all, it will be your responsibility to finance more than half of the budget so since you are paying the piper, call the tune and make them dance to it. Remember, the effects of an expensive wedding will become evident immediately after the wedding and all the repercussions and responsibility of dealing with them will fall squarely on you because after all she is a bride now but she will be a wife then and according to them – the man is the one to take care of such things. Make the right decision now.
Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor
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