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A Special Zambian Wedding

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

A Zambian wedding is full of music, color, tradition, and fabulous fashion—and several LMO Foundation Board members, including David and Barbara Kennedy, Rolanda Eldridge, and Kelly Deloach, had the honor of attending a very special one during their visit to Zambia this past August. Desire Lumene, the eldest son of Bernard and Betty Lumene (the former directors of the orphanage), married Nancy Kalumbu Muteba on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Jerusalem Parish United Methodist Church in Solwezi, in a spectacular and loving event that consisted of not one but two parts (requiring a change of clothes!).

The Morning Service

The morning ceremony kicked off with a church service—but what a church service it was! The wedding party—first the flower girls accompanied by the matron (the woman appointed to plan the wedding and choreograph)—sashayed up to the altar, with church members, family, and friends gathering around, cheering them on. They were followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, then Betty escorted a serious-looking Desire. He was dashing in his crisp navy-blue tuxedo, while Betty took on the role of a beautiful mother-of-the-groom in a traditional African dress.

And then entered the bride, on the arm of her father. She wore an elegant white dress with a train that must have been 20 feet long. Desire met her at the end of the aisle and led her to a chair beside him beneath a leafy arch.

Nancy and Desire sat next to each other, staring straight ahead with focused faces, as the minister led the service, provided an instructional sermon, and, at long last, brought them together to exchange their vows. It was imperative for Desire to lift the veil to ensure he was marrying the right woman! Only then did he put the ring on her finger.

As the three-hour service ended, there were lots of congratulations and hugs as Desire and Nancy kissed and smiled. The wedding party went off to take photos, while the guests left to rest up for the afternoon party.

The Afternoon Party

The guests convened again at 4 p.m. (or so), the church now transformed into a reception hall with beautifully decorated tables and a stage set for the newlyweds and their bridal party. Again, the flower girls, matron, groomsmen, and bridesmaids processed in, followed by the bride and groom arm in arm, wearing big smiles.

Precious and Jane represented the LMO kids.

A Zambian wedding is choreographed with different events, including speeches by honored guests, and dances by the bridal party. Everything leads up to the cake, including the cake dance, in which two of the groomsmen dance as they present the cake knife to the matron.

Except, there is not one cake to share with the guests. Instead, there are individual cakes that are presented solely to the honored guests (in this case, baked by the Lumenes’ talented baker-daughter, Emmanuella).

The delicious meal included grilled chicken and goat, potatoes, coleslaw, and a hard-boiled egg, with the guest's choice of soda.

After everyone had eaten, Bernard gave a speech as father of the groom, providing advice and encouragement to the newlyweds. The bridal party then danced out one last time, and soon the hall was empty and quiet. The grand wedding day was done, kicking off the start of a beautiful life for a beautiful couple.

Congratulations Desire and Nancy! And also to the proud parents, Betty and Bernard, and all of the family!

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