Today, I wanted to share with you something absolutely different from what you are used to seeing up here on the blog. Late last year, we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Rwanda to document a wedding between Emile & Sherry, who happened to be our buddies when they leaved back here in Kenya. Emile & I talked at length on facebook & he told me that he would love us to come & shoot his wedding in Kigali. This was to be our very 1st wedding to shoot outside Kenya & we were beside ourselves with excitement. Instead of taking a flight there, we decided to take a bus ride that would take us across Uganda & into Rwanda. The journey experience was tiring, exhilarating, exciting, different & overly fun. Since, I am half Ugandan & half Kenyan, Gathoni got to experience some of our culture as we travelled through Uganda & take in the wonderful greenery that is so typical of Uganda. We got to Rwanda 26 hours later, tired but really excited for the unknown that awaited us. Rwanda is such a beautiful country, the night cityscape is lit up with lights and since it is made of a series of hills, the view is something out of a movie! The streets are very orderly & super-clean! and every body is so very friendly. We got to spend the night at one of Emile’s bosom buddies, and just before we slept we shared a meal of buns with Nutella & some hot white porridge 🙂
The next day we woke up at about noon & took a motorbike ride (They call them ‘moto’) from where we spent the night to the wedding venue which was pretty exciting. We happened to notice so many army guys all over the place, we were told that this was a regular occurrence in Rwanda, which to us was very unique. It was an evening wedding as most Rwandan white weddings are, and it ran late into the night. Their weddings were very very different from what we had experienced here in Kenya. Theirs are very formal with a lot of tradition & not as much dancing & joy as our local weddings are. At some point Gathoni & I were really disappointed, since it was not the normal kettle of fish that we were used to. One of the maids even told us not to expect what we were normally used to shooting…the Rwandan experience was quite difference. So we lifted our heads high & told this Rwandan love story as best as we possibly could.
The bridal prep was taking place at Sherry sister’s place in Kigali. And as always we had to start shooting the details. We realised that on the material wedding day, the bride & maids spend the morning at a salon getting their hair & make-up done & very little was done at the bride’s home
Loved her shoes, they were quite unique…unlike anything I had seen before
Sherry is assisted by her maids to get into her white wedding gown
I cannot remember what they were all staring at…but I loved this image all the same
The bow had to be tied right!
Red lipstick has to be a girl’s best friend, nothing comes close to it
Rwanda’s official language is Kinyarwanda, which Sherry & her maids were speaking, The Rwandan people are subdivided into 3 ethnic groups…the Hutu, Tutsi & Twa
One of the little maids, who is Emile & Sherry’s daughter
Sherry loved the red lipstick too & she re-did her lips with it…looked absolutely lovely
Some liner for her brows
The girls help put the final touches on Sherry’s hair
The maid of honour who was Sherry’s sister & also our host
Finally, she got to rock her awesome kicks…
Loved the reflection of her innocent face in the mirror
One photogenic maid who loved the camera much
We took some portraits before we left for the ceremony
The girls all looked really lovely
The scenic view from our house
And off we left for the ceremony. Something we realised was that there were no singing women to receive Sherry as we had gotten used to. The bride normally just leaves for the ceremony, without much pomp or celebration
Sherry gets into the limo. There was only one car for the bridal team. Everyone including the photographers get into the official limo & no, they do not decorate the bridal cars here 🙂
Some fun pics inside the limo
Hahahaha that moment when the cold cologne spray hits your warm skin 🙂
I requested one of the maids to hold up for me Emile’s boutonniere for me to take a shot of it. Pretty cool
Selfies will never die!
View of the limo from the church…that was one cool limo
1st up down the aisle was Emile, together with the guys
Sherry leaves the limo
The church where the ceremony was taking place was very dimly lit but Gathoni & I enjoyed it all the same
The worship team leads the congregation in worship
Emile seems to be looking up to God for some inspiration to get through this 🙂
The wedding guests were not so many, they were mainly made out of musicians who happened to be Emile’s buddies. Emile is a very talented music producer & singer too
And despite all the seriousness of the ceremony there were a few light moments here & there
I loved these images in black & white. Ted Grant once said “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”.
Emile being a local celebrity, there were so many members of the press with cameras…but our experience in Kenya with every guest transformed to an amateur photographer :), ensured that we became creative & incorporated them into the shot 🙂
Unlike Emile, Sherry was quite shy but she got through her vows pretty well
Their dedication to God
The blushing bride 🙂
Emile gets to unveil his bride
And they laughed some more
The officiating minister was the 1st to congratulate them
Later on, the guests got a chance to come say hi to the newly weds as they brought their gifts at the alter
Each of them then sat down and individually penned their signatures on their marriage certificate
It was one large certificate!
Next up was the best couple
Finally the newly weds were presented to us…husband & wife!
Outside the sun had already set, and darkness had started to set in…we got a few portraits of them though during the meet & greet
The reception & photo-session took place at a very posh hotel known as The Manor Hotel in Kigali…
Loved the lights & the ambience at the hotel
By the poolside
We then got into the lobby & took some more images
Sherry & the girls
Loved their broken suites
The entire bridal team
After this, we headed for an outdoor reception under the blanket of the stars – overlooking the beautiful night scape of Kigali
The dancers did a spectacular job, I happened to notice that red slim-fit jeans were the ‘in thing’ in Kigali 🙂
One of Emile’s friends who is also a musician serenades the love birds
The guests were not to be left behind & they too danced a long
Once a musician, always a musician, even on your wedding day 🙂
And some more dancing….
Loved the lights at the background forming a very lovely bokeh, too beautiful
Gathoni & I were told that Rwandan wedding receptions do not serve any meals…Emile’s & Sherry’s broke this rule somewhat and at least we were all served to this scrumptious meal
They get handed over a gift by the music fraternity
We then headed to their house for a few ceremonies that really amazed us. The very 1st one was that the bride & groom had to be taken some photos on their matrimonial bed, which I found pretty unique
Loved these ones more, Emile directed this one, since he himself is also a DOF (Director of Photography) for music videos
Then the family brought to them gifts inside these beautiful African baskets
We had been chased out of their bedroom & when we were called back, Sherry had changed into the Rwandan traditional dress, the Umushanana..which for those who remember, Gathoni & the maids had worn during our wedding
The sister then proceeded to unveil them as the people in the room celebrated. Can you spot my Gathoni holding the flash 🙂 the room was too small to crop her out of the shot
The then proceeded to share a drink in these pretty cool shaped gourds
And some more gifts were brought in
They then inspected & received the gifts one by one, being told the meaning of each of the gifts
Finally at the end of the night, Emile gave a short speech & thanked everyone who was part & parcel of making this day a flaming success to both Sherry & him. After this, we called it a night & headed back to rest.
For us the Rwanda experience was very challenging in so many ways, yet we loved it. We spent about a week away from Nairobi & it was refreshing to get to experience the world & weddings though a different perspective. We definitely looking forward to traveling more this year & getting to see this amazing world that our good Lord made for us to live in.
Thank you for dropping by, we are always humbled & overjoyed by all your love…
As Always, may our Lord & Saviour become greater, through our work, as we become lesser.
Loads of hugs & kisses,