Weddings of the World – South Sudan

Weddings of the World – South Sudan

 

Being a South Sudanese bride is an extravagant and joyous experience filled with overwhelming celebration, community, tradition, love and exclusive treatments. It is not a simple one-day event, but a continuous year of celebration. 

So before he can put a ring on it, your hubby-to-be and his male relatives must go to the bride’s home to ask for permission to marry. Both families conduct a “background check” to evaluate the family and tribal history. Once approved, the male elders of both families set up meetings to negotiate on the bride price. Bride price must be paid for the bride, by the groom, typically with the help of his whole extended family. Many factors are taken into account when deciding on the amount, such as level of education, family status, physical qualities, and others. Back in Africa, these payments may be made through assets such as cows, goats, gold, and more, but in the US, it would be translated to $$$. 

On the date the groom is ready to pay the specified amount, a big “engagement party” is hosted. It is usually at a venue with lots of food, dancing, gifts exchanged, and traditional attire. This is also when the groom is supposed to officially give the bride her engagement ring. 

A South Sudanese bride is pampered like royalty during her entire wedding experiences by the women of the community. The home is a continuous festive place for the bride with lots of dancing, gifts, advice and joy surrounding her. Special indulging such as homemade sugar body waxes, scrub and bath treatments, and other lavish regimens start weeks in advance to prepare the bride to be glowing and gorgeous her big day.

A few days before the wedding, the bride-to-be spends hours receiving beautiful intricate henna designs from her fingers to forearms and toes to ankles. Some brides in South Sudan have a henna party the night before the wedding, which is a tradition adopted from northern Sudan from when they were one country. It is an all women’s event filled with dancing, singing, and eating. 

For the main wedding, the couple has a traditional church wedding. The reception is typically buffet style and filled with many toasts. The bride and groom’s tribal groups and families perform traditional dances as they bring out gifts. During the cake cutting, the bride and groom each walk to their new in-laws, get on their knees, and serve them cake as a sign of respect and unity. The rest of the reception is a dance celebration with all music styles, lasting all night. On the next day, most families usually host a BBQ or some kind of going away event for guests. 

Community is such a crucial element in South Sudanese culture, and weddings are a prime time when you see the whole community abundantly celebrating and embracing the newly weds as if it was their own child, ensuring it is a memorable and enjoyable journey. It is definitely an experience worth joining if you ever have an opportunity to experience a South Sudanese wedding!

~OE~

 

Weddings of the World – Ethiopia Part 1

Weddings of the World – Ethiopia Part 1

Most believe it’s hard enough preparing for one wedding. . . How about 3? And this doesn’t even include the pre and post-wedding festivities. Ethiopian weddings are one of the most elaborate and exciting to attend. What can I say… we look for reasons to celebrate and weddings happen to be the biggest celebration.

It all starts when a man loves a woman lol. Seriously though, traditionally, when an Ethiopian man decides he wants to marry, he doesn’t propose the American way. He gathers some of the older men in his family and goes to the bride’s home to ask her family for their daughter’s hand in marriage. The older men will highlight their son’s attribute and why he will make a great husband. If the family accepts, the wedding will be planned.

Next, there is Telosh, which is a wedding custom held at the bride’s family’s house two days before the wedding. The groom and his family bring various gifts to present the bride. These gifts often include a wedding gown, traditional clothing, and jewelry.

On the wedding day:

  1. The groom and his groomsmen get ready at the groom’s house and head over to his bride’s home.
  2. Once they arrive, a musical exchange between the bride’s family and his groomsmen will take place as they block the entrance to the home.
  3. Once they have serenaded their way in the house, the groom will then escort his bride out of her parents’ home and head to their place of religion, where the exchanging of vows takes place.

Wanna know what happens next??? Tune in later this week for Part II

~TG~

 

Weddings of the World: Italy

Weddings of the World: Italy

If you checked out our Insta last week you would have seen a clue for where were traveling to this month & if you guessed Italy, you are CORRECT!

