Yesterday, we had the awesome opportunity to attend our first wedding in Kenya. We were excited to see the difference in cultures. And as the wedding ceremony was beginning and I got a good look at the program, I thought some of my friends and family at home might like to hear about Kenyan wedding culture. So, if you don’t care for weddings too much, this post will probably be very long and boring for you. But this post is for the rest of you who will probably enjoy every word.
We arrived at the wedding a few minutes late due to a lot of traffic on the way. But I wasn’t worried. Most things in Kenya start late. And Im pretty sure I haven’t even been to a wedding in the US that started on time. Although in my wedding all the guests did reach on time due to the charter bus rental options I had opted for; I was still late. When we arrived, there were a couple of ladies on stage doing some pre-service singing. Pretty cool.
The groom had his own procession with music. The song was “Made for me” by Toby Mac. Jayden was SO excited!!!
The bride entered with “Forever Love” by Francesca Battistelli. Jayden and Aubrey were both very excited! Aubrey says, “Hey Dad, we did this song at Winning Edge.” 🙂
Then, we had Praise and Worship. One song in English, another 2 in Swahili. It included a worship leader with guitar, drums, and keyboard. You guys in the US, what a GREAT idea! The marriage is a commitment to God and one another. Why not invite His presence in our wedding ceremonies?! So awesome!
Pastor Don then transitioned from praise and worship with the opening prayer. It was a great transition.
He then invited another Pastor to come and give a 10 minute sermon. Surprisingly, it really was only 10 minutes. I fully expected a long Kenyan sermon. But hey, I couldn’t even keep my sermon at my sister’s wedding to 10 minutes.
After the sermon, Pastor Don then led the couple in the exchanging of vows and rings. It was a great celebration at each point. Cheering (even with a whistle) when the groom finished his part and the bride finished her part. After the vows and rings, there was the removing veil and kiss.
Then pastors in attendance were invited along with the couple’s parents to come and lay hands on them to pray over them. What a great thing to have in the wedding. In our wedding, we had Amy’s Sr. Pastor come and pray over us and we sort of thought it was a different thing. But apparently an African tradition was already in our hearts. But it was even better to hear the parents praying over their children on their wedding day as well.
Next, they signed the marriage certificate. I’ve not seen this in an American wedding. It seems to usually be done “on the side” at the reception. It’s not usually done in front of everyone as a part of the ceremony. Another great idea!
The “walk” out was more like a dance out. It moved slowly with the wedding party dancing in the aisle all the way out.
When the ceremony was finished, the guests went outside to see the couple briefly and take some pictures before going to the reception tents behind the church.
The reception began right away with lunch while the bridal party was taking pictures. No waiting to eat while the bridal party is away. In fact, we were finished eating and some comedy entertainment was happening even before the bridal party arrived.
All of the women were then asked to leave the reception area to join the bridal party. Amy joined in with about 100 or more ladies and the entire bridal party. They sang and danced in a massive “conga” line, making about 4 or 5 laps or more maybe around all the tents. This is the traditional way of welcoming the bride and groom into the reception.
The men were then invited to the middle and formed a circle where we all danced.
Then followed about 2 hours of speeches by various family members as they presented the couple with wedding gifts.
They then cut the cake.
After the cake, there were a couple of people who said thank you’s, and then closing prayer and dismissal.
It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple. We had a great time at our first Kenyan wedding.
Congratulations Paul and Faith!