This list was compiled with the help of Bridal Musings.
The Kenyan Bride
A bride in Kenya may wear a gown with earthy tones decorated in beading, a dress fused with ankara print fabric; or a blend of traditional and modern white wedding dress elements.
However, a key cultural accessory is a Maasai necklace. It’s commonly worn to celebrate a special relationship or life event, accompanied by other matching beaded jewelry like cuff bracelets. The stunning necklace from this shoot was made by the people of the Maasai Village; which honors the artisan craft of the tribe, and provides a rainbow of beaded color!
For Zulu brides, traditional wedding wear is all about the “isidwaba,” a shorter skirt often decorated in beading. Once made of animal hide, modern brides wear this pleated skirt made of colorful fabrics, and often decorated in animal prints.
A long, layered beaded necklace is a staple piece for this look; taking the term “statement necklace” to a place that we’ve only dreamt of. Created by a talented South African artisan, the necklace and accessories display an array of colorful beading. For Zulu brides, the colors carry significant literal or symbolic meaning for their family lineage and their social status.
The Zambian Bride’s Wedding Dress
This entire look was handmade, created by Zambian artists, with much of the inspiration taken from Queen Ramonda from Black Panther. As explained by Mwai, “Africa’s fashion is very unique and diverse so it is easily adaptable to different cultures or occasions. We get inspiration from so many places and make it our own using the different fabrics that are available in a particular country.” This look reminds us that Africa is all things at once; strong, graceful, fierce, diverse, and unified.
The Ethiopian Bride
The Ethiopian bride commonly wears a “habesha kemis,” or ankle-length gown made of handwoven cotton fabric; often with golden sections woven into the fabric, and plenty of color. Regardless of whether the bride wears a traditional wedding dress or a modern white wedding gown; the “kaba” jacket is the main element to the marriage ceremony. For both the bride and groom this jacket is essential. It’s adorned in gold or silver embroidery and can be a cropped length or flow onto the floor in a similar style to a wedding dress train.
The Ghanian Bride
The secret to Ghanaian bridal fashion: gold. Gowns are typically made from traditional kente cloth, a handwoven fabric made with strips of silk and cotton that create bold patterns. Brides are usually spotted wearing yellow and gold tones, and often sporting a headdress made of fabric or beading.