When I was a kid and I truly believed in fairy tales and prince charming, my magical wedding included a tall, dark and disturbingly handsome man, myself, and 50 of my closest and dearest people specially picked to witness the magical union. There was always, for some reason a yellow heavenly glow coming through the windows that seemed to fall only on me. This magical wedding was going to happen on a lovely Tuesday afternoon at a tiny church at some far corner of St. Andrews to be officiated by a pastor who knew that a sermonnette meant preaching for 10 minutes and not shaving off 10 minutes from his usual 2-hour sermon. As the years passed, I started preferring to be prettier than my men, my perception of marriage changed and I know for a fact that unless I’m planning to wed at around the same time I’m battling menopause, that Range rover that will act as my transport will not be owned by me.
My perception of the wedding however never changed. There was a reason I wanted a Tuesday wedding and the reason holds true up til today. I have never wanted the circus wedding I see nowadays. Don’t read me wrong? I have no problem with the concept of marriage. In fact I think, next to finding your calling in life, there’s nothing cooler than finding your “soul mate”. That person who will be your best friend, your think tank, your sounding board, your biggest fan and sometimes your most critical advisor. And if you have found that person, more power to you. My problem is with the actual wedding.
I believe whoever began the ridiculous notion that the wedding day is the best day of a girl’s life should be shot in the knees. I am yet to meet a bride who enjoyed the build up to her “big” day. They enjoyed their wedding day somewhat but if anything, they were more relieved at the end of the day than at the beginning. And wouldn’t it be incredibly sad if the happiest day of your life was on your wedding day? Can you imagine how the next half century will be like? And how unlucky if you decide to marry young and you still believe that single day is meant to be the “best” day? It means that you hit the highest point of your life long before your sell by date.
Marriage is supposed to be a sacred union between the wife, the husband and God. What 1000 people are doing breathing down their necks (the neck of God included) on the day the vow is being made, always baffles me. The reason so much money is spent, loans are taken, months of footwork are done, is hardly ever for the bride or the groom, and definitely not for God. It’s for the 1,000 or so people who at best, will complain about everything they set their eyes on during the wedding day. The food, the dress, the grounds, the pastor, the length of the ceremony, the distance they traveled, the bridesmaids dresses, the cutlery. Who gives a damn about the distance you traveled or that you don’t like eating on plastic plates? If you wanted proper dishes at a distance of your convenience, you should have done just that; Eaten at home. In fact you should be grateful that the happy couple decided to give you an invite to celebrate this day with them. (that is if you didn’t crash the event and still have the audacity to be judgmental).
If your dream wedding always included sending an invitation to every member of your village constituency and you have the money to feed them, entertain them and house them, then go ahead. I am happy for you. I will even come and dance in a circle and sing in foreign languages I neither speak nor understand. But my question still remains, if you’re working on a budget that even Cinderella in her “mboch” days would be ashamed of, why are you insisting on the horse and carriage when you can barely afford the pumpkin? Is the perception of everyone else in the world more important to you than your own personal comfort? Than even the comfort of the person who is vowing before you and God to stand by you forever?
But sometimes, in defense of the misguided bride, dreams and reality clash. And the bride is unable to reconcile the lack of funds with the lack of glamour. You are not meant to spend your days dreaming of that one day when you have a lifetime afterwards that still needs to be planned for. The best weddings I have attended so far have had little in the way of pizzazz. They were charming and simple which made the focus entirely on the couple and little attention was paid to the colour of the flowers or the material of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Of course I enjoy a big over-the-top wedding just as much as the next person. If not more. The dresses are always so much cooler and the grounds….wololo. And it is always a wow! moment the first time you see cakes shaped like goats and village huts. But you know what…..a week down the road; few of the guest remember the pizzazz. They might shamelessly remember that they never got their pre pack cakes to take to their 14 kids at home and that there were no cold Fanta Pineapples, but only the couple will remember what the day was truly about. That’s my biggest problem with modern day weddings. Is the wedding really worth it if no one knows why they are truly there? Unfortunately in modern day weddings, even the bride and groom seem to forget what the day is about.
Disclaimer: If I invite you to my wedding and the cake is shaped like Zebras in the Mara complete with trees and rivers; and it ends up looking more like a Gor-AFC meet than the charming little set up I described earlier…….IT’S HIS FAULT. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.