Glamorous Ethiopian Wedding, Newark, NJ - Ambessa Weddings

Asmeret & Alemayehw, Newark, NJ

RP from Wholistic Love

ethiopian wedding traditions

Last labor day weekend, I attended my first traditional Ethiopian wedding. My friend’s brother, Alemayehw  and his wife, Asmeret married at an Orthodox Ethiopian church in New Jersey. Little did I know that the Habesha event would be filmed for TLC’s “Four Weddings.” (The episode aired Aug 29, 2014).

To participate in the show, four brides who have never met, must agree to attend each other’s wedding and decide which one is best.  When one bride get’s married, the other three judge and score various aspects of the wedding. The winner, with the highest score of the four weddings, walks away with a fantasy honeymoon.

The scoring is broken down into three categories: Dress, Venue, Food and Overall Experience.  I watched a couple of episodes and observed most of the brides low-balling each other’s overall experience scores. What can you expect when the judges are also competitors?

I have no idea who won the honeymoon. I have yet to see the other weddings. Apparently, there’s still an opportunity for the ladies to win something because Habesha bride Asmeret has asked all of her friends to have #EthiopianExtravaganza as their Facebook status during her episode and to vote for her.

I cannot imagine having a better overall experience at a different wedding. The Ethiopian wedding ceremony alone outranks any that I have witnessed, with its beautiful imagery and festivities. The chapel was incredibly magnificent.

ethiopian wedding pictures

The people--including the priest, deacons, bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girls--were beautiful.

ethiopian wedding pictures

In traditional Ethiopian fashion, there was drumming and ululation with call and response singing and clapping between the deacon and the audience.

ethiopian wedding pictures

The Ethiopian bride and groom placed their hands on the bible and cross while making their vows. I couldn’t hear everything but I am assuming they used the following traditional vows, “In life, in times of difficulty, in sickness, and under other similar circumstances we will help, comfort and encourage each other, until death do us part. For this God is our witness.”

ethiopian wedding ceremony

The robe is part of Ethiopian Weddings and signifies the sonship and daughtership with God and symbolizes the
happiness and glory they will inherit in heaven.

~ The Ethiopian rings signify faith or religion.
~ The Ethiopian Cross signifies the temptation the couple will encounter in life because of
their commitment to the faith.
~ The Ethiopian crowns symbolize the honor they will inherit in heaven.
~ The Holy Oil signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit.

After the ceremony, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served, in the hotel hallway, outside of the dining area. All of the food at this Ethiopian wedding was catered by, one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in New York, Queen of Sheba. The food was served buffet style, about an hour later. It was absolutely delicious and well worth me breaking my fast.

ethiopian wedding ceremony

There were lots of Ethiopian dances at this Habesha wedding. Hopefully, if you watch the show, you will not catch any shots of me attempting the moves.

ethiopian wedding pictures

ethiopian wedding pictures

Anyway, this is my interpretation of wholistic love. Two people gather their friends and family, in their place of worship, in honor of their love. They make a commitment in front of God and everyone to support one another until the end.