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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Columnist: Georgina Asare Fiagbenu

If I were getting married today

I have had five wedding invitations this year and I have been able to attend three – one in Kumasi, the second in Accra and the other in Tema. All the marriages were beautiful, warm and nice.

The first in Kumasi, which was the wedding of my friend’s daughter who was one of my flower girls, had a very big traditional ceremony plus a beautiful church wedding.

The second involving one of my “daughters” in church had a small traditional marriage ceremony and after that the marriage was blessed in church.

The third was also a very nice elegant church wedding. I loved all of them – very graceful and tasteful.

Talking about wedding ceremonies I can say that generally I have attended high society weddings, moderate ones and average ones.

Very often, whatever the rich spend on their wedding ceremonies doesn’t bother me at all. What usually worries me are the people with low incomes who try very hard to do what the rich do. I have always held the view that people should spend less on their weddings and rather invest heavily in the relationship and in the marriage. If you can do both, that is fantastic.

Very often some people misconstrue investment in wedding ceremonies with investment in marriage.

The two are not the same and will never be.

For example you can have 50 flower girls, brides’ maids, groomsmen, host 1,000 guests at the most expensive hotel, ride a Lamborghini and serve customized Ace of Spades or Don Perignon.

All these can be done by an ill prepared bride or groom or both who have not equipped themselves for the lifetime relationship they are going into. Indeed you can spend a million dollars in a wedding ceremony and have a marriage that is only worth perhaps a 1000 cedis in value that is if that can be quantified or valued. There has to be as much deposit into the marriage itself (that is the relationship and everything associated with it).

I have observed marriages, many of them successful and some of which have failed.

The marriages failed at different stages and for different reasons. I have seen some who have been married for 30 years plus who have divorced and some marriages which have lasted for less than a year. I have a friend who told me he knew a couple who were married for only 10 days and were in court. Some are difficult to explain but it’s good to start right.

Although I don’t pretend to be a marriage expert, here are a few things I think people can take note of in their preparation towards marriage.

You should only get married because you are extra sure you have found the right person (who the “right” person is, is also another matter to unravel). The thing is you have to get married because you want to and not because other people think you should.

I know of instances where people discuss their choices with their friends to find out what they think about their prospective spouses.

If you are getting married, you are the best person to know if you are making a good decision or not.

When you make up your mind and you are sure you want to get married, try and spend less and learn more. Even if you are super rich and you want to make a bold statement ensure the investment you are making is commensurate with your emotional and mental preparation for the marriage. A bad preparation of anything is a recipe for failure.

The thing is, in planning a wedding, you have to work with your budget and not the event planners budget. If you follow the event planners lead without using good judgement, you will end up depleting your life savings to fill other people’s pocket. The mistake you should not make is borrow money to have a wedding. It may come back to haunt or hurt you. This is why people need to learn more consider their decisions before they go into it.

We all learn everyday but you must learn from the right people. We see people displaying bad attitudes and putting up the wrong behaviors because they are being influenced negatively. In the same way negative influences can ruin positive relationships.

People who are getting married should try and keep things simple instead of sampling everything with the view of replicating them.

A replica can never be an original. You have got to be original and maintain your individuality.

And after all is said and done, you want to have fun in your marriage and not gather fans for the sake of doing so.

I have seen people who have turned their marriages into social media events with the aim of having a lot of followers. You should know that when the going gets tough the fans will be there to make fun of you.

Marriage is difficult to explain and even with the best intentions some marriages don’t work. All you can do is to do your best and hope for the best.

Knowing the heights I have attained over the years, if I was getting married today it will really be a big deal for me because of the high standards that have been set and the expectations people probably have about the kind of wedding I should have. Regardless of that, after almost 19 years of marriage, I am sure I will not do differently from what I did before – it will be modest and graceful.

The only thing I would add is a dream vacation to the two countries I can’t wait to visit – Switzerland and Canada.