We need to rethink bridal showers.
Kindly hear my considered view.
I have attended a couple of showers in my short life. Some have been good with great advice coming from those who have gone ahead while others, let us just say they are the reason I am penning this down.
What is a bridal shower? According to Wikipedia, it is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The history of the custom is rooted not necessarily for the provision of goods for the upcoming matrimonial home, but to provide goods and financial assistance to ensure the wedding may take place.
Welcome to bridal showers in Kenya. They are set up in order to teach the bride a thing or two about marriage. The bride’s friends are invited to the ‘surprise’ bridal shower. A few older married women may also be invited to talk to the bride. Keeping the shower a surprise is meant to be thrilling yet it is such hard work if you know that you can easily blurt it out. Maybe I see it that way because I am older now. And even as hard as it may be to keep it a secret, once in a while, a friend who is over excited about the event blurts out the event to the bride to everyone else’s dismay.
The shower is no ordinary event. There is a dress code, colour scheme, theme for the shower, special food and the ambience is set to get one very excited. Let us also not forget that the friends would need to buy a gift for the bride. This is when you get to know what kind of friends surround you.
I have talked about the first bridal shower I attended. A lot of emphasis was given to feeding the husband, taking care of his sexual needs and making the home neat, a haven for the king. The showers have taken a different turn over a time, turning to a time of celebrating the bride as she bids singlehood farewell and for friends to reconnect.
Traditionally, the aunties played a key role in educating the wife to be on her new responsibilities at home. This has definitely changed over time. For one, there’s little connection with the aunties probably due to distance or connection. There’s the reality of broken down families such that the aunties are no longer in a position to guide in this regard.
Bridal showers are done on a single day, an afternoon perhaps and the event is packed with activities. The activities depend on whether the bridal shower has intentions of going wild or not. Fun games, giving the bride some advice, cutting cake, and passing on of gifts are typical in most bridal showers. However, if the shower only has single ladies with no married women, how will the bride be guided about her marriage? As for the wild showers, alcohol, naughty games, seductive dancing, talks on bedroom matters abound, including careless sex.
What is interesting is the rising number of number of male guests invited to give a male perspective on relationships, including practical tips. Yes you heard me. The male guests include pastors and sexologists. If marriage was all about how to get my husband’s attention is to seductively dance and lure him to bed, I would be all worn out! Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for everything. There is more to marriage than sex and food.
Let the bride ask questions. This is where you need honorable sober women who can speak authoritatively, women who will not just paint a fairy tale but a real tale. It does matter who speaks at the shower. One of my friends attended a shower where the speaker was a pastor’s wife who had no issue with couples watching porn to promote their sexual intimacy. There are married women who give too bright a picture giving a picture their marriages are very rosy while others are naysayers giving the bride a bleak view of the institution.
As we shower the bride to be with all this information, what is happening to the groom in his stag party? It usually feels like women are made to prepare for marriage more than the men. Very few men manage to tackle marriage topics for the groom. Whereas the groom is having a time of his life with his boys, the bride’s knowledge of her groom is being tested at the shower with various questions thrown at her and if she fails, she gets to be ‘punished’ as may be appropriate. Except for the Christian stags, most of the things that happen during a stag would cause the couple not to walk down the aisle to get married.
In the current context of showers where the original purpose may be lost, I am of the view that we should not hold bridal showers. If further information on the marriage journey is required, the bride should take a closer walk with a few women who have already gone through the journey. However, if we must, let us spend time celebrating the bride and appreciating the friendships and new seasons.
Regrettably, the modern woman would rather experience this new journey by herself and not learn from other married women, especially if they have not been successful in their journey. One the other hand, women have been bombarded with a lot of information on marriage as they watch or suspect the men of having a time of their lives during these so-called stags. One night of fun won’t harm anyone, they tell themselves, as they get carried away in wild parties.
Married men need to find a way of ensuring that men are also learning something about marriage from their stags, how to lead homes, sex (we assume they come readily packaged but they too need to know a thing or two) or on friendship with your spouse and much more. Both men and women need to be empowered and prepared before they enter this new phase of their lives. For more tips on how to plan a groom’s stag, you can check out Ernest Wamboye’s article – https://www.penstrokes.co.ke/2018/11/planning-a-godly-stag-party-for-a-groom-/.
Whatever you do, let it be honorable.
‘….whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’ Philippians 4.8