Isreal Kabareebe of Kakiika Mbarara, says in 2009 having seen most of his peers put up what they used to call classy weddings, he also chose to have one.
“I had got a job in one of the banks in Mbarara. Just two years into work, I joined a corporate class clique and I forgot my humble background. I had not invested in anything, back home my siblings and family were struggling but what I was looking forward to was a classy wedding to outsmart my friends who had got married before me,” narrates Kabareebe.
He adds the wedding was done and identified as ‘classy’.
“We blew huge sums of money to feed people and have service providers to put up a wedding to win and I got a standing ovation,” he adds.
After the wedding, the crowd went. Forget those that had promised to honour their unfulfilled pledges, the couple remained with a burden of servicing loans and paying debts.
“The good we expected out of our wedding turned into misery.”
After the wedding, they struggled to make ends meet but some of the friends and relatives started gossiping about Kabareebe’s plight.
“I thank my wife who stood by me. I have witnessed some of the marriages failing because of challenges they go through after hyped weddings,” he says.
What is a wedding?
A wedding should reflect a commitment between couples to stay together but not forcing yourself into a ceremony to demonstrate and make your friends and those around you happy.
Worse still, those that tend to go into this competition at times, do not have the necessary financial muscle to wade through this. They plan, budget and invest hope in contributions from friends through wedding meetings, others even take loans. Most of these couples start families while struggling.
Yes, having a flashy wedding is fine but the question is, are you wedding to impress? A wedding has to be affordable, reflect the reality of you and your commitment to stay as a couple.
Zeal for contribution vs investment
Moses Mwesigwa, a family counsellor in Mbarara, says using a wedding to prove anything other than commitment to one another is wrong and should never happen.
“Competition is the reason couples take loans, bother friends and relatives asking for contributions. A couple is starting a family with no investment but the energy they use ought to look for contributions never matches the zeal to mobilise for investment,” says Mwesigwa.
He adds that a wedding should be affordable and, to the choice and comfort of the couples but not showbiz.
He reveals that most couples hold lavish weddings sometimes lose valuable friends by blaming them for not contributing to their event.
“These days couples organise wedding preparatory meetings mainly to get contributions. People put their friends and family members at ransom to contribute but they forget that no one wishes to go into debt because of their flashy wedding. People will contribute what they can or leave, after all, contributions are optional,” says Mwesigye.
To young couples, Mwesigye says, instead of splashing huge sums of money to impress, they should use the money to invest for their children and the future economic stability of their families.
The Bishop of Ankole Diocese Rt Rev Sheldon Mwesigwa, says many couples these days tend to leave in unholy and illegal marriages because of the competitive nature of weddings.
He says weddings have been presented as an expensive venture and those who are not ‘rich’ fear to wed or legalise marriages.
“The bar for marriage has been set high that those that can’t raise large sums of money to have mega weddings or parties have chosen to remain in unholy marriages. They work hard to make enough money and wed, but it does not come easy,” Bishop Mwesigwa observes.
The bishop adds that wedding is not about making those around you happy but saying your vows and meaning what you say.
He concludes that a wedding is not a competition but a vow to your partner regardless of how you do it.