We got to go to our first African wedding!
First of all, they have what they call a “Dote Ceremony." When a couple become engaged, the family of the bride get to decide what the dowry (Dote) is that they will require for the groom to pay before he can actually marry the bride. (I will write a separate entry on my opinion of this.) So, two days before the wedding, we went to the bride’s home with about 100 other people and we watched the presentation of all the required gifts. Besides the money, the groom had to present the bride’s dad with a new suit and new shoes, and all the uncles with cases of wine, and something like 10 cases of soda pop and beer, and new blankets and towels and lanterns and of course...machetes, etc.The actual wedding was quite nice. We live too far from a temple for it to be feasible to afford to go to be married in the temple. (About once a year we take a temple trip and take those who want to go to the temple to be sealed. This couple will probably go with us in March.) Therefore, this cute couple wanted to have the spirit of the gospel blessing their marriage, so they had a gathering in the chapel, between the wedding at the civic hall (the only places marriages are performed) and the reception outside on the church grounds.It was sort of like a “fireside” in that we sang songs and there were speakers, but it was more fun and casual than Sacrament meeting. The bride is a counselor in the Primary, and the children made this banner that said "Choose the Right" and sang at the reception. We’d had a very busy day, and we went straight from running errands to the church. I was in a skirt and nice cotton T-shirt. Everyone else was way dressed up! We snuck in and sat on the very back row, because we weren’t dressed up as much as everyone else. The big surprise was that after the member of the bishopric that was conducting spoke, he invited “Elder and Soeur Gates, who are so happily married, up to the pulpit to speak and bear our testimonies of the importance of marriage and give some advice.”
We were stunned, but we both gave advice that was given to us at our wedding… and Dad talked about “the importance of making your wife your Queen!” We had an interpreter and everyone said it was great. Then they had a big party and African dinner.