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Haitian Wedding

Wedding According to the Haitian Customs

Haitians usually socialize in groups from a young age, but they rarely start dating until they are approaching 20 years of age.

Group activities like church activities, watching or playing soccer games, taking part in group studies or school fairs, celebrating birthdays, often lead to romantic relationships.

Once young Haitians have completed schooling, they mainly focus on settling down and forming a family. In the Haitian tradition, it is men who initiate dating processes.

A Haitian woman will refrain from declaring her love to a man even if she loves the man. If a woman proposes to a man, she'll appear promiscuous in the eyes of the people. Haitian women are, therefore, very resilient and conservative.

Haitian Dating

When a woman and a man are dating in Haiti, the man will have to visit the women’s parents to get familiar with them. The couple is free to socialize and even to go to movies or pubs together.

Once they have dated for a few years, the man proposes to the woman. Traditionally, he will also have to seek the permission of the woman’s father to marry the woman. In the absence of the biological father, the man may ask for permission from the woman’s mother or the current husband of the woman’s mother.

However, it is infrequent nowadays for men to seek such consent, especially in towns or cities. Today, many parents don’t influence the marriage or dating of their children. They, however, expect their children to pick spouses from reputable and respected families, with better or similar social status as theirs. Haitian law allows girls to marry when they are at least 15 years of age. For men, the minimum age for marriage is 18 years.

Early marriages are common in rural Haitian areas than in cities.

Funny enough, polygamy isn’t allowed in Haiti, but men are free to have girlfriends and even bear children with them. A man’s wife and his girlfriends do acknowledge one another and can also cohabit. On the other hand, women are supposed to remain faithful to their husbands.

Haitian Wedding Ceremony

In Haiti, wedding expenses are catered for by the groom, but the bride’s family can also contribute. Couples are allowed to live as long as they wish until they can raise money for a wedding plus the reception.

Just like in Australia, Europe, the US, and many other countries, wedding customs in Haiti vary greatly among couples, families, and regions. Many weddings are today influenced by different cultures from the west. They are also by what the couple chooses as vital to them. However, Haitians still observe certain traditional customs.

In Haiti, the matron/maid of honor and the best man usually take prominent positions together with the bride and the groom. They can escort them down the aisle, and they sit along with them. They even sign the marriage license. The bride and the groom must also have their witnesses who also sign the marriage license. Surprisingly, wedding invitations in Haiti are by word of mouth.

On the wedding day, the bride is led to the church by the groom. The wedding guests and the bridesmaids follow the couple.

Members of the wedding party dance as they escort the couple down the aisle. The dance is like a regular walk, but it is in response to the beats of the music. Some couples do hire dance groups to dance together with the wedding party in beautiful formations to welcome the bride and her entourage.

If the wedding takes place in a church, it can last for as long as three hours. Different church choirs will sing, and there will be a sermon from the clergy. It is at this stage where the couple will exchange their vows and sign their marriage certificate. 

The Reception

At the reception, tables only get arranged or prepared for the groom, bride, witnesses, the best man, and the bridesmaids. Other guests have their seats arranged like pews near the couple’s table. The family members usually prepare food, and it has to be in plenty. Expect some soft drinks, champagne, cakes, salad, meat, beans, rice, etc.

Haitians usually hold receptions in private homes. There is a lot of music, so as guests eat, they also dance and intermingle. It is at the reception that gifts get exchanged. The wedding cake is taken to and cut at the home of the couple, never at the celebration venue.

When you want to hold a Haitian wedding, it’s best to hire an expert wedding planner who is conversant with the various wedding traditions in Haiti. The expert can help you choose which customs will make your wedding more exciting. A perfect selection of these customs will make you feel like you are in Haiti even if you are in the US.

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