Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Plan a Bridal Shower in Africa

This is me and my very good friend, Lauren.
We have another really good friend, Carley.  I have known Carley since 2005 when she became HOPAC's kindergarten teacher (and is now the assistant principal).  Carley is getting married in November to a wonderful Kenyan guy. 
So Lauren and I wanted to throw a bridal shower for Carley.  So here is what we learned about trying to do this in Africa:  

The guest list:  No one has physical addresses, so you can't mail invitations.  Hand them out in person, or send emails or text messages.  Since you are inviting people from multiple countries, explain, explain, and then explain again what exactly a bridal shower is.  For some ladies, it's just a matter of using another word.  Others need a whole description.

German, British, Tanzanian, Irish....

The food:  Don't even bother Googling "bridal shower food ideas."  You'll just get depressed.  And hungry.  Every single recipe involves strawberries, raspberries, ginger ale, pretzels, chocolate chips, cheese, or other foods that are either impossible to find or atrociously expensive. 

Instead, invite a lot of friends who are great cooks....and have them bring food.  

The decorations:  Don't bother Googling "bridal shower decorations" either, since you will just get depressed again by all the cute ideas you can't replicate....and since you don't have a Michael's or a Party America or even a Walmart, you know that your decorating "theme" will be based on whatever you happen to find at the mall. 

Our choices of plates/cups were red, blue, or yellow.  No matching napkins.  Lauren and I reluctantly gave up our dreams of silver or floral or even pink.  Yellow it was.  Bright yellow.

And the cupcake liners had green apples on them.  Because that was the only choice. 
So instead of cute matching decorations, we used lots of bougainvillea....
....and the ministry center/house of a friend who is such a beautiful decorator, that nothing else was needed.

Carley was registered at the one and only store in all of Tanzania that does registries.  It is kind of like a minature version of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

So Lauren and I headed down there, and one of the things we purchased was this:

Lovely, isn't it?  (Isn't she?)

So when we got to the check-out, we asked if we could have a box for the platter.

"Oh, we don't do gift wrapping," we were told. 

Well, that wasn't a surprise. 

"We just want a box," we said, "because it's breakable."

They brought out an enormous box, about 10 times bigger than the platter. 

We tried very hard not to roll our eyes. 

"A box that fits the platter," we insisted. 

So they got out scissors and tape, and this is what they came up with:

Lauren and I left the store with our platter and started cracking up.  Definitely not Bed, Bath, & Beyond, that's for sure! 


It was a happy day. 

Because the toilet-paper-wedding-dress game is a hit no matter where you are.

And even without pink balloons, cream cheese, or stores that wrap your gifts with pretty paper,
there are always
good friends
and laughter
that come from women joining together to bless a bride. 

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