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Opinions of Thursday, 1 August 2013

Columnist: Brainoo, Marian Juliet

White weddings, are they really necessary?

It is every girl’s dream to have a white wedding, a glamorous one of course and every mother’s wish for daughter. It has always being part of my wish list till my lecturer brought it up in class during lectures. This drew my mind on it making me ask questions and what to make of it.
In Ghana here, there are three types of marriages which is recognised and valid. These are the customary marriage, marriage under the ordinance and the Islamic marriage under the marriage of the Mohammedans ordinance.
Customary marriage is the most common type where specific rites are followed to unite man and woman as husband and wife. It differs with the different ethnic groups but in all a bride price is paid to the woman’s family. In our custom, when a man wants to marry a woman, the man informs his family about intension. The man’s family investigates the woman and her family if they fit their suitability as their son’s wife and their in-law. After this has being met, the man’s family visits the woman’s family to make their intention known to the woman’s family. The response is not given immediately. The lady’s family asks her of her consent and if she agrees, an investigation is conducted into the man’s family just the man’s family did.
After this has been met, the woman’s family calls on the man’s family telling them of their consent. They then agree on the date for the ceremony, bride price, gifts for the girl and her mother, drinks, etc. After this, the man and woman are known to be ‘engaged’ to each other before the actual ceremony where the man’s family present the items to the woman’s family making the man and woman, husband and wife. Why then are we calling the customary marriage engagement which must do before the white wedding? Thus after the customary marriage ceremony, you will have to do the white wedding before you become husband and wife.
I know the white wedding is the entire western wedding custom in the Christian religious tradition which generally includes the marriage ceremony followed by the reception. We are making a mistake now by calling the customary marriage engagement which in my opinion is somehow loosing it recognition as a binding legal and socially recognised marriage. Now, most people see it as a responsibility to do the white wedding even after they are customarily married even though they are not in a position to fund it.
The problem with my lecturer was that, when you have the white wedding, you have being married twice and it is not necessary, my issue is those who cannot afford white weddings but do everything within their means just to have the white wedding and then go totally ‘broke’ after the ceremony. Some use all their life savings forgetting where they will put their heads after married while others go in for loans just for the white wedding ceremony.
In my view, white weddings are not necessary; it is a waste of money. The customary marriage is recognised legally and socially and even God recognises it. Why then should we break our necks and struggle just for a white wedding ceremony?

By Marian Juliet Brainoo,
KNUST.
brainooj@yahoo.com

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