There are many traditions when it comes to South African weddings, and here at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, we are well versed in arranging weddings, and know each and every wedding is unique.
We in South Africa have a number of cultural traditions, which is definitely part of our charm and interesting to those experiencing another cultural differences.
The definition of a traditional South African wedding is a ceremony where two people are joined together following the culture or tradition of where they come from.
A traditional Afrikaans wedding is a highly personal and cultural event. Weddings are generally based on Christian beliefs which are a strong part of this culture. It’s very similar to a white western wedding with some cultural elements. Some traditions have fallen away due to the expense, or just seen as “old fashioned”.
The father of the bride pays for the wedding, the groom’s father pays for the bar tab and the groom pays for the honeymoon, which should be a big secret for his future bride! In the meantime, the bride deals with all the details of the wedding from the colour theme, to the food and flower arrangements!
The father of the bride will walk his “baby girl” down the aisle and hand her over to her future husband. A custom that is known to be bad luck, is that the groom will not be allowed to see his future bride at least 24 hours before the wedding. And definitely not in her wedding dress!
The reception is full of fun banter, with the bachelor friends of the groom going all out to embarrass the groom and singing silly songs when he tries to do his speech. The cutting of the cake is super important, and there has to be a picture of this moment together with feeding each other cake. The party gets started with loads of “langarm” dance moves, which is like a barn dance vibe to local Afrikaans pop music.
The English white wedding, which is originally European, has pretty much made it across the globe. Brides are generally dressed in white. The groom, when asking for her hand, goes down on one knee. The wedding itself is generally very formal and there is a strict guest list which is delivered to guests on fine printed invites.
There are also Hindu weddings, which are ceremonies to unite the families. The ceremony takes three days and starts with the henna tradition, where mehendi artists paint the groom and brides hands and feet at their respective parents’ homes.
There is also a day for family prayer with the actual wedding taking place on the third day. And anyone who has attended a Hindu wedding will definitely find the men folk outside at the boot of their cars catching up and “participating in male bonding” in order to take a break from the ceremony, which is quite lengthy The food is served by the younger folk and generally includes pots of breyani, dhall and non-alcoholic beverages. After the wedding there are a few ceremonies, one of which is to welcome the bride into her new home.
The Zulu wedding can take many shapes and forms. Usually the bride changes at least three times on her wedding day, showing off to her in-laws how beautiful she is in different colours. Although it is not a Zulu custom for the bride to wear a traditional Christian white wedding gown, nowadays many brides prefer to do so. The wedding service takes place at the local church, and during this time the bride is usually dressed in white. After the church, the wedding party moves to the groom’s home, where the bride changes into a traditional Zulu outfit. One of the highlights of a traditional wedding comes when the parties from the bride’s and the groom’s families compete with each other through the medium of Zulu dance and songs.
During this ceremony the family of the groom slaughters a cow to show that they are accepting the bride into their home. This is a sign that she is now part of the family. The wedding ceremony ends with the bride giving gifts, in the form of blankets and furniture, to her new family, including the extended family – this tradition is called “ukwaba”. Even the long-deceased family members receive gifts and are represented by the living ones. The family cover themselves with the blankets in an open area where everybody will see. The spectators ululate, sing, and dance for the family.
Whatever cultural wedding you are hosting, the “Mouse team” at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa will be on standby to ensure the smooth running for your once in a lifetime nuptials!