If you’re married (or have had the fortune of being a bridesmaid) you will agree that nothing makes you panic about EVERYTHING quite like weddings do. If you’re not yet married, don’t worry, your turn is coming *insert evil laugh here.* My wedding did not disappoint. I would have never thought that something as irrelevant as the groomsmen’s socks would require a round (or square in this case) table meeting with my Mother-in-law, Husband (then fiance), and Sister. Being a natural hair blogger and business owner one of the biggest stresses should have been my hair.
Why do I say should have? Well, dear reader, natural hair laws dictate that the wedding hairstyle of a blogger, vlogger, or natural hair practitioner must be contemplated for a minimum of a year before the wedding and should have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it. Over and above said contemplation, a wedding hair regimen should begin no less than 4 weeks before the wedding for lazy naturals and 3 months before for die hards. That is why whenever anyone asked me what I would be doing to my hair for the wedding, I would ask the ground to swallow me before sheepishly stating, “well, you know, it’s a surprise.”
My Wedding “Regimen”
As is custom, I will have to divulge the juicy deets of how I achieved my
flawless wedding hair. The weeks leading up to our wedding were sheer pandemonium:
- 6 weeks before – My dress designer had to make an entirely new corset because I had lost 12Kg while I was away in Zambia
- 4 weeks before – We met up with our decorator, who lives in bloemfontein, for the first time
- 3 weeks before – The tailor in Zambia kept messing up one of the bridesmaids dresses so my sister couldn’t bring it with
- 2 weeks before – I had to work out of town for an entire week so the plans ground to a halt
- 1 week before – I had to buy a suit for my dad in his absence (we asked a random man in the shop with a similar build to try it on!)
- 3 days before – We finally found someone to bake 5 small gift cakes for less than a million rand (I may be exaggerating about the price a little)
- 2 days before – my niece couldn’t travel because they didn’t have her birth certificate with them; we had to make arrangements for her to fly the next day
- 1 day before – the bridal party was finally in the same room at the same time for the very first time watching wedding routine YouTube videos (If you are Black, you will know that dances are usually practised months before)
It will be no surprise to you (or maybe it might) that during this time I lived in wash and goes and headscarves. I would wet my hair every morning apply my leave in, add some oil I’m testing for Rockin Naturals, and seal off with some shea butter. On those days when I felt a little guilty, I would slap on some conditioner mixed with essential oils and baggy for the day (or two, or three but no one was counting).
Needless to say my sister and fellow blogger, Mwanabibi, was my hairstylist (much to her surprise). We decided the week before the wedding that a Bantu Knot out would be our hair style of choice for the day because the knots give a well defined curl pattern that allows you to control how loose or tight you want the curl after unraveling. Because of all the running around, we weren’t able to do a trial so we basically had to take what my hair gave us on the morning of the wedding (it has been my experience that this is normally how my hair should be handled otherwise I just get disappointed).
We agreed to use the tension blowing method to stretch my hair, apply some leave in and some gel and knot the hair the night before the wedding. We had it all planned out but the universe had other plans: I forgot my hairdryer at home so we made a last minute trip to clicks and bought a compact hair dryer for R99 (only to make a trip back to the same home my hairdryer was at AND find a hairdryer in the hotel room); we only got to the venue at Midnight so we (well, my sister) were knotting my hair until 2am; after all this trouble, we realised my birdcage veil would be covering my hair for most of the day in any case! *le BIG sigh*
The Irony of the Bantu Knot
I was once part of a conversation on Facebook where a lady was annoyed by my use of the term Bantu Knot. She argued that the term ‘Bantu’ is an oppressive one used by the white colonialnists before and during apartheid. She gave the example of what was termed Bantu education as being an excuse to keep Black people misinformed and under-educated. Being a Zambian, I felt differently and I still do.
After the wedding, as I was deciding how to title my post, it dawned on me just how deep my choice of hairstyle was (at least to me). The word ‘Bantu‘ (and it’s several variations) means ‘People’ in many African languages and, according to Wikipedia (assisting “researchers” since 2001), it is used as a general label for about 600 ethnic groups in Central and Southern Africa.
The union between myself and my husband is, in fact, a Bantu knot. It is the tying together of two people from two entirely different cultures and life experiences into one beautiful entity: a force to be reckoned with!
Because I need to give credit where it is due…
Dress and Birdcage – Tracey’s Bridal Gowns by Tracey Goodchild (She is, quite frankly, a miracle worker)
- Decor – Ruth Layman (She does what you want and doesn’t push her own agenda!)
- Gift Cakes – Audrey and Allistar (They worked at super short notice and delivered TASTY cakes)
- Cupcake Favours – Myrtle Lawrence (Red velvet. Enough said.)
- Photographer – Parvenu Photography by Roxanna Schmaltz (You know your photographer is good when she doesn’t rock up in heels and a dress. She is also such a sweetheart)
- Make-up – Angelique Kannemeyer (She takes good care of eyebrows)
- Bridesmaids Dresses – Fay Designs, Zambia (Brilliant with their own designs, just take your own fabric)
- Invitations – Nice Beard Studios (because my husband is a troll)
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