Building Relationships We Can All Be Proud Of

Thursday, 14 November 2013


The cost of weddings today in Ghana is staggering. A good wedding worth the description ‘Good’ in Ghana will cost nothing less than $20,000.00 – So let’s just work with that amount. When we talk of $20,000.00 it means all the 350 invited guests plus the their gate-crusher-invited-guest’s-invited-guest of about 50 or more, will all have places to sit, something to eat and not have to reduce the plate portion so everyone can have a bite…unless it is strictly by invitation and tables are name or numbered. 

And when I talk of food, I don’t mean a sickly looking buffet table; I mean a buffet table that is likely to have everything you will find on every proper buffet table…including a roasted Duck/lamb/pork/fish or all of them. A buffet table where you are in charge of the ladle rather than some ill-dressed sweaty waiters and waitresses. 

This kind of wedding has water available as and when you request for it, and at least two rounds of drinks – soft or alcoholic. Nothing runs short. 

It also means, the Décor is on point whether the reception is at an open space [like an event center, a beach, a stadium or a garden] or in an enclosed area.

It also means good cars are arrayed, a good band/DJ is playing, a live performance by a famed group or individual and the bridal party is nothing short of four. It means the bride and the groom must wear gowns and suits bought from UK, US or Italy…or maybe Paris. I don’t know about German wedding gowns. This also means the Bouquet must be natural flowers, the rings must be White Gold and the other dresses other than the wedding apparels must be sewn by a local designer with fabrics that cost excessively expensive to wear for just a day. 

I can go on and on and on…. But for us to put all of these in proper perspective, I think it is only reasonable that we cost all the above.

Photography and Videography is at least $2,500.00…Oh yea they charge in Dollars and it comes with a good photo book which is about $250.00 – At least Kwamena Som did not disappoint me. The Ring set is around $2,000.00, the Suits, the shoes, the gowns and all the apparel for the couple for the Saturday and the Sunday is hitting $2,000.00…that is if we replace some originals with Made-in-Chinas.  If you really want to leave a lasting taste on the tongues of your guests, you won’t pay anything less than $15.00 [GHC30.00] per head for food; multiply that by the number of guests. Water is either bottled and customized or just regular bottle water; that is roughly around $500.00 for about 600 people or 300 guests all of whom will take two bottles each… if you don’t want anyone to die of thirst. The décor is going for at least $800 if you want your wedding pictures to be anything to write home about. How much do they rent luxury cars in your area? How much does it cost to groom and make up the bride? Then we have the cost of venue, the MC, the DJ and the various performances.

Ah how could I have forgotten about the programme, the invitation cards, the favours and the small cupcakes so you don’t have to cut the actual wedding cake and take it round. How can I forget the bridal party and their apparel? If you have ‘nice’ friends they will foot the bill for their own stuff…otherwise, that is another cost to deal with. 

Aaah I can go on and on…and the more I do that, the more the cost sky rockets and the more I scare some people off. 

Yes indeed not everyone wants to be profligate with their wedding expenditure; if you are blessed with a good social and family ties, that may tell positively on you. You can also choose to find smart ways of recouping your wedding cost from your guests by stating emphatically in the invitation cards that all gifts must be in cash or gift vouchers from designated shops. Besides being crafty with defraying your cost, you also prevent people from bringing you gifts you really don’t need. Can you imagine four people bringing you the same wall hanging all written in English and translated into French and sold at Melcom? You don’t intend to open a cold store; so what is with 14 ice chests? No! 

What point am I trying to make with all these ramblings and rantings? I feel like an old man who is confused with the realities around him. An Old man I am, confused, I doubt. I am surely coming to the point. 

How much return on investment will come to you if you put that $20,000.00 or more into Treasury Bills in Ghana? About 20%? How much will you make in three years if you put $20,000.00 into treasury bills? I could use some Mathematical help right now.

Don’t get me wrong; the article is not about not marrying neither is it about being unconventionally frugal in your wedding expenditure. Only God knows I might have as well been sold together with my wife and my sons and daughters to defray the cost if my wife and I had to pay for our wedding from our pocket. It was grand; glory to God for sending kings and queens who just decided to line up and ask for the budget so they can take up their share even before we started counselling. It was like they saying, relax Guys, sit back and let's take care of this. The reception was at the Essipon sport stadium, in Takoradi with an invited guests of 600 and then uninvited guests! So my point again is not about small weddings.    

