Traditional Wedding ceremonies in South Africa's ethnic groups are not only deeply rooted in the peoples respect for family and culture but also celebrate the families cultural identity with beautiful African wedding dresses.
The traditional Wedding Ceremony is vibrant with colors, music, dancing, and lavish traditoinal African Food. Many of the events that take place during a Traditional Wedding have their heritage rooted in rich traditions that have been honored for many generations, they are symbolic events full of tradition and culture.
What is a Traditional African Wedding ?
The Traditional Wedding is the cultural celebration of the union of marriage between two individuals, it is culturally considered as the official union. The trend among modern Africans is to have two ceremonies - the traditional wedding as well as the white wedding.
Marriage means disconnecting from her ancestral line of birth and joining her husbands ancestral lineage. This forms the basis of the ceremonial wedding dance competition wherein a ritual antagonism between the family of the bride and the family of the groom is displayed. This dance is actually the highlight of every Traditional wedding ceremony.
The traditional Wedding usually happens after the lobola has been paid, once the lobola has been finalised, then the Traditional Wedding arrangements can be made.
What Happens at a Traditional Wedding ?
Traditional weddings differ from culture to culture, but it is common for the actual Traditional Wedding wedding to take place at the groom's family home.
The groom and his family brings gifts to the bride's family. Click here to see a list of Traditional Wedding gifts. More than just the handing over of gifts, the Traditional Wedding is a celebration with dancing and the slaughtering of animals. The groom’s family’s arrival is greeted with song and dance at the gate to the bride’s family home. Both families compete in song, with the groom’s family asking for permission to enter the yard by announcing that they have come bearing gifts. Traditionally a goat is prepared by the bride’s family as way of welcoming the groom’s family to their home, and in some instances small gifts will also be given to the groom’s family.
Couples will tie the knot, which means the couple have their hands tied together by grass or cloth to symbolise their union. Following the marriage ceremony, the wedding party would head to the groom’s home where a cow is slaughtered.
A cow is usually slaughtered on a specific day before the wedding or on the day by the groom's family in acceptance of the bride. The cow is also slaughtered as a sacrifice to the ancestors for their blessings. This symbolises that the bride is welcome in her new home, and she becomes a member of her new family when she puts money in the cow’s stomach.
There's no such thing as a guest list or invitations for a traditional wedding, everyone is invited, not just theimmediate family and friends but all the people in your community.
What is a Traditional African Wedding ceremony ?
Marriage is something that is highly valued in the African culture. When a woman gets married the entire community rejoices with her with a pre planned Traditional Wedding Ceremony.
The are various cultures and tribes in Africa so Traditional Wedding customs vary by the greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, and social classes.
A traditional African wedding ceremony is an event where a union of marriage between two people is celebrated following relative traditional customs.
When the union is between 2 cultures, the 2 families will sit down and discuss and agree how the process will be carried out.
Most traditional Afican wedding ceremonies are public proclamation of the union of marriage will usually involve an exchange or presentation of a gifts. Special Traditional Wedding Dresses are often worn, and most if not all African Traditional wedding cultures, the ceremony is always followed music, poetry, prayers or readings from religious texts or literature are also commonly incorporated into the ceremony.
Who pays for what in a traditional African wedding ceremony, ?
The division of costs varies between couples. The cost of a traditional wedding event depends on many factors and this can be adjusted according to your budget however, gifts to the grooms family will be paid for by the brides family and vise versa. The groom may also offer to pay for the brides dress and make-up, as well as the decor and logistics like transport etc..the bride may assist whenever she can. This is subject to discussion between the couple and their families.
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Who sets the date for the Traditional Wedding Ceremony?
Traditional wedding events are normally conducted during weekends when most of your invited guests would be able to attend, but before you set out to consider a suitable day for your Traditional Wedding Ceremony, you may need to consider the following factors :
Depending on your career, children's school schedule, planned vacations, and other scheduling considerations, you'll likely have dates that are just out. Block those out before you start considering dates.
Unless your traditional wedding ceremony is conducted at your home of your partners home, the availability of your traditional wedding venue will determine your traditional wedding date.
Schedule of your guests
Quite obviously the most important people at your wedding are you and your spouse-to-be, but you’ll want to ensure you pick a date on which all or most of your VIPs are available. If one of your cousins is getting married on the other side of the country, try to consider a date which will not clash with your to avoid competing for guests and the inconveniences related to that kind of scenario.
It is not usually advisable to marry near or on a holiday like Christmas where your friends and family may have travelled. Families are often very busy around Christmas and food and venue prices skyrocket. Some venues are also fully booked at this tome of the year and it may be very difficult to find bookings for your Traditional Wedding Ceremony. Tying the knot around holidays like workers day in South Africa can be a good deal for marrying couples. If you are on a tight budget, you can often get a better price for a venue on a Sunday.
With all this in mind, both families can meet to discuss and agree on a suitable Traditional Wedding Date.
It is becoming more and more important to set a central color scheme in the event of a wedding. Each color has a special significance and all the decoration are centered on that particular color or theme. Various accent colors may be incorporated into the designs to enhance the chosen colors. In the case of a multi cultural union, you can easily bring together two differenct African Cultures with a perfect blend of balancing and fusing the 2 with a a creative touch from both cultures.
From wedding invitation to the jewelry, from the accessories to the table centerpieces, everything is a reflection of the chosen color scheme. This gives the event a well-planned and chic feel that is becoming widely accepted in today’s market.
Dinner table tops can be customised with a traditional African print running along the centre, together with uniquely styled wooden elements.
Drapes and canopies give the wedding venue that special spruced up, ready-for-a-wedding look. If there is a specific color scheme in place, match the draperies with it.
Click Here to See more Traditional Wedding Decor ideas..
Traditional Wedding Cakes
Cake designers are now putting in a considerable amount of effort in creating beautiful African Wedding Cakes, as the western trend of celebrating marriage ceremonies by cutting a wedding cake has also become quite popular in African Traditional Weddings.
Click here to see more Traditional Wedding Cakes
Traditional African weddings have become very fashionable and on the wedding day, brides and grooms wear an African Traditional Wedding Attire, usually prepared specifically for the event. A bride at a traditional African wedding can change her outfit up to three times throughout the course of the day, as a way of impressing her new in-laws.
Both the bride and groom wear traditional attire and various rituals and customs happen on the day.
What to wear to a traditional African Wedding
Bride and Groom
If you are the bride or groom, you need to plan your outfits well in advance. Most African wedding dresses are custom made so after agreeing on your outfits, you need to find a good and reliable tailor. There is a common risk of not having your outfits ready by the day of your traditional wedding. A common rule of the thumb when it comes to your Traditional Wedding Attire is to make sure your outfits are finalised and ready a month before your date.
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If you are attending a traditional African wedding event, do your best to find out if they have a theme. Africans commonly like to represent their own culture so if you are Xhosa and you are invited to a Ndebele Wedding, you do not necessarily have to find a Ndebele outfit, it is quite appropriate to wear your own cultural theme, as long as it is African inspired, it will usually blend in with the theme.
As a quest, you need to be a bit cautious with your outfit not need to necessarily outshine the bride, look elegant but to your best to tone down your outfit.
Mother of the bride African Dresses
Almost similar to the bride, the mother of the bride will be in the spotlight and will need to stand out. Find an elegant Mother of the Bride African Outfit Outfit that will blend well with your culture, style and personality. You may consider an elegant and glamorous head gear for a doek, this depends on how you want to put your outfit together. Plan and prepare your outfit as well as your partners well before the day of the Traditional Wedding Ceremony