We went to a very cross-cultural wedding this Saturday. The wedding was for an Ovambo couple, but it was planned by an American and an Afrikaaner! The lady who was getting married used to belong to our church, and she asked for a “white wedding” for her white friends to attend as she didn’t think they would attend the
traditional wedding. But then this “white wedding” was announced at the bride’s
other church as well, so we had a mix of Americans, Afrikaaners, and Ovambo Africans. As a result, some things went the American way, some things went the African way, and some things just didn’t work too well. =)
African: The Ovambo guests stayed outside under a tree until the bride and groom came out to lead them in.
American: The ceremony started exactly on time.
African: About two minutes after the ceremony started someone’s cell phone rang and they nonchalantly answered it and walked out.
American: Pastor Mike gave a short sermon on the four keys of marriage…
African: Which only half the guests understood.
American: Pastor Mike used the familiar vows (I, ________ take you, ___________, etc)
African: The groom did not understand that he was supposed to repeat after the Pastor…or that he was supposed to be saying these things to his bride…and then he started looking a bit sick.
American: So Pastor Mike told him to bend his knees a bit to not be so stiff…
African: Which was not understood, so Pastor Mike had to demonstrate. Eventually the bride and groom just sat down for the exchanging of the rings.
American: The groom kissed his bride and they were announced man and wife! The whole ceremony was 30 minutes long.
African : Nobody clapped and the bride and groom did not walk out of the church – they were all in shock that the ceremony was already over, with no dances, speeches, offerings, or anything! Some had just arrived 10 minutes earlier.
American: Everyone was herded to the little buffet table and then outside to eat. We Americans/Afrikaaners immediately started cleaning up when we were done.
African: The other guests came back inside singing, waving their cow tails, and dancing, and asking to take pictures of the “white” wedding party. Then they all left to go on to the traditional wedding!
American: We chuckled and shrugged and said it had gone well, all things