Traditional Wedding Dresses

We share a little about Traditional Wedding Dresses and African Inspired Wedding Dresses!

What is an African inspired dress, you may ask? Simply put – African inspired is where glamour meets tradition. In an ever-changing world where some may find the traditional white wedding dress too rigid, these designs allow you to get in touch with your “Africaness.” and look like an African princess while doing so. While inspiration can be found anywhere, nothing speaks as boldly as African inspired attire. With a renewed consciousness, awareness and appreciation for African design, the modern-day traditional inspired dresses subtly boast African character. Africaness is full of life, colour and an unending desire to express its true self in all its splendour. Hence, more brides opting to experience the gravitas of ‘Holy matrimony’, with all the trimmings.

An African inspired wedding dress cannot be contained into just another silhouette. It embodies the colour, the soul and the vibrancy of the bride. These designs push the traditional boundaries and are a step up from the norm. You need not have an entirely African themed wedding to strut a traditionally inspired gown. Adding subtle hints of African pride to your design makes for both an imaginative and creative gown. Below we’ll outline traditional inspired dresses within the realm of shape, design, imagination and absolute style. What does traditional attire embody and how can it be married with a modern-day style to encapsulate real “Africaness”?

For Stunning African inspired wedding dresses and couture, check out Shifting SandsAn international award-winning fashion house from South Africa.

Zulu Inspired Wedding Gowns:

Zulu wedding attire isn’t a dress in the traditional sense. The most notable features are their accessories rather than their attire itself. Bold and vivid pops of colour in the form of traditional headwear and a necklace constructed of beadwork. Simplistic, colourful and beautiful. For a modern-day twist, a detail-oriented bride may opt for a gown that is both bold in colour and design. A plain white skirt with a beaded, colourful bodice exemplifies traditional Zulu in a modern sense. Pairing the intricate detail with a simplistic A-line skirt will allow the bodice to be the main focus. If you’re more daring and have the hourglass figure to rock the trumpet design, a gown that is equal parts Zulu pride and modern-day chic may be the ideal fit for you. And for the brides who wish to steer away from the traditional white dress, bold and bright colours such as red and blue are perfect alternatives. Accessorise your gown with the traditional Zulu headpiece and make your way down the aisle looking like a modern-day princess.

Xhosa Inspired Wedding Gowns:

The Xhosa tribe dawns its own wedding attire. Xhosa wedding dresses are distinct in that they have sequences of horizontal stripes and triangular shapes. Embellishments around the neck, wrists and head are flawlessly intricate and beautiful. Xhosa inspired wedding dresses, with its bold shapes and stripes are simple, yet exquisitely designed. Commonly found in white with black detail, these dresses highlight the true and natural beauty of the bride in its simplistic design. We love that silhouettes for these dresses differ vastly. From ball gowns that make the bride look like a dream come true, to the sheath and A-line designs that are both elegant and runway ready. Pair your dress with the traditional Zulu embellishments to create a flawless and beautiful finish.

Swati Inspired Wedding Gowns:

Swati dresses are filled with a greater variety of colours and a much bigger headpiece, either as a wrap or a Swati hat. The black and white Swati shield emblem is strategically placed on the dress. Accessories are beaded in the colour scheme of the dress, for cohesion. Swati inspired dresses are bold and bright. If you’re looking to make a statement, this is the right wedding dress inspiration for you. For a more neutral look, a plain bodice paired with a bright ball gown like a skirt and a statement-making necklace will be a show-stopper dress. There’s nothing subtle about Swati gowns, they are vividly bright in shades of red and blue. These gowns are most notable by the Swati shield design it features.

Ndebele Inspired Wedding Gowns:

If ever there was a dress that disobeyed all the rules and still got away with it, this would be it. As many of us know, the Ndebele tribe is known for its exceptional beadwork. With Ndebele brides, wedding attire would usually include a very colourful apron, either made from beads or Seshweshwe fabric. Ndebele inspired wedding dresses are unapologetically daring. They push fashion boundaries and embodies tradition gracefully. And what would these dresses be without the stylish headwear and bold accessories that knows no limitations?

African inspired dresses are in a league of its own. Although white is still essential, you have alternative options – soft blush tones, to bold and bright colours. The fabric of these dresses play an integral part, brides are spoilt for choice. While Seshweshwe is a popular fabric native to South Africa, brides also have the option of the beautiful Ankara fabric and Swiss Voile lace to choose from. From feathers and detailed prints to beautifully crafted layers of design, whether you’re looking to subtly implement elements of tradition to your dress or utilising tradition to the full extent, tradition inspired dresses are sure to represent more than just a dress. They represent culture, a nation and African art in the form of a wedding gown.