Getting Married in Zambia| Step 4| Who Gives This Woman Away?

So…where were we?

Oh. Yes, you are rushing to the church because your groom is waiting and the driver seems to be taking his own sweet time (even though you are literally a 6 minute drive away). Its just you, dad and the driver. There is no music playing and not much conversation (you and your dad don’t exactly know what to say to each other). You can see the church when you remember that you forgot the Salt for the Salt ceremony! To go back or not to go back? If you go back, your groom might think that you are a Runaway Bride so you stay. Besides, if you forgot the salt, he definitely did (he did).

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It hasn’t really sunk in that the day that you have cried and prayed and fasted over is finally here. Not that you doubted God’s Word; the vision He showed you of yourself in a Wedding Dress in front of the ‘2014 Year of Going Beyond Limits’ at the 2013/2014 Cross-Over Service. You knew He would do it, you just didn’t know how hard getting to this point would be (bringing two families is not easy, add to that the fact that the devil hates anything that’s good).

You only know that it’s really happening when you hear Nathan Nyirenda playing the intro to The One He Kept For Me by Maurette Brown Clark on his Saxophone.  When you hear the the singer capturing the emotion of this song that perfectly captures what this day is about, you can’t  help but break down.

You are reminded that “God is not human that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”- Numbers 23: 19

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Pastor: Who gives this woman away?

The moment of truth has arrived. Your father (or Uncle or male guardian) in a bold, strong voice announces “I, ………… the Father of the Bride, i give her away” (insert respective name of Father/Uncle/Male Guardian here). Your groom walks over, greets the parent that is giving you away, takes your hand and walks you to the altar.

Now most people do not know that significance of this “giving away” which has become a formality of so many marriage ceremonies. Genesis 2: 24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become on flesh”. The man, your groom has left his parents home to become united with you, the bride. As a bride, you do not leave of your own accord, you have to be given away by the head of the house (your father/uncle/guardian) to the new head, your husband. The significance of this moment should not pass you by- be given away with the grace and humility it deserves.

This is your first act of submission.

         

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Getting Married in Zambia | Step 4 | Get Me to the Church on Time!

It is is now 10 days to our 1st anniversary and i really, honestly can’t believe it has been a year already?!!. People say the first year (or couple of years) are the hardest because all the pretense  of dating and the excitement of planning a wedding have passed; its now just the two of you and there is no more pretending that you roll the toothpaste from the bottom when in fact you don’t.

Our first year was not easy, we laughed, we cried, we argued, we made up – nothing out of the ordinary (i think). It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it ( sorry, i couldn’t  resist that cliché).

As we celebrate our 1st year together, I’d  like to talk a walk down memory lane and wrap up my series on Getting Married in Zambia.

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The morning of the wedding day for the Bride and Groom in Zambia is filled with last minute to-do’s and phone calls (unless your bridesmaids confiscate your phone)- mostly because it is not yet common to hire a Wedding Planner or the Bride,  if they are anything like me think that only we can get things done PER-FEC-TLY

You are the first one to wake up,  and you make sure you have your bath first before waking up the entire household. Of course you are coming down with the flu after spending the night before decorating the church with your fiance (you are an event planner and decorator after all). So lemon and honey tea, Strepsils and a dry piece of bread is sufficient for your breakfast.

You are just in time for your hair appointment but the stylist cant seem to get it just like the one in the picture you got off Pinterest…you are happy with the end result because you know you were just being fussy but of course you are late for your make-up appointment  (and now you look back and wonder why you didnt ask the stylist to come home like you did the make-up artist *duh*). But its okay, your make-up turned out perfect. So did your mum’s,  even though she thinks it’s  too much; but that’s mum for you.

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The "it's too much make-up" face

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Its time to get your dress on- wait! Where are the bridesmaids?? (i think I should write romance comedy at the rate I’m going with this post- but i promise, it was that dramatic). The brisldesmaids are late (no electricity at the salon perhaps?) but they are finally here to help the bride get ready- oh and they look fabulous thanks to the brides being dictatorial on their entire look.

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Through out the ‘organised chaos’, dad is calm, reading the newspapers, having already done the seating arrangementsfor the reception.

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Lawyer's scribble

The moment of truth……does the dress fit???? Yes! It does. It’s perfect (please note that this is not always the case for Zambian brides) but its got tooo many darn buttons!!

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At this point, you say forget these 101 buttons, I’m  late! And off you go, to you handsome groom with half your buttons undone.

