It is summer and it has started. The wedding season. You’ve probably been invited to a wedding (or even seven), right?
When I started writing this post, it was fueled by one of our neighbors, who came with her daughter to invite my mom to the daughter’s wedding and bridal shower. Prior to that, neither her nor her daughter had ever set foot at home. My mom didn’t know what the shower was all about. I explained it to her and she was both shocked and confused, as to why she was invited in the first place (we later learnt that they had gone around, inviting almost every female in our neighborhood. Hihi). Mom went to the shower, and she came back ranting.
Let me tell you a story. In the early 1800s, a Dutch girl fell in love with a poor young man. The girl’s father didn’t want her to marry the guy because he was poor thus couldn’t provide for his beautiful daughter. Upon hearing this, the people from their village came together and each thought of a gift they could contribute to the couple. So they showered the couple with gifts of household items and the couple lived happily ever after. And that was the first bridal shower. Happy story, right?
Bridal showers are generous and thoughtful events meant to benefit both the bride and groom. However, the purpose of bridal shower is irrelevant these days. If the concept of bridal showers is to contribute the items necessary for a newly-wed couple to build a proper home, is it really mandatory for every bride to have a bridal shower as part of their wedding festivities? Because modern couples do not necessarily suffer from a lack of resources today. Most individuals now are self-reliant enough. They have jobs (damn good ones) and they can afford lots of stuff on their own. So, isn’t it strange that today, bridal showers are an essential rite of passage for women into wifedom? Bridal showers are not about love; they are just about getting more stuff. Bridal showers don’t make sense anymore. They are totally lame.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your marriage as much as you deem fit, as long as your (close) friends offer to host the events. The only problem is when you broaden the list of invites to your bridal shower to even include your so-called friends that you remember because you need money/gifts.
The reason fueling my anger towards this post is my recent addition to a bridal shower group on WhatsApp. I was having a nice day then I saw a WhatsApp alert from a new group I’d been added to. I read the group’s name and I was like “WTF am I doing in this group?”
My mouth went dry. I can’t find the right emojis to describe my emotions.
I really hate this. Not because I don’t wish people well. Oh Lord, no! Usually, I’m extremely positive about weddings. I really am. And I support weddings in many ways. And I know that, getting married is the greatest event of a woman’s life. Correction: some women’s lives. Not me (that’s is another blog post).
However, I really don’t agree with a number of things about these groups & this practice…
There’s enduring being in a WhatsApp group with all the strangers (the bride’s friends) and sneaking around for a full month or so. And as a general rule, the bride gives out your contacts and proceeds to act like she has no knowledge of all this. So, every bridal shower is said to be a surprise for the bride, organized by her close friends. Haha. Okay, Frida explain to me how you as the admin got my contact number since I only happen to know Agnes (the bride) and not one of her friends, not even you. When did this not become the tackiest thing ever? There isn’t enough alcohol in the world…For God’s sake, all the bride’s phone contacts (who aren’t necessarily her friends) don’t need to be added into the group because she’s getting married. People need to understand the meaning of “friend”. I know some cool people, but they are NOT my friends. We just happen to know each other. They have their circle of friends and I have my circle of friends. Besides, I don’t want to sit around for hours, with a group of women who more than three-quarters I don’t know (and I know I’m not the only one that feels like this). Not all people that the bride’s ever said Hi to or meet somewhere or studied with should contribute for her wedding, ngo to support “the noble cause” (as if you’re the one who advised them to get married. SMH). A shower doesn’t have to be a 200-person affair.
A sum of the collected money goes into decor *sigh* a cake, photography, and all the other unnecessary things. Why can’t the money be invested in building/supporting the bride (and groom of course) in other ways other than just giving them expensive stainless steel utensils and appliances (some of which you don’t even have in your home, haha)? I’ll come back to this later.
