So last month I went to a dear friend’s wedding and…
It got me thinking
A good friend from varsity, Dr Mela Mafune, tied the knot in a tranquil wedding this past weekend, and I was invited. The blissful day was filled with champers and horse-carriage drives to the aisle, God-centred vows and live-saxophone covers of Ed Sheeren and Langa Mavuso, purple lights and vibrant dancing, and of course the inevitable bouquet toss with Beyoncé’s Single Ladies blasting over the speakers. It was an event for the books.
Throughout the event, I had thoughts. Many thoughts. Thoughts like, what a gorgeous bride in a gorgeous dress, what a handsome groom in a handsome suit, how much did all this cost? How much do weddings cost? What exactly goes into planning and co-ordinating a wedding? What are the benefits of marriage in this here modern world? What are the risks? Is the divorce rate still 50%? What is the origin of tossing the bouquet? It is now after the wedding, and the questions still linger. So I set to find the answers. This here blog post is about what I found.
In 2014, a wedding could set a couple’s finances back about R70 000 – R80 000 on average. In 2014. Now, well, who is to say one won’t spend a quarter of a million? Half the budget goes to the venue, food and drinks. The other, for everything else. (But ‘everything else’ does not include magadi/ilobolo/bride price, the rings, or the honeymoon. How on earth do people afford lavish weddings?
How do people plan lavish weddings? Two options. The first would be to DIY – research and plan and itemize and do it all. Or, much less stressful in my opinion, to hire an events organizer, or wedding planner. Either way, the pockets will be significantly lighter at the end of the event.
So, the wedding day has arrived. The vows are read, the tears are shed, and the guests are fed. Then comes the grossly anticipated bouquet toss. But where on earth does the tradition come from?
In years past (in today’s world too) a bride was considered lucky. Unwed women would try to get any part of her luck, including pieces of her dress, and her flowers. Imagine the scenes. The bride would toss her bouquet and, while girls rushed to grab the flowers, she would escape and run off into the sunset.
With the wedding over and the ‘real work’ of marriage beginning, one needs ask, what of marriage in this day and age? What are the benefits and risks? Well, according to this article, the benefits could be summed up as follows: security and comfort, companionship and emotional stability, solid foundation for children, better health (for men), tax breaks, and rights of spouses (think medical decisions, inheritance).
The disadvantages are: the monotony of monogamy, financial burden of weddings, old-fashioned, a trap (easier to break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend than to get divorced), bad for women’s health [not my words], and divorce is now more acceptable (so benefits may not necessarily be ’til death).
For good or bad, though, many still choose to marry. And, in South Africa, the 6th lowest divorce rate country according to this article, weddings still abound. And they are a true cause for celebration.
Perhaps at the next wedding I attend, I too shall run and dance to Single Ladies in anticipation of catching the bridal bouquet.