Ksh500K Cake & Car Gifts: How Kenyans Break Banks During Weddings

  • a
    An undated photo of a wedding convoy in Kenya
  • Weddings are a very emotional and expensive affair in Kenya, giving rise to many businesses which operate in the ecosystem to share returns of the Ksh30 billion industry

    According to a recent crowdsourced survey by content creator Just Ivy, Kenyan couples said that caterers and venue managers take up the biggest chunk of the wedding budgets with the honeymoon destinations also benefiting from the extravagance. 

    One Kenyan who said that his wedding budget was Ksh1.2 million with the cake taking Ksh500,000 explained that at the end of the ceremony, the gifts he had received were in excess of Ksh1.3 million. 

    Congregants at a wedding in a church in Kenya

    “A good example is a fruit cake. A rich fruit cake baked with alcohol and aged for a month can go for about Ksh6,000 per kg. If aged longer, about 6 months then it can go for Ksh13,000 or Ksh15,000 per kg without the cost of decoration,” one of the wedding planners explained, adding that a typical wedding cake weighs more than 10kgs. 

    One florist explained how they are able to achieve 100 percent profits by using their shrewd business skills and creativity.

    “A bunch of 20 roses is between Ksh60 and Ksh200 at the market depending on time and vendor. If you doll two bunches up and add fillers, put a ribbon on it and you can sell the same for up to Ksh1,400 - Ksh2,500 and sometimes more depending on the client,” the florist revealed.

    Many couples said they realised that when shopping for clothes, shoes, jewellery and other items, vendors would hike the prices upon realising that the items were to be used for a wedding. 

    “When I used to charge Ksh130,000, I would make like Ksh100,000 profit. That is just one wedding. Having three in a month is very lucrative for me,” confessed another planner.

    During Kenyan weddings, the expenses are not only incurred by the couple but also their families and friends who sometimes chip in on the wedding budget, while others go out of their way to gift the newlyweds.

    “Our cost was Ksh1.5 million but our gifts were worth a lot more. Our in-laws gave us 20 acres of land, a house and a car,” one woman said.

    Despite the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 which limits the number of guests, a few wedding planners said that one could still spend millions on a wedding. 

    “With smaller groups, the wedding is no longer an event but an experience. Guests are pampered, taken to beautiful destinations for three or four nights and given the best experience and food.  You can have a wedding with 20 guests that costs over Ksh5 million and that’s just what we are being paid,” the planner said. 

    At the other end of the spectrum, many Kenyans are also being frugal with their wedding expenditure and choose a simple wedding. 

    “Got married at the Attorney General with only two witnesses present then had a nice dinner after. I even went in my work clothes as I told my boss I’m going to get married. I wanted a white wedding but we didn’t have the money for it,” one man said. 

    Toyota Prado vehicles in a wedding convoy
    Toyota Prado vehicles in a wedding convoy