The past few weekends were marked by celebratory and joyful wedding vibes all around the city and the country as a whole. The end of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s ‘Gena’ or Christmas fasting season was a defining moment for the start of wedding celebrations. Almost everywhere you go in the city particularly on Sundays, you will witness a queue of cars honking their horns and flashing their hazard lights to grab the attention of passersby and adding to the celebratory mood. The wedding vibes have the effect of making bachelors and bachelorettes think about their own special day. Weddings mark a major transition in someone’s life and should be celebrated. But the question that should be asked is, should wedding celebrations cost someone’s marriage?
Although I did not get the chance to plan a wedding myself, I have the feeling that the planning process is quite a stressful one. This is particularly true if one prefers to spend their savings on property purchases, house furnishings and on child raising. In times where many things are getting more expensive by the day, it seems to me that the wisest decision would be to spend as much less as possible on wedding celebrations and more on marriage investments. Some people go to the length of borrowing money to “afford” a lavishing wedding ceremony which will hunt them back once the marital life has begun. Of course, the value that people give to wedding ceremonies is different from one individual to another, and that should be respected. But personally, I would argue that, if a couple does not own a property (say, neither a car nor house/apartment), spending on a wedding ceremony an amount that would have been enough to buy either of the two properties is not really justifiable.
Sometimes I ask myself, why do some people really go to unjustifiable lengths to host a quite expensive wedding ceremony? Just like in other aspects of life, weddings are a source of comparison of wealth and financial status. They can also be a way of hiding one’s true financial situation from peers. But is it worth sacrificing hard earned income on a ceremony that will be forgotten by its audience as soon as the ceremony took place? In my opinion, the early periods of marital life should not start by bickering over the large amount of money that has been spent on the wedding ceremony and by stressing out on how owed debts should be repaid. Even there were no debts to celebrate the wedding, I would find it unfair that couples stress out about the money needed to buy house furniture while the money spent on the wedding would have been more than enough to cover furnishing expenses.
Marriage is a very important life event. There is no doubt that it should be celebrated. If one has a means to afford both a lavish wedding ceremony and a decent financial situation post-wedding, the investments made on the wedding ceremony are justifiable. But if the wedding celebrations are made at the expense of financial stability during the early periods of marriage, I would say better to save the wedding expenses to avoid welcoming marital life with financial troubles.