KNIGHT goes to Africa!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I have been hard at work in my spare time researching and writing the proposal for my book and upcoming international wedding documentary trips. The book is entitled WEDDINGS AROUND THE WORLD, A Pictorial View by Ross Oscar Knight (© 2007 Ross Oscar Knight).

The book will focus on wedding traditions and customs throughout the world. The first stop will be Africa (remember KNIGHT goes to Africa from earlier this year?). I am really looking forward to documenting several weddings in West and South Africa in 2008! My camera equipment and photojournalism skills will be up for a sure test. It is a blessing that I have been contacted by several individuals wishing to help fund my exploration into Global Weddings.

I am asking that you submit questions you have about weddings in other countries.


Do most weddings in other countries occur in a religious building?
Ross Knight - Atlanta, GA

What role does the government play in the institution of marriage/weddings in other countries?
Ross Knight - Atlanta, GA

Are rings or some form of symbol of commitment exchanged between individuals during a wedding?
Ross Knight - Atlanta, GA

Let me be honest, I have already come up with about 250 questions but I am interested in hearing what you may want to know also. As long as it is not a question I already have, I will retain your name and question and include you in my list.

If you do not want your question posted to this blog, simply email the the question, your name, and city/state to To simply post your question to this blog, click the "COMMENTS" tag below.

Thanks a million and one!

- rk


Anonymous said...

Are most weddings considered a celebration throughout the world?
John - Houston, TX

Anonymous said...

When weddings are arranged, how is the couple presented to one another?
Isabella - Sacramento, CA

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I mean when marriages are arranged.

Anonymous said...

A friend's brother was married in Japan. The ceremony was beautiful. I don't have a specific question. I remember her telling about different things like the tea ceremony for example that is very different than the custom in the Japan would be a cool place for your book.

Unknown said...

do other cultures wear wedding bands? if not do they have some other symbol of their marriage?

Anonymous said...

In cultures where it is permitted to simultaneously have multiple wives, is there a wedding for each? Of course this leads to many other questions ...

Michelle said...

Are certain colors for wedding attire only reserved for royalty in other cultures?

Michelle Reaves - Raleigh, NC

Do certain cultures focus more on the groom unlike that of the US where most of the focus is on the bride?

Michelle Reaves - Raleigh, NC

Anonymous said...

Ross! This site is fantastic!!! Who knew you had such an interest and would become such an excellent photographer! I'm so happy for all you've accomplished. Just wanted to stop by and say I loved the site. Taryn Spelman/GT c/o 2002

Latrice Furlow said...

I will try my best at this. I am going off of what I am feeling right now, planning my own wedding for December of this year. I would love to hear back from you with your comments or thoughts or questions about what it is that I am asking.

1. When planning a wedding is the financial responsibility traditionally that of the bride's family?

2. What types of gifts are expected from the couple of those participating in the ceremony?

3. What duties are expected of the couple towards those that are invited to the wedding? (ie. wedding favors, meal at reception, lodging for out of town guests)

4. Is there a typical wedding color for the wedding gown? What does it symbolize? (ie. in the States traditionally White symbolized the virginity of the bride)

5. What is expected of the couple after the wedding? (i.e thank you notes)

6. Typically how long is the couple expected to be engaged before the wedding is to take place?

7. What ceremonies make up the wedding ceremony? (is, In the States (Baptist) there is the Unity Ceremony with lighting the candles, First Communion of the couple, the Lord's prayer, The Kiss, ext)

8. Who is able to conduct the ceremony? (ie priest, pastor, minister,justice of the peace, ext.)

9. Is there typically a set amount that is assumed to be spent on the entire event?

10. What is typically expected from the family of the couple? (ie. are they ecpected to prepare food, make clothing, etc)

11. How does the couple go about inviting people to the event?

12. How are outsiders accepted into the fold of the event?

13. Are there any ceremonies or rituals that those on the outside are not able to attend?

14. Are photographers brought in from the outside or do they prefer someone from the same background with an understanding of the culture and its traditions?

15. Do they have the same roles within a wedding ceremony as here in the States? (ie. maid/matron of honor, bestman, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, etc)

16. How is the bride expected to chose those that will participate in the ceremony? Are relatives expected to have a spot in the rituals?

17. What traditions are manditory for the ceremony to take place in the eyes of those participating? (ie. something old, something new, something borrowed something blue)

18. What are some Tabos of the ceremony? (ie. In the states a bride that is pregnant and showing should NOT wear a white gown, according to tradition)

19. Is photography as an important part of the ceremony as is food (I know for me photography is in my top five elements of my wedding. The first being my fiance of course, God's blessings, then my family, and our unity)

20. What are the typical times for the ceremony. (In the States usually afternoon weddings are from 1pm to 3pm)

21. Is there a traditional day that most weddings are held on? (In the States Saturday is typically when people get married)

I will try to come with others a litle later.

Be blessed

Anonymous said...

What are weddings like in the country of Indonesia? Anything unique about them in comparison to the US?

Anonymous said...

In the United States, couples spend thousands of dollars for a wedding celebration that last only one day. How does the spending for a wedding compare in other countries where some wedding celebrations can go on for several days.
Torre; PureLove Weddings- Lawrenceville, GA

Anonymous said...

