It’s decided. I want to find me a good Kenyan man. Because yesterday’s wedding rocked!!
I’ll be honest… I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the big day. I guess I was regretting agreeing to be bridesmaid and was nervous about being the only mzungu in the bridal party. I was worried all eyes would be on me, I’d steal attention from the bride, and that people would laugh at my complete mzungu inability to keep rhythm dancing.
The wedding rehearsal didn’t do much to build my confidence: we spent 2 hours rehersing how we were going to dance down the aisle. The final routine involved the page boy going down first, followed by the groom who led his groomsmen down. After the groomsmen had each individually danced down the aisle, the bridesmaids were to come next. We were to dance down the aisle, freestyling it about 3/4 of the way where we were met by our partnering groomsman who came back up the aisle to meet us. The flower girls were next, followed by the bride. It took a long time for the whole bridal party to make it down the aisle and I didn’t like the thought of so many eyes being on me processing my way down with my stiff dance moves.
The reason I feel I can now tell you that I wasn’t looking forward to it so much is because actually, when the day came… all my fears were relieved. The day was such an expression of love and life. I danced without caring and my heart could have burst. There was so much JOY!!
Let me tell you why:
This wedding didn’t just happen yesterday. Planning has been going on since May and has been such an example of community. Regular ‘committee’ meetings have been taking place, where the bride and groom meet with friends to plan the wedding. Different friends take on different tasks in planning the wedding, for example, some might be in charge of the cake: finding a baker, someone to ice it, ensuring it gets made well and on time, and making sure it reaches the reception venue well. Another person may be in charge of the venue: finding a venue for the day within the budget, sourcing tent hire, chair and table hire, and ensuring it’s all set up well on the day. It’s all about community. About stepping in and helping one another. About putting yourself out. It’s natural and expected. And it works. The day ran seamlessly, and with over 250 guests at the reception it couldn’t have run without the dedication of Mlami and Julia’s friends working hard behind the scenes.
The day started with the bride, flowergirls and bridesmaids being collected from the bride’s house by many female relatives who led her out of the house with singing and dancing. This set the standard for the day: we danced down the aisle, ululations were made throughout the service, when we arrived from having photographs to the reception, the bride and groom car was mobbed by guests singing and dancing around the car and processing the bride and groom from the car to the venue. We danced and sang and danced.
There was colour. So much colour. The women wore different brightly patterned kitenge. The colour scheme was vivid orange. The sun shone brighter and brighter bouncing off every surface: grey and blandness could not escape being captured and thrown into waves of brightness.
There was smiling and hugs and touch. Our jaws ached from smiling so much, but we laughed anyway. And it didn’t matter that the 8 bridesmaids rammed into the back of a car, squashed and sweaty. Sticky hugs all round as the sun shone.
And I think wedding summed up in a day why I love being in Kenya: to me, it is LIFE. The important things matter. There is immense joy, community, dancing, colour, singing and smiling all in a moment. To me, THIS is life. LIFE!!! And I want that colour, joy and dancing to not end yesterday, but to spill over into my whole being and radiate from me. A small glimmer of Christ. I can’t help but think that yesterday was a just a tiny reflection of the joy that there will be when Jesus comes again to meet His bride. I cannot wait to be there.
Mlami and Julia: a BIG thank you for allowing me to share in your joy. I love you both dearly and am excited to see how God uses you as a couple in the years ahead. Every blessing to you both and in your marriage.
Some photos from the day: