My beautiful friend Nikki got married in Carrefour this weekend. I have known Nikki since 2007 when she came to intern at HFC immediately after me. We have remained close friends and I was very excited to be there for the wedding especially since none of her other good friends could attend.
I thought that I would just be a guest, however, I ended up practically running the entire thing. Normally, the mother of the bride and the bride's close friends are the ones making sure everything is in place, but I was the only friend of the bride and Nikki's mother does not speak Creole so it fell to me. I arranged for someone to film, I got the music and DJ ready for the wedding march, I reserved seats, I directed the special music rehearsal, I decided the order of the wedding march, and I even told the pastor what we wanted included in the ceremony (he had wanted to leave out the wedding vows and the rings since both were already done in a modified version for the civil ceremony last week). And during the actual ceremony, I was principal photographer, vocalist, and translator. In other words, I had to stand up front with the pastor the entire time (which was probably a good thing because he completely forgot about the kiss and I had to remind him) and try to translate sermon, vows, and proclamations as poetically as possible.
One of the funniest parts of the wedding prep was when we decided something had to be done about the white bride and groom figurines on the cake. I snuck downstairs while we were waiting for everything to start and stole them off the cake. I brought them upstairs to Noah, Nikki's stepdad, who colored the groom's face in with a black marker. I put it back on the cake without saying anything to Jemps, the soon-to-be husband. The look on his face when he noticed it later was to die for!
Another priceless moment occurred minutes before we started. I had taken Jemps his suit and then left the room so he could change. Suddenly, I heard his panicked voice calling me. I rushed in to find him sweating profusely and pointing at his tie. "Keziah, I need Noah. I don't know how to tie my tie!" I hunted down Noah and brought him in for an emergency tie-tying lesson.
Nikki's family is adopting 3 of the HFC girls, Edline, Kattia, and Childa, so they came along as the bridesmaids. While I was running around trying to make a wedding happen, they were in the room with Nikki and her mom, putting on make-up, doing nails, adjusting dresses, and keeping Nikki sane.
The wedding finally started at 1pm, only 3 hours later than planned. That's not too bad by Haitian standards. It was very unpolished, but special nonetheless. As the translator, I repeated all the important parts of the ceremony. There is nothing better than being the one who looks the groom in the eyes and tells him to love your close friend until death do they part.
Yet another unforgetable episode was the cake cutting. Nikki explained to Jemps that in America, the bride and groom always feed each other the first slice, but she omitted the part about smearing cake all over each other. So Jemps cut a little piece and delicately placed it in Nikki's mouth. Then Nikki cut a piece and smushed it enthusiastically into Jemps' mouth, cheek and nose. We just about died laughing!
When everything was over, the girls, Nikki's parents, and I went down to the beach and had a relaxing swim in the twilight. Childa was the only one stayed out of the water. She was probably the wisest of us - the water was very salty and had trash in it, including one of the wedding favors that Nikki's mom and I had so carefully wrapped early that morning. Oh, well. This is Haiti.
Nikki is Miss Nikki no longer. She is now Madame Jemps. We wish them both all the happiness in the world. Congrats, Nikki!
(NOTE: I realized after publishing this post that I had been spelling the groom's name wrong. It is pronounced James but written Jemps. Apologies!)