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Service should have started at 10.00am

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Vendor Information
Hair: Yami’s Collection Arcades Mall
Make-up: Embeauti Hair and Makeup Studio
Wedding Dress: Custom-made, LaceMarry Etsy Shop (Yes, i bought my dress online! I couldn’t  find any plus-size wedding dresses that suited my shape in Lusaka)
Bride’s  Shoes: Ebay
Hair Band: Brass Lotus Etsy Shop
Mother-of-the-Bride’s Dress: Online
Mother-of-the-Bride’s Shoes: Ebay

Getting Married in Zambia | Step 3: Kitchen Party – The Fashion

In Zambia, being invited to a KP is the perfect excuse to look good- its like a fashion show with models of all ages and sizes.
My day  was filled with so much colour and culture- starting with the decor, my outfit, the uniform chitenge worn in different patterns by the bride’s committee,  to the colourful outfits worn by the guests. 

Here are some looks from the KP:

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My look, designed by Esnoko

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Bride and Groom matching outfits by Esnoko

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Some patterns by my ladies

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I loved Nosizwe's bright pink heels

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Jane's (LeSizzleCafe) unique top paired with a black skirt

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Guests: My King's sisters

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MOB (centre) stole the show!

That’s all folks!

Getting Married in Zambia | Step 3: Kitchen Party ( Part 2)

Traditionally, the groom is not meant to come to the KP (something to do with him only unveiling the Bride once, on the wedding day….i think, i could be wrong, its complicated). However, i silently insisted that my groom made an appearance. The role of the groom (or his representatives if he is not allowed to make an appearance) is to unveil the bride, who enters the event veiled in a chitenge (traditional wrapper/material) after the guests have arrived. It all gets a bit blurry here…so i won’t get myself in trouble by getting too much into it. The bride is unveiled, the bride and groom exchange gifts, then present gifts to their mothers and the groom leaves.
Did i mention that this event is strictly for women?  NO MEN ALLOWED!

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Bride's entrance- escorted by family and friends

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Waiting to be unveiled (it was sooo hot under there!)

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The Unveiling

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Presenting my gift to my King

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Appreciating my Mother in Law (and Love)

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Appreciating my Mother (yes, we cried)

Next on the agenda is the opening of gifts and each guest (in the case of gifts) is called up to explain to the bride their gift; what it is ànd how to use it; whilst monetary gifts are collected at the entrance (and guarded by the most trusted relative/friend)

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Ready to receive wisdom (and gifts)

Example of gift presentation:
Wise Guest: Mwenya, this is a tea set. When your husband gets home from work, make him some tea to relax him and serve it in this nice set to show your appreciation for his hard work to provide for the family.
Bride: *nods and gentlty claps hands* (as a sign of gratitude for the wisdom)
NB. Bride does not speak,  her job is to soak in all the wisdom.

Finally, your favorite Aunt (or Aunt closest to you), shows the bride around the gift display put together by the MOB’s committee, explaining what each item is for and how to use it to care for your King, the head of your house.

I have to say, although i initially did not want  to  have this event, i am eternally glad i did. Despite the fact that i knew i had no choice but to have it; being my mum’s only daughter, i knew i couldn’t deprive her of the joy; it was a humbling experience and it taught me to appreciate my beautiful mother for all that she has done
for me and sacrificed for me not to lack anything, and more importantly, to become the woman and the wife i am today.

Love,
MrsD

Getting Married in Zambia | Step 3: Kitchen Party (Part 1)

It’s  been over a year since i had my Kitchen Party, which was on the 23rd of August, 2015.

What is a Kitchen Party you ask? It’s another opportunity for the bride to look beautiful of course!

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Spot @LeSizzleCafe helping me get ready

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Seriously though, going by my experience from my own Kitchen Party or “KP” as my mum and i call it, it’s another event that prepares the bride for marriage. 
Married women, most likey the brides family, the mother’s friends and her new family, come together to celebrate the brides upcoming marriage, as well as offer wisdom. More importantly, it is the mother of the brides “final goodbye” (figuratively of course) because her daughter is no longer her child, but has become a woman, responsible for her own home.

It’s not as morbid as it sounds.  It’s a celebration. Its a rite of passage. The best part? The gifts of course!

The reason for the theme of this party is because the guests bring different gifts, mainly for the kitchen,  to help the bride start her home- they don’t  say “the way to a mans heart is through his stomach” for nothing.
Gifts range from big items such a a stove and fridge to smaller items such as dinner sets, cutlery, a toaster and other appliances, cooking sticks, you name it. Traditionally (though I’m not quite sure where this particular “tradition” came from, i have an idea but can’t be bothered to get into that right now), the Brides family purchases the stove, whilst the grooms family purchase the fridge.

