According to what I have observed from the weddings in Botswana, one thing is certain, a wedding cannot take place without first partaking in what is known as the patlo. The patlo is the ceremony where the bridal price ‘lobola’ is handed over or paid out to the bride’s family. Prior to the patlo, negotiations are carried out back and forth usually by the spouses aunts and uncles to determine the bridal price and how it shall be paid out at the patlo. The patlo is known as the traditional wedding, thus after the ceremony, the couple are known and can be referred to as married.
The bridal is paid out in the form of cattle or cash equivalent to the price of purchasing the requested number of cattle.
if the couple wishes, then and only then can they proceed to have what they call a ‘white or church wedding’ where the bride wears a white dress, and walks down the isle as is the custom of most weddings around the world. Food and drink are prepared for the reception.
People may marry according to customary property provisions or civil community property arrangements