Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Valentine Special Edition: Wedding and Dowry, Just How Much Should It Cost?

So today, a number of guys are going to propose to the love of their lives. While at it, others are planning to take the courtship to the next level. By the end of today, we are going to have dates for wedding set and course, more babies will be created today as compared to other days lol! Anyway, I was having a discussion with one of friends about weddings and whether they are really important as our girlfriends or partners want us to believe. We had divergent views as I felt weddings are not all that important but nonetheless, we had some common ground. For starters, a wedding does not have to be damn expensive. The current trend in Kenya is that the cost of the wedding proves your financial might in the increasingly dysfunctional capitalistic society. They are now largely a show off as it used to dictate social standing. Most men have been on the receiving end as their partners push them to have a show stopper wedding so that she can gain respect among her circle of friends.

Consequently, we have had situations where couples borrow heavily to fund their extravagant weddings as they cannot foot the cost with their own money. Others, burden the wedding committee with the profligate expenditure budget which is constituted by trusted friends who will either feel obligated or emotionally blackmailed.  Those who use loan end up living a pathetic life after the wedding since they are dead broke. So you don’t have to import the suits from Italy rather just buy local suits that are of good quality. For my friend who is planning to wed next year, he says that a modest budget will just be suffice. What matters, according to him, is the love that exists between the couples; no more, no less.

Away from that, before the wedding, you have to pay your dowry in full. Dowry remains one of the most controversial cultural issues in Kenya and was even discussed by the parliament. The million dollar question is, how much should the dowry be? The league of men hold that in laws are out to squeeze cash out of them till the last dime all in the name of dowry. A spot check reveals that ladies from central province hold the record as the most expensive ladies as compared to their counterparts from western Kenya. One man was asked to pay Ksh 1.5 million plus exotic dairy cows. There I was, wondering whether the guy was buying Toyota Premio or literally buying his wife. 

It is also emerging that educated ladies ‘cost’ more and the ‘cost’ rises with the increasing level of education. As in, if she has a master’s degree, you will pay more as opposed to when she has a bachelor’s degree. Come to think of it, could it be that women who are ‘bought’ are the most affected victims of domestic violence? The overrated dowry paid give their husbands some sort of ownership. Maybe. Nevertheless, parliament abolished the payments and one is required to paid in-kind or as they deem fit according to marriage law.

Marriage basically has become an expensive affair nowadays and just like business, it has risks. You can either get profits or incur losses.  For those planning their wedding, I wish you all the best. For those getting engaged today, congratulations! Celebrate your love today and everyday thereafter. Do something out of the ordinary. Happy Valentines!