Stunning Swati & Zulu Wedding Celebration

We met at work. We worked within the same group of companies but at not on the same team or office so we bumped into each other in the lifts and at the office canteen and the bar at times. We hadn’t spoken until one time I fell sick and Sibu decided that he’d send me a voice note through one of my close colleague’s phone because I was chatting to her at the time. He asked me out through my colleague’s phone and we decided when I was back on my feet and back at the office we would grab some lunch together. And we did just that. Also, he sacrificed a jacket he was wearing to send me that voice note. This was four years ago and a few months later our career paths took different paths. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Proposal

We initially had a conversation about moving in together which I wasn’t comfortable with at the time as I hadn’t lived with a partner before. He then went and spoke to his dad and thereafter decided he’d start the lobola process before we even consider moving in together. So we started with the lobola process first and the proposal came later on my 30th birthday. We had a lovely staycation as the country was still in lockdown and he had the loft filled with balloons, I got a private pampering session before dinner. After dinner, whilst winding down for the night, he whipped out the ring, which I had seen and loved a week or two before, and asked me to be by his side for life.


We were both keen to start the lobola process first before the ring and wedding plans took flight. It was important for us to talk to our parents before we decided to marry and bring two families together. The lobola negotiations started and ended within the space of 11 months. It was as smooth as it could have possibly been as our uncles and family representatives had a good grasp on how they’d represent us both as well as ensure that love and the union of two hearts and families were at the centre. What we treasured most about our lobola negotiations is the reassurance from our parents that this process would resemble our best interests.

The Suppliers

Our suppliers were found mostly through the work we’d seen on social media, word of mouth and others who have been close acquaintances for years. For instance, one of my dressmakers, Inga from Stitched By Inga, I met through work and we’ve been connected since. My one make-up artist, Elinah Mangena, I met through work as well and we were friends before she started her MUA journey and we made a promise that when I get married she would be the one doing my make-up. And we kept that promise. Our other dress and make-up suppliers, TN Collective and DeograciousWorks, I had connected with via social media and a friend respectively. Beads were custom made by Ntozinhle and the scholo was also custom made by Ganubyganu. 

Because we had umabo where the bride is being welcomed into the grooms family. My husbands family handled the majority of the planning of the day and logistics which was lovely in the end. The suppliers we used showed up for us, neighbours hosted most of my family in their BnB’s. We had minor hiccups that didn’t impact the bigger objective of the day – joyfully bringing two families together.

3 Lessons Learnt

We learnt A LOT during the process that we plan to take along in planning our intimate wedding when we take our vows. The top three lessons are as follows:

– Have a plan: Plan things out. Tell your suppliers, friends and family or whoever needs to know the full context. This saved us many times because then we all have common goals. This will also help you navigate conversations with suppliers, family and friends. 

– Have a budget: Try to stick to a budget, You still need to live after your wedding and having a plan and a budget will ensure that you don’t overspend.

– Communicate: This is key, communicate with your family and your suppliers. We found that setting our expectations and managing expectations with family, friends and suppliers made it easier to navigate this period. The pandemic didn’t make it any easier as we had to move our celebration three times but it became important to keep people informed. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Favourite Part

The favourite part of our celebration was the singing upon arrival. It was fun, all the energy and just being joyful with family was a priceless moment that I keep reliving in my head. It was magical.

Tips For Couples Planning

Remember your why. When frustrations and joy runs high during the planning process, remember why you are doing this and centre in on that. Remember that you are on the same team and all wins or losses that are tabled are to be dealt with as a team. 

Now that you are married, has life changed much? Do you both have the same friends or are you making new ones? If so tell us a little about how you are adjusting…

It has been quite a revealing time for us, and I say this because we moved in together 2 weeks before our first lockdown in March 2020. So we had to adjust to now living together 24/7 and finding our way in planning our traditional ceremony whilst in lockdown. Marriage hasn’t been a major change or shift for us as a couple, we’re still besties and have the heart for each other through and through. We’re finding our way with the nitty-gritty’s of life together like our careers, finances, our family relations and friends. We still have our groups of friends, who are also at different points in their lives, and if anything, we aren’t forcing friendships on each other which tends to happen with couples sometimes. We have met a few new friends in the community we live in now which has been lovely. We still engage with our friends separately and as a couple where needs be but because our friends are also spread out, have different interests, we’ve been flexible and fluid in how we meet up and maintain our friendships.

How did both families come together? Any words of wisdom from both families. And how do you relate to your in-laws now?

Is it weird to say we’ve one-uped each other on both sides of our families haha. My mom and sister adore Sibu and his family has embraced me as their own and it’s the best feeling, to be honest with you. I mentioned that we had lengthy conversations with our families before we started the lobola negotiations and I recall a conversation I had with Sibu’s father before they sent the letter to my family. He asked to talk to us both and when he did, he first wanted to ensure that I felt the same way about his son before he comes to my family. I appreciated the conversation as it showed how he considered me and my thoughts and feelings before we started any process. He encouraged us to be good to each other and do things the way we wanted to do them and not do things for anyone else. My mom, echoed this sentiment when we spoke and that has reverberated in how we engage with both sides of the family. That it’s all about love and we, as a new budding family unit, can create the enriching environment we’d like for our new family to grow in.

A big thank you to Ntombi and Sibusiso for sharing the journey with us. If you loved this wedding, you’ll like this one here, 1https://www.bontlebride.com/rustic-chic-rustenburg-wedding/

About Author

Hi! I'm Ika. Thank you for visiting Bontle Bride, a gorgeous space where I share exquisite weddings with a flava of culture.

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