The Wedding Prep Talk
Getting ready for your big day can get you all excited, unsettled and nervous at times. It is a huge step and it can be quite scary. I, however, feel that, like any venture, if you are well prepped up for it, entering it will be a lot more easier and decisions would be made with cooler heads. Ultimately, we all want the best for ourselves on our big day and hope this will carry on forever everafter. Some of you reading this are single and intend to marry, some of you have proposed and others have been proposed to, and some of you are in serious relationships leading to marriage. There is no problem at all; we are in April and you can meet someone and in less than 8 months get married. So if you are reading this, there is hope for you and there is something I want to share with you.
Before you marry, have a thorough premarital counseling. It is very important. There are some traits and attributes in your potential spouse the effects of which might only come up when you two move in to live together. Counseling will open your eyes to them and it can help you decide whether you want to go on with the marriage or not, and should you go on, steps to take to accommodate or manage these traits and attributes. Counseling will also help you identify what to do and what not to do to have the best of your marriage. Counseling helps you understand yourself and your partner better, in terms of your temperaments, socialization and communication styles. These help you understand in a better way why your partner acts the way they do in the face of certain experiences and how you also act the way you do. Again, It will open your eyes to many things and give you better meanings to them. I will recommend Bishop Dag Heward-Mills’ ‘Model Marriage’ to anyone who wants a counseling material to read. You can also click here to sign up for my premarital counseling sessions.
Mentor And Accountability Partner
Another thing I want to mention is for you to find yourself a mentor or someone who is old and mature and commands a certain amount of respect in your eyes, and be accountable to. YOU would need someone who can look you in the face and rebuke or correct you if you are going wayward. Esther had Mordecai, David had Nathan, Hezekiah had Isaiah, Solomon and his son Rehoboam, however, had no one and we know how things ended for them.
In the future, when you are married and you are at a lost as to how to handle a particular issue, there should be that one person whose judgment you can trust. There should be that one person who can call your spouse to order when things get out of hand and you need a Responsible Third Party involved. Your family and friends are generally not the best people to talk to about your marriage. They may side with you and it may be harmful in the end.
Saving, Purchases And Financial Preparations
Start saving Money or start buying stuff towards the wedding and the life thereafter, especially if you are already in a relationship. Have a separate bank account for that purpose and save in there. Decide how much you would want to put in there on monthly or weekly basis. You can make it a percentage of whatever income that comes to you.
When the time comes for buying stuff, Men, give the money to the woman and let her buy their own engagement stuff; Both of you must agree who would wrap them. But of course it must get to the man before the day of the engagement. Men, do not insist on buying the engagement stuff otherwise she might end up not using them…ever. These should not be symbolic purchases; they must be stuff she can use after you are married. So if you really want her to use them, let her buy it herself, so she buys what she would love to use. If she tells you to go ahead and buy them because of where you are located, or her faith in your taste, fine then. Traditionally the man comes with the stuff; but both of you can agree and buy it together and give them to the man to present. Women, out of respect, use the things brought to you for the engagement. It shows you appreciate them. Some men go through hell raising money to put these things together.
If he is to present 6 pieces of African Prints, and God knows, like me, you are not the African Print kinda person, don't sweat him and waste money, pick any cloth at all and wrap them and present them. No one would really know what is in the suitcase. Why waste money buying what you both know won't be used. Channel those fund into another aspect of the wedding or the life thereafter.
Handle The Tension And Misunderstanding Well
During this period of preparation, there will be a lot of tension; Please fight the issues not the person. Men, soften your stance on some of the issues. Wedding colors, seriously? Do not fight over it with her. Let her choose her colors. Be happy to help if you are invited to. If you are an artist and your wife is color blind yet she insists on choosing the colors, then na waaah for you. Lol. You can still talk to a couple of people she respects and see if they can change her mind to come along with you. If you can’t get her to come along, then allow her; after all the wedding is all about her.
The decor and cake and all that is for her to handle. The food and drinks and all the ko mininis? Well for money sakes, the man has to have a say since he has the cheque book..that is. With the menu, well, let the woman help out unless she is from the greener side of the country where culinary sophistry has not yet landed. With that too, you do not have to fight, you must discuss it. If the man insists, then woman, step back and let the man contract a caterer he feels can do a better job. But men, remember it is a lifetime event; do not play ego with it. If you mess her meal up, no DISTIN on the wedding night!
If you fight over something in the course of your preparation and you force a compromise, be careful not to change your mind because someone else told you to. It is insulting to your partner who might feel you respect other people’s view more than theirs. Before you went into that big fight over the issue, you should have first consulted whoever you want to consult. Let mutual decision be the final decision. Some people agree to do one thing and then one of them goes to do something else because a friend or sibling advised them otherwise. Be mindful of that.
The Wedding Dress And Accessories
Men are not supposed to see the wedding dress (Or so is the idea) so either she is buying her own stuff or you are giving her money to buy it. The only exception is where he is located at a place where a better collection of wedding gowns are available and has to buy it and bring it to the woman. Otherwise, men back off from her accessories. The way around it is for the woman to make the order and for the man to pay for it without seeing it. If it is a sewn one, then all the better. Do not let the man see it till the big day. Something must make him gasp!
The Bridal Train
Both of you must agree on the number of people in the bridal party. Discuss with your bridal party if they would want to take up the cost of their own apparel. If they are willing, then you are blessed; it is money saved. If they are not willing to foot that cost, well then, you’ve got to consider the number of people in the party. Unless you have cash to pay for it all. Ladies want to have it all large and long; are you willing to foot the cost? If not, let the man have a say. Do not drain him.
