A “Rite of Passage” refers to a transition from one stage of life to another. They can be religious, cultural or universal.

By Correspondent, The Monitor, 10/04/2017

A “Rite of Passage” refers to a transition from one stage of life to another. They can be religious, cultural or universal.

We get swept up in having big events for these rites of passage. For example, a big graduation party, extravagant wedding, 18th birthday bash. These once-in-a-lifetime events make us want to ‘go all out’ and can put a strain on our finances. Let’s dive into the most expensive one.

Weddings: To Be

Traditional Or Not?

Culturally, weddings in Botswana are the biggest spending events you will celebrate.

Even though our grandparents probably spent relatively little, we’ve got into the habit of wedding spending today of between P150,000 and P250,000.

This amount is spread between the initial asking of the bride from the bride’s family (Patlo), the handover of the bride price (Magadi), the bride handover to the groom’s family (Kgoroso), the “white” wedding with the respective church ceremony and the last event – the official signing at the court (Molaodi). Each of these involves paying for food, drinks, renting out tents, chairs, décor etc.

We try to do it all to please our home villages all in the name of tradition and approval. In a vain effort to seem more wealthy than we really are, we go as far as getting into debt for it. That’s when the problems start. The last thing a newly-wed couple needs is a huge financial burden as they start their marriage. Often, couples feel the need to recover after all the wedding ceremonies before planning to educate their children, buying a house or improving their lives.

Tips & Hints

1 – Save (and then

save some more).

You and your partner would rather save than spend money you don’t have. Explain to your family that in order to have all the traditional ceremonies, you will need time to save.

Have a long engagement – to give yourselves time, there’s no shame in that. Saving for two years with your

partner is better than taking a personal loan that will last you six years to pay off.

2. Look For Deals And Bargains

Take your time to shop around. Get as many quotes as you can. Negotiate with the vendors. Compare all prices for flowers, dresses, tuxedos, DJs, photographers etc. In Botswana, we mostly work with tailors for the attires – check that they won’t overcharge you. Look online, you can find items are 30-40% cheaper!

Then, if you’ve saved up the cash – negotiate! People will often give you goods and services much cheaper if they are guaranteed a quick cash payment.

3. Set A Budget And Then Stick To It!

Build a budget with your partner and keep each other from going over the limit. A budget will give light to how much you can afford.

Compare each quote with how much you can pay with no strain on the budget. There are wedding budget templates online you can use as a guide, or contact me at S.C.I. and I can point you in the right direction.

4. Speak To A Financial Planner.

During the wedding preparations, you will constantly receive advice of how to be a good husband/wife. You may also go through pre-marital counselling.

However, you should also get some financial “counselling”. Part of “joining together” includes joining your money habits as well. That’s where a qualified financial planner (like those at S.C.I.) can help.

Finances are a big part of marriage, you and your partner need to be on the same page on that. A financial planner can remind you and your partner to look beyond the wedding, to any opportunity and risk you may face in the future.

Having professional financial advice can help you stay motivated to your financial goals – even after the wedding.