A few weeks ago, Jon and I went to the wedding of one his colleague’s daughters! This was not Jon’s first Malawian wedding but it was mine. I’d been briefed beforehand on the customs, what to expect, etc. And I felt like I was prepared for the fun. Mostly*.
Weddings in Malawi are full-day events. So, we decided to not go to the church ceremony in the morning, which started at 7:30 am! (The stamina you’d need for this as a bride, phew!) We planned to make it to the reception around when it started – things in Malawi don’t usually start right on time – but had a few car issues that delayed us. (I won’t go into too much detail as it wasn’t a fun experience but, let’s just say, it involved Jon and our friend, David, pushing a dead car up a street and then their driveway – with me steering. Oops!) We stopped at KFC – yep, you read that right – for a quick lunch since we knew there wouldn’t be a full meal at the event and we were starving. After arriving at the hotel where the reception was being held, we entered the ballroom and were just *floored by the number of people there! There must have been at least 500 people in the room – it was so packed that there were people standing! There was music pumping and everyone seemed so happy, chatting and hugging.
We sat at the table reserved for Baylor and it was nice to see some of Jon’s colleagues that I don’t often get to see. Jon went to the make-shift cashier – more on that later – and we listened to some family speeches. They started passing around trays of hors d’oeuvres: wings, samosas, things that looked like egg rolls, etc. It was lovely! They were also passing around cases of Cokes and Fantas, which, Jon told me, was a very nice touch. There were lovely dishes and decorations on the table, as well!
The ‘money party’ was next, which is the event I was most briefed on. As part of the gifts for the bride and groom, everyone brings money and ‘makes it rain’ on the happy couple. Everyone changes their money into smaller bills (the equivalent of around 10 cents USD) and when their table is called up, they head up to the front of the reception hall. Music plays and everyone dances in a circle, throwing money in the air and letting it fall to the floor like spectacular confetti. It was super fun! I threw my money out too quickly, though, and ran out of money before our time was up! (Jon said that I should have paced it out more, to make it last. NOW you tell me!) The floor was just full of cash and it was an incredible sight! (People usually throw out around the equivalent of $13 USD…)
After the money fun, everyone got a little brownie in a decorative box and the cake was cut. We couldn’t stay much longer because our friends’ baby was ready to get going. So we paid our respects to Jon’s colleague and said bye to the Baylor folks. It was an absolutely amazing event! So much joy, so much excitement – it was a pleasure to witness it!
Jon – next wedding in Malawi??
– By Naama