I have always loved weddings. There's something about family and friendship and love and celebration all coming together that warms my heart. I remember attending ceremonies as a little girl, just to see the bride enter the church with her father. My emotion always gets the best of me watching the parents let her go, and seeing the groom with eyes full of deep adoration. Over the years, I have had the privilege of being a part of the weddings for some of my closest friends. These have been some of the best days of my life, from the wee hours of the morning primping and crimping to the late night dance parties.
Yesterday I got to be a part of a different kind of wedding. My friend Idelie (who was the teacher for the mountain children this past school year), got married to her fiancee, Duvenel. This experience was like nothing I had ever imagined, but what an amazing day it was! After church I traveled to SourceMatelas to see Idelie's family, and before we even reached her house I could see the hustle and bustle in full swing. It was as if the whole village was preparing for the wedding event. Everywhere I went, I could see people carrying large dishes, hot ironing suits and gowns, blowing up balloons, loading Coke bottles into pick up trucks and on and on.
Reuniting with Idelie's mother and siblings was so wonderful, and thus began my own involvement in the day. I first found myself in the outdoor kitchen area of their home, where about 20 ladies were all working on the reception meal. After being fed some goat for lunch, I helped about 6 ladies fry plantains. They were really sweet to let me do it with them, as I was quite a rookie!
After that was finished, I was taken to the home of the eldest brother where the bride and all of the other girls in the wedding were getting ready. Now, based on past Canadian weddings, I was prepared for somewhat of a chaotic scene, but nothing could have prepared me for what I would encounter. The house was made up of 4 rooms, and when I arrived there were probably about 35 women and girls inside. One room was full of girls getting their hair done (the curling irons and straighteners were probably radiating more heat than the sun), one room was where the flowers and food were being gathered, one room was full of gowns, jewellery and shoes, and the last was where the flower girls were getting ready and congregating. In the whole house there was just ONE mirror, and ONE fan... There are no words.
At that point, I didn't really know what to do with myself, but I didn't have to worry about that because Idelie gave me plenty of instructions. The first step for me was to take a shower, so she handed me a cup and took my out in the backyard to a tin enclosed-type closet. It was dark inside but I managed to find the bucket of water and a bar of soap. All I could do was laugh, but after being inside the house, the cold water felt SO good.
After that, I was handed a curling iron by one of the ladies so I squeezed behind the flower girls and found a vacant part of the mirror to style my hair. After creating about 4 decent curls, I was summoned into the dressing room by Idelie's sister, Sidonie, to begin helping her get Idelie into her wedding gown. Now let me just say that Haitian's go all out on wedding garb. Satin gowns, jewelled veils, long white gloves, and sparkly earrings and necklaces. I was zipping, bustling, buttoning, clasping and dressing first Idelie, and then Sidonie. It didn't help that both ladies' dresses were probably 2 or 3 sizes too small, but I did my best. Then they sent me back out to the mirror where they gave me a palate of eyeshadows, and to the best of my ability I beautified the bride (she really didn't need any makeup!). The flower girls and other bridesmaids were all trying to give their own opinions on my work, and it wasn't long before the eyeliner was snatched from me so they could do it their way. I was so relieved!
Not long after, Robenson entered the house in a cream suit and told me to come with him, so I followed him back to the other home where the wedding vehicles were parked. After snapping a few pictures, the bride arrived, and I squeezed into the small SUV with her and 8 (yes 8!) others.
I am happy to say that despite the flurry of preparation, the wedding went on without a hitch. From the grand entrance, to the pronunciation of husband and wife, to the grand feast afterwards, the wedding was so beautiful!
During the ceremony, as I sat in the front pew with Robenson and his mom and watched the couple take their vows, I tried to absorb everything that had taken place earlier in the day, and how my presence had been so undeservingly welcomed. It was such an honour and blessing for me to be a part of the wedding day, but even more, a part of their family.
Matthew 19:29 says ~
I have mentioned this verse in my blogs before, about the wonderful people that I have met over the past 3 years in Haiti. People who have become more than just acquaintances or friends, and yesterday was no exception. I thank the Lord for allowing me to testify His promise of provision in being a part of such a beautiful family. A family bonded together by Him.