Intricate and Dazzling

Cultural Wedding Dresses

November 28, 2018
Words by AbayaButh
Photos courtesy of

Weddings are a joyous and memorable day for both the happy couple and the guests lucky enough to attend. Filled with the promise of amazing food and danceable music, guests are filed into the ceremony venue just before welcoming – in awe – the main attraction…the wedding dress! 

Today, all over the world, women everywhere are preparing for their magical day. In fact, as you’re reading this, there is probably a bride somewhere in the world entering a room filled with her family and friends in a gorgeous wedding gown.

In this post, modest fashion specialists, AbayaButh, explore the different types of wedding garments worn across the globe. From exciting, vibrant colors to symbolic designs, the large variety of cultural wedding dresses provide an insight into why weddings epitomise the most amazing day of most people’s lives.

Bold and Beautiful

Draped in crimson reds and vibrant oranges, women in Nigeria sport traditional Nigerian attire known as aso oke when walking down the aisle. This hand-woven fabric comes in a variety of bright colors and patterns that loudly convey just how happy and unique this day is to each bride. 

The women swap chiffon veils for lavish Gele headdresses filled with shimmering jewels and woven-in pattern detailing to highlight the bride’s statement earrings – all coming together with a structured, ankle-length dress. Accessorising at weddings is a must, but at Nigerian weddings it becomes almost as important as the dress. The bride will complete her look with a bold, chunky necklace aimed to perfectly frame her striking features, while a few matching bracelets are perfectly situated just under the cut of the aso oke for all to admire.

Symbolic and Meaningful

In East Asia, Japanese bridalwear remains in keeping with traditional attitudes attached to age-old symbols and customs. In Japan, the bride will often wear two different outfits in contrasting colours in order to symbolise two different aspects of her future. 

Dressed in a pure white kimono during the ceremony called a Shiromuku, the gown represents the bride’s maidenhood and purity going forward into her new marriage. Coupled with the simple yet extravagant traditional headpiece called the Tsunokakushi, the bride becomes a figure that cannot be missed as she elegantly glides through her guests towards her future husband. After the ceremony, she will often change into a bolder, red alternative to symbolise good luck and great fortune in her new union – supported by simple makeup that accentuates the bride’s rosy cheeks.

Modest and Elegant

Arabic brides enter the room poised and elegant in traditional wedding abayas that complement their chic and simple hijabs. Floor-length dresses, delicately embellished with beading and sparkle, are key to creating a standout look that guests will not forget. 

The detail is in the sleeve when it comes to Arabic weddings. The sleeves are carefully made to skim past the bride’s shoulders and arms and end at the point of the arm where most people look – her hand. As a result, the cuffs of the sleeves are adorned with applique and embellishment that highlight the bride’s elegant hand and the beautiful promise of marriage globally recognised on her fourth finger.

Intricate and Dazzling

Our final stop in our exploration of different global wedding attire is the vibrant and colourful nation of India. Indian brides dazzle their guests with lavish, jewelled saris that flatter their luxurious body jewelery and hennaed hands. The bride’s sari is typically deep red in color, which symbolises the rising sun in the woman’s new life. Head to toe in sparkle and silk, the bride’s wedding outfit is one that red carpet actresses would be jealous of.

As well as bold saris, jeweled headpieces frame the bride’s immaculately made-up face, allowing her jet-black eye makeup to stun as the surrounding yellow-gold jewelery pronounces her features – making sure the Indian bride is a woman that all her guests are in awe of during her special day.

It’s our different cultures and traditions – both national and personal – that make our weddings one of the most memorable and important days in our lives. From extravagant Nigerian headpieces to simple and symbolic Japanese kimonos, irrespective of geographical locations, there is something glorious in the knowledge that weddings all over the world are happening in traditional and vibrant ways, every day.

Photos courtesy of: AbayaButh (1st & 2nd) and Unsplash (3rd).

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