If you have lived in Ghana for long, you probably know there is nothing so easily achieved in the country than copying what others are doing.
This is the same for weddings these days.
The kind of money skewed to a particular section of the wealthy graph. The one that the people in the most high places have access to. Yes, that kind of money in Nigeria. And these people in the most high places are quite a number compared to the ones in Ghana.
Legend has it that the amounts that are deemed surplus by the people who deem it fit to call surplus can fund the main projects when it comes to Ghana. So you see, Nigeria has money. That kind of ‘having money’. No one mentioned corruption here. So please move on.
This kind of money has played a huge part in the way Nigerians celebrate their wedding ceremonies.
Let’s face it. A wedding is the first biggest loss for a couple before they even try to think about how to run a family. Just like every other entity under consideration, there are exceptions. But on a general note, weddings are losses. Huge money losses to be precise.
Then again, if you have the money, why would you not blow it on your wedding day and justify with the only excuse available, ‘It is a once in a lifetime experience’?
Some Nigerians did have the money and boy did they show how weddings could actually be a second heaven on earth.
When social media became social media, these flamboyant weddings in Nigeria began to find their ways across the borders to the pages of Ghanaian social media users.
So the little who did have the gargantuan monies began to emulate these weddings. They invited their friends who also saw that as a wedding goal.
Gradually, it is becoming the order of the day in Ghana. The superfluously rich weddings. Not much can be said if the couple are actually that superfluously rich. It just must be done that way.
The Ghanaian marriage before ‘white wedding’ invaded
Traditionally marriages in Ghana were specifically not about that particular day the event took place. It was about how things could be put in place to make sure the marriage lasted for the lifetime could have.
That was why enough time was spent researching on the various families to make sure no family issues could disrupt the compatibility status of the bride and groom after things were finalised and made official.
The items the groom was asked to submit to the bride’s parents were as a sign of respect and proof of commitment he was ready for the long journey. Various acts were used to signify assurance from both the bride and groom that despite the difficulties that may arise in their marriage, they were ready to see it through.
The fun and celebration part was just a small section of the whole marriage pie.
Weddings and social media, the focus of modern marriages
The traditional side of the marriages is still around. Just modified and ‘upgraded’ to meet the ever requesting needs of a ‘white wedding’. There are also some new and gradually becoming permanent aspects of a Ghanaian marriage.
So this purpose a few years ago was handled by the respective families of the bride and groom. No. They weren’t photographers nor did they pose for photos. They went round telling everybody who was supposed to know about their daughter or son’s marriage, inviting them and revealing all details about the ceremony. This was aided by a few printed invitations for special guests who could actually give the new couple something little to start life with.
But that was before social media became a major force in how weddings are run.
Of course, somebody has to ‘Save the Date’ and it has to be a creative reminder. So pre-wedding photoshoot.
The extent some of these pre-wedding photoshoots go and the amount spent on the photographer and location is bewildering. But hey, if the money is there, why not? Right?
Legend has it the list was the list everywhere for a man who spotted the rib of his ribs and wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The few who had the flexibility to showcase their abundance of wealth added a few goats to show they were the ‘gangalears’ [gang leaders] in the marriage game. But overall, the list was an untold universal rule that had the specific items.
Not anymore. You are a very lucky man if you’re not asked to buy the latest version of all of Apple’s products for the junior brothers of the bride. An iPhone 7 for the youngest, MacBook for the oldest and an iPad for the middle child. Then again, there are exceptions to the rule but the items the families of the bride are taking is ridiculously scary for young men who want to settle down these days.
Bridesmaids and groomsmen
To go by the terms politicians are throwing around these days, the rule was ‘One bride, one bridesmaid and one groom, one groomsman’. How time flies.
In recent interview by PulseTV, a Ghanaian lady said 8 bridesmaids was her target. Eight!
Can we skip to the next point now? This point has already been made.
Budget for the wedding
This topic is highly relative. PulseTV’s research found it ranged from a minimum of 2,000 Ghana Cedis to how much the couple were willing to spend. The maximum that was mentioned during the interviews was 60, 000 Ghana Cedis but that’s surely not the limit. It can’t be, considering the wedding videos that have found their way unto social media.
From the suits of the groom to the wedding gowns, the wedding rings, cloths for the groomsmen and bridesmaids, food at the ceremony, gifts to make guests remember the wedding forever, dancing classes for the groom and bride, wedding budgets have never been higher.
Peer pressure is high on social media. No matter how a lot of people may deny, fervently seeking for a high budget wedding is all about what their friends will say and the need to top the last wedding they went to.
Nigerian weddings started this a few years before Ghana. But if you have lived in Ghana for long, you probably know there is nothing so easily achieved in the country than copying what others are doing.
It has gotten so bad to the extent people go for loans in a bid to settle their debt gradually after their ‘I dos’ so friends will know they did ‘some’.
A word of advice though, the secret to spending your life with someone else is not the getting married part. It is about staying married.
Work on issues that will make your marriage last because not matter the amount you spend on your wedding day, at least one of the guests will talk about how awful the bride’s dress was, the poor make-up or the food that triggered their running stomach.