Valentines Edition: Lovely Outfits of Traditional African Weddings

Every February leaves us with a unique and beautiful opportunity. February is Black History Month, but it also houses a romance theme, with Valentine’s Day being February 14. This gives us the perfect chance to celebrate Black Love. Now yes, we are aware Black History Month honors Black-American historical figures, but black is beautiful everywhere—don’t blame us for wanting to show some love.

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So how do we intersect with fashion? With love comes union, and how do we celebrate those unions? With weddings! If you didn’t know, African weddings are big, vibrant, and beautiful—from the food to festivities. But our main focus today will be the main attraction of most weddings—the outfits. Let’s take a look at a few different African traditional wedding attire.

Zulu Traditional Wedding

Most cultures have adopted the western traditional white wedding ceremony, but the funny thing is, this just gives African cultures a reason to have two weddings—the white ceremony and then the traditional. A traditional Zulu wedding is called Umabo.

During the Umabo, the bride wears a leather skirt called an Isidwaba, a fashionable hide to cover her chest called an Isicwaya, and a hat to cover her head called an Inkehli. All while she and her bridesmaids wear vibrant beads.

The groom wears pants brightly decorated with beads called an Umbhulaselo. He can choose to not wear pants and instead wear a covering made of calfskin called an Ibheshu. He then completes his outfit with a traditional headband.

Kikuyu Traditional Wedding

The traditional wedding outfits for a Kikuyu wedding, native to central Kenya, are often fused with white weddings. The ceremony is called a Ngurario.

Both the bride and groom wear golden/brown Lesos (or called a Kenga; a patterned cotton cloth/wrap) decorated with beads. Modern brides also wear Ankara, or Kitenge dresses for a stylish and more modern look. 

Yoruba Traditional Wedding

A traditional Yoruba wedding, native to Nigeria, is called an Alaga Ijoko. The first detail chosen is the color theme, which each side of the family must follow in order to complement one another.

The bride wears an elaborately tied headscarf called a Gele, with a Buba (a blouse) and a large wrapper tied around the bride’s waist called an Iro. And the groom wears a traditional four-piece called an Agbada.

Oromo Traditional Wedding

In Oromo culture, native to Kenya and Ethiopia, arranged marriage is the most popular type of civil union. It’s called Kadhaa or Naqataa.

On the wedding day, brides and grooms wear an African traditional wedding attire that is hand-woven from pure cotton and decorated with traditional Oromo prints. 

Both brides and groom wear hand-woven pure cotton outfits decorated with traditional Oromo prints. Brides often wear the Habesha wedding dress, coupled with Habesha jewelry. While grooms usually wear a Buffalaa-Uffannaa.


Looking for a beautiful African outfit to wear to a festivity? Check out some of our designs: 

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