Viva l’Italia! Italy has a ton of fun traditions that couples could easily implement into their wedding days for a memorable and unique.  We selected 4 of our absolute faves. Take a look and let us know your thoughts.

 

“La Tarantella”

This dance is a way that the guest wish the newlyweds good luck on their new lives together. The guest dance to a lively, upbeat tempo song and hold hands and rotate in a clockwise direction until the music speeds up and then they reverse directions. These tempo changes occur several times and each time the tempo speeds up the group changes direction again. This continues until it is impossible to keep up with the tempo of the music.

“Taglio Della Cravatta”

After the ceremony, the Groom cuts his tie to give to his groomsman befo, who offer it to the guest as an exchange for money! The money is collected and given to the couple to ensure an adventurous honeymoon and to help out with the wedding expenses

Bomboniere

These favors are often packaged in a small container, wrapped with ribbons and filled  with confetti and 5 sugar coated almonds that symbolize health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and a long life.  Since these little tokens are a form of gratitude they are not placed in the table like traditional wedding favors. Nope, there get their very own fancy little table and the newlyweds pass these out as each guest leaves.

BOMBONIERE PHOTO CREDIT: Di Cristofalo

“Per cent’anni”

Before the guest eat, a sweet red wine is served and the best man toasts to “Per cent’anni”,  This traditional toast for the couple wishes them happiness and good luck for 100 years!  As the evening goes on and the drinks get stronger various guests may also salute the happy couple with Per cent-anni,” alluding to the many years ahead of them as man and wife.

 

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~JL~

Weddings of the World: China

Weddings of the World: China

We are all aware of the custom American wedding traditions – tossing the bouquet, something borrowed and something blue, exchanging of the rings and lighting a unity candle. But how many of you are aware of all the other amazing cultures and traditions that are happening around the world? That’s what this monthly blog is for – join us every month to dig into the spectacular wedding traditions of countries all around the world!

If you checked out our Insta last week you would have seen a clue for where were traveling to this month & if you guessed China, you are CORRECT!

During ancient times, many practices and rituals were performed as a part of the Chinese Wedding Tradition. Take a look at four important wedding traditions in the Chinese Community. Of course since it’s your day and you set the rules; you may opt to not perform all of these, but it’s good to understand their importance, and the significance these bring to your marriage.

Tea Time

  • The tea ceremony is deemed one of the most important and most significant rituals. It originated in the seventh century and is considered an integral part of a Chinese wedding. It symbolizes honor and respect for the family. On the morning of their wedding day, Chinese couples bring their loved ones together in their respective homes for the tea ceremony.  It’s called jing cha in Chinese, literally meaning, ‘to respectfully offer tea’. It include’s a very formal introduction of the bride and groom, and shows a high level of respect to their families.

Hair Combing Ceremony

  • The bride showers in water infused with pomelo leaves and then puts on a new pair of pajamas and slippers. A “woman of good fortune” (a woman with living parents, spouse, and children will come to the house to dress the bride’s hair) then brushes the bride’s hair. The “woman of good fortune” brushes the bride’s hair four times while reciting:

“May your marriage last a lifetime
May you be blessed with a happy and harmonious marriage until old age
May you be blessed with an abundance of children and grandchildren
May you be blessed with longevity”

Door Games

  • Before the groom can claim his bride, he usually has to undergo a series of tests in the form of fun games, also called “door games”.  These games are normally set up by the bridesmaids and imply that the bride is a “prize” that must be won.  When the groom (along with the help of his trusted groomsmen) surpasses all the tests , the bride will finally exit the bridal suite.

Bride’s Home Visit

  • Three days after the wedding, the couple visits the home of the bride’s parents. During this meeting the bride is no longer considered a family member and she is received as a guest in her parent’s home. During this reunion gifts are exchanged and the couple is sent home with a sugar cane branch (The sugar cane represents sweet and harmonious life) and a live rooster and hen placed in a cage. Once the couple gets back home from their visit, they proceed to their bedroom and release the chickens. Legend has it that if the rooster comes out first, the first born will be a boy; if it is the hen, then their first born will be a girl.

