Our guest today is Kamau Irungu, a great friend I have known since my campus days. He is a passionate and hilarious MC (he has MCeed countless weddings and other events I have attended). He recently got married and today shares with us what he has learnt in the process of wedding planning. Enjoy….
These are lessons my wife and I have learned the hard way, and observations I have made on my side of life as a guy.
Dowry and all that goes with it:
It’s probably the most significant cultural and spiritual step towards marriage (in Kenya and I imagine in Africa), even more than the wedding.
- Make sure you and your fiancée are on the same page on lobbying her parents and family to ask for a reasonable amount of money and if necessary involve influential family members and friends in the lobbying.
- When the negotiations are over and you have been “given the girl”, if you don’t have the resources, you don’t have to have a wedding ceremony. Of course family pressure to show off their son/daughter do a wedding will come into play and you might need more than a spine to withstand it, but that said, kama hakuna pesa za kupanga shereha ya harusi, this is one important step – you need to honor parents by asking for her hand properly. In fact we might not need to go to the next steps I will be writing about.
So you have decided to go ahead and have a wedding ceremony? You have decided that spending an average of Ksh 300, 000 (or more for some people) for about six hours is a good venture since it’s a once in a lifetime venture? OK
- Start by determining what to you as a couple is the irreducible non-negotiable minimums. In my case, rings, photography & venue were not negotiable. For my wife, it was the decoration and food quality. Everything else would work around that. This should be determined by the couple and presented to everyone else as non-negotiable, everyone else here are the parents, friends and the planning committee. It would do good to remember that your non-negotiable are not universal and won’t be universally accepted. This includes the theme and timings of the wedding, is it a breakfast wedding, a high noon wedding, etc
- Shop for service providers, consult widely, but before facing a committee, have a final list of service providers. This is because everybody in the committee and also in your family knows someone who knows someone who can do this or that for your wedding, and if you had not solidified on your list of service providers, it will get hijacked.
- If and when possible, don’t have your good friends and family members as service providers. Hawa ni watu wanakujua vingine, ama wanajua mambo ya nyumbani vingine, na sana sana huwa wamekuzoea, which is not good for business. In fact even some members of your committee will disappoint you in one way or the other, because they are your friends and know you differently, so by all means make sure, hauja catch ma feelings, na ukizicatch jaribu kuziwachilia haraka upesi.
- Select the planning committee from your friends, approach them personally, share your dreams and expectations and let them do the job, it’s important to have a very capable chairperson. Having done this, have very realistic expectations because when it’s all said and done you are the only one who really understands what and how you want your wedding delivered, na watu wa committee in one way or the other since they don’t see it the way you do 100%, watakuangusha. Hio point ikifika, kumbuka tuu vile mungu hukusamehee mathambi kama thao at any one time na ukuwe mpole. If problem persists, be willing to drop/substitute/replace/re-assign their duties or side step the individual from the committee gracefully. There is life after your wedding so be careful not to burn all the bridges.
- Concentrate on raising funds; let the committee concentrate on planning the wedding. I had such a capable committee and committee chair person, that I only attended two meetings. However when raising funds, work with your family and networks, make initial contact with people personally and not via social media. I made that mistake of over relying on social and I ended up with a deficit, such that I took cash from my honeymoon kitty to settle the deficits. I am the same guy who has gone and “MCeed” other peoples’ pre-weddings and raised lots of cash in three hours, but in mine, we raised little. One of the other mistakes we did was use words and names for our pre-wedding fundraiser that our target audiences didn’t understand and thus ignored. So you can see how I ended up not going to our preferred destination for our honeymoon.
- Determine the type of songs for the wedding in advance, and communicate the same to the Head of sound, Head of entertainment, the DJ and MC, avoid aibu ndogo ndogo – self explanatory
Next week I will share on wedding night and honeymoon 🙂 Don’t miss that.
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.