December is a month that is associated with celebrations.
This is the time when Christmas parties of all sorts take place and also the period where people come together and update each other on many family issues.
It is generally family reunion time all over the world.
Issues discussed during this reunion period range from school activities to work and many other social matters.
That is also the month when most weddings are celebrated, an issue I want to briefly touch on.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment and when a couple decides to get married, this deal is generally sealed with a wedding where vows and rings are exchanged.
A wedding is an eventful occasion for both the bride and bridegroom where they express their undying love for each other with family and friends as witnesses.
So because this is an experience of a life time, weddings should be planned properly so that every invited person remembers it for years to come.
The bride and groom should organise it in such a way that it is flawless, stick to time and also provide a healthy diet that is also fresh.
A good venue that has adequate ablution facilities and running water is a must.
Recently I attended a wedding in a high-density suburb where guests suffered severe diarrhoea soon after having lunch.
I then discovered that the entire wedding menu had been prepared a day before.
There was no water running in the taps and you can imagine the mess that resulted from this problem.
There were so many under-10 children at this venue, and some relieved themselves in the small compact garden.
It was such terrible sight. I had to go back home because, although I had not eaten the food, my tummy had started reacting to what my eyes had seen.
A friend and her two children who had spent the weekend at my home in anticipation of the wedding came along with me as they too had started running to the toilet.
The venue was almost deserted after lunch had been served, save for a few that remained, who probably were very close family members.
These days we have wedding planners, people with expertise at managing such events, but because Zimbabweans have generally turned weddings into fundraising platforms, most weddings are badly organised.
“I walked out with my present. There was nowhere to sit because children had taken over and the place was so untidy,” said a woman I met at this wedding.
When my brother had a wedding nearly 20 years ago, the invitation cards insisted that no children would be allowed at the reception.
Our mother was so mad at him but he said that it was his outdoor wedding and he would do as he pleased.
And true to his words, his wedding turned out to be such a memorable event that we still talk about it today.
It had taken nearly one-and-a-half years to plan and they owed no one as they had paid for all the services, venue and bridal attire long before the wedding date.
Every invited person was a true guest at this wedding.
However, most weddings today are held with the anticipation of raising cash to settle some of the wedding costs after the event.
This “fundraising approach” often disrupts the smooth running of a wedding as music and dance is interrupted all the time as the MC reminds people to come forward with gifts and cash.
You feel like you are being forced to fork out something.
But this has caused a lot of problems for the new husband and wife if not much money is raised from the wedding. They start a new home with so much debt.
Whilst December is a period where people normally receive get their annual bonuses, that money is usually targeted at various domestic and personal matters well beforehand.
“Your December salary and bonus are normally budgeted for school fees and many other domestic matters so bunching weddings into one month does not make any sense.
Families should discuss wedding dates because I found myself in a situation where at least four members from the maternal and paternal side of my families were getting married.
“Surely it is impossible to get a meaningful present or cash present under these circumstances? Weddings should take place between February and October,” said Michael Murara of Westlea.
The issue of the number of guests to invite is a very tricky one, considering that we all come from extended families.
“That is complicated and it’s the reasons you see invitations to families, not individuals. That means if you send out 75 cards, chances of getting more are high.
“Invitation cards to weddings should be specific because I have seen some people coming with their entire families and children to weddings. Chances of having gatecrashers are also very high and the result sometimes is sad because presents and money have sometimes disappeared at wedding venues.”
Because weddings only happen once in a lifetime, camera persons capturing footage of this happy affair should be professionals who have a track record in that area.
My cousin hired one last year and all we can see in the video are teeth of guests in the hall. There was no lighting to complement and enhance the video shooting and although I had asked the cameraman about it, he said he had always taken videos like that.
Weddings videos evoke such good memories, if properly done. I have wedding videos that I watch during my spare time and enjoy.
I also noticed Zimbabweans living in the UK that borrow wedding videos of people they don’t even know just to enjoy the music, dance and décor that makes every wedding unique.
The cake I saw recently at a wedding was so badly done that some guests refused to partake of it. The icing was so smudgy and it looked as though it had been made by someone who was learning to ice cakes.
We were later to learn that the cake had also been prepared under very unhygienic conditions. It was very upsetting.
You can’t plan a wedding in just a few months unless you are some rich tycoon.
If you do not engage a wedding planner, it is best to have a solid committee of people that will be assigned to carry out various duties to spearhead this occasion.
Outdoor weddings are the in-thing as they add colour to the setting, but remember to hire mobile toilets and water bowsers if ablution facilities are doubtful.
Ideally, as Murara says, weddings should run between February and October.
A December wedding is a big “no-no” because income for that month is normally a life-saving windfall to augment our standard of living.
And please don’t dare think of a wedding if you do not have adequate funds. Seek advice on how to organise a small but pleasurable wedding ceremony.