Sunday May 22nd,

We went to a wedding today… wait wait wait… let me back up.  We thought we were going to a wedding today.  As it turns out we got to see the bride and then we got to see the groom, but we didn’t make it to the ceremony… wait, I’m confused.  Lets start over.

Friday we see our neighbor outside our house who TJ has had tea with a couple times and we make effort to talk to when we see him. We saw him when we were on our way out, he tells us he’s getting married on Sunday, we were like “What?”  This Sunday? Like 2 days from now Sunday? He said “Yes, come if you have time!”  We immediately cleared our Calendar for 2 days away…  ‘Cultural experience’ was set on the docket.  We told all our friends and family we were going to a wedding on Sunday evening.  We were told that weddings don’t start when they say they start, so we wouldn’t need to get there at the time he said.

His directions to come to the wedding was “ya it’s near this gas station, in this ______ neighborhood”  So we got all dressed up and left our house fashionably late so that we would get there “on time”.

All ready to go!

All dressed up!

When we arrived at the gas station we told our taxi driver that there was a marriage happening, but we didn’t know where, so he began asking people on every corner (in wolof) if there was a marriage near by.  People kept pointing in the direction where they had been hearing the drums… and so finally we come to the front of a house/apartment building and ask if they know where the marriage is?  They said Oh, it’s here! So we pay and thank our taxi driver, we greet all the young men outside, shaking everyone’s hands as we walk down through the door way, through the kitchen area, into another door way, and into the living room, they immediately sat us down on the big couch. Next, a woman sat down in between us and they began taking pictures, they told us to squish in more and took another.  After the picture, I asked the girl who the bride is, she said she was the bride, I said Oh I thought so!  Congratulations!

The Bride

The Bride

Here we were complete strangers in a house we didn’t know, everyone was dressed up with their hair done and it looked as though a marriage would be happening.  We sat there for a few minutes talking with the girls around us, and after a little while a man told us he would be taking us to the groom’s house.  We thought the wedding was going to be at the house we were at.  I asked my new acquaintance if the marriage was at their house or at the other guy’s house, and everyone just kept saying yes… we were confused to say the least.  We went with this guy, so here we are again in a taxi off to someone’s house, maybe we will be going to the wedding now?  We were not sure what to expect.  So finally we arrive at the next place, we got up about 5 flights of stairs and enter the groom’s families house.  There was a lot of people there!  We walk into the living room, and they sit us down, we then shake everyone’s hands in the room greeting everyone there.  They, also began taking picture after picture with us, everyone taking turns sitting on the couch with us… I kept laughing and looking at TJ, like “what is happening?!”

The Groom

The Groom

We felt very honored there.  When we saw our groom friend, he was so excited to see us!  He could not believe that we made the effort to come.  He began to tell all his friends and family that TJ is not just a brother, he is now more than a brother and more than family, and such an example to him.  He told everyone how he couldn’t believe that we had ordered clothes and wore them for this event (bringing fabric to a tailer and having him make clothes for attending a wedding us normal and expected here) We however, hadn’t had clothes made just for this, but we didn’t actually say anything.  People were just flowing in and out of the house, we met probably at least 50+ people at that house.  They prepared food for us, and we ate dinner around a bowl with the other men there, they gave us drinks, and only us, once again we felt honored.  We continued to ask questions about when the wedding was, and where the ceremony was being held.  The first time we asked they said, oh ya it already happened earlier today,  we were like…. oooooh okay, and then as we were asking more questions they said oh no!  It hasn’t happened yet, that’s next month after Ramadan, the big party is yet to happen…. so in the end we didn’t really know what the day was about.

But the next day we found out that a lot of people get married before Ramadan because it is good to have a wife for the month of fasting.  They had been to the mosque that morning to be married, and so they will be together during Ramadan.  There will be a big wedding and celebration after Ramadan, which is very different than what we saw.  So interesting, and I’m so grateful we could be a part of this and learn some things.