BY MPHO KUHLMANN
When couples recite the wedding vow: “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,” some know it is more than just a line but a harbinger of darker days ahead. Today, it’s not uncommon for a wedding to cost as much as a new car or the down payment on a house. Unfortunately, most couples can’t afford those costs and it either falls on the shoulders of the parents or there is debt involved.
Samantha Bogopa the marketing administrator at The Grand Palm and she says they pride themselves in being the venue of choice for weddings. “We are known for hosting lavish weddings and one of our biggest weddings had 800 guests something which is fast becoming common. Our packages start from P300.00 per head which includes venue, food, dance floor, honeymoon suite for the bride and groom as well as vows and the wedding photo shoot. All these are housed under certain packages. The bride and groom get to pick what they want looking at the package best suited to their needs.
What was once a sacred tradition that enabled a couple united by love to become joined together for life has now become little more than a grand exhibition of wealth. In today’s society, weddings have morphed into a contest of sorts and can even be considered more of a spectacle and less of a holy matrimony.
Dr Sethunya Mosime, senior Sociology lecturer at the University Of Botswana says “A wedding is a special time to bring together friends and family from all aspects of your life to celebrate an exciting moment with you and your significant other. Different financial positions may lead to different choices here. An expensive wedding might lead some to think why they didn’t just buy an apartment with that money, but to the couple involved, I’d imagine they aren’t in need of an apartment or a car or whatever if they chose to have an expensive wedding. Beautiful weddings can happen at any budget, but what matters most if you ask me are the people that are there. Ask yourself do you want to create and experience and memories for yourself and those you value most? If that’s not near the top of your list for why you want a wedding, you may want to rethink it or at least rethink the size/investment.”
Maduo Setumo works at Sanitas Nurseries in Gaborone shares an almost similar sentiment: “A wedding is worth the money if you can afford it comfortably, but being married and having a stressful, expensive wedding are not synonymous. People need to take their time and plan their budgets and decide what is necessary rather than spending on expensive decorative items and food. If you value family and enjoy the idea of bringing the two families (and friends) together for the experience it would create, then by all means I think if you’re obliged to have a wedding because “it’s the thing to do” you may well later regret the choice, but if you value the idea of the wedding because of the experience it would create for you and the people you care about then I don’t see a problem with that.”
Many couples believe that the more money they spend on this one-day event, the likely it will be a success and leave guests feeling satisfied. Weddings have become events for impressing others, instead of a celebration of the couple’s love.
Tebogo Moilwa works at Mascom in Gaborone and she thinks big weddings are pointless. “I personally think that it just isn’t worth doing a big wedding bash, unless money is no object. That money spent on a big wedding bash could’ve been saved for a rainy day – and rainy days are ahead in our modern economic lives – what with people start being made redundant as early as in their 40s on the excuse of needing “young blood.” Everyone loves a nice, big wedding. It’s the most important turning point in any person’s life .It gives joy to everyone, unfortunately not financial security. Social and family pressures make their influence, and that could be unavoidable for some. I personally know some couples married for 5ÔÇô10 years still paying off their wedding costs.