Is it still customary for the Bride's family to pay for the wedding
(in the US and other countries) and if so, is that related at all to
the dowry tradition that still exists on some cultures today?

Unknown said...

What happens in other cultures when a marriage is broken, I believe that the wife must be returned to her family, also is a dowry still paid by the bride's father to the husband?

Anonymous said...

In Barbados, many weddings usually have the lighting of the Unity Candle to signify two families becoming as one. What other symbols happens at other Wedding Ceremonies?

Anonymous said...

I just viewed the photos and video of the engagement in Atlanta.......My GOD!!!!!! What a wonderful MAN. The photos were of course the most beautiful I have ever seen, They were on target, no shadow, no uneeded background filler..., I just wanted to say I am so touched and inspired to know that there are great and thoughtful Black men out there. Please pass this message along, I was truly touched and (I don't even have the words...)inspired. My best wishes to the bride and groom for a marriage that was as wonderful as the engagement propasal...Mia in Rochester, new York

Anonymous said...

i come from africa and i hope am the one to bring you here.

Unknown said...

Women in the USA have bridal showers, bachelorette party. Men have bachelor parties. What do Women and Men do to bond and unite before they Marry in other parts of the world.

Anonymous said...

In considering a proposal/marriage in other cultures - is the
institution of marriage driven more by economics or status than love?

How is the approval/attendance of parents at the wedding viewed?

What is considered appropriate attire? Are certain colors viewed as a
stereotype of the wife (i.e. white - purity)?

If two cultures are coming together in marriage - are both represented
during the ceremony? Or does the male's culture dominate?

How are bridesmaids/groomsmen viewed in other cultures? Is this a
standard for the ceremony?

Atlanta, GA

ranyee said...

How does the meaning of love and love in marriage vary from culture to culture? Are these differences reflected by different emphasis in the ceremonies?

In marriages, like arranged marriages, where there may be no love as we are familiar with it in the US, does the nature of joy change?

Ranyee Chiang - San Francisco, CA

Unknown said...

I received a lesson in African dance. It taught me how different regions of Africa uses different parts of the body when dancing. So when someones says they know African dance, they really don't because every country in the continent dances differently. When looking at the different dances the artists performed it wasn't strange to see how we (Americans and others) have taken dance and made it seem vulgar. I guess through workshops like the one I experienced should be done more for young children for a basic foundation in Music and Dance. I was suprised that the elementary kids that were observing the artists didn't do the typical "OOOOOOOO." I guess it was all in the storytelling. And that's what I believe God is doing in your life. Using you to go back to "the beginning of" and restore relationships-whether it's friendship or marriage through photo journalism. The questions I would submit are-Is there a traditional wedding dance for different parts (you will visit) of the wedding ceremony and how are they selected? Who does the dancing? How are they chosen? What does that dance symbolize?

Sorry so long.

Anonymous said...

WOW----Truely blessed, I as a woman am so impressed..God bless the both of you and may you both continue to be Blessed.

Leslie E. Perry said...

I am African American and love the ceremony of Indian (east India) weddings. I would like to know if it would be considered offensive to have an Indian wedding while not being from that background.

I would like to know this answer in general for most cultures because I am sure people will look to your book not only for the curosity but to also find new ideas.


Anonymous said...

What type of preparations are made by the future brides? For example, brides in India will have mehendi tattoos done as an accessary and symbol of being the intended bride.

Dr. Rhonda said...

I am always interested in rituals that take place prior to the wedding between mother (or female relatives) and bride. In our family it is the female relatives who assist the bride in getting dressed for the wedding. During this time we share memories, wisdom and prayer with the bride to be. I wonder where this custom originated and if it has links to Africa or if it is an extension of other cultural norms that we have embraced.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in food questions, for example: Groom's cakes seem to be more prominant in the south than in the north. What are traditions regarding wedding cakes in other cultures?

Anonymous said...

How did the tradition of a white wedding gown worn by a bride start?

You should do a Caribbean wedding soon. I am from Trinidad & Tobago and I know you would have a great time shooting there. Keep up the good work and hopefully one day I look forward to reading your book!

Anonymous said...

Different cultures have different traditions depending upon where you go. From what I have seen an exchange of rings are western.

Many times animals, and other items are given by the groom to the brides family. He gives her gold but if she wants to divorce, her family has to return all that was given that is why now many times something that is worth pennies is given by the groom to the family.

If you can go to a wedding in north Sudan and Eritrea where a wedding lasts for 3 days. One day the bride wears a traditional outfit, next day a silver outfit, last day gold outfit. Some times a western wedding dress is substituted for the silver outfit. In Sudan the bride and groom have a milk spitting ceremony who ever wins that it is said will be the one 'over' the marriage. And also a scarf where the bride dances and when the music stops he has to cover her before she drops to the floor.

In northern Sudan a woman can not take items from her fathers house to her husband house. So the husband will buy several sets of clothing, underwear etc eg 7 of each item.

Remember in many cultures it is not a real love match it is a match between families. Also in Muslim societies cousins marry cousins to keep the wealth in the family. While in Kenya among the Swahili it is common for an Uncle to marry a niece.

In the US in many American Indian marriage ceremonies the only persons who actually witness the ceremony are the 'minister', bride, groom and the parents. Though the reception is open for all.

Can not wait for the book! Best of Luck,