It’s exactly four years now since we got married. It was a lovely experience I would never forget. Though stressful, it all paid off. I see a lot of people getting married and yaay I’m happy for them but there are some big mistakes they make which go a long way to affect their marriages, health and children in future. Additionally, there are some who also ignore important things to consider. So, this article or write-up or whatever you wanna call it seeks to address or share some tips or things to know before the wedding and during your wedding planning. I haven’t written in a while so forgive me if it’s wordy…lol. Here we go…
The day my lovely husband proposed was the very day I said yes to him: it was on July 7, 2015. I remember it so well. Before, we had been veeeeeeeeery good friends, and after much prayer, I was certain he was the one. We used to pray every day and we still do. Prayed every morning and evening. When we started courting, we decided to pray more. We prayed into our marriage, jobs, preparations, families, identified negative cycles in our families we did not want to repeat. Is divorce, sickness, stepchildren, barrenness, complicated health issues a thing you see in your lineage? Address them in prayer as well as practically by reading wide and seeking counselling.
See, there is a lot that lies ahead so you must look ahead, look into the future and invest a lot of prayers. Two months after marriage, we were trooping the hospital almost every day. I was on admission and they could find nothing wrong. It was hectic but God saw us through. Marriage is very sweet but you have to invest a lot of prayer into it so that it clears off some things and prevents them from happening in the future or becoming worse.
Most couples hardly take counselling seriously because they are so fixated on getting married so badly. They even tend to rush through because they just can’t wait. But wait, this is very necessary. Now counselling here can be grouped into two- external and internal counselling. I describe external as the one with your counsellor or church counsellor and the internal one with yourself by reading books, attending seminars and listening to messages or podcasts which focus on marriage and relationships. See what counselling does is that it opens your eyes to what to expect like accommodation, financial management, parenting, handling prosperity, pregnancy, sex, childbirth and spousal support, temperament, spirituality, etc. Don’t think you know it all. Seek counselling and even after marriage, still seek it. We enjoyed our counselling time and so did our counsellors because it was a great learning experience. It confirmed our decision to stay with each other. As you go for counsel, don’t forget the sex counselling. Many couples oftentimes neglect that part and pretend it’s all okay. If you have questions, ask.
SORT OUT YOUR RENT FIRST, THAT’S IF YOU ARE TO PAY RENT
What’s the point of using all you have for the wedding and then having no place to stay or settle for just anything? Even if you have not found a place yet, apportion money for where you are to live. And with this, please don’t use all you have. Look for a place you can both afford even in two years to come. If you are only two and then you go and pay for a three-bedroom or two-bedroom when that room would be empty and draining you, charley think twice. If you both agree, you could go for a single room self-contained or a chamber and hall self-contained. See, life is in stages so keep calm and take it one step at a time. For me and hubby, we moved to an entirely different place-a single room self-contained. It took a lot of tours and agent fees (that’s a whole other story) in getting that place. Miraculously, his best man who happens to be a very good childhood friend as well, helped us secure a place in his father’s rented apartment. It was a great miracle, I tell you! If your spouse already lives in a big place and it’s within budget and comfortable, that’s okay.
HAVE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
I remember the time we went to visit my sister in her home and broke the news to her. She was excited and all that but asked, ‘Do you have a budget? What’s your budget? Whatever the amount on it, stick to it.” In fact, that was one of the best pieces of advice ever. It helped us immensely. See, do not copy what you see outside. All fingers are not equal. If you want a celebrity wedding and can’t afford it, please, stay in your corner. Do not give stress to your spouse to be to rain diamonds from the sky! Do not say ooo, I like this I like that, In fact, I have money so I will spend it all on the wedding. There are bills waiting for you in marriage ooo. A baby could pop up in the first year ie if you are not ready. There’s rent, that’s if you don’t already have a place and they do not take monthly rent in this Ghana we live. So please be wise.
DON’T FORCE YOURSELF TO HAVE WHAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD
This is sister to sticking to a budget. See I know there are so many beautiful trends out there with beaded dresses and a whole train of people following both bride and groom, but my guy, my sis, di wo lane mu wate (Akan expression which means stay in your lane). It is not wrong when you see something and then you feel like having it, but if you cannot afford it, please, take your eyes elsewhere. The more you wish for other things, the more you will desire to have them at all costs. You may end up borrowing or going in for a loan which would affect you both later.
SAVE FOR EMERGENCIES
I know you are hot but don’t spend everything you have on the d-day. I know it’s special, but it will pass within a few hours. Put some money aside for emergencies. See, there are a lot of ‘unknowns’ out there though we trust God for the best in marriage. A child may pop up or like an unexpected illness (which I don’t want to happen to anyone). When you get married eh, you are on your own o. It’s like you said you are an adult and are responsible enough to marry so now attend to your own issues. It’s not the time to be begging for loans and borrowing stuff left right centre. You must be independent and be able to fend for yourselves and provide for your children. So, my guy, my lady, work hard and save!
