I attended the wedding of a work colleague a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to see the Ghanaian take on Western traditions. There are some things I can't discuss here as, shall I say, they were not necessarily appropriate for a wedding in my opinion! However there were some good and bad bits to the day.
The bride looked a million dollars. Honestly, the effort that goes into making up a bride for her big day is incredible - not that she needs it; Ghanaian women are known for their natural beauty.
The turnout was great with a whole range of friends and colleagues around - I was surprised at how many people I knew actually.
It was held in a Church - my first proper Ghanaian Church experience. For those of you who know my views on Church/religion, you'll understand why everyone thought it was hilarious that I went along. I did survive, but am not keen to repeat the experience.
There were some points that the Pastor made during his sermon that made me equally laugh and cringe:
1. a marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman;
2. if you do not invite god into your marriage, satan will destroy it; and
3 there was a whole conversation about a woman's role in the marriage and how if she does not satisfy, the man will look elsewhere. Not a conversation I can repeat here.
What was most interesting to me is that the whole wedding was treated like a regular work programme, to the point there was even an MC (yes weddings have pastors, and MCs). I was less than impressed with this guy after he singled me out in front of everyone and lectured me about not understanding the language. I was mortified and furious! It was one of those moments where I was reading something and gradually realised that the place had fallen silent. I looked up to see everyone staring at me. I turned to my colleague and she was giggling away to herself. She said 'he's talking to you'. He asked if I was happy - then repeated it in Twi. When I said I didn't understand, he went nuts! There was a lot I felt like saying to him, but I just smiled and carried on reading. I felt embarrassed that my being there was taking attention away from the bride, but apparently having a white person at your wedding is a huge honour so they were thrilled.
I was double-teamed this time when it came to unwanted attention. One of the guys was the same one as last time. I was so glad when somebody called me away to get my picture taken! At least it wasn't the pastor this time though!
All in all, an interesting experience that I'm glad I was invited to be part of. The bride has sadly left our office (she was on a temporary contract) but I really hope we keep in contact. She's an angel and had a huge amount of patience when it came to teaching me sign language. It's not the same at work without her!!