A couple’s $1 wedding was celebrated all over social media for proving that marriage means more than just a wedding.

Weddings are a 50 billion dollar industry worldwide, thanks to societal pressures and traditional expectations placed on couples. Energy goes into planning the weddings while marriage preparation (like premarital counselling, or important discussions about money and family planning) falls by the wayside. Terms like “Bridezilla” are commonplace when talking about weddings. Meanwhile, phrases like “Happy Wife, Happy Life” dominate the conversation about marriage. One couple in Kenya decided to skip the “zilla” of wedding planning and jump straight into the “happy life” of marriage.

Frugal festivities

Wilson Mutara, 27, and Ann Mutara, 24, had postponed their wedding twice in 2016 when they found themselves unable to raise the $300 fee that was required to throw a more traditional wedding. When friends and family were not able to help them raise the required sum, Wilson’s brother encouraged him to continue to save money and just move in with Ann, unmarried. Wilson, a self-employed fruit seller, and Ann wouldn’t have it. They wanted a permanent, and “blessed” union. So, they decided to get married in 2017 with minimal expense– and with some help from their community.

A sweet scene

Ann and Wilson’s church pitched in and covered the unavoidable marriage expenses like the license. Ultimately, the couple spent only $1 on rings, dressing casually in jeans and t-shirts and skipping any extras like a cake, decorations, or fancy clothes. The only touch of drama came from Wilson himself, who shocked the congregation when he ran out into the street mid-ceremony, only to return with a pair of wedding rings. The crowd cheered when he pulled them out as the exchange of vows was about to start. 

Positive feedback

Wilson and Ann’s story was shared widely on social media, where it garnered plenty of positive attention. 

  • “Who said we have to complicate marriage ceremonies with huge budgets?” Jay Can-did(Nairobi News comment page)
  • “This is impressive. The most important thing is the marriage, not the wedding.” Daniel Wafula (Twitter)
  • “Their wedding had nothing, but their marriage will be beautiful,” Beatrice Oloo (Facebook)

I believe money should not stop young people like us from getting married. If people love each other and want to marry they should.

– Ann Mutara

Even though the couple was more than happy with their wedding, the attention on social media resulted in them receiving gifts from people who were touched by their story and the purity of their love. They were even gifted a 5-day honeymoon by a travel agency!

Less is more

Ann and Wilson’s story reminds us that behind all of the pageantry and expense of a wedding, a marriage is about expressing love and creating a lifelong union. We should all take an example from Ann and Wilson and remember that love and family is always more important, and more inspiring, than a fancy dress or a beautiful cake. 

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