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Wedding- Would you take a loan?

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th June 2009 03:00 AM

MEMORIES, memories, memories! They are treasures that no one can steal and weddings top the list. However, although a wedding should be the happiest day of your life, it can turn out expensive and stressful.

MEMORIES, memories, memories! They are treasures that no one can steal and weddings top the list. However, although a wedding should be the happiest day of your life, it can turn out expensive and stressful.

By Irene Nabusoba

MEMORIES, memories, memories! They are treasures that no one can steal and weddings top the list. However, although a wedding should be the happiest day of your life, it can turn out expensive and stressful.

That is why wedding meetings, which have now been branded ‘begging meetings’, are the in-thing. Some of these meetings are so aggressive that one may be forced to make a pledge they cannot fulfill.

The reminders to fulfill pledges nag some people to the extent of dodging meetings. “I attended my friend’s wedding meetings and was stripped to the bone.

I did not even have transport back home. The chairman’s bag, fines, mandatory drinks and pledges made me learn the hardest way. I no longer attend wedding meetings,” says David, a corporate worker.

“And what hurt me most is that a year later, the couple had parted ways.” ‘Begging meetings’ may soon be a thing of the past.

Financial institutions are offering wedding loans to assist couples without ‘milking’ their kith and kin to the marrow. “You would have no fond memories of your wedding if you had no money.

If finances are the only thing holding you back from realising your dream, opt for a wedding loan,” an Internet site advises. Bank of Africa’s radio advert goes as follows: “Sue, Paul and Bank of Africa invite you to their wedding.

All expenses are paid. Isn’t that wonderful?” Indeed it sounds heavenly. Jude Kansiime, the marketing manager of the bank, says wedding expenses can be huge and since this is a once in a lifetime occasion, most people cannot miss the day for anything.

“That is why we developed a wedding loan scheme. Being married is one of the most unforgettable journeys and experiences of your life,” Kansiime says.

“Marriage bridges personality and cultural gaps. We designed the two-in-one personal loan to give couples a head start as they begin a new life together,” he adds. “You can borrow as a couple to realise your shared dream.

The two-in-one loan allows you combine your income to make you eligible to borrow more, which you might not afford as an individual.” Kansiime says they target people intending to get married or newly-weds.

“We give a financial push to couples. Whether you are newly-wed or in the late stages of planning your wedding, we offer you financial support for your wedding, or more importantly, help you start or refurbish your home.

“Marriages come with additional financial strains that can have a heavy toll on the union. This loan helps offset that burden, allowing you a comfortable and happy start,” he explains.

To qualify, those intending to get married have to disclose the church where they will tie the knot for the bank to verify, while newly-marrieds have to show a marriage certificate.

“The most important requirement is a salary account. Relationships are complex and funding such arrangements is a risk. We may not know what happens after your wedding, so we need to be able to recover our money,” he says.

The loan allows a repayment period ranging from six months to two years, with interest rates calculated on a reducing balance basis. “We give up to sh25m with an interest rate of 21%.

A customer is required to channel the money through the bank and is allowed up to 35% of his net income to pay the loan,” Kansiime discloses. He says the package allows transparency and communication in relationships.

“I would take a wedding loan because I find it difficult to push people to help in a situation where I am the sole beneficiary,” Kansiime says.

“And with many needs that cannot allow us to save say up to sh25m for a wedding, a loan comes in handy,” he says. However, since the loan package is still a new concept in Uganda, many people treat it as a luxury.

“Yet elsewhere, like in the US, people do not bother others with contributions to their weddings. A wedding is a couple’s or family affair. People get loans, which is normal,” Kansiime says. “It is us (Africans) who are used to begging.

In developed countries, attending a wedding is only by invite and if you make it to the list, you may be asked to carry your drink and food,” he argues. Meanwhile, could wedding costs be the reason people cohabit for ages?

Could that be the reason people have a phobia for weddings? Well, lack of funds should not be a reason not to marry. Many people say it is not good starting a marriage in debts. “Is it worth it?

I know a couple who probably should never have married, but they chose to have a wedding they could not afford,” says Martha Jones from New York.

“They have been divorced for 15 years and are still paying their wedding loans. It is not worth it going above your means for just one day that lasts less than eight hours,” Jones says.

Esther Kitui, a counselor says: “I would never have a wedding that is not within my means. Taking out a loan is not a good way to start a marriage. Keep in mind that financial matters are one of the most common problems in a marriage.”

Kitui advises couples to discuss the budget, bearing in mind their available funds. “You can have a beautiful and meaningful wedding on a much smaller scale.

Just because it is smaller does not mean it is not meaningful and special. Do not take a wedding loan. Nothing stresses a new marriage like debts,” she advises.

Kitui urges couples to make a budget and decide how much money they can spend without borrowing. “That is the money you should work with.

You should not get loans. If you have only sh3m, decide what your priorities are and what you are willing to sacrifice. “If it means cutting the guest list down to just a few people so that you can serve a fanciful meal, then so be it.

If you decide to invite more people, then you will not get the complete meal. You may have to hire the services of a local restaurant which is cheaper than a wedding caterer and substitute the fancy ballroom with a local community hall,” she says.

“You have to figure out what works within the money you have and be willing to cut out anything that does not fit into your budget.”

Wedding- Would you take a loan?

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