 

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~JL~

The Tea on The Royal Wedding in 5 Hashtags

The Tea on The Royal Wedding in 5 Hashtags

Most of you already know how I feel about watching TV, so it should come as no surprise that since I FINALLY had the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy a Saturday off… I chose to skip The Royal Wedding.  After all, I know that I can always count on my Facebook Family to keep me up to date with anything I might miss on the television networks.

Once I got my day started, I logged in to Facebook and swooned over a few of the intricate details of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Big Day. However, I found myself quickly becoming annoyed when I noticed that a lot of people were turning this into a Black vs. White situation instead of what it truly was…. A ceremony that honors two people who love each other and wish to be united in marriage.

I saw people arguing over some of the most minimal things such as

  • Was she the first biracial member of the Royal Family
  • Why her father wasn’t in attendance
  • Whether or not her mother was employed
  • Whether her dress was “Fancy” enough

So after a heated debate with my own husband and a fun-filled “Tea Session” with my favorite wedding stationer, Teras Smith  (who also happens to be a good friend). I just had to let everybody what I thought and how I felt.

So here’s a quick recap through the lens of a wedding planner who is truly in love with love in just five hashtags….

 

#TrueBeauty

 I saw a beautiful young lady that was so confident in her natural beauty that she didn’t need/want a dress full of lace, appliques, and tulle.

#AMothersLove

I saw a “Mother” truly delighted in her child’s happiness and standing by her child.

#PrinceCharming

I saw a real life Prince gaze lovingly into his future bride’s eyes.

#TheChildrenAreOurFuture

I saw a teenage cellist follow his dreams.

#GirlPower

I saw a wedding gown that was designed by the first female artistic director at Givenchy.

I could go on and on about everything I loved about this wedding, but I won’t. I’ll just end by saying that no matter what your race, citizenship, or personal beliefs are… Today was a beautiful, historic, and meaningful moment between a couple in love and I for one and truly happy for them. Today was a good day {Ice Cube Voice}

~~~JL~~~

We are all aware of the custom American wedding traditions – tossing the bouquet, something borrowed and something blue, exchanging of the rings and lighting a unity candle. But how many of you are aware of all the other amazing cultures and traditions that are happening around the world? That’s what this monthly blog is for – join us every month to dig into the spectacular wedding traditions of countries all around the world!

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

Weddings Of The World: New Zealand

Weddings Of The World: New Zealand

We are all aware of the custom American wedding traditions – tossing the bouquet, something borrowed and something blue, exchanging of the rings and lighting a unity candle. But how many of you are aware of all the other amazing cultures and traditions that are happening around the world? That’s what this monthly blog is for – join us every month to dig into the spectacular wedding traditions of countries all around the world!

If you checked out our Insta last week you would have seen a clue for where were traveling to this month & if you guessed New Zealand, you are CORRECT!

Of course we’ve all seen the video of the New Zealand couple’s wedding by now.  It’s gone viral and made a few of us even tear up. If you’ve missed the video, don’t worry we’ve got a sample for ya right here.  Now that we’ve got you guys all emotional, let’s dive a little deeper into the tradition behind a New Zealand Wedding and Maori customs.

Unique Traditions

♥   The welcoming tradition shown in the video above is known as the Haka, a type of ancient Māori war dance as well as a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. The words of a haka often poetically describe ancestors and events in the tribe’s history. Actions include participants violent stomping their feet, sticking out their tongues and a rhythmic chest pounding accompanying a loud chant.

♥   Couples can choose to exchange rings or the “infinity loops” which are placed around the necks of the bride and the groom. Infinity loops are carved using bone and greenstone and represent the enduring cycle of the couple’s love and signifies eternity.

♥    Maori wedding tradition includes the ceremonial Powhiri welcome to the bride and the groom, and may include the traditional warrior challenge.

♥   New Zealand brides have their own version of a bridal shower, more commonly referred to as the Kitchen Tea, where the friends and family of the bride supply her with items needed to fully stock her new kitchen.

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~~ JL ~~

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