The wedding. Sigh. It was really beautiful, and I mean reeeeallly beautiful. It was a traditional wedding between a Rwandese lady and a Nigerian man, so it was a proper traditional affair. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
As I mentioned here, the Saturday of the wedding was Rwanda’s national cleaning day. This meant that the streets were off limits – on a police (military?) enforced lockdown until midday. My mum and I had to find ways to entertain ourselves until it was time to leave, which led to me filming a little room tour that will be on my youtube channel soon 😊
We eventually set out at about 2pm, and I wore my cobalt blue wide-legged jumpsuit because that’s what I thought I would be wearing to the wedding. I chose it because I was warned that the Rwandese culture is very conservative, so anything short or revealing may be disrespectful. So I covered up in a ton of flowy material with only my shpulders exposed, which would still allow me to feel all ladylike.
Yes I can see the creases and yes I tried packing everything carefully to make sure it didn’t happen but there I was. So you can imagine my relief when I found out that the bride had sorted us out – outfit wise – for the day. She had gotten everyone interested a traditional Rwandese outfit to wear to the ceremony and I was over the moon! Their national dress is very simple – a wraparound skirt tied at the waist and a matching one shouldered top, with a little top underneath.
I got to wear one from the yellow set, some got red, purple .. an endless supply of colours. But more on the outfits later, there are so many pictures of the actual wedding that the clothes need a whole post for themselves 😃 We walked in with the groom’s party and got seated as the festivities began.
The bride walked in with her party about an hour after, giving the elders of her community a chance to begin “negotiations” with the groom. It was all done in Kinyarwanda, which is their traditional language so those of us not from there were totally lost half the time. It helped that they gave us handouts that detailed the events as they ran, and that the MC did his best to keep us in the loop but we still remained clueless for the most part.
The basic rundown is this: Groom arrives bearing gifts (drinks, so wine and sodas and such) to be presented periodically during the ceremony. Prayers are offered and elaborate welcomes, after which the groom’s representative gives a speech about how inlove with the bride the groom is. Each side tries to trick the other to see if the couple will be a good fit. They share a few drinks and begin mock dowry discussions, mainly about how many cows the groom will give as dowry to the family. Cows represent the departure of a daughter from her own family and the merging of to families. “This exchange serves to recognize the bride’s family’s efforts in raising their daughter and preparing her for marriage,” the handout explained.
More poems and songs and dancing before the bride finally arrives with her entourage. And she looks stunning, wearing some crazy expensive Nigerian lace in a Rwandese style that blew me away. The delicate design on the material was breathtaking, and I absolutely loved her colour choices.
Gifts are presented to elders on both sides, after which there is more dancing and singing and looots of crying from the bride’s family. And I mean looots. I actually got to see the goodbye’s said at marriage first hand and I finally got why they are sooo emotional. One lady explained to me that it was even harder fro them because she’d be moving so far away, across Africa to live with her husband in Nigeria and they couldn’t imagine not being able to see her whenever they wanted to. Touching *sniff *sniff.
The bride and groom changed for the evening festivities and the Nigerian part of the ceremony began. There wasn’t too much of it because there will be another ceremony in Nigeria, but they did do the whole throwing money at the groom and bride thing – which is a real thing, by the way. All of that will be in the vlog because I took more video than photos of that part but it was an awesome party, with everyone dancing with the couple and partying it up as we got some food in us.
That’s about it for the wedding. It was only the traditional one, not the formal signing of papers (done before) or the white wedding (coming after). There will be a vlog up at some point after my exams .. which is why I’ve been MIA by the way. But more on my youtube channel soon so subscribe and keep an eye out for that 😊 Thanks for dropping by! 👄👄