Almost 20 mother-of-the-bride dresses, a handful of flower-girl dresses and a bunch of sewing supplies are heading to the Dorcas Ministry Shop. (If you are interested in the background of the bridal shop, you can read about it in Haute Couture in Haiti, an article I had the privilege to write for Today’s Christian Woman last summer.)
Many people have asked me questions about weddings in Haiti. With the extreme poverty, how can people even afford to get married? Is a bridal shop a lucrative business? Are Haitian weddings like American weddings?
Honestly, I don’t know a lot, but I’ll share what I do know.
I think the answer to the question, How can people in Haiti afford to get married?, is: It’s hard.
There are a lot of costs involved including some kind of marriage fee to the Haitian government, the actual wedding ceremony and meal and all the various costs that go along with that, and housing. From what I understand, a groom is expected to acquire a respectable furnished place in which to live with his new bride.
Three Possible Scenarios.
Some couples can afford to get married. Haiti is the poorest country in the world, but some people do have money.
Some couples scrimp and save and work very hard for a long time to have the finances to get married.
Some couples want to get married, but because they cannot afford it, they choose to live together without getting married.
I also know that weddings are a big deal in the Haitian culture, so a bridal shop makes sense. There will always be weddings, so there will always be a demand for wedding gowns and other bridal attire. Since Dorcas Ministry Shop rents and sells inventory at a reasonable price, they are helping the bride and groom as well as providing much needed income for their employees.
I’ve tried to do some research ino Haitian weddings online, but I haven’t found a ton out there. I did find this post, A Haiti Wedding, with some info and a number of photos from a Haitian wedding to give you a taste of what a typical Haitian wedding might look like.
I don’t fully understand that ins and outs of planning and paying for a wedding in Haiti.
What I do know is that God has opened up this opportunity for us to serve, and we will continue to do so as long as we can be beneficial to the ministry. I do not think it is a coincidence that my mom, who has been sewing for weddings since before I was born, was connected to this little bridal shop in Port-au-Prince. And when God takes your passion and says – “Here, I’ve got this sweet way for you to serve me”- serving him in that way is exactly what you should do.