Monday, 10 November 2014

Better or Worse...NOT BROKE!


‘You know, as a guy, you need to have some stuff before you get married. I mean at least your own little place, a small car and some savings in the bank. Nowadays, marriage, women and children are very expensive…not like in your day’ was the asinine answer I got from the delusional 28 year old dude when I asked him why he was leaving it so late to get hitched. I suppose I handed him that on a silver platter but I’m still a bit sore that the moron used the phrase ‘not like in your day’ in reference to me, as if I was approaching retirement. Idiot!

Anyway, this is a sentiment commonly expressed by the vast majority of young men these days (at least in this part of the world). Honestly, most, if not all of what they say is probably true. I mean c’mon, I got married at 27 on a shoestring budget to my wife who was 25 then. The entire budget of our wedding and engagement ceremonies could not have been more than 6000 GHS (1765 USD).

In contrast to the above, I’ve attended some weddings over my past 4 years in Ghana that make my eyes water simply thinking about the cost that went into the planning and execution. Some of the calculations I’ve made, having a good knowledge of the cost of goods and services in Ghana, have been well over 30 000 GHS which isn't a mind-bending amount of money in and of itself. It’s just that most of these people would be lucky to be earning 2000 GHS (588.24 USD) per month (pre-tax). That means even with a combined annual salary of 48 000 GHS (14117.65 USD), these guys are blowing so much more than they can afford. And for what really? One or two days of a carbon copy event where Unique Flora gets to showcase their latest in tackiness? Where Tasty Treats caters by serving multiple rice dishes, fried chicken, tomato sauce and other run-of-the-mill dishes in their very blandest incarnations.

Although it may not seem like it, I really don’t have anything against weddings per se. What I don’t get is this requirement to spend such vast amounts of money, you don’t have, on an event that turns out mediocre at best. It’s not like Ghanaians are such great gift givers either. Let’s face it, most people turn up at weddings having prepared to scoff down and drink as much as you can throw at them without the slightest consideration of giving anything, not even a paperweight.

Okay so if you ignore my rant, the point I’m trying to make is that if you’re lucky, life is reasonably long and you and your chosen partner will have a great time exploring its ups and downs. Whatever you do, don’t start if off with a wedding ceremony that you can’t afford. Here’s my advice for the ideal simple wedding…

1. Keep it small.
For the life of me, I’ve never understood people who say their guest list is 500 people? What the f*ck is that about? Are you planning to storm and capture a small city? If between the two of you, you personally know 500 people then there’s a real problem somewhere! No, seriously, from experience and in my opinion you shouldn’t invite more than 180 people to your wedding ceremony. That’s roughly 18 tables each seating 10 people. As a rule of thumb, fewer is more manageable.

2. Never send out an open invitation.
Okay, I get it; you’re a church goer and just so happen to go to a church where the congregation is moderate to large. Again, I get all of that. But does that mean that you have to invite EVERYONE from church? Really? Seriously, make a list that looks something like this;

a.      People I HAVE TO invite i.e. in-laws (unfortunately), parents, siblings, closest and best friends, Pastor and his wife (not entire family), a couple of church mafia - you know the type I mean right? Oh, and the same rule applies to your work folk. Unless you have a small office of 5 – 10 people, don’t friggin’ invite everyone. They’ll forgive you in time (usually when the first and hopefully cute baby arrives).

b.     People I’d like to turn up but not sure if they will. Acquaintances, peripheral family members, your kid’s headmistress, the proprietress of the school you’d like your unborn child to go to when he/she arrives…get the drift?


c.      People who you don’t care much for but are obliged to invite. You know the type I mean…dad’s friend from 20 years ago. The one he’s still competing with and wants to stick it to with his son’s/daughter’s wedding ceremony. Yeah, uncle who’s-his-face from where-the-hell?


3. Spend most of your money on your honeymoon
.
Of all the advice I could possibly give you, this is probably the best and most relevant. First of all, if you’re gonna spend a great chunk of your savings/loan/ransom/blood money on your wedding then a nice getaway for the two of you is after the madness and build up is just what the doctor ordered to help deal with the resulting anti-climax…or what he would order if he had any sense. Truth is, planning and executing a wedding ceremony, if you’re mad enough to do it yourself, requires the mental fortitude of a Greek god(dess). There’s a lot of build up to the day and what follows that day, if not planned thoughtfully, can be somewhat anti-climactic. Spend some money on something nice.  A trip that will capture your (plural) imagination; whether it’s something secluded and relaxing or something adventurous or even outlandish. Spend the bulk of your money on you (plural) and start your journey of marriage in style.

4. No kids!
These little critters are adorable (especially when they’re not yours) but not at weddings. Most parents have horrible parenting skills and can’t control them and they end up doing inappropriate sh*t at inappropriate times. Make sure your invitation is sent out with following sentence;
No kids please…they’re lovely but why not leave them at home this time around and come and have a fun adult day with us. Guess what, when they’re not around, you can brag about them better. Yay!’

5. Kenkey at a wedding?
You’re kidding right? Guys and girls…seriously, why the hell would you even consider serving something that puts beautiful (if somewhat tacky) clothing side by side with shito, hands and hand washing utensils? Unless you’re catering for the event at Asanka Locals, avoid kenkey, banku, omo tuo, tuo zaafi, fufu, ɛtew, akplɛ…etc. It’s just a dumb idea.

There’s a whole bunch of other dumb sh*t I’ve observed at these garishly tacky events and I’m definitely going to touch on them in another post. But before I close this post off, there’s one particularly idiotic trend that needs a mention;


  • BAN the f*cking iPad/Tablet amateur photographers that ruin the event for everyone.
Okay so I get that everyone and their dog can now afford a smartphone/tablet/phablet. But when during the; cutting of the cake, kissing of the bride, first dance, all one can see is a sea of retarded morons trying to capture the moment on their cheap shitty little devices or humungous ‘look-at-my-beaten-up-first-gen-clunky-looking-ipad’, I consider the entire event a failure. People, crowd control is key! Get one good photographer to deal with the entire event. Setup an Instagram, Flickr account, upload the loveliest and best pics and share the details with your guests.

You can now tell your guests to sit the f*ck down and let everyone ‘enjoy’ the event.

This way, you prevent that unfortunate picture, where you’re caught at the wrong angle by a sh*tty little Techno or RLG phone…you know, the one with the no megapixle camera from before The Matrix. It’s smart to take control of what the world sees of your wedding.

Stay tuned for more on champagne popping (and the playing of the ‘pop champagne’ song), annoying/inappropriate MCs, multiple ‘cake cutters’, preaches who love the sound of their own voices, insufficient food for guests and so much more…