There are lots of steps in the Ethiopian marriage process. The husband goes with his family to his prospective wife’s home to ask for her hand-in-marriage, only the men are involved in this conversation between families. The wife’s family knows that the male suitor is going to come and they have an answered prepared. This part of the process is called Shemgelena in Ethiopian. If the potential husband gets a yes, he proposes to her. Once they set a date, the process turns into an array of preparations. There is a whole week right before the wedding date when family members go from house to house to dance the night away whilst the elderly cook. The telosh also known as bride wealth takes place on the third day.
There are always lots of people invited to the weddings, sometimes this can go up to 1,500 people, because both the husband and the wife’s extended and extremely distant family are invited. The preparations are extremely expensive and most people are not affluent enough to afford this. The people normally resort to taking a loan from the bank and become very in debt because of their wedding preparations. The day of the wedding takes place in a church and location is key. Church starts early in the morning and they go to menafesha, a park, and take a lot of pictures afterwards. Taytan feels that the getting in debt to have a marriage is wrong because afterwards when they do not have enough money and lots of problems ensue. Moreover, she feels that this is a way to show off wealth which is unnecessary. Mels happens about 3 days later and the two families come together and dance. This is a chance for a party to take place at the wife’s house.
Taytan’s parents have a completely different marriage experience. Taytan’s mom’s mother died and Taytan’s mother wanted to leave home because of her stepmother. At this time, she was dating Taytan’s father. Taytan’s mother asked her father to send her to the United States. Taytan’s parents started to live together and got married in Seattle just the two of them. They got married in a carriage. Taytan does not feel she will partake in any form of marriage. She expects her parent’s to be upset, if she doesn’t get married. Taytan feels that families look for a husband for them as opposed to for her. Her sister had a problem like this, in which she fell in love with a Muslim man and her parents didn’t agree and stopped their marriage. Taytan fears the same will happen to her and wants to avoid this problem. Even though Taytan’s parents had an unconventional marriage, some aspects of Ethiopian marriage transferred over. The idea that the family still decides who you are going to marry.