African-American Wedding Shower Ideas

Here are some simple, nifty ideas for an African-American wedding shower

If you're planning a pre-nuptial party for a blushing bride of color, have you considered an African-American wedding shower theme? Black Americans enjoy a vibrant culture, with elements stemming not just from European tradition, but also from great Mother Africa herself.

Now, that's something to celebrate! Not only does the deliciousness of good, old-fashioned soul food come into play, there's the tradition of Kwanzaa, too -- and African tradition offers plenty of options.

Not Just for December Anymore

Since Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26-January 1, about now you may be wondering, "What does Kwanzaa have to do with weddings?" The truth is, Kwanzaa is more than just a holiday, in the same way Christmas is. It celebrates a philosophy and way of life that you can apply to any event or time of year.

One way to incorporate it into a bridal shower is to encourage gifts that celebrate Kwanzaa's seven principles: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

You can easily include the principles on your invitations. Incidentally, there are companies that specialize in invitations and decorations specifically for African-American wedding showers, baby showers, and other celebrations. You can easily find them on the 'Net.

Other Suggestions

Song, dancing, drumming, and music form the basis for many African pre-wedding celebrations; one example is the Guyanese queh, which unlike many such parties is co-ed. Of course, you can adapt it to your own needs, in any way you like, especially if you're a little rusty on your traditional African songs.

In West African tradition, cowrie shells symbolize fertility, often appearing in wedding ceremonies and associated celebrations. You can incorporate these beautiful seashells into centerpieces for the table or tables, and use them as accents around the room.

Speaking of tables, consider using a tablecloth of traditional Kente cloth (sometimes called nwentoma), a beautiful combination of cotton and silk. Its vivid colors have a variety of meanings, from black suggesting maturity, to silver's purity and yellow's wealth and fertility.

Here's more information on Kente cloth

Details, Details

Serving soul food probably won't present many problems, given that the ingredients and recipes are readily available. Ditto for the themed invitations and some of the decorations. That said, acquiring items like cowrie shells, Kente cloth, and other African items (such as kola nuts, for example) may prove harder.

Here's where specialty stores and the Internet can save you. While prepping for the shower needn't break you -- most of these things won't be too expensive -- you'll need to start early enough to get everything you want. The extra effort will be worth the classy fun of a genuine African-American wedding shower!

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