In celebration of being proudly South African, we are taking a look at traditional Zulu weddings and what makes them so incredible!

The Zulu people are a Bantu group native to Southern Africa. They are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. So what happens at a traditional Zulu wedding? We explore this below!



  • A form of payment. It’s an opportunity for the groom to show his appreciation for the bride-to-be. The groom compensates the bride’s family for the wonderful job they did.


  • The groom and his family present gifts to the bride and her family.


  • The bride will buy groceries for the groom and his family. It has been said that the lobola also enables the bride and her family to purchase the goods.

These traditions are said to create a strong bond between the families and unite them.



  • In the morning the bride will leave her home wearing a blanket that her mother presented to her. Her father then walks the bride to her new family home. She is advised to not look back as she heads off. It is considered bad luck. The ceremony takes place at the groom’s family home.
  • Once there, the father of the bride will call out the clan’s name. This is an announcement for the ancestors to know that his daughter is leaving.
  • The wedding usually begins at midday and two cows are slaughtered. After the head of the family has spoken, a goat is slaughtered.
  • On the day of her wedding, a Zulu bride will change her outfit at least three times to show off her beauty to her in-laws in different styles and colours.
  • Bridesmaids hand out gifts to guests. The older women receive their gifts first then the groom’s sisters, men, and finally the groom himself.
  • Once this is done the bride looks for her groom and lays a grass mat down for him to sit on. She then proceeds to present him with a gift. Normally she washes his feet. While this happens the bridesmaids and other women from her side will hit the groom with small sticks.
  • When the ceremony concludes, there is dancing and food.

The Zulu people don’t believe that a couple is wed until this ritual is done. They believe that once this is done their marriage is accepted by their ancestors.

Sounds pretty wonderful, right?

If you’ve had a traditional Zulu wedding, we would love to see some of your incredible photos!

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Image: Wedding Photographer Jacki Bruniquel –