”We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”
– Shall We Dance
Of all the weird and wonderful moments we have experienced here on the Zambezi, perhaps one of the most unexpected was the day two of our guests asked to be married in our neighbouring village. The traditional way. The Zambian way.
It was a first for us; the beginning of a new tradition at Royal Chundu. A new way to reveal the spirit of Zambia to our travellers, and a chance to share, to learn, to be amazed, all in the name of love.
That they chose to share this special life event with us was incredible, but we were used to guests opting for the white sand beaches that peak out of the river as the setting for the day… A different kind of “traditional wedding” to the one our guests hoped for, with chairs and tables dressed, like the bride, in beautiful white, bouquets of flowers lining a Persian rug aisle to the altar…
Nope, this couple wanted to make their eternal commitment to one another the way the men and women of the Zambezi do.
The celebration included a traditional sacrifice and dinner in the village, with the community and village elders as guests, a ceremonious dance by Dudu, the highly respected Makishi dancer, and storytelling by our waiter, sommelier and all-round man of mojo, Kombo. It continued, like all the best weddings, long into the early hours of the morning, as the night’s infinite stars winked their blessings from above…
While the usual wedding of tiered cakes and first dances will always stir the shy romantics in us, there is something so heartening, so inspiring about sharing the moment with a community so unlike your own, yet so similar, in that mutual regard for the sanctity of marriage, commitment and family.
Above: We managed to sneak a photo of the groom during the ceremony, but what you can’t see, hear or feel is the power of the many feet dancing on the earth and the vibrations of their songs streaming through the night.
This really is the river of romance, and it’s an art that we share with guests, whether for their wedding, honeymoon or anniversary. Recently, Relais & Châteaux featured our lodge in their list of “10 Best Places For A Marriage Proposal”. Discover more in the article online.
Above: Mr & Mrs Mitchell, two recent guests joined us for their 50th Wedding Anniversary. This currently being fishing season and synchronicity being the name of the game when it comes to love, the couple managed to both catch (and release) their own tiger fish while on a fishing cruise at the lodge.
Take a look at our wedding and honeymoon packages for more information about planning your own special occasion at Royal Chundu.
Contact us if you would like to experience the more traditional type of ceremony, an evening to be joined with your loved one, in the Zambian way.