Home Patchwork Couples An English-Xhosa forest wedding in South Africa

An English-Xhosa forest wedding in South Africa

by Rosie Hurwitz
South African wedding Bride and Groom face each other and embrace with floral arch behind them

Chris is from England and Nozuko (Nozzi) is a Xhosa from South Africa. They met in the summer of 2014 on Chris’ first night in Johannesburg, at a friend’s braai (BBQ) and it was love at first sight. Chris had been studying Swahili in Zanzibar, Tanzania for 6 months and had since travelled around Southern Africa for a further 5 months. After almost 7 years living on different sides of the world they hope to soon be together for good in England. Their beautiful English-Xhosa wedding took place in South Africa just before the global pandemic took hold and was an amazing combination and reflection of their two cultures. Here they share their story in with beautiful words and stunning photos and say “we hope it inspires other couples never to give up on love.”

Bride leans back in Grooms arms as he kisses he kisses her, with South African landscape behind

How did you get engaged?

Chris: In 2018 Nozzi’s father tragically passed away suddenly, and I realised that life was too short to let anything be taken for granted. I proposed to Nozzi at the top of Table Mountain in May 2018 and she said yes. Nozzi and I negotiated lobola (a kind of dowry paid to the bride’s family) with her mother in February 2019 we found our perfect wedding venue at De Uijlenes Gansbaai, Western Cape South Africa.

South African bride Nozzi stands with her bridesmaids in colourful dresses all holding bouquets of flowers
family group wedding photo - South African wedding of Nozzi and Chris

What kind of wedding did you plan?

Nozzi: We wanted a wedding that reflected the two of us, so we chose to have a combination of English-Xhosa wedding. The ceremony was in the woods on the grounds of an old farm in Gansbaai, South Africa. We had about 60 guests from 12 different countries. Days leading up to the wedding we had a wine tasting and dinner, a braai (barbeque) and quiz night. On the wedding day we had a great ceremony, reception and a ceilidh band which got everyone up to dance.

South African wedding - bride and groom smiling walk arm in arm with guests on either side
bride and groom holding hands at wedding reception. Groom wears bright waistcoat and bride traditional African clothing

What was your favourite memory of the day?

Nozzi: The ceremony and the ceilidh band were definitely a highlight. We did our first dance with the ceilidh and everyone else joined in as well. It was great to have so many people who travelled from all parts of the world, particularly because a few weeks later there was a global pandemic.

Bride in African headdress stands close to groom and they both cut wedding cake
new home deposit wedding gift fund patchwork in ipad

Why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

Nozzi: We chose Patchwork because it was an easy way to invite guests to contribute money towards our new home without requesting cash from guests. We were also avoiding guests bringing gifts that we later would’ve had to ship to the UK.

South African wedding - Bride and Groom both drink from traditional bowls

Quite soon after your wedding, the Coronavirus pandemic shook the world. What impact did this have on your plans?

Nozzi: Our plan was for Chris to return to the UK and find permanent work for us to apply for the spousal visa. Due to the pandemic we were unable to see each other for 16 months (from March 4th 2020 to 18th June 2021). We now have the visa and will be officially signing the last legal document for our marriage on 20th July 2021 (the 7th year anniversary of our first meeting).

African bride in traditional wedding attire dances and her groom jumps in air with South African landscape behind them

How has this last year been for you as a newly-wed couple?

Nozzi: It’s not ideal to separate from your partner for 16 months. Thank God for WhatsApp and video calls as it meant we were able to keep in touch. The fact that we got through this, is testament to the strength of our relationship. We feel very proud that we were able to take each challenge (visa requirements, lengthy application, anxious waits, covid tests, and mandatory quarantine) one step at a time in order to hold one another again.

Wow. What an inspirational story of love conquering all! So lovely to hear about your journey together so far. Congratulations from all of us at Patchwork and we wish you every happiness in your new home together. If you’ve been inspired to set up a gift list that guests can contribute towards wherever you (and they) are in the world.. check out our wedding gift templates and honeymoon fund templates and choose the one that best suits what you’re dreaming of!

Below are some of the the suppliers who made Chris & Nozzi’s day extra special:

Venue: De Uijlenes, Gansbaai, South Africa

Flowers, Deco, bouquets, lighting, wedding cake: Husband Wife Team

Photographer: Koa Photography

Videographer: Gustav Films and Missing Piece Films

Brides dress: Victoria Bottoman (Bride’s mum)

Headwrap and earrings: Sybarite Accessories

Beaded jewellery: Peggy Mabula

Grooms suit: Tailor Me

Grooms socks: Afrisocks

Cake Toppers: Mini Me & You

Napkins: Set the Table Hire

Entertainment: Cape Town Scottish Ceilidh Band and Marelize Zeeman violinist

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