Nearly one year on from the British Royal wedding, I think about similarities with Sudanese weddings. No national holiday to celebrate, but 3 to 5 days of necessary customs to show off to Sudanese society who can spend obscene amounts of money on their children. The dowry and gold sets alone offered to a potential bride may rescue a debt-laden country. Unlike Kate Middleton, a Sudanese bride would be preparing for more months with traditional custom made potions, lotions and ointments to prepare her body and hair. A trip abroad depending on the budget will be needed for the Honeymoon and new life wardrobe not the King’s Road.
Some 50 foreign heads of state were among the 1,900 invited guests who attended the Royal wedding. Similar numbers to an intimate Sudanese wedding. Both guest lists have obligatory relatives, VIP’s, friends and associates. Royal Wedding guests will have been invited by the bride and groom’s family with a personalised card through the post. Unlike a Sudanese wedding where anyone turns up through a verbal invite and pulls up a chair.
Whilst we stare at the quiet Sudanese bride over large screens for up-to-the-second updates of her wedding make-up, hands to toes black henna designs and a white dress designed by an unknown, the editing guy in a temporary cubicle set up for the function, practises his skills with extreme close-ups, long shots, montages, fades and split screens to impress guests. Kate had millions watching her Exclusive and LIVE for the world’s scrutiny. Sorry gentlemen but no one wants to check out what the groom is wearing. At Sudanese weddings tripping over many camera cables and the zoom in with blinding camera lights gets tedious. The Sudanese camera men only zoom into the light skinned females. Dark skin is a camera faux pas supposedly.
Unlike the Royal wedding at a Sudanese wedding each guest gets a cling filmed plate with no cutlery, so while trying to eat plastic food of savoury and sweet with your hands, it’s at that precise moment you’re opening your mouth to eat, that the camera man will zoom in with blinding lights. Cans of Pepsi, Sprite, Miranda and Pasgianos are served. No Champagne toast. One cake won’t suffice for all the guests at a Sudanese wedding.
Whilst the Royal Wedding guests partied until the early hours, back in Sudan we will sit in a hall full of unknowns until 11 pm when the music from the loud band will stop playing due to government restrictions banning live music after 11 pm. The Royal Wedding guests had Ellie Goulding at Buckingham Palace to serenade the bride and groom; we have our national Sudanese treasure, Gisma, and her drummer girls. Please note the Bride and Groom in Khartoum usually turn up late at 10 pm having been “delayed” at the photographer’s studio. They enter the hired hall to the sounds of zaghareet – celebratory noises made by women.An un-orderly queue of guests forms once the bride and groom have sat at their decorated throne overlooking the dance floor, to congratulate them. For added blessings one might greet with the lifting of right arm and a click and shake movement favoured by Sudanese men.
The Sudanese wedding ends with dancing which is mainly a series of shoulder bouncing and shimmying moves. Plus a final wave to the Sudanese newlyweds.
I wonder why there aren’t there any wedding planners in Sudan.