I am a little bit over 6ft tall. It is a good thing, mostly, but what this means, (in a wedding context) is that I almost always catch the bouquet. Sometimes, I look around me and just feel like the Usain Bolt of catching bouquets. A win is assured, but winning can get boring (ha!) unless you break records or that sort of thing. So I purposed to challenge myself at every wedding. I either do not jump at all (see how bolt sometimes just jogs to the finishing line? Yeah) or try to jump higher than the other time. On rare occasions, I sit it out and let other ladies have the glory. You know, missing the World Championships for the Olympics (Logic: The potential Mr.Right grows taller…)
Anyway, I recently attended a rather unique wedding. At the end, when the bride is supposed to throw the bouquet to the ‘next in line,’ she made a moving speech instead and gifted the flowers to a woman who had been married the longest. It was such a beautiful tribute!! I loved it! I of course went on to update it on Facebook, and as I was just about to click post, it occurred to me that this bride had denied me an opportunity. How dare she? Doesn’t she know that our getting husbands depends her throwing that bouquet, us catching it and living happily ever after with our prince charming(s)? How insensitive! Now I am scared. If every bride thinks that this is a splendid idea, then #TeamSingle will keep growing (sigh! Is that such a bad thing though?) We shall discuss, but first, a little bit of history…
According to http://www.weddingaces.com, the tossing of the bridal bouquet is a custom that roots in England and was believed to be a way for the bride to pass along her good fortune to others. Bridal guests would try and tear away pieces of the bride’s clothing and flowers in order to obtain this fortune. In attempt to get away from this tearing of her gown, the bride would toss her bouquet into the crowd. As tradition says, the single lady who catches the bouquet has received the bride’s fortune and will be next in line to marry. The garter takes the place of the bouquet for the men. The groom is supposed to remove the garter and toss it to the eager single men and similarly, the single man who catches it would be next in line. I don’t think this happens in Kenya though. Which Kenyan man would willingly give a piece as intimate as his wife’s garter to another man? Hehee! Indeed, I attended a wedding where at the evening party, the groom removed the garter (with his teeth) and put it in his pocket. That was just hilarious! And of course disappointing to all the single men who now had to wait till the next wedding to get lucky. Pressure!
In light of this, I have a few questions, on behalf of the professional bouquet and, on the very rare occasions, garter catchers.
- Define single.
So now, does single mean not dating or dating but not married? Don’t you find it confusing? And unfair? Sometimes unrealistic? I mean, say ‘not dating’ catches the bouquet, will she pituka or get married before the ‘dating?’ Isn’t that unfair? Like someone overtaking Bolt from way back. It just seems wrong, especially because the bouquet is supposed to quicken a man to proposing and then leading a delegation to your parents to formally ask for your hand in marriage. However, I think ‘dating’ catching the bouquet is pretty advantageous too. As we Kenyans are fond of saying, “Watatuondolea jam.”(They will remove the jam 😀 ) I also propose that these two categories be separated and the bride tosses two bouquets. Fair, isn’t it?
- How many?
Exactly how many times am I supposed to catch before I get lucky? I am no longer the tallest in the herd, I’m afraid. Just what manure are we feeding these kids these days? I never used to get serious challengers. But now a new crop of Yegos are springing up and setting their own records. I need to retire while I am still ahead…or I will never catch another bouquet. Pray, someone tell me if there are rules and regulations we have been ignoring. Wait! Here is a great idea! Both the bouquet and the garter are thrown at the same time and the two lucky winners get together. The priest and pastors present then lay hands and pray seriously and seal the ‘union.’ And what do you know? The union survives and they get to return the favor to the singles club. Genius, right? Terms and Conditions still apply though. Anything can happen. By the way, I may be holding on to someone’s ‘man’ going by the number of times I have made the catch. I would like to publicly apologize to whoever it is. If we ‘jumped with you’ at any of the recent weddings, please get in touch so we can sort this out and give you what is rightfully yours. First come first serve.
- Can people just chill out?
Do not approach me at a wedding and ask me, “Si wewe ndio ulishika ile maua ya last? Niaje umekam weddo pekee yako?” (You caught the bouquet at the last wedding, why are you here alone?) …or say to me,”Leo si utuachie tu” (Can you sit this one out today?) Maybe today I don’t need the bouquet for the same reason you do. Maybe I just like that the bride is not carrying the kawaida flowers and would like to keep that bunch on my table before I ask her where she got them as soon as she comes back from the honeymoon so I can buy my own. Phew!
- If you are single you are single (LoL)
Ok this is not a question, but, I have been to weddings where the MC or Pastor has had to say, “Hivi ndio watu hukosa mabwana, not heeding to the call…” then you see a flock of women or ladies, if you like, straightening their dresses and dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” There is nothing wrong with being single, I think.It certainly isn’t a disease! So if you feel it is not yet time (because if you catch the bouquet you are definitely getting married) just sit it out. Even if the pastor decrees it to be the final bouquet toss, for the next five years. Don’t panic. Know yourself.
So, upcoming brides (what?) please don’t substitute this tradition with the very noble and thoughtful gesture of gifting the longest married women. Si they are already blessed with a husband who can buy them flowers all the time? Have mercy on us. Make the right decision. We need you to uphold and preserve tradition. Thank you.