Weddings, bridal showers or engagement ceremonies are meant to be celebrations for couples with family members and friends. However, some are turning into extreme fundraisers, much to the annoyance and embarrassment of some patrons.
While other patrons look at the going-ons of such functions as drama that characterise them, at these extreme showers or engagement ceremonies almost anything is auctioned. You have situations where a K50 lollipop and K150 wooden spoon would cost K1 000 each.
Brides-to-be have resorted to ‘selling’ gifts to family and friends from the ranges of K5 000 up to K30 000 at the request of a director of ceremony populary known as MC, much to the embarrassment of some players who turn out not to have the required amounts.
Gladys, speaking on condition of anonymity thinks the trend is unacceptable.
“Some have been asked to cough K20 000 for a set of glasses that cost K3 000. Some people feel betrayed. Why should we pay for gifts instead of just being asked to help in whatever way we can?” she wonders.
Mervis Kabuthu, a business woman at Blantyre Market also plies as MC.
She says that some couples engage in auctions to top-up their wedding budgets and bridal showers are ideal for such.
She also admits that it partly has to do with MCs targeting sums that will pay them more from a given percentage of money realised.
Kabuthu says while the act may be offensive or boring to some, her job is primarily to make her clients happy and if they want a lot of money, she has to do everything possible to raise as much as she can.
“Normally we give our clients a choice when they engage us. We ask if they prefer paying a fixed rate or 10 percent of the total amount realised. The majority of them unfortunately, prefer the latter,” she says.
She cites for instance, that out of all service providers, MCs are the only group that gets a percentage of the funds while decorators, caterers and Disc Jockeys (DJs) have fixed rates.
“We know from the way people are giving how the day will end. We have to engage an extra gear to raise the stakes, hence, the new ideas that include auctioning,” says Chilomoni based Esther Senenje who has been directing ceremonies since 2004.
She says they may ask the bride and the groom to pick about 10 people each from the audience to the front where they are asked to give particular amounts of money.
Senenje states that MCs simply do as instructed by the clients and patrons should not blame them for any extreme action.