Wedding Customs

All around the world we celebrate the joining of two lives through special ceremonies. Just as the two people tying the knot, each wedding is different and in our wonderfully diverse country, each of our cultures has their own unique wedding customs and traditions.

There are however some similar customs that stretch across cultures, one of which is the paying of Lobola. This custom is not as widely practised today as it was many years ago, although still honoured quite frequently and instead of cattle being given it is usually the money equivalent to that of the cattle. Lobola is a token of gratitude on the part of the bridegroom and his family to those of the bride for their care over her and for allowing her to become his wife.

South Africa's large Indian community also has many special customs pertaining to their weddings. As opposed to the traditional white wedding dress as in western cultures many eastern based traditions rather opt for red wedding dresses. This is because red is the traditional colour for good luck and auspiciousness.

In eastern customs, the father of the bride is responsible for the wedding banquet hosted on the bride's side as well as any alcohol that is consumed during both banquets. The wedding banquets are a symbolic gesture of thanks and appreciation to those who raised the bride and groom and those who will continue to be there to help the bride and groom in the future.

Finally, in South Africa, we also have the western customs, one of which sprouts from a traditional rhyme: "Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue, a Sixpence in your shoe." The poem mentions the items a bride will add to her wedding outfit or carry with her as charms of good luck. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity. This old custom is not really practised as much today but the rhyme itself will surely stand the test of time. 




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