Risline, who works at the guest house, got married yesterday! She has been a part of Heartline for a long time. We have enjoyed getting to know her. She can be quiet, but get Melissa joking around with her and she will laugh more than anyone!
The wedding yesterday was beautiful. I would love to understand all the cultural pieces of a Haitian wedding. A wedding can vary depending on the couples religion, part of the country they are from, preference, resources, etc. I will tell you what I know or think I know 😀 from yesterday’s wedding.
As you might expect, invitations are spread by word of mouth throughout the church and community of the bridal couple. Melissa and I helped print out a few invitations that Risline could give out, but she only wanted about 25. Most of her family lives too far out into the countryside, and there was no way of getting invitations to them.
People dressed up in their finest clothes, the shinier the better. Below is a picture of us ready to go to the wedding.
When we arrived, we were directed to go to Risline’s house as they were still preparing. Melissa and Marjorie went in – the guys stayed in the van :-D. After about 1/2 hour, tons of people came out and crowded in the van. Guess we are turning this into a Tap Tap :-D.
We arrived at the church and found Risline, in her wedding dress, and her husband to be sitting with all the doors and windows open in a car. We waved to them and then took a place in the church under a ceiling fan :-D.
The wedding started 2 hours late. Seems about right for a big event in Haiti.
The car pulls up with most of the wedding party inside of it. A person at the front of the church announced the party.
I didn’t understand this until after, but they hired the people that walk down the isle. This included the dancers, the princess and others that went down the isle. As opposed to traditions in American where the bridal/grooms party are related or close friends with the couple getting married.
The choir also sang a song during the ceremony, which was great. Below you can hear a snippet:
The pastor preached… and preached… and preached :-D. He asked if anyone objects to the marriage. Nobody objected… always a good sign.
They were all very serious during the ceremony. Obviously trying not to smile. Melissa, at one point got Risline to crack a smile but then Risline quickly changed her face to serious.
There were 4 people up front with 4 chairs. They were the bride, groom, marenn (god mother), parenn (god father). Similar to the Maid or Matron of Honor and Best Man respectively.
I had a real hard time getting good shot because there were SOOOO many people taking pictures. In fact, I couldn’t even see them exchange the rings because so many people were crowded around! Look at the following shot while they exchanged rings.
After the ring exchange they signed the marriage license. By “they”, I mean it must be half the family :-D. Three from the bride’s side and three from the groom’s side.
At the end of the wedding everyone went up to the bride and groom and kissed them on both cheeks. Even though I have lived in Haiti the last 2 years, I am still not totally comfortable with this.
All in all the wedding was around 2 1/2 hours.
After the wonderful wedding we went to the reception which was at another missionary’s house. They had it beautifully decorated. They parenn gave a speech and they opened a bottle of champagne.
They handed out some food which was banana bread, a brownie, Haitian “cornet” , and a banana muffin. Shelly & Melissa made the food. Melissa had made 120 banana muffins and 5 pans of made from scratch brownies the day before.
It was a great experience. Especially since we know Risline so well.
Showing solidarity with friends at such times at funerals, naming ceremonies, feast days, and weddings is extremely important. This is primarily done by attendance at these events and by contributing financially. From African Friends & Money Matters