Two people who feel like they can put up with each other for a long time decide to get married. They spend days making numerous calculations from every angle and conclude their wedding budget is, say, not more than Sh1 million. They look at their pockets, go over their salaries, ponder their savings accounts, and do the mathematics again.
They can only afford a wedding that costs way below. Over chilled wine, the worried couple has a heart-to-heart discussion and each decides to compromise and agree to do what is comfortable for both of them. They reason that since they have insufficient funds, other people would, of course, be overjoyed to be of assistance. They nod, agreeing that it’s a fantastic idea, and they clink glasses and kiss and make tender love. Two afternoons later, a wedding committee and a new WhatsApp group is formed.
Then one day, you bump into the excited couple, holding hands and giggling together like smitten adolescents. After exchanging greetings, they ask you if you’re aware they’re getting married soon, as one of them digs into their bag or pocket to retrieve a small card which they hand to you. It’s a list of people who’ve contributed to their upcoming nuptials, the amounts, and signatures. They point to a blank entry and tell you that you can make your contribution and sign there.
You’re unprepared and the only money you have already has an assigned purpose. Luckily, you have an extra Sh200 which you fish out, and ask them if they have a pen so that you can also follow suit and engrave your generosity on that piece of paper. But they tell you that Sh200 is too little an amount and that they are sorry they cannot take it. They explain they are only taking contributions of not less than Sh1,000.
They add that, indeed, they could take the Sh200 and wait for you to submit the balance at a promised date, but argue that people don’t often keep their promises, and so they are grappling with trust issues on that end.
You feel embarrassed and cornered, so you take out your wallet again and look for the required amount, which you grudgingly give. As you’re about to part ways, you congratulate them again and tell them you’ll see them at the wedding. They tell you that they intend to keep it a private, invite-only ceremony, strictly attended by close family and friends, but they will let you know.
No. That wedding will be ours.
If you dictate the amount of money I should give for your wedding, then I am going to have a strong opinion concerning the flower arrangements and the bridesmaid’s dresses, and start heated debates on the choice of venue.
We will walk down the aisle together, the three of us, fearful yet hopeful that the future is bright and that none of us will ever feel like a third wheel. After reciting our vows, I will give you both a few moments to decide whose ring I will wear first and who will slip it on my finger. Then I will pose for a myriad of photos with our in-laws and other relatives while I nostalgically tell them about how we met.
You will let me have most of the dance floor during our ceremonial entry to the reception and when it’s time for cake, I will refuse the small, smooshed queen cake baked in a hurry and missing some ingredients, or the leftover crumbs that I would actually be lucky to get.
Under my keen supervision, you will both cut the cake and feed me a piece each before you can taste, and do not tease me by playfully moving the piece of cake away when I’m just about to take a gluttonous bite. I will also expect one of you to pour some wine in a glass and hold it for me to sip; that expensive, sparkling wine that I took part in buying.
I want the good food too. The best meat and the softest chapatis, served on a plate not made from paper or brittle plastic, eating while seated between the two of you at the dais. If I have to fund your wedding, then you will have to take me along on that honeymoon trip to Dubai or whichever place that the three of us would have settled on.
I will move in with you and take the master bedroom, and because I am nice, I will let you choose any other bedroom for yourselves. I will be part of your marriage and make decisions on the monthly budget, mortgage, loans, and number of children and their names, and I will decide whether we will have DSTv or Zuku.
Asking someone to contribute to your wedding budget is one thing. Telling them that the amount they can afford is too little for you to take is another. Appreciate whatever is offered or cut your cloth according to your size.