#NewNormal: A ‘Zoom’ bridal shower and wedding

Wednesday May 13 2020
Shari

Isaiah and Shari Nelima on their engagement shoot. PHOTO| DAVID MOTAZE

If the camera lens had the power to Zoom all the way to the future, then, it could tell the volumes of stories about the pandemic that will be told years to come. 

For 25-year-old Shari Nelima and 23-year-old Isaiah Soboyejo, one striking tale of the pandemic will most likely be  the manner in which they tied the knot. But before then, Shari will say how it all started, with the bridal shower that happened on Zoom, a video conferencing application.

GATHERINGS BANNED

Normally, bridal showers take place before the actual wedding. For Shari, hers was set up almost a fortnight prior to the official vows exchange fete.

It usually is a ladies' exclusive day with the bride to be. Shari had everything figured out of how hers would look like.

Unfortunately, coronavirus happened. Gatherings around the world have since been banned and there is a limit to the number of people who are to attend a wedding, or a bridal shower. 

So, on April,11, 2020, Shari and her bridal team did not relent because there is a virus to be dealt with, plans had to be ticked off the bucket list. With the help of her friends from different countries around the world, they made it happen.

"Before the coronavirus, the plan was to host the bridal shower in London. We were to all meet there as Shari's friends to encourage her," says Sheila Sewe, one of Shari's friends.

"The plan was for us to go to a place that we can learn KPOP dance (Korean modern dance) and then have lunch together," she adds. Since their original plan crumbled, they had to Zoom their way to an online bridal shower.

However, Ivy Koome, Shari's friend says, "I would have loved to be there physically with the girls, hug Shari and cry together, watching her face turn red when she opens the cheeky bridal shower gifts."

BRIDAL SHOWER TEAM LEADER

You would probably be wondering how on earth a bridal shower with all its craze could happen on Zoom. For Shari and her friends, they had a team leader for the bridal shower, Gretchen Balmadres.

She was in charge of the timing, monitoring turn-taking when talking and that discipline was observed. That did not come about on a silver platter.

"A lot of planning went into it beforehand, but because we were all familiar with Zoom and all of its handy features, we managed to keep the bridal shower well organised," says Gretchen. 

The Zoom meeting was hosted by Gretchen and Shari's sister. So, their microphones did the most activity on that day. They were like the virtual emcees of the day.

The rest of the friends' microphones were muted until it was their time to share something. 

Like any other bridal shower, they played several games, especially Korean games because the bride to be is a Korean language fanatic.

The leaders of the game could switch the turns in which their microphones had to be one just to have a seamless kind of bridal shower. 

In spite of a few hiccups like unreliable internet connectivity or a laptop freezing, Shari felt she had the best time with the ladies. She may have missed dancing with her friends, having a fellowship and sharing a common food, but they made that up by sending food at her door step at lunch time on the same day.

"I absolutely enjoyed the bridal shower, I loved seeing everyone online with me. And, the fact that they sent a tiara and sash to my house and asked me to only open on the D-day made me so happy, it was a beautiful day," says Shari.  

For Shari, that was a dream come true. She had always wanted to have a bridal shower before her wedding. 

"That was a nice send-off, it feels so natural that the next step would be the wedding, I would not re-do one even after the coronavirus," she adds.

It will be unfair if they logged off Zoom without unboxing their gifts for Shari. One of her friends says that they opened some of the gifts, still on Zoom, which Shari will pick on a later date.

With the bridal shower chapter closed, on April,25,2020 Shari Nelima and Isaiah wihad wedding outside their new home. The wedding was done on Zoom, again, officiated by their church leaders.

The only attendee of the wedding physically was Isaiah's brother. The rest of the family, even those in Kenya, and some of their friends, attended the wedding on Zoom.

That was the first time Isaiah got the chance to be closest to Shari, because, their courtship had been guided by Christian principles. It was also the first time they were alone the house as there has always been a third party. 

"I want God to be glorified, because marriage is a beautiful thing," says Shari.