Diaspora Talk: Big fat African wedding…is it a waste?


A friend and I were invited to a wedding yesterday which I was unable to attend. When my friend got to the wedding though, she called to say that her first impression of the venue was that  it was absolute chaos. Just parking for a hassle! She said there were at least 300 cars in the lot.

I know that Sierra Leoneans and Africans in particular love to throw super weddings, but at the end of the day, can we really afford it? When I was a girl, I used to dream about my wedding day but as a woman now, would I be willing to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding? My answer is a big no! While I don’t want to judgment on people who choose to throw very large weddings, I sometimes wonder if their priorities are misplaced.

The average cost of  U.S. wedding is about $27,000. But for Africans in the diaspora I can imagine these cost to double because we tend to have very large families and the bride and groom are typically expected to invite all the “fambul”. If one can afford a very large wedding, it is their prerogative if they want to throw one. But I would rather  encourage our folks to invest that money by using it as a down payment on a house, pay down your debt  or save for retirement. The success or failure of your marriage will not depend on how much you spent on your wedding. But for some of you it might if you start your life together in debt. The number 1 reason why many marriages fail, is money problems so while you deserve a wonderful wedding day, please be smart about your money!


  1. kukulawal 14 September, 2012 at 06:23 Reply

    You fail to mention a very important source of funding for MOST sort of African wedding you are alluding to in your article, which is that of their parents or sponsors. Bearing in mind that, some African wedding PARTIES are mostly if not always hijacked by 2 sets of competing families who want to out-spend the other which I think (I may be corrected if wrong)is a source of pride (bragging right)in certain cultures. Therefore, the bride and groom don’t have MUCH say in how big or flamboyant their wedding is, assuming the money is not coming from their pockets.

    Also, majority of African weddings in the diaspora are not as elegant as your piece is suggesting. You are referring to a minority of either wealthy(as in £/$) African families or some fortunate brides and grooms with the ability to undertake such mouth watering functions. I think that this article will be more beneficial to people back home in Africa because on average they are making far more larger parties than those in the diaspora and in some cases both couples or one of them are unemployed. Therefore, the money use for the wedding parties will serve them greatly as suggested in the article.

  2. Yaw 24 November, 2012 at 07:31 Reply

    They can afford it and they choose to have it. Its not like I support or don’t support it but when you say they should invest or save or use it as down payment for a house, then I’m thinking they already have enough saved, invested and probably an estate and that is how come they are able to afford such weddings. Its not like they borrowed the money.

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