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Dream wedding puts young Kenyans in financial trouble

Posted by Administrator on March 18, 2011

“Our wedding rings cost us 80.000 Kenyan shillings [one thousand US dollars, ed.]. You only get married once, you know”, says Waitherero, a Kenyan woman who recently got married. She chuckles heartily as she remembers the day. More and more Kenyans are competing to outdo each other in ‘dream’ weddings.

By Caasi Sagala, Nairobi

There was a trail of flashy cars, a bridal party with dozens of guests and hundreds to be fed. They choose an exclusive honeymoon destination and had to pay for expensive caterers and service providers. In total the wedding cost around eight thousand US dollars. To a Westerner this may sound like a normal budget for a wedding, but it is very expensive by Kenyan standards where the majority of the population survives on under a dollars a day.

But nowadays a modern Kenyan wedding isn’t complete without a touch of opulence and glamour. Although Waitherero describes her wedding budget as ‘modest’, arguing that some people spend much more, most couples can’t afford all this and are forced to borrow money. Many Kenyans think wedding ceremonies have become too expensive.

Selling a kidney 
The pressure is so high that one Kenyan man recently offered to sell a kidney in order to pay for his wedding. The quest for a ‘dream wedding’ has left other couples bankrupt.

Muthingu, a woman in her thirties, tells her story: “We invested all our life savings. We even took a loan to finance the wedding. Allan, my husband, and I had to outshine our friends who got married before us. It was a great ceremony, but after the honeymoon we had no money left for rent and groceries. We thought our friends would send wedding gifts that would sustain us, but that was not the case.”

She confesses it took them over a year to recover financially. But she says, “I have no regrets. Up to today, people still talk about our wedding.”

“Healthy competition”

Some Kenyans go as far as hiring helicopters, limousines and exotic islands for their wedding celebration, just to impress others.

“Competition for the best wedding is healthy”, explains Muthingu. “If the couple is truly in love, then money shouldn’t be an issue. An expensive wedding proves that a man is capable and willing to do whatever it takes to take care of his future wife. Only a respectable man will walk a woman down the aisle. It all has to do with dignity.”

Pressure for perfection

Ken, an accountant who plans to get married in December, thinks the pressure to have a perfect wedding is too high: “It’s unrealistic. Why spend a fortune on a dream wedding and put yourself in a financial trouble you may never recover from?” Ken thinks this is the reason why most Kenyan men prefer not to get married. “It is very costly competition. My girlfriend says she is waiting for the British Royal Wedding to get unique ideas for our wedding in December. I am thinking of dumping her.”

But Ken is only one man. His decision won’t stop the competition for the perfect wedding from putting many more young Kenyans in financial trouble.




6 Responses to “Dream wedding puts young Kenyans in financial trouble”

  1. OMAR said

    Dream weddings are the cause of major problems in most marriages. After spending all the money what happens to the next stage… kids,bills,future savings e.t.c? I learned the hard-way, after my wedding i got grounded financially which led to a dream divorce.In a marriage financial stability is very important especially when the kids are involved. Dream weddings and divorce proceedings are the worst nightmares in any relationship. Napkins never return after a trip to the laundry nor does love after a trip to the divorce court, we need to watch out folks.

  2. mommafran said

    I say the cheaper the better and after many years of marriage have a big anniversary.

  3. Wepukhulu isugha said

    Kenyans can be described as people who lives in darkness and who has not seen the light.
    some scientists should come with a solution of what should be do´ne to change the behaviors and mentality for the lost people of our country.what about testing kenyans iqs?
    With that of Asians ,Arabs and wasungu? perhaps this may prove where we belong as humans.

  4. kingori said

    You only need two witnesses for your wedding and the pastor and the wedding is through.

    • Kangemi said

      Kingori, good point but try explaining that to someone who does not want to be out shined by a friend or neighbor. How many Kenyans own cars and can barely afford to fuel them? How many spend lots of money on those academies for their children leaving the family ill able to afford a meal? How many people pay rent in an expensive neighborhood while they can be paying mortgage in a middle class neighborhood? As Kenyans, we need serious attitude adjustment.

  5. Cate said

    Jus as kingori said, wedding only needs 5 people, the bride & groom, 2 witnesses n certified wedding coordinator. The rest r extras. Bt y shud a couple spend millions on 1 day n then spend the rest of the life in a rented house, or worse stil some r left payin debts!!! Only that common sense aint common 2 all.

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