Last labor day weekend, I attended my first traditional Ethiopian wedding. My friend’s brother, Alemayehw and his wife, Asmeret married at an Orthodox Ethiopian church in New Jersey. Little did I know that the event would be filmed for TLC’s “Four Weddings.” The episode is finally set to air tonight at 9pm EST.
To participate in the show, four brides who have never met, must agree to attend each other’s wedding and decide which one is best. When one bride get’s married, the other three judge and score various aspects of the wedding. The winner, with the highest score of the four weddings, walks away with a fantasy honeymoon.
The scoring is broken down into three categories: Dress, Venue, Food and Overall Experience. I watched a couple of episodes and observed most of the brides low-balling each other’s overall experience scores. What can you expect when the judges are also competitors?
I have no idea who won the honeymoon. I have yet to see the other weddings. Apparently, there’s still an opportunity for the ladies to win something because Asmeret has asked all of her friends to have #EthiopianExtravaganza as their facebook status during her episode and to vote for her.
I cannot imagine having a better overall experience at a different wedding. The wedding ceremony alone outranks any that I have witnessed with its beautiful imagery and festivities. The chapel was incredibly magnificent. The people; including the priest, deacons, bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girls were beautiful. There was drumming and ululation with call and response singing and clapping between the deacon and the audience.
The bride and groom placed their hands on the bible and cross while making their vows. I couldn’t hear everything but I am assuming they used the following traditional vows, “In life, in times of difficulty, in sickness, and under other similar circumstances we will help, comfort and encourage each other, until death do us part. For this God is our witness.”
The bride and groom were then robed in red velvet, they placed rings on each other’s fingers and crowns were placed on their heads. Tradition calls for them to be anointed with oil and receive holy communion. I don’t remember seeing that part.
After the ceremony, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served, in the hotel hallway, outside of the dining area. All of the food was catered by, one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in New York, Queen of Sheba. The food was served buffet style, about an hour later. It was absolutely delicious and well worth me breaking my fast.
Anyway, this is my interpretation of wholistic love. Two people gather their friends and family, in their place of worship, in honor of their love. They make a commitment in front of God and everyone to support one another until the end.
You can watch this episode tonight, 9pm, on TLC. Show your support for #EthiopianExtravaganza…
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