This weekend I attended the wedding of one of the Holy Cross Sister’s brother; it was the first African wedding I have been to and I was impressed by the experience. Despite not ever meeting Norbert or his fiancé the wedding invitation was addressed to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Kyarusozi community, and the Sisters insisted that included me. Unlike in America where one must RSVP weeks in advance for the event I decided the day before the wedding that I would attend. The ceremony was scheduled to start at noon so Sister Angel, Cissy, and I left early in the morning to allow enough time to purchase a gift along the way and then make it in time for the wedding. Well, I constantly have to remind myself that this is Africa, and nothing goes quiet as planned. While we were driving we received a call from Sister Beth asking us to pick up the bride’s parents at their home. Keep in mind we have never been to their house, our car is not decorated like the tradition is here for bringing the family, and there is now less then an hour left until the wedding is supposed to start. We left Sister Beth hanging on the phone as the three of us discussed what to do. We were reluctant to take on that responsibility as we were pressed for time, and did not want to get roped into other things along the way. As we arrived at the grocery store to get our gift it was coming to noon. At this point I was sure hoping the wedding would start on African time (about an hour late,) otherwise we would miss it. Sister Beth and Cissy did not seem to be too concerned about the time so I figured we must still be okay on time.
After wrapping the gift we stopped at the Sisters house and found Sister Beth was still there and not yet dressed for the wedding. I was surprised to find her there as both her parents have passed away so she is the family of Norbert. Wasn’t she supposed to be with him at this time I thought? Beth looked stressed, and she said she still had much to do before the wedding (including picking out an outfit,) which keep in mind was supposed to have begun fifteen minutes ago. She said the bride’s parents still needed a ride so we decided to go back and pick up the bride’s parents. Twenty minutes later we arrived at their house and found it empty. Apparently they had left already so now we decided to head to the church. We arrived at Virika Cathedral at about 1:15pm and the mass had just started. The bishop presided over the ceremony and ten priests assisted him. The church was packed with well over 100 people and the bride sat at the front in a separate pew from her fiancé. The ceremony was similar to those in the US, except for the fact that photographers and anyone with a camera stood about a foot from those in the wedding party and took pictures of them- so much for being discreet. As the bridal party took center stage a circle of photographers and guests with cameras stood in the middle aisle cameras poised like paparazzi to get a shot of the bride. The procession of gifts was also very lively as the bridge and groom led the way of about ten choir members and guests as the danced down the aisle.
|Procession of the bridal party at the reception|
|Sister Angel, Cissy, and I|