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Bride's stage and committe gift display

Also, the MOB (Mother of the Bride) would have set up a committee of her closest friends prior to the event that help her not only plan the event, but also purchase some of the biggger items for her daughter- you can only imagine how expensive it can get! Then the rest is brought by the guests- who depending on the invitation will be asked to bring gifts only or money only  or both- the money option is normally to enable the bride to purchase fir herself what she wants for her kitchen as gifts can get repetitive. Alternatively, thd brude can set uo a registry. My invitation gave our guests an option of either gift or money and let’s just say i raised a considerable amount of money and i got a number of gorgeous dinner sets that i still don’t have space to store it all.

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Invitations with Save The Date Bookmarks


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Committee gifts on display

The bride will also have her committee of friends that put money together to gift her items to add to the display, as well as help in ensuring the event goes on without a hitch. This normally includes setting up the display, keeping the bride calm, welcoming guests and any thing that the MOB may require. The committee is identified by their uniform chitenge, check out my fabulous friends below

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Getting Married in Zambia | Step 2 (Ichilangamulilo)

Your dad and uncles have done their part and now it’s mum and your aunts time to shine at the ‘showing of the fire’.

This part of the getting married process is fun for the aunties but can be the source of nightmares for you for days to come. They gather around camp like fires (mbaulas or braziers; portable cooking stoves that use charcoal) the night before this event prepping vegetables and telling stories late in the night. You are taught a few things but retire early for a long sleepless night.  The aunties are up very early the next morning and the cooking begins. You on the other hand; wake up with a running tummy, having had nightmares about the “Big Pot”.

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Mother of the Bride

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The Drummers and the Aunties

Its time for you to come out of the room you have been sitting in for hours. Your hour of reckoning is upon you, its time to face the BIG POT. You are led by the aunties, hidden underneath a chitenge (traditional cloth of about 6m long) crawling to the BIG POT (this is where the scraped knees come in). There are drums playing and the aunties are happy, singing their traditional songs, money exchanges hands and you, the bride, are unveiled.

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About to be unveiled

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"Uku Kunkula" - a sign of respect/humility

The BIG POT isn’t as bad as you thought…its actually quite fun once you get the hang of it. Plus, seeing your friends having a go at it after you is entertaining. (The BIG POT is where the Nshima (Zambian staple dish made from maizemeal) is cooked, to go with all the other yummy traditional dishes that have been prepared).

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The Bride and THE BIG POT

The food has been cooked, the uncles have blessed it and off it goes, escorted by the drummers and singing aunties and friends, to be delivered to hunk of a man and his family.

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A multitude of pots

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Praying of the food. Prayer is everything

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Food being taken to the grooms family


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Food

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The friends that helped you get through it

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The uncles

The purpose of the Ichilanga Mulilo- Your hunk of a man hubby-to-be and his family have been introduced to the foods from your family; a gesture that they are now welcome to dine with your family during your courtship and into your marriage.

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Washing of the Grooms hands

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The groom being treated to a traditional drink

Events such as this, though perhaps intimidating, are quite valuable in moulding you into you future husbands help- mate.

Stay tuned for more ….

Photocredit: Maynarj

Getting Married in Zambia | Step 1 (Meetings)

Apparently i had committed myself to writing  a ‘How-to’ guide to getting married in Zambia…then proceeded to leave you hanging. Ooops! I guess life got in the way.

Let’s get right into today’s lesson.

Step 1 (a, b and c…oh and d)
a) Hunk of a man asks you to marry him and you say yes. Thats simple enough.

It should be noted that said hunk of a man has been your friend for at least 5 years before  you finally agreed to be the lady whose hand he holds in public. It takes you this long to agree because you knew you would one day be married to him but just the thought of marriage was enough to send you running faster than Usain Bolt in the other direction…and head first into…lets call them… “not your Boaz”.

b)You now have to inform your family. (yes, it’s a pretty formal process that sees you making several trips to an uncle who then tells your parents- it would have been easier to tell your mum, who would then break your dads heart…but no, it just doesn’t happen that way. Don’t ask me why. That’s just the way it is.)

c) Hunk of a man then has to undergo a series of interviews from previously mentioned uncle, (who also happens to be his dads best friend, so he has known him even longer than you have…) and heart broken dad who grills him for countless hours in end.

d) Hunk of a man who, bless his heart, has managed to get out of the interview round alive (and surprisingly  still wanting to marry you) now has to look for a team of uncles to meet your uncles on a pre-determined date and time, at your head uncles house (let’s call him ‘the informant’) They meet, they talk, they conclude. And VIOLA! You are officially engaged. Everyone goes their seperate ways and you have no idea what just happened. But you are engaged.

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Phew! We are engaged!!

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Its official

To be contcontinued……

Photo credit: Oliver