In Summary
  • To me, marriage is very, very important. Usually, a wedding marks the beginning of marriage. It follows, then, that everything about the wedding is super important

Their wedding days may be long past, but the women that we speak to this week have kept their dresses as reminders of one of the most important days of their lives. What memories do the dresses evoke?

Nthenya Chigiti, Married: 14 years

“I bought the material for my wedding gown in Paris, where I was studying. I had been engaged for about a year to my teenage sweetheart, John, and we planned to get married as soon as we got back to Kenya from our respective learning institutions. We got married six years later, so I kept the fabric for a total of seven years.

“I had never, ever seen a bride in a dress like mine and thought I would look stunning in it. But I also wondered how people such as my parents would react because, being Catholics, I imagined they might think that I was “impure” since my dress was gold.  I wanted a gold gown because I wanted to be unique.

I believe I achieved my goal. My dress is covered entirely with glitter, which sheds at the slightest movement. I still get excited to see glitter all over the floor when I take the dress out of the closet.

“My main purpose for keeping my wedding gown was to keep it. I am the keeper type and nothing would make me mutilate my dress to use it in any other way. I have been rewarded, though, because both my daughters, aged 13 and nine, say they will wear it at their own weddings. I feel very flattered and hope they will not change their minds. I have accepted that they alter it a little to fit the style of their day."

“To me, marriage is very, very important. Usually, a wedding marks the beginning of marriage. It follows, then, that everything about the wedding is super important. A woman should, therefore, keep her gown as a rich souvenir of the important day on which she embarked on the journey of marriage. She should select it carefully, making sure not to be influenced by anything but her own feelings and wishes so that she is happy to keep it."

“I encourage couples to keep another souvenir of their weddings for as long as possible: that one tier of cake that they get to take home! My cake was baked long before any of our four children were conceived and I wanted them to sample it."

So, one month ago, they got to taste it. That is another dream come true and I thank God deeply for it. We only ate a bit of the cake and I am hoping that we can have the rest of it next year, on our 15th wedding anniversary. It is back in the freezer and, as you must have already noted, I lived to tell the story!”

Liz Mwania Married: 13 years

“When I went to my dressmaker for the first fitting of the dummy dress, I weighed 75kg. At the next fitting, my weight had come down to 70kg. The trend continued with every fitting and, as she did not want to be forced to make adjustments on the actual dress, we worked with the dummy until the last week. You can imagine how tense I was looking at the finished product for the first time on Friday, the eve of the wedding day. I thought, ‘My dear dress, you will just have to fit’. Thank God it did!

“My husband and I had wanted to have our wedding back upcountry. Our plans were firm until one-and-a-half months before that date when the roads became impassable due to heavy rains. We had to change the venue to Nairobi."

"That was a financial mess. Typically, when you plan for a wedding at home, you do not have to hire a church, the youth volunteer to do the decor, your relatives will cook the food ... we now had to pay for everything."

“In our days, you covered as much skin as possible, so I went for a long-sleeved gown. But I was very happy with it and looked good in it. Although it cost quite a fortune, I have no regrets. But I am yet to see the benefit of keeping my dress. I can’t wear it to any event.

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