Let’s not forget the dress code, for which (most of the time) you need to do shopping (rolls eyes). And there’s the boring game playing session and the eye-rolling “impanuro” session. You listen to married women tell the bride how lucky she is to be picked (rolls eyes), how to take care of her soon-to-be husband, how to be hospitable and welcoming, and all other advice centered around pleasing her soon-to-be husband and things like “ni ko zubakwa” and watching other women agreeing to such nonsense. It’s a sad reality that they believe and apply them. This is harmful as it doesn’t do any favor to brides, instead it simply supports an oppressive culture. After the session, these women will advise her to seek their help whenever things go sour. But when things go sour, rather than talking to anyone, she remembers “ni ko zubakwa” and constantly tells herself that unlike many, she possesses a revered gem. Her marriage.
If bridal showers are meant to support the building of a new home, then there ought to be some changes…
- The registry needs to expand beyond the kitchen (women are no longer queens of the kitchen), I don’t understand why the bride only receives domestic/household gifts and why only females bestow these gifts. Is that supposed to mean that a wife’s responsibilities are in the kitchen or that married women become housewives? Some might say no but the amount of cookware and kitchen appliances imply otherwise. Why not equip the bride reasonably? Books, classes (driving, swimming, foreign language or whatever she be dreaming to learn…there’s a wide range of new things to learn), anything depending on her expertise or passion (art supplies *wink*, sewing machine *wink*). If the bride has her own business, you could buy from her to support her & her business.
- The showers need to accommodate male guests. I see no reason why showers should be all female events. Because, men have more money. And more money means more gifts. And we all know that these showers are just parties specifically tailored to extract as much money from people as possible.
- Make them fun and different. Do bridal shower have to involve playing boring games and/or watching the bride oohing and ahhing over the kitchenware while the rest participate in chorus of collective aww’s? really?
Speaking of WhatsApp groups, when I am added to an unsolicited group chat I immediately went on ghost-mode. That is, muting the group then lurking in the background not saying anything. I didn’t leave the group. Why? Because I didn’t want to be viewed as snobbish and not wanting to hurt the feelings of the Admin (I was told that if I was deemed special enough to be added to a group, it was rude to leave just like that.) so I was essentially stuck there. And when someone exits the group, sometimes the admins stay complaining, asking why someone has left as if they aren’t the ones who added them (without permission) in the first place. SMH. Like for bridal shower groups, if someone is the bride’s friend, she’ll happily be part of the group and gladly participate (read: send contribution money). If she leaves the group, it’s because it’s not her place. Don’t they get it?! Otherwise, it should be okay for the group members who didn’t ask to be added, not to be forced to part of the groups or be re-added after exiting the group. It’s simply bad manners to add someone into an unsolicited group. Let that sink in.
Anyways, in the past, I just stayed in the groups as an observer. However, I won’t be doing that anymore because I hate…
- Waking up to 100+ odd messages. In a group of 200+ people, there’s always going to be an online marketer who’ll be marketing his/her stuff in WhatsApp group to the 200+ audience, an evangelist who keeps sending scriptures and the “share with your contacts if you love Jesus” messages, the ones who are always greeting (gd mng, aba hano mwiriwe, ko mutavuga). And there has to be a Jane and Theo who occasionally will be suffering from insomnia and decide to spend the night away chatting with each other in the group. It’s a nightmare.
- Unsolicited videos and pictures clogging your phone gallery. Someone shares a 20 MB video that you download only to discover it’s a video of a cat yawning. Or a talking Tom video. Haha. I once was in a friend’s bridal shower group and one chick had the nerve to share her entire wedding photo album to the group. Haha. You browse through your phone gallery, see random videos and photos and wonder where the hell they came from (those photos of flowers or mugs of coffee with “good morning” written across them. Haha.)
So, for those group Admins, who are still confused, let me make this even more clear. Please (next time) you feel the urge to add me to a WhatsApp group, first answer the following question:
HAVE I ASKED TO BE A PART OF THE GROUP?
If you’ve answered NO to the question, then please DO. NOT. BOTHER. That voice in your head telling you to add me to your group, is the devil’s. Ignore it. And in the meantime, pray (continuously) for God’s strength to overcome the temptation to ever add me to any group chat.
Otherwise, I’ll shamelessly exit the group and block your number.
After this rant post, I probably don’t have to worry about being added to any WhatsApp group chats in the future.
Until next time, happy wedding planning.