Here are ten of some of the most beautiful traditional African wedding attires. It is good to remember and appreciate them as most people are now choosing to wear European wedding attire.
As with most weddings, the attention centers around the bride. In a traditional Rwandan wedding, the bride wears Kinyarwanda, or the more commonly known mushanan. The mushanan is the traditional dress of Rwanda. It is made using silk and comes with a long wrap skirt and a sash that covers the shoulder.
The bride accesorizes her outfit with hair jewellery, earrings, bracelets and armlets. The groom wears a tailored knee length shirt and pants. The attire can be in any color. Rwandan weddings are often very colorful and festive affairs.
Eqyptian brides wear beautifull designed gowns accentuated with gold embroidery and made with linen. The bust area of the dress usaully has intricate gold detailing. In some parts, the bride wears a matching headdress to cover her face. The wedding tradition of Egyptians forbids that visitors see the bride’s face. She should only be unveiled in front of her husband and family. Gold sequins and beads also line the shawl.
Some couples were golden crowns. The bride’s female friends and family draws henna designs on her hands and feet. Gold necklaces, earrings and, bracelets complete the wedding attire. Both the bride and groom were a qown.
The Tingrinya people call Ethiopia home. In a traditional Ethiopian wedding, the bride and groom wear a black velevet cape called a Ghaba. They wear crowns with gold embroidery to symbolize that they are the king and queen of their household. Under her cape, the bride wears a beautifully designed gown and the male under his a tailored suit
Somali people are form countries found in the Horn of Africa. During a Somali wedding there is much celebration and of course feasting. The wedding attires of both the bride and the groom consists of traditional Somali garb. The bride wears the dirac, long, light voile dress made of cotton or polyester fabric with a googaro, silk underskirt, worn underneath and a covering for the head called garbasaar.
Gold neclaces, bracelets, anklets and other jewellery complete the bride’s attire. The groom wears traditional Somali attire. This consists of two sheets beautifully embriodered or made with lace. One of the sheets is draped over the shoulder and the other tied around the waist.
The Maasai ethnic group roams the regions of Kenya and Tanzania. The wedding attire of the bride is a red ankle length sheet (shúkà) wrapped around the body with a white strip or fringe at the bottom. Other colors of cloth with multiple patterns may be worn. The Maasai people place much emphasis on the jewellery worn by the bride.
The bride’s mother creates a special wedding necklace for her daughter,. The necklace consists of a leather disc, 12” across and covered in colored beads. There are also beaded strands with knots tied into them during the presentation of dowry items. At the end of each strand there is a cowrie shell that represents peace. The circle represents the village and the beaded strands represent the livestock given to the bride. The groom wears a shúkà and beaded jewellery.
The Efik people are from Nigeria. The Efik wedding attires are vibrant and stunning in their array of colors and intricate designs. Efik brides have two tradition wedding dresses from which to choose: the Ofong Ukod Anwang and the Onyonyo, a big long flowing gown. The Ofong Ukod Anwang consists of a knee length skirt, a blouse that covers only the bust and a beaded body chain.
The Onyonyo is a long, flowing gown. Efik brides accessorize with beautifully crafted hair combs and coral bead necklaces and ornaments called Ekpa ku kwa around her arms and legs. Lastly, she carries with her a very decorated staff. The groom wears a white or gold shirt and a usobo, a colorful wrapper. His jacket, shoes and hat are beautifully embroidered and decorated in beads. The last part of his outfit is the Okpomkpomon, a long piece of cloth that goes around the neck.
The Zulu wedding ceremony is a complicated but beautiful one. The makoti, bride, in the wedding changes her attire three times to show her in-laws that she is beautiful in different dresses and colors. For the tradition Zulu wedding attires, a group of females decorates the bride with red and white ocher designs on her limb and tie oxtail fringes to her elbows and knees, goat’s hair fringe around her neck and bags of pebbles around her ankles.
She wears a veil made from beads and twisted fig leaves. Her dress consists of an isidwaba, a leather skirt, and an isicwaya, animal skin worn over her chest. She also wears the inkheli, a hat worn to show that she is no longer on the market. They string twisted calfskin in a coil over the makoti’s shoulder and under her arms. She carries an assagai, miniature knife pointed up to symbolizes that she is a virgin and pointed down after the marriage is consummated. The male wears clothes made from animal skin.
Beautifully designed wedding attires and vibrant colors make Igbo weddings, called Igbankwu, splendid affairs. In an Igbo wedding, the bride chooses the color code and fabric. Her wedding attire may be a skirt and blouse set or a full dress. The brid-to-be consults with a designer to determine the design and fabric of the clothing pieces.
The bride may wear a head tie or cap made from coral beads. She accessorizes with orange coral beads around the neck and wrists, ivory wristbands and any other jewelry of her choice. The men wear formal attire which consists of a shirt that reaches to the knee and a loose pair of trousers. A hat of course completes the outfit. The groom in come cases wear an Agbada over this outfit and jewelries made from coral beads as accessories.
The Ashanti tribe is from Ghana. For the wedding attires, brides and groom wear the Kente cloth, a woven fabric produced by the Ashanti people. Traditionally, the bride wears a wrap skirt, iro, a shawl, iborum, and a loose blouse called a bubba. All these items of clothing are usually made from the same fabric. The final piece to complete the wedding attire is a headwrap or gele.
The groom’s wedding attire consists of a pair of trousers, sokoto, a bubba and a long piece, Agbada, that goes over the bubba and the sokota. The last part of the outfit is the fila, a box-like hat.
The wedding attire for the Yoruba bride and groom consist of layers. The first layer is a long wide-sleeved piece. The designers of this piece usually decorate it with beads and embroidery. The male version is called the Agbada. The female version, Iro should be long enough to reach the floor. The Iro is tailored to draw flatter and draw attention to the bride. The fabrics and the color of the wedding attires depends on the bride’s preference and/or the wealth of her family.
The second layer is the bubba worn by both the bride and the groom. It has long sleeves and reach only to the knees of the bride and the groom. The trousers the groom wears is called the Sokoto. The groom wears a special head cover and the bride wraps her head for the occasion and wears a veil. The bride and groom also wear lot of jewellery. Yoruba weddings are beautiful affairs as the colors chosen are always vivid and and the designs very stylish.