September 19, 2013 - Mombasa, Kenya

Since February, I knew that there would be a wedding in August, where I was going to be a bridesmaid. A few days before the big day for the couple, all bridesmaids and best men tried to gather to practice the style of the ceremony. It was quite an undertaking until everyone was together. With the habit of coming late, people reached at 7pm instead of the appointed 5pm. Therefore it was complicated to prepare. And I’m not excluding myself here.

We finally got it one day before the wedding. But without the bride. She couldn’t make it. The groom lost his custom-made suit in a Matatu and had to look for a solution.

The night before we all slept in one place, so that the constant traffic jam wouldn’t interfere. We got up at 6am to be ready for the bride by 8am. The bride took long. We waited for her in a tiny room, with some old ladies, singing traditional Luyah-songs. The bride was ready at around 11m. With traditions making things complicated- men were not allowed to see us enter the car – and thanks to the traffic, we reached the church at 12. Two hours after the official time. Lucky they had patient guests.

It was a very embarrassing thing for me. I’m not confident in high-heels and every bridesmaid had to dance-walk together with one of the best men from the car to the “altar”. On sand. Meaning, our heels got stuck in the sand with every step.

The ceremony itself was different to what I’m used to. A lot of loud prayers, almost shouting. After the rings were on the fingers, we went back to the car, to get to a place for taking pictures. The problem was: the cameramen disappeared in the traffic jam. We waited almost one hour and then decided to use my camera.

After many pictures, we went again to another place. The reception this time. We found people already eating. Better for them, they had to wait for us again. Everything has its tradition. The cutting of the cake gets a lot of attention. And every bridesmaid had to help give out the cake, so that every guest gets one piece. Giving the presents also has an order to be followed. To wish the couple well also.

After this whole day – we were released to go home at around 8pm – I was very tired. My conclusion of this wedding is that the people involved have to struggle to have fun. It’s rather exhausting. So many traditions and rules…

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