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How to host a Mzansi-style royal wedding

Royal wedding 2018

The imminent Royal wedding of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle is coming up this Saturday, 19th May, and BBC Lifestyle (DStv channel 174), the home of dating and romance, has a few tips to share on how to channel a Royal Wedding SA style, with some help from expert wedding planner Precious Thamaga of Precious Celebrations.  

THE COURTSHIP: For the hopeless romantic, did you know Meghan met her Prince on a blind date? Experience the magic of their courtship in Harry and Meghan: a modern love story (16 May, 21:00).  Lesson learnt it’s worthwhile letting the people who know you best step up with possible matches and take a chance on simple drinks or coffee date to see if your soulmate is sitting across from you. See how others do it on the latest season of Blind Date UK currently airing on BBC Lifestyle.

THE BRIDAL PARTY: Picking your bridal party is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Flashback to the 2011 royal wedding between William & Catherine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which provides a memorable example of why you may want to rethink sticking your model-esque maid of honour in an attention-stealing form-fitting gown (no shade, Pippa Middleton). Bad Bridesmaids S1 (BBC Lifestyle, Wednesday-Friday of this week at 23:20) – the hit show that’ll give most brides nightmares about bridesmaid’s gone rogue, is exactly why you want to avoid the maid of honour horror and pick someone early on. Picking a maid of honour later in the game may ruffle some feathers and put a damper on the festivities. Be firm about your choice, but give each bridesmaid special responsibilities to ensure that each feels like a vital part of your bridal gang.

THE VENUE AND THEME: While the royal duo has chosen St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for their “I do’s”, there’s no reason why you can’t host your own royal wedding watching party with a South African spin at home. For those planning their own royal-styled wedding, Precious had this advice to add, “Your chosen venue provides the canvas for your big day, so pick wisely. As per tradition, most local royal weddings take place at the bride and groom’s home. Transform your home with a marquee structure that will give you a modern royal feel with an intimate touch. If you’re looking outside your home, historic venues with architectural high ceilings, which add dramatic effect, and details are a must.”

“A timeless yet romantic theme is one that can stand the test of time. It’s memorable and in every way, royal. Depending on your culture, there is so much you can do with the colours, whatever you choose make sure it is regal and a celebration fit for a king and his queen. Royal blue and gold reign supreme in every nation don’t be afraid to go bold.”

THE DRESS: Rumour has it Ralph and Russo, the makers of Meghan’s glitzy engagement gown, will also create her wedding dress. “A wedding gown should be designed to fit you like a glove. For some local flavour adding intricate African details like beading and patterns is always a great idea. Add a bit of lace to soften your look and an elegant, long train is also a perfect detail to complete the look. While fascinators and hats are ideal for British wedding guests, an African queen cannot go without a beautiful traditional hat,” continues Precious.

Catch All Hail the Veil (BBC Lifestyle, Wednesday-Friday of this week at 22:00) where three Bridal experts go head-to-head and dress-to-dress, to find one lucky bride the wedding dress of her dreams. Don’t forget British Royal grooms, they are traditionally resplendent in military uniform, the perfect accompaniment to their Princess brides.

THE TRADITIONS: Royal Weddings closer to home may include a different set of splendour and tradition. While Prince Harry won’t need to pay traditional lobola for his bride, if based on the rumoured 300 cow minimum asked by eSwatini (Swazi) King Mswati III for the hand of his eldest daughter Princess Sikhanyiso, Royal lobola isn’t cheap!

There are quite a few royal wedding traditions and it will be interesting to see if Meghan puts her own twist to any of them. For example, most royal brides wear tiaras and the question is which tiara, from the exquisite royal collection, will Meghan pick? They carry myrtle in their bouquets to symbolise love and good fortune and lay the bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior once the ceremony is complete. For a proudly South African wedding add a hint of indigenous flowers to the bridal bouquet and what better way to do this than by adding the Protea, South Africa’s national flower.

South Africa’s melting pot of cultures means there are many rituals here too that go far beyond ‘something blue.’ Most brides dream of a fairy-tale wedding, so a tradition to follow is to make sure that you modernise an old veil that has been passed down in the family, as part of your ceremony veil. According to Precious for a South African Royal wedding, you can look at including prints or elements from your tribe with either the beads, fabric or gold infinity wristbands and accessories. Your something borrowed and something blue can be your jewellery, a beautifully beaded neckpiece or a pair of sapphire earrings are always winners.


While Britain’s Royal Weddings (21:00, Thursday, 17 May and Friday 18 May on BBC Lifestyle) is a lovely example of how it’s been done in the past. Watch the latest live Royal wedding stream on BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174 on Saturday 19 May, from 10:00.  There is also a host of royal and wedding programming leading up to the occasion at 9pm each night to get you ready for the big day!


For more wedding tips, click here!

Glamour International