If you’ve never been to an African wedding before, we are very sorry for you.
From big Nigerian blow outs to long and fun Ethiopian celebrations, African weddings are known to be massive events.
Besides the delicious food and festive music, what makes these weddings so unique is also the vibrant attire.
Traditional African wedding dresses are simply STU-NNING!
African wedding dresses are truly captivating, and usually very colorful. They often feature stylish headpieces and charming accessories. Plus, the clothes are made out of materials that are, most of the time, distinctive to the tribe as well as paired with some fascinating traditional meanings.
Here are just 7 unique African wedding dresses.
1. Efik Traditional Wedding Dresses
Efiks are a southern Nigerian minority tribe that certainly knows how to celebrate weddings. The Efik brides wear two majestic outfits on their wedding day.
The first one, called Ofod Ukod Anwang, consists of two pieces: an elegant, traditional crop top matched with a wrapper (knee-length) decorated with some lovely beads. Everything is meant to show the bride’s full waist, displaying her femininity and health. Accessories include beaded strings and head decorations.
The second attire is an Onyonyo. This is a flowing, long dress, often decorated with coral beads, resembling a gown, making the bride look just like a queen.
Jewelry-wise, one must-wear are coral beads heavy strings around the neck.
2. Zulu traditional wedding dress
Based in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, Zulus are a renowned African tribe with an interesting culture.
A Zulu wedding is called Umabo and is a gathering where everyone dances and enjoys delicious dishes. The bride’s attire is composed of an Isidwaba, a colorful leather skirt, and an Isicwaya, a piece also made of leather that covers the chest.
In addition, many brides choose to wear a vibrant hat called Inkehli or a lovely beaded veil called Imvakazi.
What a beautiful South African tradition!
3. Habesha Traditional Wedding Dress
The Habeshas, aka Ethiopians, have some unique wedding traditions.
The most popular wedding tradition in Ethiopia can easily last over 14 hours. It starts with the grooms picking up the bride’s from her parent’s house until the last song and dancing of the day. And what a wedding party they have!
The Habesha wedding outfit, called Habesha Kemis, is usually white, light grey, or light beige, made out of cotton. It features a superb embroidery along the sleeve cuffs, neckline, and the dress’s bottom.
Embroidery patterns vary depending on the dress and some include crosses to symbolize the Christianity of the bride and family. Brides also wear an adorned cape called Kaba on the second day of celebration.
The bridal hairstyle (Albaso) consists of a stylish cornrow design.
4. Yoruba Traditional Wedding Dress
The Yorubas are predominantly located in the west of Nigeria.
Their gorgeous bridal attire includes a Gele (headscarf), a Buba (a blouse), an Ipele (sash), and an Iro (a wrap floor-length skirt tied around the waist). In addition, everything is made out of Aso-Oke, a ceremonial hand-woven dyed cloth.
What a unique African bridal gown the Yorubas have!
5. Rwanda Traditional Wedding Dress
The traditional wedding dress worn by Rwandan brides is called Mushanana and consists of a sash and a wrapped skirt. There’s no rule regarding the dress’s color or fabric.
However, most women opt for transparent, light, flowy materials. Both the bride and her bridesmaids usually wear plenty of jewelry along with the traditional headpieces.
6. Moroccan Traditional Wedding Dress
The Moroccan wedding outfit is equally comfy and luxurious. It’s composed of a kaftan (floor-length) and a jacket or shawl worn on top.
What’s most amazing about these attires are their designs and details. In addition, most feature sliver or golden shiny threads that flawlessly reflect the light.
7. Ugandan traditional wedding dress
On their wedding day, traditional Ugandan brides wear a beautiful Gomesi. This is a dress with puffed, pretty sleeves and a square neck opening. Below the waist, women tie the Gomesi with a sash.
The dress can be made out of cotton, linen, or even silk.
All these traditional African wedding dresses make brides shine on their big day. Not to mention their cultural significance, which adds to their beauty.
What are you favorite African wedding looks?