I have always been an apologist of simple things. I literally adore having things done in the simplest way possible. Even as a writer, I always want to communicate to my readers in very simple language. If my readers need to consult the dictionary after every sentence, my piece no longer becomes a creative one. It becomes an assignment.
In simplicity is clarity. With all the pomp and pageantry, some details and their essence are sometimes lost. When things are too complex, we sometimes focus on the frivolities and take the essentials for granted. We pay excessive attention to the needless while the most important lessons are left to rot.
I married my sweetheart, Elorm, in a brief event of court marriage on a Friday which was subsequently followed the next day by our customary marriage. The court event was not more than five minutes while the customary marriage was just about thirty minutes. We donned our African prints for both occasions. There was no white wedding even though we had our premarital counselling organized by the church.
Our court marriage had a total of about eight guests. These included her parents and mine, my two siblings and our two photographers. Our customary marriage included our parents and closest friends ― a total of about twenty.
We had some friends becoming enemies overnight for being left out of the event. Some family members who were not invited wondered if they had done something wrong. We had to subtly remind them that our wedding was not about them. It was about us. Our happiness was placed above everyone else’s.
Today, as a couple, we look back and see how much good we did to ourselves by insisting on what we wanted and not what was supposedly the norm. We may not have made a lot of people happy but at the end of the day, what profits a couple if they make everyone happy except themselves?
It is not a sin to have a big wedding. As a society, however, we should be able to normalize couples having simple weddings. Families and friends should be able to come to terms with the fact that when couples prefer a simple wedding, it may not necessarily be because they are cashstrapped. A wedding is their want, not need.
The fewer the merrier
A marriage ceremony of a total of about 20 people meant that we could literally speak to every single soul present. We knew every single guest by name and could walk to their table to have a chitchat with them.
For a solemn event as a marriage ceremony to fulfill its purpose, who is invited matters a lot. This is when a small gathering comes in handy because one chooses who attends and who doesn’t.
With a small guest size, couples are able to relish every moment of the day. They fellowship deeply with their closest friends who genuinely wish them well in their lifelong journey. It is always merrier when it is a few people because a couple gets to understand that they must make every effort to make their marriage work so they don’t disappoint these cherished few.
Little or no stress
It is such stress when couples have to solve the puzzle of how some aunties were never served or how there was food shortage in the middle of a reception. I can imagine what some couples go through when they hear people complain bitterly about how they had to travel from far yet leave with their throats as dry as a desert.
With a guest size of 20, it goes without saying that all we had to do, as a couple, was to relax as everyone filled their stomachs. There was enough to eat and drink. We didn’t have to be worried about someone overserving themselves while others complained of being underserved.
A simple event of a wedding makes all the unnecessary pressure we bring on ourselves vanish into thin air. There are less complaints. There is no stress on the couple to please people they may never set their eyes on again for the rest of their lives.
No headaches of debts
If you can AFFORD an extravagant wedding, go for it. Afford here means to be able to have as much as twice what you spent on the wedding sitting in your account after the event. If you can’t afford the norm, afford your norm. At all cost, don’t be in debt because of a wedding.
As a couple, we were intentional about avoiding the headache of vendors chasing us during our honeymoon for their money. We, thus, spent within our means and made sure we stuck religiously to budget. We gave no hoot about what others may think. A dream marriage was the ultimate goal, not a dream wedding.
Incurring debt for a wedding is a choice. Swimming in a pool of unpaid expenses and its attendant shame is a decision. If all you have in your bank account, for instance, is GH¢50,000, why spend everything on a one-day event? You can never have the best wedding in town. Get that!
Less time spent on planning
Right from the onset, we made sure every expenditure was cost-effective. We, for instance, considered the reusability of our costumes even though we had in mind to make our day memorable. Elorm did not need a gown she could not wear again when we both could do African prints we could always wear to remind us of that day we tied the knot.
We spent little time on planning because our focus was to focus on the essentials ― the vows to be exchanged at the ceremony and what they meant to us. We needed enough time to reflect on this pledge of commitment instead of spending all the time planning on how some rings were going to be flown in by drones or how well we could dance.
With the benefit of hindsight, we are proud of ourselves today because we decided to choose our norm instead of allowing others to do so for us. We were unperturbed as to what people may say or think. When it has all been said and done, the multimillion dollar question every couple should ask themselves is, “Were we happy?”
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. Follow him on all social media platforms.