Both of you must agree on the choice of metal for your rings. Yellow Gold is perfect, White Gold is en-vogue, and platinum is the ish. Rose Gold, however, is gradually taking over. If you can’t afford gold, silver is not bad... for starters. Ladies do not put pressure on the men to buy Platinum rings when he can’t afford many other things. And do not force him into getting you a ring with a huge Rock which will cost him a fortune. After all it is just a wedding; there is the real life of marriage to live after the wedding, do not enter it bankrupt. After a year or two, when you are financially solid you can 'remix' your wedding and introduce more beatz and glitz into it.
Date, Venue, And Programme For The Day
Ladies, be willing to soften your stance on the date to have the event. He is the man so give him that respect. If you have genuine reasons why it has to be done on date A or B, discuss it with him. No drama, no emotional blackmail. Always talk to his best man if he proves difficult on any issue….unless the best man is worse off… then you can talk to a trusted brother or cousin or his father. If by this time you do not have that relationship with his family, cancel the wedding…you are not ready to marry.
Both of you must agree on the choice of venue for the reception…again, it is all money matters. Ladies, do not force your men to hire a place that will cost him his bank account or worse, force him to take a loan. I agree it is a once-in-a-life-time event; but I also know for a fact if that once-in-a-life-time-event goes off the cliff, you may not even have your peace of mind to get your groove on on your honeymoon.
Yes I agree some marriages must suit the family name or social standing; if the lady has the name, well it is not for the guy to put up a show that only impress people in the name of the lady. If the guy is in the financial position to do that, fine; otherwise, the lady must greatly support him, after all is it not her name we are showing off? It is only fair and it show consideration. Some ladies, I am afraid, are losing men, because of the type of weddings they want to have which tend to be more than what the guys can afford. If you want a royal wedding just so people around you feel you have ‘arrived’, fine, let the guy tell you what he can afford and take up the difference. otherwise date a prince. Don't date a hustler and ask for a Buckingham Palace wedding. Are we on the same page? Great.
Agree on the programme and all who will play a part. If a particular name or activity is proving thorny, scrap it out completely and move on. Not a single name or activity is more important than how far you two have come and where you are going. Always have the bigger picture in mind, and don't be distracted by trivia.
Lately, people go to weddings to SEE what couple will do and go and gossip about it. Kokonsa bi dey bore! if you know what I mean. Be careful in your choice of people you invite. Unless you are an assemblyman who will lose an election if the entire town is not invited, then you do not need to invite everyone. What is the worse that can happen for not inviting everyone? 300 people max. Print a max of 150 invitation cards and give it to people you want to specially invite. For everyone else, there is WhatsApp. Make everyone who get the card count. But if you can fill up Wembley Stadium and make everyone feel like heaven, why not.
Gifts And Gifts Table
Oh and about that third grade plastics and wall hangings as wedding gift? Let's end it. at the very bottom of the Invitation card, nicely write this: the couples would appreciate it if all your free will gifts are in the form of money or gift vouchers from the following places. Thank you. In this case, you have eliminated those gifts you hardly ever use. I mean five wall hangings with the same inscription from five different people is not cool. when they give you money, you decide on what to buy.
This approach is quite controversial as people feel a gift is a free will offer so you do not have to influence it. People want to give you what they want; accept it or leave it. Well, that is true, except what is the point in collecting a gift I will not use? I am helping you give me what will bring me maximum satisfaction. It is a gift to me, not a gift about yourself. If you cannot give me what matters to me, then it is not about me but about you. But then again, you won't give your invitation cards to just anyone who goes on demonstration over everything, will you? You will give it to big people who will just write a cheque, or even if they ignore your notice and give you a gift, would be big and good.
It was there under our wedding invitation card. We did not regret how easy it made our lives. People who got it, opted to take up costs. Water, photography, this cost and that cost. The key is to give it to people who know the importance of giving a good gifts to a couple on their big day.
Get a family member or friend you trust and hand over your gift table to. If they are not people you can leave your room with for 24 hours and not fear something will get missing, then they do not qualify to be given that job. Gift that table to a trusted person. Some people may not even rob you physically, some can be darker in what they do. I remember giving our table to a cousin of mine who is a devout Christian, speaking good words over each gifts she received.
The food may go south and there may be delays, but pictures carry eternal memories. People will forget the bad food and the 3 hour delay, people will forget how off your decor was, but a good photographer will fix all that for you with good memories. In the heat of the day, you may not follow proceedings; the only thing you will have to hold on to, will be the pictures from that day. If they are off, you will never enjoy the memories of your wedding. Put a good money aside, get a good photographer and you will never regret.
Pray a lot during your preparation, if you are a person of faith. You would need God to clear some obstacles from your way. If the man or woman is the wrong one, you would need God to chase them out even if it is two days before the wedding. You need God to bring help your way, you need God to help you with life after the wedding. You need God to open your/her womb; you need God to bless you with a new job or to stabilize your employment. You need God for a million things. Pray. Some of you come from ‘Hard homes’ and you need God to close some gates and open others. You need some fire to watch over you at night and some angels to war on your behalf. Pray.
You would need a lot of mental adjustments. The bed will soon not be for you alone again, the closet will be shared, your room outlook would change, when you come home and go out will change, who comes to visit and when they come and go will change. The fluidity with which you take decisions would also change. Many things would change. Now men must bath twice a day, (Lord, why us?) wash their feet when they come home from work and all that.
Life After Party
Where do you intend to go for your honeymoon? Have you made preparations for it in terms of your finances? Add it to your general planning. Where will you live after the wedding? Which car do you intend to start life with. Get into the details and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the position that emerges. No one should feel a decision was forced on them. If there are any thorny issues left on this, discuss it or talk to your accountability partner or counselor.
There are a lot of things we can talk about, but of course we can't do all that here. But we can continue this conversation by leaving a comment or clicking here to seek advice from me, one-on-one