LIFE BY LOUIS: The unnecessary fuss at village weddings

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It is not every day that you attend a brilliantly executed wedding ceremony.

I attended one recently where food was enough. I say this without any fear of contradiction, because one of the key performance indicators that I keenly monitor in a wedding is the quality and quantity of food.

We sat at tables that reminded me of company sponsored trainings in high-end hotels where I always end up exhausting all the training budget at the buffet station.

Girls wearing black attire and communicating in English via walker talkies keenly monitored the dining tables, ordering that drinks be replenished; and there were fresh meat cuts and bowls of vegetable rice.

The MC wore a fitting suit and a tie to match, and he seemed to have been poached from a post graduate class in Yale. He did not crack jokes about our former presidents and prime ministers, and he did not launch scathing attacks at random communities using a fake dialect.

The parking was manned by armed officers who seemed to have a direct line to the FBI headquarters, and all the cars were parked in reverse like a well organised car bazaar.

In contrast, most times when I attend weddings, it is better to have a well laid out and documented contingency plan, including carrying packed lunch or having a speed dial facility with your favourite meat roaster. Food at weddings is served like a medical prescription.

I have probably been attending the wrong kind of weddings all along.

The food station in the village wedding is controlled by a cartel that rivals dangerous drugs and small arms rings in Mexico and Colombia.

The head of the cartel is normally a plump woman stationed at the meat station. Although the budgetary allocation for meat during the wedding committee meeting ran into thousands of shillings, only a few bony morsels eventually reach the food station.

In order to conceal this glaring anomaly, the head of the cartel ensures that only one piece of meat is served per guest. Any attempt to coerce the service team to bless you with an extra piece of meat is met with brutal force.

Food is not the only showstopper in a village wedding. The day kicks off at 3am when the flower girls are woken up to go for a literal makeover. When you are dealing with hands that are accustomed to digging potatoes and heads that regularly carry big stacks of firewood, you need some bit of time and tons of makeup to make the owners of those hands and heads to be ‘wedding friendly’.

While all this is going on, half the clothes for the bridal party have not been delivered and the tailor has conveniently switched off his phone, triggering an epidemic of hypertensive conditions.

At 7am everyone is ready for the big day, somehow.


A man that carries the glorified title of transport manager runs up and down in his oversized suit and sports shoes. He is just about to kick off a series of events that will leave half the bridal party out of breath.

His qualifications include an illustrious and hands-on experience in the matatu industry. He will be required to fit about 20 flower girls and a similar number of page boys in two small vans.

He will later be spotted in the afternoon guarding the parking lot and issuing parking stickers that his team laboriously cut off from paper cartons.

When the bridal party arrives from the photo session, he will go into a frenzy trying to make way for the big rental car carrying the newlyweds.

The topping for the day is the lady that carries the title of the cake matron. You can spot her from a mile, resplendent in a flowery dress and a wide brimmed hat that covers half the reception area.

She will go into explicit details of the newlyweds’ intimacy activities, table manners and culinary expectations. Even as dusk falls and half the guests become impatient and leave the reception venue without tasting the wedding cake, she will be relentlessly harassing the newlyweds, teaching the bride how to serve food to her husband, and teaching the groom how to open his mouth wide and chew his food properly.

It is not over yet until all of you have passed by the newlyweds, greeted them by hand, and offered them neatly wrapped gifts. From the packaging, you can tell that the newlyweds will have a hard time dealing with about 10 wall clocks, endless sets of water glasses, wall hangings and table trays.

The event finally winds up as the clock hits 8pm, and you quietly wish that the head of the food station cartel could serve you dinner because you are already hungry.

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