Is GHS 10,000 enough loot to have a “proper” wedding in Ghana? This is a question we’re going to try to address in this article. First of all, I suppose I ought to qualify what I mean when I say a “proper” wedding.
As a Christian, my idea of a proper wedding is one where the bride and groom stand in front of a priest/pastor, are wed, after which there’s some kind of reception after the wedding ceremony (otherwise referred to as the church wedding).
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This isn’t to say that the traditional marriage, or the “court” marriage – where you go to the registrar general’s office, sign the required documentation and call it a day – aren’t legitimate, only that more and more young couples, even though they’ll perform their traditional weddings, also make it a point to have the church wedding…but I digress.
In an effort to get more acquainted with the business behind getting married, I sought the expert advice from my acquaintance Naa who’s an event organizer in Osu, she’s been working in the industry for almost a decade.
Responding to my first question of how much can be covered with GHS 10,000, Naa said that it all boils down to a few things, the first being expectations.
“Well, it depends on what the person wants. The GHS 10, 000 may be just enough, or it may not be enough. It depends on the individual, it also depends on, um, [the organizer] who is going to do it for you.“
“There are times that maybe, um, you come to me, I’ll give this…” she said, holding up a nicely embroidered table cloth “…to you at, let’s say for example, GHS 100.00. The very same thing, someone else could give it to you at GHS 150.00, or maybe GHS 200.00.”
Naa, who specializes in events décor, also said that some things in the industry have a fixed price, like rental chairs and venues. For instance, some couples even get rental dance floors, I mean, I didn’t even know that was a thing!
“Let me tell you, even a dance floor, people rent it out for GHS 700, wooden dance floor. There are some that are LED, you have glass dance floors… [The price] that’s going to go high, you know what I’m saying? So you can just stick to the basics.”
Venues also play a major factor in how much a wedding ends up costing. Naa told me of a time she helped organize a wedding where the couple decided to have their event on the lawns of the National Theater, where they ended up shelling out over GHS 5,000 for the venue alone.
Before I spoke to Naa, if anyone asked me what a charger plate was, I wouldn’t have known.
A charger plate (A.K.A an under plate or chop plate) is a plate you don’t actually eat on, it’s rather the plate that holds the plate that one eats off of. Some businesses rent out these pieces of tableware for anything between GHS1.50 to GHS6 a piece. Another thing is the chairs the guests sit on, which sometimes go for anywhere between GHS5 to GHS10 a piece.
“So you don’t really need a charger plate for a wedding, you don’t need it. Or even if you do, you wouldn’t go for the ones that go for GHS6 a piece, you know what I mean?”
This inevitably brings us to the second reason why a wedding could cost very little, or end up having an astronomical price tag…the wedding guests. If you were on a tight budget and really wanted to have the church wedding, you may want to consider culling the guest list, that way even if you opted for the more expensive tableware and decorations, you wouldn’t have to have too much of it.
The third reason - and arguably the most important one – is the wedding dress, and for this I spoke to a top-end wedding dress designer also situated in Osu.
In this day and age, not everyone chooses to actually buy a dress for their weddings, some actually choose to rent wedding dresses, something I also didn’t know was done. Although she doesn’t rent dresses herself, she said that the demographics of those who chose to rent wedding dresses isn’t limited to those who just can’t afford to buy them. Her dresses cost anything between GHS 600.00 to GHS 6,000.00.
“I heard there are some rental companies. It’s not a case where everybody who wants to rent their wedding dresses just doesn’t have money. Some people go like, ‘I wouldn’t use this for anything again so let me just rent this and take it back,’”.
“People have reasons. Some people rent because they want a very nice dress but they can’t afford to buy it, the rentals are cheaper. But I do not do rentals here.”
At the end of the day when all is considered, a wedding is primarily the ceremony where two people are united in marriage. I suppose a “proper” wedding just needs a priest/pastor, the couple, a ceremony, and reception.
So to put it plainly, yes, you can have a proper wedding with GHS 10,000. Hell, you can have a proper wedding with just half of that, it all boils down to what you’re going for, extravagance, modesty, or otherwise.