Want a perfect wedding? Insure it

Saturday August 16 2014

Marriage and family are major cornerstones of society. PHOTO | FILE

Only ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastors will be allowed to conduct marriage ceremonies for its members, according to the church’s fresh guidelines. PHOTO | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

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You are of marriageable age and have identified a spouse, gone through the traditional rituals, settled on the wedding date, and the budget is ready.

But on checking your accounts, you find you have less than Sh50,000 combined against a budget of, say, Sh750,000.

So you decide to convene a wedding committee of your friends and colleagues.

Enough show up for the first parley, and people make pledges but they quickly disappear into thin air.

In the end, you raise only Sh200,000, and just like that, your dream wedding turns into a phantasm.

But, unknown to most Kenyans, there are several financing packages in the market that can help you pay for your dream wedding.
The latest is designed by Britam, an insurance, investment and retirement company.

Dubbed the “Wheel of Life”, the company is offering young Kenyans planning to wed a platform to save for and finance it.

Mr Muthoga Ngera, the director of marketing and corporate affairs at Britam, says the wedding package is available for people who are planning to get married soon.

“If you want a wedding, just come to us with your budget and date. We will then send a financial adviser to you who will tailor a package for you,” he said.
This entails a monthly contribution to an account with Britam and is money that will be given back to you plus an interest to finance your wedding.

First Community and Chase Bank also offer wedding financing packages as well as those for buying household items.

Old Mutual offers a guide on selecting the right product set for your life circumstances from the “single and starting out” to “single and established”, “married” and “family” life.

At Pan Africa Life they have FlexiCash, an endowment product that makes it easier to plan for education, retirement, a wedding or even a dream holiday.
Bombarded by constant images of grandiose nuptials on TV wedding shows and newspaper spreads, many Kenyans are under pressure to match the outlay.
Last month, televangelist Pius Muiru’s daughter, Linda, caused a storm on Twitter when it was revealed that her wedding had cost Sh9 million.
The wedding aired on a local TV channel featured a helicopter, sleek cars and designer wear.

But with a meagre income and a bride price to pay, most people are turning to wedding committees where relatives, friends and workmates meet regularly to fund raise for the big day.

Mike, who refuses to give his second name so as not to rub his friends the wrong way, says he has been invited to be part of a wedding slated for October at a swanky country club in Naivasha.

“I attended the first meeting and the budget was between Sh800,000 and Sh1 million. The couple has about Sh350,000 and wants us to raise the rest,” he says.

“Give me the Sh350,000, and I’ll do my wedding and shopping for our firstborn,” he says.

Britam’s Mr Ngera says their new package seeks to stop such embarrassment and fallout.

“We are saying life is full of surprises and you should not wait until life surprises you,” he said.
“You can even decide to get the package as a couple ahead of your wedding.”


But what happens in the event that you split before financing your wedding? The manager says it is not mandatory that the money be used exclusively to finance a wedding.

“In such a scenario, you can decide to cash in your contributions plus the accrued interest and split it between yourselves for any use,” he said.

But he said that after the wedding, one could decide to continue with the saving plan under the parenting scheme which is money that would be used to prepare for the arrival of a baby and the ensuing upbringing.

“In fact, expenditure starts after the wedding because you may want to move to a bigger house, plan for a child and their education. It’s a complete saving plan for the stages of life,” he says.

Ms Sylvia Munene, a wedding planner at Guru Weddings, says she advises all her clients to finance their weddings to avoid disappointment.

“I tell my all my customers to consider planning a wedding they can afford even if it means delaying it for a few months or having a small wedding,” she offers.

“A wedding committee takes a toll on you, and, in the end you are guided by the available funds which will dictate the quality of food, the cake, among other things, that should be the preserve of the bride.”

Marriage and relationship counsellor Anthony Kagiri also advises people against viewing the wedding as an investment but an event.

“On wedding committees, I think the most important part they should play is helping with the logistics of the wedding,” says Mr Kagiri.

He faults couples for planning for extravagant weddings which they can’t afford.  “Couples shouldn’t expect the committee to finance the wedding. I think any help should be more of a boost to what they have. People shouldn’t plan for extravagant weddings knowing too well they can’t afford it,” he says.