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!
The reception is undeniably the best and most memorable part of an Ethiopian Wedding. Great food is served buffet-style, including staple dishes such as Injera (Ethiopian spongy bread), Doro wot (a spicy stew made with chicken and eggs), and Kitfo (raw minced beef mixed with butter and spices). After dinner, the couple accompanied by their friends and family will dance to modern and traditional music followed by the cake cutting ceremony and champagne toast. To end the night, elders are seated in a row as the couple and their wedding party bow down to kiss the elders’ knees (which is a sign of respect in Ethiopian Tradition).
Melse is the post-wedding celebration and takes place a day after the wedding. During the Melse, traditional clothing is worn; Habesha Kemis for women and Habesha Libs for men. The Bride and her party will spend several hours getting their hair braided and getting bridal henna tattoo accompanied by a LOT of gold to accessories.
The Melse is an intimate celebration for close family and friends. Again, there will be traditional Ethiopian food(injera) served accompanied with Tej, which is a traditional beverage made with fermented honey. The bride and groom will conduct a bread cutting ceremony which represents their unity as newly-weds, and family and friends enjoy dancing and celebrate the newly married couple while having Buna(coffee) during a traditional coffee ceremony.
As if two days weren’t enough, The Melse is followed by a third event called Kelekel, which takes place on the third day of the wedding. This tradition is dedicated mostly to extended family who could not attend the main ceremony. This also gives everyone a chance to come together one last time before they bid the newlyweds farewell.
- Ethiopian culture is very rich. If you enjoyed this post, comment below and tell us what country you would like to explore next.
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:
- The groom and his groomsmen get ready at the groom’s house and head over to his bride’s home.
- 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.
- 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
Are you looking for creative last-hurrahs to celebrate a bride-to-be? When you’re planning an amazing final fling, it can be tempting to get carried away with your spending. Read on for bachelorette party ideas that are not only brilliant, they’re budget-friendly.
Getaway as a group
Little could be more fun than gathering your closest friends to spend a couple days away celebrating together. But how do you organize a destination bachelorette event without overspending? With that in mind, consider sorting through what’s available on Groupon. There is fodder for all sorts of entertaining fun, from trips to Cirque du Soleil, to music concerts, to comedy clubs, to the classic bachelorette selection – male strippers! If you find a good fit, amp up your savings by using Groupon coupon or promo codes.
Since everyone is prepping for the big day, a day spent pampering yourselves can help you all look your best and go into the big event feeling relaxed and confident – and besides, it’s great fun!
Consider starting out with a trip to the spa so a professional massage can soothe away tension and stress. Add to that an at-home facial, and faces will be glowing and healthy for the upcoming event. Pronounce Skincare points out you can even DIY skincare products using natural ingredients, which is not only kind to your body, it’s kind to your wallet. Sip some wine and nibble cheese while you work, but don’t get too carried away until after you do manicures and pedicures to round out your party – and review these tips to ensure your results are top-notch!
For nail care goodies, consider buying everything you need from Ella + Mila. They offer selections which are not only high quality, they are eco-friendly and nontoxic, so you can feel great about looking gorgeous. And on top of all that, if you join their rewards program, you can earn points on purchases and receive special offers for their products, making it that much easier to stretch your budget.
Sip and savor
Events centered around crafting something fun while doing wine tastings are all the rage. You can find everything from personally-tailored candles, to pottery throwing, to painting canvases. In the end, you not only have fun with your gal pals, you have a unique item to take home with you. Another idea is to hit an area winery so you can savor the time focusing on your friends. Many wineries offer tours, events, and other experiences, so explore your options!
So that everyone can let their hair down, consider hiring a chauffeured limousine to travel in style. Nationwide offers a broad selection of limos and packages, and you can check out their current specials and promotions to ensure you make the most of your money.
Is it tea time?
Does the bride-to-be favor classic elegance? If so, little can compare with an afternoon tea party. Outfit the party space with fine china and silver, and to fully embrace tea party tradition, The Spruce suggests a menu of both sweet and savory foods and brewing a proper pot of tea. You can even add some fun and mystery to the event by reading tea leaves for each other!
The last thing you want is to use inferior tea for your special tea party. When gathering tea and other supplies, consider shopping with Camellia Sinensis, where you can not only find top-notch tea and related products, they offer free shipping to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
Before the bride’s big day, take time to celebrate everything that was and everything that will be. Think through your perfect party, whether it’s a getaway, spa day, or sipping a favorite beverage. With a little bit of planning, everyone can have a wonderful time without overspending!
When we go to a wedding I think it is natural to assume there will be adult beverages being served. But did you know that there are multiple versions of bar options?