Bride: Mali Jefwa
Groom: Furaha Birya
Date: August 10, 2018 (traditional wedding) and August 11, 2018 (white wedding)
Venue: Kaloleni, Giriama (traditional), Monsoon Gardens, Mombasa (white)
Photo and Videography: Muema Nzomo Pix
Make-up: Njeri D Mutisya
Bride’s gown: Aurnia Carlisle Bridals
Photo shoot venue: EnglishPoint Marina
How did you meet?
Mali: We met through our parents, who have always been friends.
How long did you date?
We dated for less than a year before we decided to get married.
How was the proposal?
He officially proposed at The Oval, Westlands, Nairobi, while at dinner with my friends, whom he was actually meeting for the first time. Then later had to propose again in front of family and friends in Kaloleni, Giriama in a ceremony called malozi, after bride price negotiations and payment.
Take us through the entire process of the wedding preparations
It started the moment he proposed. It was a big deal, so, my parents and his had to follow all the procedures. He first had to come home for the official introduction as a prospective in-law, then I had to go to theirs for the same.
After that, his parents came home to know how much the bride price would be, gave whatever they had at the time, and then set a date for payment of the balance. These events do not usually involve everyone, just the key people.
It is at the malozi, where the groom’s family comes with everything they were asked to bring during the negotiations that we involve everyone, seeing as it is a big ceremony where the groom ‘closes the door’ by giving the bride-to-be a ring.
The reason this becomes a public affair is so that the parents cannot entertain any other offers for their daughter. After this engagement ceremony, we set a date for the wedding and then started the preparations.
I became unavailable to people a week to the wedding, got my henna done on Wednesday and then sat back and relaxed as I was pampered. We had the traditional Giriama wedding ceremony known as kuhaswa on that Friday and the white wedding the following day.
What does the kuhaswa ceremony entail?
It is called kuhaswa, because the whole ceremony entails getting blessings from the bride’s side of the family on the new union. This ceremony takes place at the bride’s homestead.
However, before all this happens, the groom’s family enters the homestead accompanying the groom in song and dance, and carrying a suitcase full of what the bride needs for the next day, that is if there is going to be a white wedding, among other necessities.
The suitcase will also not be allowed to enter the house unless paid for – monies especially collected by the bride’s brothers. This part of the ceremony in some homesteads can get violent, but most times, it is a just a little hustling and then it is done.
Where is the bride when all this is taking place?
The bride is usually in her parents’ house and locked in her room with assigned people catering to her every need. She usually has been indoors for a week during the whole celebration.
She will only come out during the blessing ceremony after the suitcase is in the house and thoroughly inspected by her aunts. If there is anything missing, the groom’s family has to deliver it before the bride can come out.
After the blessings, the bride and groom are married as per traditional law and are immediately considered husband and wife. The groom and his family then leave to go back to their home, without the bride, as those left behind continue with the celebrations through the night.
Why did you settle for the traditional wedding?
It is a moment of pride for the bride’s family to officially give their daughter’s hand in marriage. It is also a sign of respect on the daughter’s part to her parents, that she is leaving legally and with their blessings and consent.
What were some of the challenges you faced during the planning of your wedding?
I think I have planned this wedding since I was a little girl, subconsciously. I was ready even before it came and that is why we did not face a lot of challenges. However, we had to compromise on a few issues in regards to family.
For instance, while we wanted a wedding (white) starting in the afternoon and ending late in the night, we had to settle for one that would run from morning to evening. Luckily, God had other plans for us, working well into our initial plans.
So your wedding turned out the way you wanted it to?
Yes, it did. We got everything we wanted and were very happy about it.
Advice to couples planning their wedding?
Do not expect anything from anyone. Plan your wedding within your means and stick to your budget.