Mutsikara says the first thing you need to decide as the couple is how traditional you want to go with your wedding. She says a lot of couples these days aren’t going for a full-on traditional look and feel, opting for a modern-traditional setup instead.

  • If the parties come from different cultures, what’s the best way to infuse both into the wedding? 

If the bride and groom are from different cultures, Mutsikara says they also need to decide how much of each they want to involve in the wedding. She says you need to be very decisive about which culture will be the hero.

“If you come from different backgrounds, you need to decide which culture will form the core of the base furniture and pieces. Things like runners and tablecloths are very robust pieces that require you to choose the cultural motif,” she says.

Mutsikara, however, points out that if you don’t want to choose, you can go half-Xhosa, half-Sotho, for example.

She further explains that usually there are two traditional celebrations, but in the case where there is one big traditional wedding, it would involve the welcoming of the bride into the groom’s home. “In that case, the groom’s culture would take preference and you’d then have to use those cultural elements.”

READ MORE: Why it’s important to save for a wedding

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes couples make when organising a traditional wedding? 

Not having enough seating is one of the biggest mistakes we see at traditional weddings, especially because there isn’t a guest list. Mutsikara says you should always make sure you have an additional seating plan.

“It doesn’t have to be formal seating – it can be a cocktail setup or even a standing cocktail one – somewhere people can put their plates when they’re eating,” she says.

If you’re having your traditional wedding at home, Mutsikara says it’s vital you rent additional toilets. “There’s not enough house to account for the millions of people walking in and out of your home, so make sure you have enough ablution facilities outside,” she says.

A wedding is not a wedding without food. Hire a caterer, advises Mutsikara. “Couples shouldn’t ask family members to cook for the wedding. Get a professional caterer who’ll be able to efficiently feed the guests.”

  • Please give us your top tips when it comes to the decor, cake and furniture of the wedding.

The decor

Mutsikara says there are various spaces and elements in which you can use traditional pieces, like the napkins, centrepieces and tablecloths. She adds that instead of using the usual flowers like roses, you can opt for foliage.

A lot of stylists like to use traditional pots as the centrepiece, but Mutsikara prefers alternatives. “I like using zinc and wood elements, which play a huge role in our South African culture,” she says.

White wedding underplots are usually glass, silver or gold; whereas traditional ones are woven or wooden. “I’d also advise matching your napkin rings or napkins with your table runner or centrepiece item, as that’s a great way to synergise everything and make it flow beautifully,” she says.


READ MORE: Three local designers to try for traditional weddings

The cake

Mutsikara says she advises having a simple cake with a touch of one party’s culture. She says you can incorporate culture by using, for example, the runner fabric or decor colour scheme around the cake.

“The beauty of SA is that we have very distinct and specific fabrics, shapes and colours for each of our cultures, so the minute you see a traditional cake, you’ll immediately know which culture is being represented,” she says.

She adds that it’s about making sure everything flows beautifully. “When guests walk in, they’re walking into a specific space, so you want them to feel like it’s one accumulative area,” she says.

The furniture

She says another great way to go about doing a traditional wedding is to use proper furniture. Instead of going for white and ghost chairs, you could try more rustic pieces, like wooden trestle tables, which are beautiful and on-trend.

“If you’re going to have a lounge, you can do palette furniture with traditional scatter cushions,” she says.

In addition, couples can opt for wooden tables and Wimbledon wooden chairs and mahogany or brown Tiffany chairs to create a traditional aesthetic.

All images provided by Lulu Mutsikara