Africans are naturally very fashionable and take occasions or gatherings such as weddings, baptism ceremonies, feasts or religious services to show off their beautiful clothes.
Moreover, African weddings are unique. They are usually joyful, filled with ambient music, family jokes, good food and lots of fun.
Another thing that makes African weddings special are the traditional wedding clothes. These outfits are made of fabrics unique to the people and have some special traditional meanings.
A traditional wedding is undoubtedly a great joy for African couples although it involves a lot of preparation on the part of both families to make the union of the bride and groom a memorable and successful moment.
Regardless of the fact that civilization brought white marriage to Africa, Africans give a very important place to traditional ceremonies. Traditional wedding rites are still practiced and the traditional clothing that is adorned on the day itself happens to be one of the most stimulating parts of the union between the couples.
Focusing on some of the traditional African wedding outfits, we have selected 9 of these traditional African wedding costumes. As you can see from the photos below, these beautiful pieces vary from one people to another on the African continent and are all beautiful and elegant. Here is how these large ethnic groups dress for this beautiful and memorable occasion.
KIKUYU AFRICAN CLOTHING
The traditional marriage of this ethnic group in Kenya is known as "Ngurario", which follows the bride payment ceremony called "ruracio". In the past, the bride's wedding dress was made of goatskin and decorated with cowrie shells. Nowadays, the goatskin has been replaced by brown or brown cloth but the cowrie shells have been preserved.
The bride also wears "nyori," a headband with huge hoop-shaped earrings that attach to the top of her ears, and "mido," earrings in the holes of her earlobes. The groom wears a sheepskin headdress, a brown/brown fabric on his chest. He accessorizes it with a pearl necklace, a shell necklace, a fly whip and a sheathed blade. Some brides prefer to wear "Ankara" or "Kitenge" outfits for a more elegant look.
OROMO AFRICAN CLOTHING
This Ethiopian ethnic group often engages in arranged marriages called "Kadhaa" or "Naqataa. During the wedding, the bride and groom wear traditional hand-woven clothing made of pure cotton and decorated with Oromo motifs.
Women usually wear the "Habesha" wedding dress, which is accompanied by "Habesha" jewelry. While men wear the "Buffalaa-Uffannaa Gaa'elaa", which is their popular wedding dress.
ATOGHU AFRICAN CLOTHING
This clothing is popular in the Nort and South West Cameroonian regions.
YORUBA AFRICAN CLOTHING
They are mainly found in Nigeria. During the "Alaga Ijoko", the traditional Yoruba wedding, the bride wears a "gele", which is a scarf; a "buba", which is a blouse; and an "iro", which is a wraparound skirt tied around the waist. She can also wear a "pele", which is a shawl. She adds accessories such as earrings and a gold necklace, beads and bracelets. The groom, meanwhile, wears an "agbada", a traditional four-piece costume.
As well as a "fila", a traditional Yoruba hat. He can also wear ornaments. The color of the woman's dress should complement the color theme of the wedding and also reflect the man's dress.
EDO AFRICAN CLOTHING
The Edo people represent a lot of power and royalty. The Edo people originate from the south-central part of Nigeria, whose capital is the ancient city of Benin.
A typical Edo wedding is one that is characterized by coral beads on the fabrics in which the brides are draped from head to toe.
The ensemble is accompanied by a beaded hairstyle; a bracelet around the wrist called "Ivie-ebo"; earrings called "Emi-ehorivie"; pearls at the waist; and a cape called "Ewu-ivie", entirely made of pearls. In an outfit worthy of a queen, the bride must wear her "Okuku", a crown beaded with complex pearls. For the crown to fit on her head, her hair is traditionally placed in a high bun called "Eto-Okuku".
For the groom, he simply compliments his bride by wearing a white native outfit, beaded headdress and coral beads on her neck. He can also associate his dress with a cane which then underlines his status.
ASHANTI AFRICAN CLOTHING
Located in central Ghana, this ethnic group begins their traditional marriage with a kokooko ceremony in which the man and his family go to the woman's family to ask for their daughter's hand in marriage. This is the first step in the marriage process and is a symbol of respect for the unification of the two families.
The wedding ceremony takes place right after an agreement is reached. The bride and groom wear colorful clothes made of rich kente fabrics. They add other accessories, including colorful beads, head decorations and other valuable jewelry.
EFIK AFRICAN CLOTHING
The Efiks are a minority ethnic group in southern Nigeria. Their traditional wedding dress is unique compared to other cultures. The bride first wears the "Ofong Ukod Anwang". A dress that includes a long skirt that goes up to the knees and a blouse that usually covers only the bust. As well as decorated pearls.
The second garment is the "Onyonyo", a large long flowing dress (as can be seen on the picture above). She also wears hairpins that make like a kind of crown on her head and a decorated stick.
The groom wears a white shirt with a colored and beaded jacket. He also wears a colored cape (kind of skirt) known as "Usobo" with beaded shoes and a hat. He also has to put a long piece of cloth around his neck called "Okpomkpomon". The man also carries a decorated stick.
IGBO AFRICAN CLOTHING
The Igbo population is located in southeastern Nigeria. The bride wears two wraparound fabrics called "George Wrappers", a blouse and a headgear, all made locally. The groom wears a traditional Igbo kaftan and also a headgear. They also adorn their respective outfits with jewelry.
ZULU AFRICAN CLOTHING
They are found in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and their traditional marriage is known as "Umabo". This usually occurs after the white wedding, and the lobola (bride price) then the "izibizo" (bringing gifts for the bride's mother and close family) and the "umbondo" (the bride brings provisions for the groom's family) may follow.
During the Umabo, the bride wears the isidwaba, a leather skirt usually made of cowhide; the isicwaya, a skin to cover her chest; and the inkehli, a hat to cover her head. She also puts on ornaments with colored beads.
The groom wears the "ibheshu", a calfskin blanket and traditional headband for his head. If he wishes to wear pants, he must wear an "umbhulaselo", a trouser decorated with beads.