Taking one of the biggest steps in your life is quite daunting. For a wedding, all focus shifts to the day you walk down the aisle.
In as much as a wedding should be the happiest day of your life, it is accompanied by stress from detailed planning.
You are worried whether your gown or suit is ready or if your partner will say ‘I do’, or someone will oppose your union.
You are concerned about the DJ playing the right music and whether the cake is perfect. Will it rain or not? But the biggest headache is whether you are making the right decision or not.
That was why I was stuck in the changing room with Sofia, the bride, as the church waited patiently. I bet by then, the choir had sung nearly all songs in the hymn book.
“Sofia, will you come out,” I called my best friend on that Sunday morning. “You have kept everyone waiting,” I added, nearly raising my voice.
I could hear her sob. I could feel the tears well up in her eyes, trickling down her cheeks onto her gown.
“I don’t know if I can do this, Meg,” she answered. “Am I making the right choice? I am scared,” she answered. Sofia and I have been best friends for over ten years.
She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, and it was a privilege when she insisted I be the maid of honour at her wedding. My husband, Kyle, was the best man.
I calmed her down. We were already one hour late for the wedding, and I was receiving numerous calls from her nervous parents, the deacon and my husband.
“What’s going on, baby girl? You are just scared, and it’s normal to have pre-wedding jitters. It’s completely natural for you to feel anxious as this is a big step in your life.
“I have been there before. Just come out and talk to me, okay,” I added.
“Alright… in a few,” I heard her breathe in and out before she stepped out and smiled.
“Let’s go. We are running late,” she added. I was bewildered. Isn’t she the one who was crying a few minutes ago?
“Did you sleep last night?” I asked her as we boarded the black 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which immediately sped off.
“Meg, am tired. I just want to get this confession off my chest,” she answered as she asked the driver to turn up the volume, but not to its crescendo. A calming wedding tune.
I looked outside the window and attempted to think what the confession was. Had the groom, Steven, cheated? Was she pregnant?
But Sofia looked at me smiling. She might have read my mind.
“Don’t be worried, Meg. I am good,” she assured me.
The convoy slithered into the old cathedral in Nairobi. Sofia was a budding musician, and her management had invited a few media houses to cover the wedding for the gossip columns.
I retouched the makeup on her face before we joined the flower girls’ procession into the church as the choir sang a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect.
The ululations, bursting balloons, congrats, and applause were deafening. But wasn’t a rude shock lurking in the shadows? I had alerted my husband, Kyle, but we all weren’t privy to Sofia’s confession.
I held my breath throughout the sermon until the vows. “If anyone would wish to oppose this union, please come forth or remain silent forever,” the deacon summoned.
“No one. Alright. Steven, do you take this lovely woman to be your bride? To love and to cherish? In sickness and in health? Till death do you part, or Christ comes for his church?” the deacon asked.
“Yes, I do,” Steven answered, to the delight of the gathering.
“You can now recite your vows,” the deacon guided him.
“Sofia. Each day I love you more. You are the bright light in my life that guides me to walk right. With grace and the trust you have bestowed on me, I place this ring on your finger to show my love for you,” Steve pledged.
Sofia breathed hard, smiled, closed her eyes and interjected the priest.
“I have a confession to make,” she added. There it was. The church was silent, save for a few murmurs here and there. Sofia’s parents stood up.
“Today morning, I delayed because I didn’t know if this was the right choice in my life. I am scared of failing. I am scared to be a mother. Steve, I feel like you are too good for me as you are humble, so forthright, and I have never found a fault within you,” She then went on.
“I was praying for strength and energy to come here because I love you so much, and I just want to feel that grace. I am sorry I kept you all waiting,” she stated.
Was she going to do it or not? That was the question lingering on everyone’s mind.
“I keep wondering why you helped me through the tough phases of my life, from financing my business to supporting my siblings through school… I feel like you have been through a lot with me, and today morning, I wanted to walk away and give you some peace.”
I stood up and passed her a handkerchief as the audience reeled in shock. Steve nearly let her hand go. He was confused by the sudden changes.
“But I marry you because I know I am in safe hands, and yes, I do,” she answered. You could feel the weight falling off everyone’s shoulders. There was a sigh of relief.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride,” the deacon added.
As we waited for the band to set up, I asked Sofia why she couldn’t have confided in me.
“Meg, Steve has really struggled to finance our business. I thus felt like I was demanding a lot with this wedding. I don’t even know what to do with the SME after the wedding,” she stated.
“But you shouldn’t be worrying to much on your happiest day. You have the honeymoon, honey,” I told her.
“Look at him. So perfect. See how he is smiling. You don’t have to worry about some issues which you’d have asked about right away. If financing your business keeps you up, Co-op Bank has a solution for you – the customer.
“Co-op Bank, through Trade Finance, offers you the most affordable way to fund your business without taking up a loan. All business customers like you can access various options at your nearest branch.
I explained to her that she could access various instruments at Co-op Bank, from Bid Bonds, Letters of Credit, Performance Bonds, Custom Bonds, Advance Payment Guarantees and Credit Guarantees to finance her business.
She thus can enjoy Co-op Bank’s LPO Financing, Bills Discounting, Invoice Discounting, Post Import Finance/Import Duty Finance, and Supply Chain Finance/Distributor Finance.
“The bank processes the documents faster and assists you in managing your risks as you can negotiate credit terms. They also offer flexible repayment periods, unsecured trade facilities and also secured work permits for foreigners working for your business,” I added.
“Why didn’t I know this before? Look at all the drama I nearly caused!” she wondered.
“Also, fill out this form, tell Co-op Bank which Trade Finance Solutions you are interested in, and whether you are a Co-op Bank account holder or not. Leave out your details, and the bank will reach out to you,” I showed her the website and shared the link.
Steve, the bridegroom, then cut us short.
“Would you like to have this dance with me?” he asked her.
Sofia winked at me and rose to dance.