As a wedding photographer, and particularly as a wedding photographer in America, I’ve had the opportunity to document many many American engagements. I love shooting engagement sessions. They are more laid back and less stressful than the wedding day traditionally is. Lately, I’ve been thinking about (my) Senegalese culture and traditions, and how different they are — even though some Senegalese traditions are becoming westernized.
Engagements in Senegal
In Senegal, the dating, engagement and wedding reception all happen quickly… typically within months. Engagements there aren’t a surprise as they sometimes are in America. The couple decides to get married and then both families meet. This is called an engagement, though it’s where the marital documents are signed and the marriage becomes legal. Still, the couple doesn’t start their life together until after the wedding celebration, which can be a few months later. Like with American weddings, Senegalese couples have a ceremony and reception to celebrate their nuptials.
The engagement day is festive and fun, with beautiful outfits, lots of food and family bonding following all the formalities. The engagement is really about the coming together of two families. Today, a lot of Senegalese couples choose to incorporate American traditions, like having a photo session, into their engagement. And though different countries and cultures commemorate in different ways, I’m continually reminded how beautiful love really is.