Getting married in Ethiopia is an even more involved process than in the US. In some cases, the family still picks the spouse, but especially in urban areas, people mostly pick their own. The first time the woman's family meets the groom is when his family comes to meet her family to ask for her hand in marriage. Before he does this, it's assumed that he will have accumulated enough wealth to buy a house and car and other material goods deemed needed for a happy life. Assuming everyone agrees, the couple gets engaged, and he gives her an engagement ring with a stone it in.
Some time later, they get married in a civil ceremony, usually at a fancy restaurant, with a few (maybe 20) family members in attendance. They exchange wedding bands and are at that point legally married. But. They don't actually start living together as husband and wife. They maintain their previous separate lives, although I assume they're spending time together dating. Or something.
About a year after the civil ceremony they have the big wedding, spending all that the families can afford. The richest people have the wedding at the Sheraton. Just down from that is the wedding at the Hilton. Third best is the Ghion Hotel. The simplest weddings are held at home. Only after the big expensive wedding does the couple start living together like married people.
People who have been through this process please chime in.