Thursday, April 09, 2009

Of Weddings and Exploitation

Yesterday I got a rant-call while driving to Kisii. A friend of mine wanted to ventilate on what she said was blatant abuse of friendship by a mutual friend of ours from back in the day. The issue here was that our friend is finally getting 'hitched' as she put it and to do that she had invited her friends from college days to contribute generously towards realizing a dream fairy tale and celebrity wedding.

1. The chick in question wants all her designer wedding props and accessories bought in the US of A (nothing wrong with that)
2. Her bridal team should be chauffeured in a state of the art stretch mercs (nothing wrong at all)
3. The flowers should be the best of cuts arranged by leading celebrity florists in Nairobi(still very good)
4. Catering to be done by a five star hotel's outside catering dept (perfect)
5. There may be rain so the giant marquee to be hired and seats nicely decorated

Well the rain starts beating the whole arrangement when you consider that the budget is running into close to a million rare Kenyan shillings and our friend and her groom have between them about 250,000 only. The rest of the budget must be shouldred by the committee. Second contentious agenda item; These people have been working for more than 10 years and they are in some quite good employments!

My friend ( the 'ranter') is angry and was wondering why Kenyans keep on wanting to depend on donors? Secondly, why do they want us to believe they are capable when indeed they aren't? And why do they want other people to shoulder their responsibility? And who said a wedding was an emergency that requires a harammbee? If they wanted such a fairy tale wedding why didnt they save for it for those past 10 years they have been in gainful employment? Or why cant they take a non secured loan from those banks hawking loans to get their dream??? Why her and her friends???

Well the rant-call lasted me the drive from Ahero to almost Oyugis a distance close to 80KMs. Somehow I surprised myself listening and driving. maybe coz I was otherwise bored on the road alone. But I only had a simple question: Why do people (Kenyans) allow themselves to be exploited and never lift a finger. Only choosing to rant to someone else. Why couldn't my friend (the ranter) tell her friend that she couldn't contribute to their wedding? I have a friend who never takes part in such committees and she says it plain and simple: "I will bring you a present but I wont give you money to get married. Its your responsibility and if you cant afford a wedding, please consider putting off the marriage coz marriage is more expensive than a wedding"

I gave my friend that option but she said it would look bad as such matters were sensitive. It was better to accept the exploitation!


  1. I will secretly tell I don't buy into pre-wedding 'parties' and I can count on my one hand how many people I've given money for weddings-less than 3! Bwana people need to pay for the glamour they like to show off.

    Someone I like joked about the fact that people like you to chip in for dowries and weddings like this "they want you to marry, wed and bury their wives for them"--coz of the funeral harambees.

    But then again, I'm not yet married, and this is not an opinion I express publicly. However, I live and would like to have a wedding within my means-if I walk down the isle, that is-I'm not sure why I don't get blown away by the idea. If I do, I'm sure I could have a dream wedding with Kenya Shillings 250K-300K. For real.

  2. Am sure you can with that money. but it baffles me why Kenyans feel this pressure to show off especially during weddings and funerals

  3. Odegle,

    Just last Sunday, a friend of mine announced that when she starts her preparations, we (her friends) are EXPECTED to fork out a minimum of 20,000 shillings, on top of that, we are to buy our own bridal maid attire!!

    She said this all without batting an eyelid and told us in no uncertain terms that a wedding that costs less than a million shillings is not a wedding!

  4. Had a pal of a pal inviting me to join his wedding kamiti. Was ok to do so until I saw the proposed wedding bill which we would be raising bucks for. Ksh1m including nonsense like honeymoon.

  5. he he. to think I was alone in feeling these things were stupid. Am sure soon this wedding committee stuff will die a natural death like the pre-wedding harambees did years back. pple will soon realize that a wedding is their own shauri and they must foot the bill!

  6. OD,

    You have said it.

    This is simply exploitation and people should stand their ground. Wedding committees are a sham and I have lost quite a number of friends when I refused to participate. At least now I know what kind of friends they were! When I got married 5 years ago, my bride and I saved for 3 years and we had a ceremony which we could afford. [As a result guests who came to the ceremony offered presents from their hearts since there had been no financial blackmail]. So I see no reason why anybody cant do it. A side benefit of couples learning to save for their weddings is that you step into marriage already knowing that financial obligations will have to be jointly shouldered instead of the illusions that so many newly-weds sometimes harbour about bliss without toil!


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