• Due to Covid, State discouraged public gatherings, restricting weddings to 10 people
• This is against coastal culture that is full of pomp and colour and hundreds of guests
While many have been postponing their weddings to a later date due to the coronavirus, Abdhalla Mzungu and Fatma Mwinyi instead decided to hold theirs earlier.
The couple could not wait any longer to be husband and wife. The scheduled wedding date was April 11, but they decided to do it on the third.
Their fear was that the country might be put on lockdown if things get worse and they would not get the chance to unite any time soon.
The wedding was very simple from the way they had planned it just because they were trying to observe the directives by the government and also trying as much to be safe from the disease.
Firstly, they planned to hold it over two days, April 11 and 12, just so they could fulfil their dreams.
On 11th, the groom was to go to the wife’s home for the joining of the two lovebirds, known as ‘nikkah’ in the Islamic community.
The 12th was scheduled for the ceremony, where the bride was to wear her wedding gown and march in a decorated hall, where she would wait for her husband to come and take her. Guests would be refreshed with plenty of food, music and drinks as they watched the events unfold.
When the ceremony ended, the groom would have taken his wife to his home, and they would be waited upon to be welcomed with songs and dance, kisses and hugs from well-wishers, receiving of gifts and the guests continue to eat and dance as they celebrate all through the night.
It was quite challenging to choose the guests to be present at my wedding. Most of my family members could not attendAbdhalla Mzungu
From the groom’s side, the budget set aside was Sh200,000. They were expecting 100-plus guests, who were to welcome the couple with song and dance, as some accompanied them from the bride’s home.
Since the groom had started to plan his wedding in October last year, a wedding committee was already in place and a WhatsApp group created to help with the planning and fundraising.
After the coronavirus hit the country, they had to change their plans. To promote social distancing, the government restricted wedding ceremonies to only 10 people.
Subsequently, the budget was slashed to only Sh50,000, which is what had been raised so far anyway. Only five people from the groom’s side were present.
“It was quite challenging to choose the guests to be present at my wedding. Most of my family members could not attend,” Mzungu said.
His biggest regret is he couldn’t have his dream honeymoon, where he'd promised to take his wife to places she has never been to.
They are forced to be indoors just so they can keep safe from contracting the coronavirus, which has infected over 2.3 million people worldwide.
“We could not go for our honeymoon. We will just have to make the best of it at home,” the groom said.
To him, it was a good thing to do a wedding at this time since it reduced the time the wedding could have taken.
All in all, he is happy his wedding was successful. What was important to him was getting his wife; all the other big arrangements were not that necessary.
It was the most silent wedding ever done at the Coast. Women usually cheer every single second with ululations known as ‘vigelegele’. They sing wedding songs mostly when welcoming the groom, when the couple are being joined together and when the husband is ready to take his wife after the wedding vows.
Alas, that template was not to be followed this time. It wasn’t Fatma Mwinyi’s dream wedding.
Most women dream of a big wedding, where you wear a pretty wedding dress while all the guests you had planned for have attended and are looking and cheering at you. And Mwinyi longed for such a wedding.
Instead, it was a brief affair, small, simple and straight to the point.
“It was not the wedding I dreamt of but I thank God it took place. I just took it the way it unfolded and I was happy with it,” Mwinyi said.
The whole wedding took only an hour, with the few guests who attended given packed lunch.
Mwinyi said her family understood the situation and, before the wedding, selected who would represent them. They all took it positively as those who did not attend promised to be with them in prayers.
She was happy to see her husband all committed and ready to wed her and how everything moved smoothly until she reached her new home.
Their fear was that the wedding would be stopped by security officers, but it ended successfully.
As they start a new life together, they advise people to stay at home and wash hands regularly as they also observe the same, hoping the nightmare will end so things could jump back to normal.
They promise they will one day go on their honeymoon, when the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
WEDDING PLANNERS SUFFER
Koki Rading, a wedding planner and CEO of Waridi Fashions, says her business has drastically gone down.
Rading is counting losses amounting to Sh1.5 million since the first case of Covid-19 was made public in Kenya on March 13.
“It has really affected us because there have been cancellations and postponements of weddings,” Rading said.
In March, there were three wedding bookings, and in April, four. Six were postponed indefinitely. One went even further and cancelled.
“There was a couple who needed a refund and we had to give them,” she said.
In a month, they would not miss four to six bookings, but now nothing is happening.
Another blow she has faced is some of her stock, she gets it from abroad. At the moment, she does not know how she will get her latest orders as they have been locked from reaching the country.
“There are orders I made since March 11, but until now I have not received them. I have been trying to plead with the owners to be patient,” she said.
She said some of her clients are understanding, but others are becoming impatient.
For now, she said, her business is in a very bad situation.
Edited by T Jalio