Monday, January 16, 2012

A Kenyan Wedding

The happy couple - Eric & Zeddy
Hello!  I attended a wedding in the middle of December and wanted to tell you a little about it.  Eric is the man who oversees our CMF clinics in Turkana.  He also helps with administrating our water project and is a friend.  I wrote about his engagement/ bride price negotiation party in August.  Everything was agreed upon so the wedding was set for December 16th.

There are some things about a Kenyan wedding that are different from one you or I might be used to.  So, I will highlight some of those differences.  First, it lasted almost all day.  Second and maybe the strangest to us, would be that planning the wedding is the groom's responsibility not the Bride's.  So Eric had a lot to do between August and December.  He had to choose the place.  He chose to have it in Eldoret.  Normally it would be at the groom's home (Turkana), but the groom also has to pay for the transport of the Bride's family members (including extended family).  So, choosing a location closer to the Bride's family was very economical for him.  Zeddy is from a different tribe, so her family does not live in Turkana and at that time of year the cost of transporting them to Turkana would have been very high!

Certain of Eric's friends were asked to drive for him or the wedding party.  I picked up some of the pageboys and groom's men the morning of the wedding.  I also took some people for the post wedding photo shoot.  All the vehicles used got some sort of decoration in the wedding colors.  Mine truck got purple and white streamers and bows tied across the hood.

The Wedding party consists of all the normal players, but there are a few extra.  There are page boys and flower girls.  There were about 8 of each.  The groom, groomsmen, and pageboys all did a dancing shuffle in a group into the church up the aisle - not entering from the front.  After that came the bride's maids and flower girls doing the same group dancing shuffle up the aisle.  The bride was walked up the aisle by both her parents after everyone else was in place.

During the ceremony anyone can get up and take pictures from anywhere in the church.  This includes from behind the minister who is performing the wedding!  At the end of the ceremony, the groom is told he can salute his bride - Eric hugged Zeddy :).  They also include the signing of the wedding certificate as part of the ceremony.  Zeddy was given the document and told to keep it in a safe place.  She first tried to stick it in his sock, but it wouldn't go.  She ended up putting it in Eric's inside coat pocket.

There were the usual after the ceremony pictures and reception.  The pictures were taken at a beautiful place!  Once the wedding party got back from that, they were given a little lunch.  Everyone else had already eaten.  The two families/ friends never really mingled.  The Bride's family and friends were in one rented open sided tent and the grooms family and friends were in another across from them.  Gifts were given by the groom's side first.  It was a little processional of people taking the gift, giving it to them, hugging them and then going back to sit down.  Both the bride and groom were "garlanded" with what we would think of as Christmas garlands.  Here they are worn to signify a celebration.  Zeddy's family then did their gift giving processional with the Bride and Groom going to their tent.  They gave pieces of furniture.  It is a tradition that they be given their first cabinets from the bride's family so that is what they got - along with other nice gifts.  These were very big, heavy, nice, hand made cabinets which they then had to figure out how to get to Turkana.

So, the wedding was different from what I am used to, but it was a wonderful celebration.  I hope you have enjoyed this little description.  The pictures below are from the day.  If you want to see more pictures, check out my facebook page photos.  Have a great week!

the men dancing in

bride's maids & f. girls dancing in

post wedding photo place
the gifts
Yes, I was there!

garlanded after getting gifts


  1. A great read Lynn. Thankyou.


  2. Thanks Tim! It was an interesting day.