There comes a time in your life when the truth dawns that indeed you are getting old. For a lady, this is the time when your diary has this kind of a cycle. Bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, visiting to see newborns and attending baby’s birthday parties.
This kind of a schedule is probably what has been equipping my weekends of late. There are babies that I am yet to see 3 months after their arrival in this world (*Hamida, King Nzomo and Jean, you know I am talking about you*). Then, I have a number of weddings to attend and at times it becomes overwhelming, especially when these people tell you…. “Mine is an invite only, so please don’t waste my card, come and celebrate with me.”
There are specific months in Kenya that are recognized as the best months for weddings, especially because weddings in Kenya are a family affair and during these months, many people are able to get leave days and students too are also on vacation. Therefore, April/May, August/September and November/ December are always the most common months for weddings in Kenya. Last Friday, I joined Linda Ongwenyi as she said goodbye to single-hood and the following day, I attended Tina Odero’s wedding. And just within this month, I have two more weddings to attend. I am definitely looking forward to these weddings.
Many a times some of my friends tell me, my liking to attend weddings comes from my tribal background. Coastal people are known for loving weddings and so are people who hail from Taita Hills. Maybe, that is true, I am not so sure about it, maybe someone needs to confirm this.
Now, lets talk about weddings and some of the things that happen at the weddings in Kenya. Let’s start with the exciting things. A wedding is very interesting if the bride is extremely entertaining. When it comes to dancing, as a bride, please dance. Enjoy it, it is your day, it comes once in a lifetime. There is nothing as boring as a boring bride.
Observing people and watching the fashion. I love this. This is one of the best sessions for the day. I love to see how people have over-dressed or even under-dressed. Wedding is one of those days where people spend so much money and time, just to prove a point that “indeed, I know how to dress for a wedding,” especially in Nairobi. I call it a fashion show. A month ago, one of my cousins came from Mombasa to attend a friend’s wedding in Nairobi, and I can tell you this for free. She woke up at 6am to prepare and she left my house at 11am. Mark you, the previous night, she had done a rehearsal, wore her make-up and until we said it was fine and that everything was matching, then she was happy. In short, give it to all the people who know how to dress for weddings.
Too much for that. Now, let’s discuss some of those things I don’t seem to get at a wedding. Many wedding invites would say that the wedding starts at 10am. However, true to African mentality, most weddings will start two to three hours late. I still don’t understand why would any bride want to spend a whole day struggling to smile. I have said it to my friends before; I don’t need a whole day for a wedding. A bride needs to smile as much as she can, it’s her day and therefore, let’s not burden her by giving her a whole day, she will get tired. Personally, I can give myself three hours of genuine smile, more than that I will just be faking it. So when I finally get married, just know, you will have at most, three to four hours and we call it a day.
Another thing is the photo session. This is one of those irritating segments I hate to imagine that it has to happen. Why would a couple leave their guests at the reception, only to come back two to three hours later? Honestly, is this fair at all? Is it just me? Look at a weekend as a relaxing day, consider yourself very special because I choose to be with you. But, do you have to leave me parking for that long? Is there a way we can have the photo shot after the wedding? I guess that will reduce the number of hours people spend at the wedding. Is it possible for people to look for venues that will also accommodate photo shot areas? That way, the bridal party saves the guests the agony of waiting.
Then, the church sermon and family speeches. Now, this is probably the most boring party of any wedding. The guests once more are subjected to another moment of listening and listening as families parade each other all trying to say the same thing in different languages. We all know that I have been your girl for all these years and yes, it’s not coming to an end, will you leave some of the talk for a different day? I guess, these families will get a chance to meet again and again, can we spare some of those speeches for a later day? It even gets boring if these people are speaking in their native language. Is it possible for the couple to have only the family representatives speak? Is it also possible to let them know in advance that they have only five minutes to say whatever they need to say? If couples have been through counseling session, why does the pastor feel the need to take a whole one hour preaching about marriage? I am imagining that his/her sermon should actually be directed to the couple as a way of giving them his/her final word in marriage? Don’t you think so?
Let’s also talk about Kenyan’s who fuss about anything and everything at a wedding. They start by critiquing the couples, from the dress code and even their entire day mannerisms, fuss about lack of variety of foods, or even say that the food was less and not so well prepared and go home with so many negative stories to tell. Can we find it within our hearts to see the positives in any wedding? Couples are going so extreme to ensure that their guest feel comfortable and cared for, please reciprocate the same love by ensuring that when you attend a wedding, make it your plan to have fun and celebrate with the couples. After all, it’s you that they invited and not just any other Tom, Dick, Harry and Patience.
Finally, there are those who are always looking for a chance to grab something to carry home. In the rural areas, many of them will sneak some foods in their handbags, so as to carry for their loved ones at home. Interesting that these same people who never brought with them a wedding gift in the first place. But, now they want, food and cakes, for themselves and their families at home. In Nairobi, I realize that the trend changes. After the wedding has been dismissed, people are quickly rushing and fighting so as to get to carry the flowers back home. (See photo below)
When I finally get married one Monday, I am hoping that I would have finally found a lasting solution to some of these irritating segments at wedding ceremonies. Whether you spend 4 hours or a whole day, whether you like the food or fuss about it, really, whatever way you look at it, it does not change the end result. At the end of the day, Patience and her groom will leave the venue as a married couple, happily ever after!