My whole point is, why do people spend all that money getting married and divorce after three years? Think about it. You spend over $20,000.00 [which again is a basic expenditure], tell the entire world of your intentions, enter into covenants/vows which are spiritually, legally and socially binding, join a club of the gold ringed prisoners and then after three years, and over trivia, decide that you want to call it quits. 

Yea I know what’s on your mind; it is better to be divorced and live a happy life than to live in such a thralldom. And if the cost of $20,000.00 and the loss of potential return on investment, if you would have even invested the money, is what you must bear in your bid to buy back that freedom that is viciously turning into a dream on the brink of miscarriage, then it is worth it. I wish I could give you a levitating ovation and pat you at the back, except, divorces are not so easily executed.

I know of a lady friend whose husband told her at a point blank range, he would give her the divorce she is so looking for after she is 40 years and effectively off the market of marriage. With a man like this, can you catch any fish at the high seas? I need not tell you of the many children whose lives are being ripped apart by having to be shuffled between divorced parents… especially when one parent is like South Korea and the other, North Korea. The disparity and the challenges, ineffable.  

In this part of the world, and in this day and age, yes people don’t talk ill to the face of those who have gone through a divorce, but well they can’t help their thoughts and the juicy gossips in the comfort of their cars and homes…when they are sure no one is victoriously recording them as if it is a Hammer and Sickle job. 

So shall we not divorce? Well it is not for me to say, but this article is not about divorce either! Oh dear! So what am I raving about? 

Oookkaayyy let me say it. Make the best choice while you can when you are outside of the gold circle! Do not fear to walk out of any relationship that does not give you the best. A man or woman hoping to be married by their partner is logically to give their best and try to impress upon them they are the best choice they could ever make. If during this period of trying to please, they are rather abusive, dishonest, unfaithful, then what else would they do when they have you and you have nowhere to go? Why make excuses to keep someone who does not make an excuse when it is you on the chopping board. 

Men are marrying for the wrong reasons; women are marrying for the wrong reasons. The problem? Loyalty. 

In the 50s and the 60s, there was something called Loyalty; your parents were loyal to their work and worked there till they retired, got fired- rarely, company collapsed or they died. Employers were loyal to employees even if being loyal to them meant the company was going to go under. Your mum was loyal to your dad and your dad was loyal to your mum…or at least your grand parents were. 

Do we have that loyalty today? No. Employers and Employees are all viewing each other with suspicion...husbands and wives are viewing each other with suspicion. When there is a slight sense of problem, instead of management or employers finding solutions that will not involve cutting down on workers, the first thing they do is to downsize. When employees sense that it could be better elsewhere, they move without a moment pause. Between moving and firing, each one gives their best to the other with the singular ulterior motive of getting more from the other. The same battle rages at home in our marriages today. When the man feels there could be trouble up ahead, he start giving the woman drama the size of the Milky Way, and when the woman feels she is not getting the best utility where she is, she surreptitiously put herself up for taking by any man who can afford to pay. In between that, when the man gives a Cent, he finds ways of taking a dollar from the woman, and when the woman cooks a decent meal at home, the next request will be for a dinner in a 5 star hotel. Everything has been reduced to business models. Where is Loyalty?

Loyalty has been hijack by pirates in the Indian Ocean, Alas. 

So why seeing all these, pretend to be gods who are able to fix all things, get into marriage only to prove that Divorce is still very much at work. Ravi Zacharias puts it this way; if you jump out of a window of a high rising apartment, you do not deny gravity, you only prove it. 

Over 70% of people today who are undergoing protracted and often costly divorce will tell you, they somehow saw it coming even before they tied the knot; they were only trying to see if they could work out their differences and find well negotiated grounds.  I say, stop seeing if it would work; people usually don’t change for good, we get worse! If you think I am a liar, check the health of the Earth now and compare it to 200 years back. What you see is the reflection of our individual lives; our pursuit of self-pleasing and self-serving expeditions. 

In the end, the question is why spend $20,000.00, legal battles, social stigmas, [for some cultures] torn and haunted lives [including that of your children] spiritual challenges [in some communities] just to prove that you really can’t live with someone? Why not choose the easier way? Why not walk out now…out of that abuse and toxic miasma now that you know you can’t live with the person…believe me when I say it, it is less of a stress. You must start getting tired of him…you must get tired of her. You have prayed, cried, talked and complained; you have even involved others, why not get out, why not at least try and see if by your exit they may be jolted out of their stupor and amend their ways. Do not be a part of the divorce statistics; trust me it is worse than the heartbreaks’ statistics.  

PG Sebastian
Copyrights 2013