The Shimagle elders are dispatched by the bridegroom, who then requests a partnership between the two sides to start the wedding ceremony. The elders analyze the dowry and prove the alleged bride and groom are unrelated by looking back at least seven generations in their family tree. After the dowry is arranged and it has been determined that the prospective bride and groom are unrelated, families start making preparations for both the mels or melsi ceremony as well as the church or mosque ceremony. The bride and groom gather at the groom’s home the morning of the wedding and then travel to the bride’s parents’ home to begin the wedding ceremony. The bride gets ready while she waits for the groom to arrive at the home of the bride’s parents. The bride’s family and friends block the front door of the house with solemnity as the groom and his wedding party approach. In order to induce them to enter the house so that the groom can take the bride with him, the grooms must either serenade them or offer them money. The best man also carries perfumes, which he generously sprays over the bride’s family’s residence. The guy then picks up his wife, and the two proceed in procession to the church or mosque where they exchange wedding vows.
The wedding procession goes to a park or garden where lunch is provided to the guests after the religious ceremony. After the ceremony, guests are frequently sent to the reception while photographers snap shots. Several traditional dances from the family’s ethnic group are performed throughout the reception. Live music, Ethiopian food, and a morning-long celebration are common features of Ethiopian weddings.