Rwandan Wedding Negotiation Ceremony

Sandrine and me

Flower Girl in a mushanana

Traditional Dancers

Rockin' Hairpieces

Bride and Groom
While I was in Rwanda, I was invited to a friend of a friend's wedding negotiation ceremony. I wore the dress I had made out of Congolese fabric by the women's collective, Amani ya Juu.  Sandrine and I watched all the very cool songs, dances and costumes whirl around us from our plastic chairs while sipping on the customary Fantas and Cokes. 

Traditional women's dress is a Mushanana: An elastic-banded long skirt, a colored tank top (usually--but not always--white) and a length of material tied over a shoulder...kinda like a toga.  It's not cheap, and you have to have it made. (Cost approx. $70-$100) Women can technically wear it whenever they want, but it’s typically omnipresent during big occasions like weddings, funerals, baptisms, and church services.

One of the interesting things about Rwandan weddings is that the groom is expected to pay for everything, from a cow down to his bride’s wedding dress.  The negotiation ceremony happens prior to the wedding between the two families... the fathers determine how many cows and goats the bride is worth.