burj wed
A wedding like this…

I had no experience prior to ‘wedding meeting’ craze till this year.  A friend is being led to the altar shortly and it was exciting  to be invited for the wedding meetings.

In Uganda, these meetings are a fund raising scheme. For the nuptial rite that you dream of but have no money, meetings are scheduled for about two months, a day each week. It is not a church or foreign aid project to help out.  So how do you raise the money? So far these are the approaches I have witnessed.

The meetings have a chairperson to direct the campaign. For my maiden experience, it was a female. She welcomed us at each occasion as she passed around ‘  a chairman’s bag’, for all to contribute to any amount to pay for the venue. The meetings take place in restaurants around Kampala and go for between Shs 50000-30000.

She proceeds to read the budget of the planned wedding items for purchase as the groom and bride who are ever present smile on. Reactions to the budget are called for. .  For an instance, the groom said they would do away with the band if the revenue did not come in as expected. Of another, an ardent attendant questioned why the balance for beverage was still the same yet it is the item they had contributed for. Without further reactions, an item is seconded for which money is collected for that particular sitting. At first, it was food, then security, then water… and they ask each to start at ‘Shs.10,000 but all contributions are welcome ’.

For this, my second time attending, the chairman on pouring the money at table found a two thousand shilling note  amidst notes of Shs 5000 and Shs 10000. In between a soft laugh wondered who had put it? The one who had done the collections looked at me and the chairlady gave me a somewhat smile. She always thanked all who attend the meetings and all contributions “however little”.

There is also an auction item, sealed to go to the highest bidder as the money to the budget. I was seconded by the groom to be a pledge collector…to ask people to fulfill pledges. I agreed to help as I silently reckoned what new experience would be. I never found out.  Many of my fellow expected to be there, were never…

What has been your experience? Please share.