You can enjoy
truly Unique Wedding Vows by expanding your thinking,
considering traditions of other cultures, and exploring the
possibilities. Consider tthese Unique Wedding
Here is a traditional swahili
wedding harusi. Check out these Unique Wedding
Vows. Here Comes The Bride!
sets on the island of Zanzibar, excited shouts, music and the
ululating of women fills the air.
their most colourful and stylish outfits, donned with heavy
gold bracelets and chains, their hands and feet decorated with
flower patterns made from traditional henna, the women
anxiously await the arrival of the star of the evening: the
As the live
band in the expansive hall draws the crowd to a climax, the
bride makes her grand entry. What Unique Wedding
amidst shouts of 'Bibi Harussi, the bride, has come!' as the
women let out their high-pitched sounds of joy.
friends, sisters and aunties follow in her footsteps, dancing
and singing, literally escorting her in.
catches the breath of many: it is the most important appearance
this young woman will ever make in her life.
She has now
officially entered womanhood; she is a married woman, a changed
person, and the results of days, sometimes weeks, of beauty
treatment, culminate in her moment of entry. I can not imagine
more Unique Wedding Vows. She majestically struts in, all
bright and shiny, showing off her glittering gown, her
astonishing hairdo and make-up and the intricate henna patterns
on her arms and legs.
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entry of the bride represents the climax of a Swahili
traditional wedding. Such weddings are held among the entire
Swahili population of Eastern Africa, including the islands of
Zanzibar and Pemba, and the Tanzanian and Kenyan
weddings incorporate a deeply rooted culture and religion,
which can be traced back to the Arabic roots of the Swahili
Swahili wedding can differ according to local tradition and the
depth of a families' wallet, the basics remain the same. If a
young man and woman want to get married, first, a dowry payment
has to be made. This involves elaborate negotiations between
both families. The dowry, usually a sum of money or gold, or
furniture for the newlyweds' house, is given to the
girl has to consent to the marriage. On the wedding day, before
the actual wedding vows are taken, she is asked three times if
she has consented to this marriage. If she says no at any one
time, the wedding is immediately called off. If she agrees, the
vows are then taken with witnesses present, one of which has to
be her father or a representative of her father. These are
indeed Unique Wedding Vows.
For those who
are not able to afford elaborate wedding celebrations, a simple
ceremony incorporating these things makes for a valid marriage.
Swahili culture however deems marriage one of the most
important events in a person's life, and it is therefore
expected that a wedding be celebrated in style.
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negotiations are over, a wedding date is set and preparations
can start. Two weeks before the wedding day, the bride receives
a 'Sanduku', the Swahili word for suitcase.
literally a sizeable suitcase filled with every imaginary item
the girl could need for her personal use in her first year of
clothes, shoes, underwear, make-up, toiletries, materials for
making dresses, bed sheets, perfume, and even toothbrushes and
A week before
the wedding, the girl is taken to a secluded place where she
can prepare herself, receive all kinds of beauty treatments and
can ask her female relatives, especially her godmother, all the
questions she has about the life she is about to
For a young
Swahili woman, her wedding day symbolizes the transition to
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culture, this comes with responsibilities, such as a husband
and later on a family, but also with rights; she has come of
age. She can now wear make-up, gold, beautiful dresses, do her
hair, attend weddings -something unmarried girls are not
allowed to do- and generally be a woman in her own
One of the
most noticeable differences between a traditional Swahili
wedding and its Western style equivalent, is that the bride and
groom are not together when the wedding vows are taken, and
they are even separated during much of the festivities. If this
does not fit the description of Unique Wedding Vows, I am not
sure what does.
This is based
on the religion of the Swahili people, Islam, which does not
allow men and women to celebrate such an occasion together.
Reason being that the women would not be able to celebrate
freely; that is removing their headscarves, dance their
sensuous traditional dances and be generally free when men are
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official ceremony, or Nikkah, the groom is normally in a
mosque; his wife to be is in the same area -but not in the same
room- if space allows, for instance if the mosque compound
harbours another building or secluded area where the bride can
sit. It does happen that the bride is not anywhere near the
groom when they say their vows. She could be at her parent's
home, or any other place that is deemed fit.
wedding vows are taken, it's time for the bride to come out in
her moment of glory.
She makes her
entry in front of the female wedding guests, and takes her
place on a stage in front of the crowd so that she can be
admired and people can take pictures with her.
A while later,
the groom joins her and after elaborate congratulations and
picture opportunities, they leave together as man and wife,
leaving their guests to celebrate and eat sumptuous amounts of
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As It Was Intended!
a Swahili wedding, it's quite obvious that the women are in
The air in the
hall where the festivities are taking place is heavy with the
perfume of all the women present, their outfits a feast of
colour, their gold dangling in abundance.
celebration is a Swahili woman's party time; it is her chance
to get dressed up, show her latest fashion outfits, wear her
gold and dance until morning; a chance to get away, if only for
a while, from the chores of daily life.
usually several other functions following the official ceremony
and the 'showing of the bride'.
party with close relatives can follow, or a religious
celebration where prayers are recited to bless the
mock 'fight' is staged; if the party is at the girls' parents
house, the husband has to 'break down' the door to get his
wife; and usually, he has to 'bribe' the male relatives of the
bride to let him in!
official wedding day over, the celebrations can go on for
several more days.
then takes his new wife to all his relatives to introduce her -
in Swahili tradition; a bride becomes part of the husbands'
family after marriage.
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She remains a
bride until she gives birth to her first child. Her 'bridal'
days are then officially over. But by then, she will have
probably gone for countless other weddings to enjoy the
You can have
your own Unique Wedding Vows and wedding event. This example is
offered just to give you some ideas of the possibilities. You
might consider a wide range of themes for your wedding and even
develop your own Unique Wedding Vows.
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