South Africa is a country with diverse races, cultures and religions. So you’ll often find that the “white wedding” isn’t the only way people celebrate their marriages. Some couples want to stick to their roots and opt for a traditional wedding. Others have both a traditional and a “white wedding”. Some people opt to modernise their traditional attire and make it look more contemporary. It’s interesting to see the different variations.
1. The Zulu bride and groom
Traditionally, the Zulu bride must wear “isidwaba” (pleated skirt, usually in black). Back in the day it was made out of strong leather material. These days, people use cheaper fabric, hence colours can now vary. Another signature item of the Zulu bride is “ischolo”, the wide hat which is flat at the top. The rest can be varied according to the bride’s preference; beading and other ornaments can be added. The groom wears “ibheshu” which is animal skins.
A modernised take on the typical Zulu traditional attire would be the outfit below:
The groom remains in his traditional non-modern gear, but the bride has added a twist to the skirt creating a pleated mermaid dress with an animal print boob-tube. She maintains the overall originality of look and preserves the original aesthetic of a Zulu bride.
2. The Xhosa bride and groom
A personal favourite of mine is the Xhosa wedding attire. It’s exquisite. I love the colours and the associated face-painting. The attire is made out of a special fabric called “umbhaco”fabric. The various items of clothing for the bride include a skirt, an under-skirt (sometimes a full dress is worn), a boob covering, shoulder covering, a head-scarf and a bag. This is all adorned with unique beads.
The patterns (geometric design on the clothes) is specific to the Xhosa tribe, traditional wear. A modern twist to this can be seen below. The designer kept the integrity of traditional Xhosa attire, while transforming it to a very elegant design.
3. The Indian bride and groom
Indian brides wear a sari and the groom wears a sherwani suit. The sari is typically a deep red/maroon colour. This is a highly blinged out outfit with lots of gold, crystals and intricate decorations. Saris are one of the most beautifully designed items of clothing.
The couple below has opted for a modern feel. The print is still Indian (paisley is a favoured print in Indian culture,) but the bride is wearing something that is more of a ball gown (a fishtail dress).