So my wedding was held at my parents home, which is in rural-ish
North West/Gauteng Mpumalanga. It’s something I’ve always known would happen; so no matter the number of stunning special venue weddings I attended, I knew would be right in the thick of MP and was happy with that, given it’s always been the norm where I come from – makoti must leave her parents’ house in a white dress, finish and klaar.
So during the planning of my wedding and the fact that I was blessed to attend another friend of mine’s rural wedding last month in Limpopo, I learned a few things that can make a wedding in the rurals as equally fabulous as those at more urban special venues.
Don’t underestimate the budget
If anything, your budget for such weddings should be slightly higher considering you may end up buying 2 cows given the “everyone is invited” tradition…and trust me, the whole village WILL show up. We had formally invited 300 guests but budgetted for 500+…Ok pick your jaw up from the floor. You also need to keep in mind the fact that during the week leading to the wedding, your parents’ home will already be filled with the preparatory team (mostly relatives, women & men from the village) – those mouths need to be fed.
Time is crucial. Keep track of time
Just because we’re in the rurals, it doesn’t mean we’re prepared to wait the whole day. I got my fingers burnt for this one. Don’t be like me…keep time
EVERYONE is involved
Towards the big day, everyone will have an opinion, free advise, suggestions and all. Everyone will suddenly be a close relative; they all know your late gran; used to babysit you when you were small and and…*sigh*. All these people will feel they are entitled to throw their 2c in every now and then. My advise, leave them to your parents…they know how to best deal with them.
VERY important. I cannot stress this enough. In our culture, makoti (the bride) must sit in her room from the moment she arrives the night before until she leaves dressed in her wedding gown the next day…with the exception to bathroom visits of course. Of course we tend to break these rules a little (like when the decor people ask you to come and weigh in on their work) but generally your hands are tight. So delegate as much as you possibly can. Also ensure your siblings and parents don’t have a lot on their plate as you’ll need them by your side on your big day.
Blood is thicker
Your family will have your very best interest at heart. Remember, they also want to be proud to be associated with you should your wedding turn out perfectly.lol. If there’s anyone who has your back on your big day, it’s family. That cousin you only see once in 2 years still loves and wants to support you that weekend. That’s the beauty of family. Yes you get a few weeds here and there and wish you’d replace them with some of your friends but such is life my dear.
Culture is EVERYTHING
Unless it contradicts with your faith, RESPECT what the elders tell you. They know what they’re doing. I personally enjoyed the part where we had to stand by the gate and have a couple of elders from within the family stepping forward to do what we call sereto (family specific praises). I’m not sure if other tribes do it but that’s just one of the things about baTswana I always wish everyone will witness at some point in their lives (yes..add that to your bucketlist).
Get the right dress(es)
If you come from a sandy place, some areas have this rich deep red soil that just stains everything. And then you get a lot of unmanicured grass…your dress must be able to dodge all those sort of things.
Get the entertainment right…fill the gaps
It’s one thing to run behind schedule, but it’s another to have people twiddling their thumbs while waiting in boredom. What we did was have a Dj playing music while I was getting dressed. We also had a group of traditional dancers entertaining the crowd while I was changing into my traditional dress.
Food is everything
FEED the people…FEED the people…FEED the people!!! If you want your parents to still have courage, pride and confidence to walk down the street with their heads held high beyond your wedding, make sure people eat, drink and get merry. Whatever you do, get this right.
Forget about which uncle got too drunk; which items out of that mountain of groceries you bought ran out; your dress got stained by make-up; which aunt is too dominating…drama can never be avoided at weddings, so the best you can do is put on your oogklaps and have a ball!!!