cplfield2Amigos y amigas,

I’m not sure that title makes grammatical sense, but I’ll forge ahead. Have you ever wondered how much we would all save if weddings were cheaper, and bridal showers, wedding committees, bachelorette parties, and wedding fundraisers were things of the past?

I have nothing against beautiful weddings, or even big ones. However, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the situation has become somewhat ridiculous in recent years. We have forgotten the beauty of simplicity. We have made weddings and marriage about appearances and approval. Something needs to change, and I think a good place to begin would be the myths we have believed.

Take a look at these ten lies, for instance, and let’s try to debunk them together:

1. Your engagement ring demonstrates how much your man loves you.

I can credibly tell you (and I ask any man to call me out if I’m wrong when I say) that men don’t really care about rings; many of them hate having to wear them. Their attention is only brought to these little bands because they are concerned about how important rings are to women.

A man will go out of his way to buy an engagement ring – begrudgingly, even – if it means that the woman he loves will be happy or feel loved. But a woman who loves him will not need him to do that to prove a point.

Many couples I know simply had a discussion – an “I’ve been thinking” type of thing – that ended with them both concluding that marriage would be the next sensible step. No romantic dinner, parachuting and zip lining and landing in a field with a band waiting to play a romantic song in the middle of a starry night. Are they happily married? Yes. Do the women know they are loved? Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Like I said here, I believe an engagement should involve a ring. If your man is rich and feels like he wants to spend $20k on a ring for you, that’s entirely his prerogative, and more power to him *raised fist*. But no man should ever have, should ever feel like he has to save his hard-earned money for months simply for a proposal to be acceptable in your eyes. If he does, then perhaps the discussion you should be having is not how to get married, but why you are in that relationship.

2. Your engagement ring determines your man’s worth.

Please just stop it, already. Let’s redefine our definition of manliness. Provision and money are not synonymous. Proposing on one knee does not necessarily indicate humility or love. Not doing so does not imply that these virtues are lacking. Social media posts, elaborate parties, an appearance on The Wedding Show and approval from the girlfriends mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things and they mean even less if materialism drives a woman into the arms of the wrong man.

3. The average cost of a wedding is $25,000 (sh. 300,000 for a Kenyan wedding), so you must spend at least $20,000 (or sh. 200,000).

This is false as well. It’s not difficult to have an affordable wedding. I help friends out with this all the time and it’s easy as pie to cut down on unnecessary costs.

A few quick pointers:

  • Mercilessly chop that guest list; “Uncle” Gideon, Mom’s former coworker who hasn’t seen her – or you! – since 1990 will not mind if he is not invited.
  • Enlist your friends and loved ones to help with catering, stationery, etc.
  • Use e-invites.
  • Trim that bridal party! Why do you need 20 people (8 bridesmaids, 8 groomsmen, two flower girls and a page boy?!) in your entourage?
  • Forget about wedding favors and save-the-dates, or make them yourself.
  • Ditch the wedding planner. You have Google, which is what many of them use.
  • Use your own (or a friend’s) car.

4. You have to make a certain income before you can get married.

This is mostly a concern the guys have, and I didn’t understand it until I realized that they felt pressured to spend plenty of money to please the special women in their lives. If you have found the right person and the conditions are not perfect financially, please know that it is unlikely that they will ever be perfect. If they are reasonable, don’t let anything stop you. Don’t push your man into having need of spoil; you are called to enrich him, not impoverish him.

5. Frugal means tacky.

I’m sure you’ve attended very many tacky expensive weddings, so you know it’s not about how much you spend. Frugal, classy weddings are more than possible. Here is one of my favorites. Now, remember, if you’re in Africa, you can probably go way below the $4000 that Sherry and John spent. If you choose a beautiful color scheme, it’s easier to have a beautiful event. A caveat I must mention here is that I wouldn’t recommend compromising on photography/videography. You’ll need those memories. Grill your vendors. Look at their previous work. Find out how they handle systems crashing. Ensure that your photographer is both affordable and qualified.

6. The wedding is the bride’s day.

This is a lie for two simple reasons; first, she is not getting married to herself, and second, she is not getting married by herself. Every expense that does not benefit the couple and any expense that inconveniences the guests should be scrapped.

7. You have to go big or go home, because people talk about a beautiful wedding years after the event.

People usually only remember how big the wedding was if the couple ends up getting divorced. “Oh, so sad… all that spending, and now after that huge wedding it has come to this.”

I believe most weddings are forgotten within a week, tops. During the event, guests whine about how long the event is taking, complain about the food, criticize the décor. The invitations and programs thereafter become coasters; the favor becomes the baby’s new toy. If you’re spending money so that people talk about you, then maybe you need to reconsider throwing those bucks down the drain.

8. Because you are the bride, you have the right to be a Bridezilla.

Slightly related to #6. Weddings are like PMS in that they are not an excuse for unruly and unChristlike behavior. Being mean to bridesmaids and future in-laws, fleecing everyone for expenses you decided to incur, putting couches, beds, and TVs in your registry; these are not very considerate ways to treat people. I personally think it’s also unfair to have bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, especially if they are on the pricier end, but again, my opinion.

9. You have to give your guests a gift.

I was well into my 20s before I received my first wedding favor, and I have a friend who once said she will begin to throw them out on her way home from weddings because her husband considers them clutter.

10. You have to wed on a Saturday.

One way to trim your guest list and reserve your venue at a much lower cost is to have the wedding on a weekday afternoon. A former coworker had her wedding on a Monday, and I have a friend who deliberately scheduled hers for a Thursday night and sent invitations with just two weeks’ notice. She didn’t want to cause a family feud by not inviting her parents’ friends, but she also wasn’t able to afford the 700-guest event they envisioned. In the end, there was a wonderful compromise; 150 people showed up, and her parents and parents-in-law helped her pay for the extra guests they had asked her to invite. “Your guest, your bill,” she said, and it worked out for her.

Just my opinions; it remains your wedding. :)



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