Three things often stand out in African weddings: the food, the clothes, and the music or dance. Well, the Zulu, one of the largest tribes in South Africa, is no different. Songs, dancing, and an array of foods characterize Zulu traditional weddings. However, the Zulu traditional wedding attire worn by the bride and groom are the highlight of the day. Just like in modern ceremonies, Zulu couples try to look their best in colorful and vibrant traditional outfits.
The bride and the groom are not the only ones who get to rock the beautiful tribal outfit. There is a traditional Zulu wedding attire for everyone including the parents and bridal team.
Zulu traditional wedding attire for bride
The Zulu bride wears a unique attire and can change outfits more than three times on her wedding day. Zulu traditional wedding attire for brides includes a leather skirt known as the isidwaba, the isicwaya that is skin to cover her breasts and a hat for her head referred to as the inkehli. The bride accessorizes this look with colorful beaded necklaces and bracelets which her bridesmaids also wear. Red and white ocher designs decorate the bride’s legs and arms. The lady of the day also wears a veil made of beads and twisted fig leaves and bags of pebbles tied to her ankle because of their rhythmic effect when dancing. Also, the bride ties oxtail fringes around her elbows and knees. The bride wears a goat’s hair fringe around her neck and carries an Assegai which is a small knife that symbolizes her virginity.
Zulu traditional wedding attire for the groom
The groom wears a covering made from calfskin in place of pants that is called ibheshu and pairs it with a traditional headband which is made from cow skin to complete the look. If the groom prefers pants, he can choose to wear umbhulaselo which are pants decorated with beads. The groom accessorizes using a small shield made from cow skin.
Zulu traditional wedding attire for the groomsmen
Zulu wedding traditional attire for the men accompanying the groom is similar to that of the groom except they are less flamboyant.
Zulu traditional wedding attire for bridal team
The bridesmaids wear outfits with the same design but not necessarily of the same color. Zulu wedding traditional attire for bridesmaids includes a skirt made of leather, a skin to cover the breasts and the traditional headpiece. The bridesmaids also adorn themselves with beads.
Modern Zulu traditional attire for wedding
The modern Zulu bride does not necessarily wear attire made out of skin but uses different fabrics to make the Isidwaba and Isicwaya. Some brides make Zulu inspired dress instead of a skirt and a top, and pair it with the traditional headband. The bride makes two matching beaded bracelets that are worn by both the bride and groom during the ceremony. Beaded jewelry is a sign of love according to Zulu traditions. So, far brides have chosen to experiment with colors more so for the cape, the skirt, and the hat. As such, you are most likely to find Zulu brides adorned in attires made from colors such as yellow, purple, and red. For some reason, the bright colors make the Zulu traditional wedding attire exciting. Modern grooms choose to wear shirts with animal prints. In some cases, the men also wear capes made from animal skin.
Modern-day bridesmaid’s outfits for Zulu weddings include a skirt made out of fabric, a top often in neutral colors (white and black) and a headband.
The bridesmaids also wear traditional necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
Below are some of the modern Zulu traditional wedding attire pictures
The bride looks stunning in a red skirt and top plus an animal print cape. She completes her look with the signature red Zulu hat. The groom wears black pants with patches of animal print, a matching half coat, and an animal print shirt.
The bride and groom chose modern outfits that have the animal print look. The groom wore a brown animal print shirt to match his khaki pants while the lady wore a red gown with a top embellished with animal prints.
The bride retains the signature Zulu traditional wedding hat but chooses to go with a modern dress. She accessorizes it with beaded jewelry.
Some brides opt to wear white and add the Zulu traditional beads and hat. In recent times, a majority of brides prefer wearing the white wedding dress for the church ceremony and later changing into traditional attire.
With the Zulu traditional wedding attire designs above, you are ready for your big day. Whatever you decide to wear on this significant day, make sure it makes you look great and happy. After all, it is your big day.
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