In Congo, weddings are considered a serious and thoughtful affair, and for everything to be taken seriously, the couple cannot smile before, during, and after the ceremony.
They are also not allowed to smile on any wedding day photos. As Kristee Watson rightly observed: “The one thing I can’t get past, and really taints my view of Congolese weddings, is the tradition that the bride and groom cannot smile.
Never! Not in the photo for the invitation, not at the pre-gathering, civil ceremony, wedding, or reception.
If you smile it shows you are not serious about the marriage. And the bride has turned her face down towards the floor. It was awful; the wedding party looked like they are at a funeral while the rest of the guests are whooping it up. In fact, the bride looked terrified; I have never seen hands shake like that.”
In Congo, weddings are a serious, measured, thoughtful affair. So much so that the couple may not smile during their wedding ceremony. They may not even smile in their photographs.
If the groom or bride dare cracks a grin during the wedding festivities, it’s seen as them not taking the marriage seriously.