.Kwanjula or Kuhingira is a traditional marriage ceremony that occurs before every wedding, where the groom-to-be pays the bride price and any other traditional requirements.
Times may be hard but that doesn’t give you any excuse to skip kwanjula customs when it comes to traditional marriages. Your in-laws expect you to satisfy their cultural requirements. So how do you do come up with a realistic Kwanjula or Kuhingira budget?
1. Hold the ceremony at Home
Renting a building or function hall for your ceremony and reception can be very expensive. Instead, consider using your own home for your ceremony while eliminating the cost of renting a venue.
This will be eliminating the cost of renting a venue and other costs that come with a venue. For example; at most venues, soft drinks like sodas or water go for Ush.2000 or Ush.2500 yet the actual retail price of a soda is about Ush.900.
A plate of food at a venue ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 (and even beyond) at most of the venues in Uganda yet you could spend 5000 to 10,000 on the same dish if you prepared the same from home
However, it’s best to have a back-up plan in case of bad weather; you don’t want to have your kwanjula or kuhungira in a downpour that leaves all your friends and family soaked. That might mean renting a sturdy tent if rain is forecast.
2. Do the catering yourself, or hire a family-owned restaurant.
I understand that preparing food for an introduction is a big job but remember;
- You’ll have a lot of family members around that day. And most of them would be willing to help since in Uganda an introduction is for the entire family
- This is like a family reunion. Everyone is excited to catch up with relatives they haven’t seen in a long time. So people are generally excited and willing to help.
Alternatively, you can talk to a family member who owns a restaurant and has a catering experience. Before you say you don’t have one in your family, I’d like to remind you that in Africa, a family stretches beyond your immediate cousins. If you just ask within your extended family, you’ll surely find someone with the experience to the prefect kwanjula luwombo or eshabwe. This will drastically reduced the food costs for the ceremony.
3. Know thyself
Some people are leaving beyond their standards or means trying to impress people that don’t even recognize them. One of the wedding planners on parties en events, Sharon told us of one of her clients John who was struggling to raise money for his kwanjula.
As a party planner planner, it’s Sharon’s duty to help her clients realize resources they can use to have their ideal ceremonies.
Fortunately, the Kwanjula was 6 months away and she advised him to find a cheaper house. John rented a one bedroomed house of 250,000 and was able to save over 3 million shillings in only 6 months.
Along with the help of family and friends, John was able to take the “mutwalo” and other gifts and earned his wife.
4. Discuss all the financial details with your wife to be
It is one thing to marry when both families have strong support from financially stable relatives. This would mean they are willing to bring your budget to life by contributing for every item there.
If you are lucky, the girl could also be coming from a rich family who already have it all. Most of these families dont accept bride price. To them it’s like you are buying their daughter and they won’t attach a value to her. “She’s much more worth than any amount of money or cows!” said Esther’s father at her introduction ceremony.
However, when the families are poor, they tend to demand for a full house set such as water tanks, expensive sofas, fridges and animals when it comes to the kwanjula or kuhingira of their daughter . This can strain the man and he may end up giving up.
To avoid such a scenario, they guy should seat his fiancee down and tell her his financial stand. If the guy really loves her hubby to be, she’ll talk to her parents and the concerned relatives about her fiancee’s financial abilities.
She however has to be honest and set her parents’ expectations low. She has to tell them what her fiancee is able to afford.
In this case they should focus on the key customary items like the parents’ gifts, the “mutwalo”, the marriage customary alcohol(omwenge or beer) and a few other items mandatory for a kwanjula or kuhingira. The fridges, LCD TVs and cars can wait for till your family is financially stable.
Therefore be honest with yourself and communicate with each other effectively. The introduction will surely happen as long as the wife and husband to be mutually agree about their financials.
5. Skip the groomsmen and bridesmaid entourage.
While it’s considered customary to have a groomsmen and bridesmaid entourage, it isn’t always necessary. You might say “well, they are willing to buy their attires themselves”, but remeber, they are cutting off the money they would have otherwise contributed to your kwanjula budget.”
All you really need is the maid of honor and the best man. You don’t really need the peg and flower girls if you are on a tight budget and even if you have a little more to spend, you don’t have to as you will need more money for the wedding and even more for the life after. If your friends know that you’re trying to have a frugal wedding, they will understand.
6. Ask for help instead of Introduction gifts and contribution.
There’s a good chance that several of our friends and family have musical talent, they might be able to provide musical accompaniment for your ceremony. Ronald told us, “We also have a close friend who’s an extremely skilled amateur photographer, and he was willing to photograph our ceremony as his kuhingira contribution. Then, after the ceremony, he provided high-quality digital images of everything and we would edit them with professional image editors when we had settled in, a few months after our wedding”.
Asking family and friends to offer help or services that align with their talents in exchange of a gift is a great way to keep your kwanjula on a budget
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