Lucky brides can afford luxurious, lacey, breathtaking expensive new gowns. The others will hire someone’s gown at a cheaper price. The bridesmaids are tactfully selected by the bride. They are really beautiful and if one is not up the test of beauty, she will be gossiped about secretly that she will spoil photos. I know women.
Wedding day. Before the bride arrives, the church or reception is full of music, people dancing, taking selfies, checking out each other’s outfit while a good number of people are gossiping. Women, notably. “Did you see how she siphoned us money? And the way she is mean. I hope her marriage lasts.” Another one adds, “Have you seen the man? Aki even if he was the last man on earth, I would not take him”. Yet in another corner, two ladies from the praise and worship team are talking, “Brother Chris really chased after me but I turned down his advances”.
The bride arrives and guests give her a standing ovation, craning necks, all their teeth out and taking photos. They want to get a glimpse of the girl who aborted; the girl who snatched Chris from someone. The girl who started attending church just to get a husband. Here, I can drop a hash tag #hatersgonnahate. The preaching is centered on proverbs 31. It is very intense and compelling and the pastor keeps citing biblical marriages, threatening the congregation about divorce, scaring the masses about HIV and infidelity. He decrees how lucky Chris is to get the woman who rises early to spin yarn and plant vineyards. He commands Nancy to respect Chris as the head of the family, consult him in all her endeavors and that her body is no longer hers but his. Scary bit.
The vows are later exchanged amidst cheers and jeers. You don’t expect everyone to be happy for you because people are out there eyeing your man. Half of the people are mad at the couple because they insisted on doing a wedding yet their pockets were empty. Thus they burdened their wedding committees. I love when the pastor says, “you may kiss the bride”. This thing really is a taboo here! The entire congregation gets nervous and starts fidgeting. Elders especially fumble restlessly and murmur to each other to avoid the embarrassing moment. Parents especially to the newlyweds are the hardest hit. How can you watch your child do such an atrocious act, in public? That, to them, is a prelude to sex and a bedroom affair.
Then there is this western ideology of throwing the bouquet. Hungry single women wait to grab the good-luck with all might. Having stilettos or short dresses never comes in the way of their determination to be the next bride. Thus, will jump and pounce on each other like hungry mongooses on a poor chicken. They go flying in the air with the agility of pole vaulters. The lucky woman will scream and hold the bouquet with all the mountain moving faith.
Then dancing as the two are introduced to the world. I tell you the price we pay for being Africans! We are a dancing race. We are musical and we all know it. The bride gets carried away by the music. She holds the nuisance of the gown and get lost in the frenzy, going down and rising. She shakes what her mama gave her and moves her entire body. Yes, let her celebrate her day! Let her rejoice that she is at last married. What a miracle. The devil is a liar. These sides, brides are not shy. They are not confined to the expectations of the western ideology of being shy and too lady-lady and walking gently, behaving like some princess made of egg shells. Their bodies involuntarily gyrate to the music.
Lastly, presents. In upcountry, this is just a chaotic moment. A bunch of relatives selflessly sacrificed and made a bed and bought a mattress for the bride and groom. They will insist on bringing the bed to the dais for them to see it, touch it, and probably lie on it. Others will bring live goats, heifers and chicken. Why Jehova Wanyonyi! Why? Others will line up with envelopes of money. You will be paralyzed with shock later to find some people who proudly lined up only put 50 bob note in the envelope. But recently I went to this wedding. They had a pay bill number!!! And people had to give gifts days prior to the wedding in specific collection points like in Nakumatt!
I am done.