BE FIRM WITH YOUR DECISIONS
When you are about to marry, many friends and family members who wish you well may be suggesting some ideas to you – sometimes good, other times bad. Though it’s up to you to decide, you have to be careful of pieces of advice that will plunge you into poverty and frustration. ‘Oh buy baskets and branded towels and give to the guests.’ Why don’t you sleep in this hotel? Don’t do packs oo. You have to do a buffet. They keep going on and on. When I was getting married, my mom and some friends were suggesting some things bi eh. My sister used to tell me, that if they suggest something and are willing to foot the bill…why not? But it’s not everything you say yes to, even if it would be sponsored.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The more complicated, the more stressful. So, keep things simple. Instead of mixing five colours or three, you could choose only two, or one dominant colour. More colours affect decoration, and a whole lot more. It is not by force to change into seven attires on your big day. It is not compulsory for you to have everyone follow you get Kente scarf or wear a kaftan. See, the money for the kaftan or all those pieces of accessories could be saved and given to you. I am not saying you should not do what you desire, but please do so cautiously. When people saw my husband, they could not believe that he wore a kaftan instead of a suit on the wedding day! Big surprise!
GET PEOPLE TO HELP
Everyone is busy and seems to not have time but supportive people will make time. When I was getting married, I did not have a wedding planner. I was the planner – thanks to my sister who gave me a wedding planning checklist. It saved me, papa. I printed it and then used it for all my planning. You can request it by sending a mail here. Aside from that, I had people who helped make inquiries for me because I was working and going up and down. Charley, you cannot do it all, so get help.
DON’T BE OVERDEPENDENT ON PROMISES
There were people who made a lot of promises when we were getting married. This got us super excited. But my husband brought to my attention the need to still go with our plans and see the promises as bonuses. Why? Because they were men. Men could fail not because they wanted to but because time and chance happen to them all. Instead of fixing your gaze on some money your uncle had promised or some free drinks a family friend promised, have your budget and keep to it. when these bonuses come hallelujah, you can save your money but please don’t put all your hope into that promise. it may fail you. I was depending on a friend’s sponsorship for certain items but unfortunately, she went through some deep crises and as a result, could not support me. Thanks to my wise husband, I was very well prepared.
GET SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE ON YOUR BRIDESMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN LIST
There’s no point in having people who won’t support you in anything (physically spiritually, socially, financially and all the -allies) follow you. Are they only going to sew the clothes and give undue pressure and care only about themselves? If you see such traits, they are not worth being on the team. Are they prayerful? Are they willing to run errands for you? I recall going to a friend’s wedding and during the reception, the 5 bridesmaids were all seated taking selfies. The bride’s mom was so furious and burst out that, ‘How come you young ladies are just sitting and taking selfies? The bride needs you. I can’t be running up and down like that. It is your duty.’ All my team members were very supportive except one person. She was always concerned about herself and what she would wear. In the end, I had to make the inquiries myself though she was the one supposed to have done it (she was not busy).
INVEST IN THINGS YOU CAN REUSE
Though you may be looking at cutting down costs, it does not mean that you should settle for just anything. I see some people wear some space suit which they would never use again in their lifetime. Countless brides and wives have almost worn-out gowns in their closets which can never be worn again. The gown I wore on my day was a white and gold kente fabric with just had the satin ball wrapped around it. I wore that dress saaaan till I became obolo with children (I believe you understand me). I still wear the shoes and earrings. Just recently, I wore those same earrings when I was maid of honour to a bosom friend.
Are there cheaper ways of doing things? Are there less expensive ways things could be done? Find friends who offer some services and are willing to charge less. If you know someone who could offer free services or discounted offers, go for them, but do so wisely. Additionally, if you have apps like Canva, that could create simple invitations rather than hiring a designer at a very expensive rate, go for it. When I was getting married, a lot of people helped. From drinks to my wedding dress to gifts, make-up, food, photography, wedding programme, etc. But I would want to give a special shout out to my Church Adjorman Methodist Church, now Prince of peace Methodist for supporting me through and through. I mean it was amazing! But also remember that the person who waters is watered. If you are a hard and unfriendly person, it may be hard getting support and discounts. I will write a whole post dedicated to all who helped me and tag them in it.
There is a lot more on my mind and in my heart that I wish to pour out but know for sure, that a part two will soon follow. I hope these few but long tips would go a long way in helping you to make the right choices. I wish you the best in your union and journey.