Looking for unique wedding dresses for your African wedding? Well then get ready to skip past David's Bridal, and even as special as the folks at Kleinfeld make you feel, you're probably going to have bypass them as well. You most likely won't find any African wedding dresses in the portfolios of Vera Wang, Amsale Aberra (who actually is Ethiopian...yay!), Ana Hernandez, Melissa Sweet, or Alfred Angelo. No, not even these wonderfully talented wedding dress designers could fashion any wedding dresses like the types used by African brides.
African wedding dresses come in various flavors. That's because in most African weddings there are multiple ceremonies and traditional wedding steps and for each one a different wedding attire is worn. These dresses are just about as unique as the bride herself. Some have symbolism and others don't. All of them are custom-made. This is not necessarily a privilege of the affluent only, but in Africa a lot of our clothing is custom-made... it's just the way we do it.
Vibrant colored Ankara fabric is used to make a lot of wedding outfits
With the infusion of western culture some things have changed in the African wedding scene. Very rarely will you find truly authentic "old-school" African wedding dresses but the dresses worn nowadays by African brides still have a flair that is uniquely African.
Some of the more commonly-used fabrics for African wedding dresses include ankara and voile lace. Matching outfits with the same fabric are typically worn by both the bride and groom so there's often no mistaking who "the happy couple" are. What does make them unique wedding dresses for each bride is the particular style that she chooses to sew with the selected fabric. Because each dress is made for each bride, the sky is the limit and limited only to the bride and/or seamstresses imagination.
And yes... let's not forget the groom! Even though he doesn't wear an African wedding dress, he does have his own special outfit.
A dashing groom in wedding regalia!
Photo 1 (Ankara fabric) courtesy of Lola Akinmade