House after wedding
These days more and more young couples are buying their own homes either before or when they get married, and many building firms are producing small homes that are an ideal size for young married couples who don’t want too much space or garden to look after. A home of your own will give you a foothold in the property market as well as providing a place that feels as though it is truly yours, but of course it is also an expensive business.
The mortgage will be your main consideration, as you will have to continue to pay it (or its successor!) for 20-25 years. Mortgages can be obtained from building societies, banks and some other institutions; the companies have cycles when they have either a lot or a little money to lend, and even if you don’t manage to get a mortgage as soon as you apply you may find that things alter in the space of a few months or even weeks. Some societies will give 100% mortgages to first-time buyers; others will require a deposit of around 10% and will allow the rest on mortgage. At this point generous parents sometimes make a donation or a loan of some capital to start the new couple off, which can be a great boon and mean the difference between a realistic mortgage and a crippling one.
Legal fees are another expense entailed in house-buying; these will include solicitors’ fees, search fees, the cost of a survey by the building society and/or your private surveyor, land registry fees, and possibly stamp duty. In addition you will have to pay the costs of any removals of furniture, etc, to the new house, although if you do not already own a great deal this can probably be done yourselves with a self-hire van.
The cost of setting up a home from scratch can be considerable; don’t fall into the temptation of buying everything new immediately, but buy second-hand to begin with, or wait a little for your new kitchen units, wall-to-wall carpets, etc. You will find that you can actually get by on very little first of all, and can add to your collection slowly. The worst favour you can do yourselves at the outset of your marriage is to be up to your necks in HP repayments, which have a nasty habit of keeping ahead of the income coming in.
Whatever living arrangements you choose, remember that you are setting up a home for yourselves; it is not your material possessions that are important, but the atmosphere you create around you for your marriage and for people who come to visit you.
New home customs
We’re all familiar with the tradition of carrying the new bride across the threshold, but this is only one of many customs the world over for welcoming the newly married couple into their home.
In Greece the mother gives the bride a glass of honey and water as she enters her own house for the first time, and sometimes the groom Is foot has to crush a pomegranate.
In Montenegro the couple are presented with sweet basil, presumably in the hope that their marriage will be equally fragrant.
In one part of Sumatra the bride and groom have to take an imitation siesta together in the village square to show that they are man and wife.
In North Africa the bridegroom Is mother throws handfuls of dried fruit over the new couple, and also breaks an egg on the forehead of the mare or mule delivering the wife to her new home.
In some South American countries a new wing is added to the bride’s family’s home each time a daughter married – with the result that some of the houses become very large.
In some West African tribes the bride takes up her wifely duties ceremoniously, one by one, as she enters the new house. First she sweeps out the hut, then fetches water, prepares a meal and grinds com. When her mother-in-law considers that she is sufficiently proficient in these tasks, she instructs the bride to place a pot of beer in the hut as an invitation to the groom to join her.
In one Central Asian tribe the bride and groom do not live together at first. She busies herself preparing their new a quoi, or felt tent, and its furnishings; during this lime the groom visits her secretly once a week. When the tent is finished the groom arrives ceremoniously to carry off the bride and his new home.
In Greece the bride is traditionally accompanied to her new home by flute players, both mothers, and a procession of torchbearers.