Across the western world getting married means donning an elegant white dress and a flowing white veil. But in other cultures, traditional wedding outfits couldn’t be more different. Here, for instance, we take a look at some of the most stunning bridal outfits from every corner of the globe.
This Indian bride wears a stunning embroidered lengha, a type of long pleated skirt that is traditional in Northern India. Meanwhile, a short, midriff-baring choli top and a dupatta scarf complete the outfit. Incidentally, the groom wears a knee-length achkan jacket, a type of formal clothing that has been worn by nobility for centuries.
In Ghana, weddings are a riot of color. Indeed, brides wear dresses made out of kente cloth, a multicolored, patterned fabric traditionally woven in the Ashanti region. Interestingly, each pattern is unique, with its own distinct meaning.
In the past, men and women in Japan wore kimonos throughout their lives. Today, though, they are mostly worn on special occasions – such as this bridal shiromuku kimono. Meanwhile, the headdress is known as a tsunokakushi and is said to disguise the bride’s “horns” – negative qualities such as ego, jealously and selfishness.
These bridal outfits are worn by a Sámi couple, who come from the far north of Finland. Here, the bride wears a traditional gákti dress and a scarf adorned with multiple brooches. Brooches are, it should be said, significant pieces of jewelry in Sámi culture. Indeed, they symbolize the sun and are handed down through the generations.
Today, many Romanian brides follow Western tradition and get married in a white dress. But in some parts of the country the traditional folk costumes can still be seen – such as the outfits worn by this bride and groom.
In Pakistan, brides traditionally wear bright shades of red, purple and pink. Here, a long kurti tunic is paired with a long skirt. Plus, the gold chain linking the bride’s nose and ear is a special feature of bridal jewelry.
This couple in Jakarta are wearing traditional Indonesian wedding dress. In fact, their outfits are made from embellished, batik fabrics and are specific to their ethnic group. The heavy gold headdresses are also typical in Indonesian culture and come as a matching set.
Think Western brides take a long time to decide on their outfit? Perhaps a Malaysian wedding is for you. After all, in Malaysia, the bride doesn’t pick out her outfit until the morning of the wedding. That said, this purple ensemble must have required a little more forward planning, as the groom appears in matching formal wear.
This Norwegian bride wears a bunad – a traditional dress that dates back to the 19th century. Historically, she would have been accompanied by a bridal party dressed in similar clothes to confuse and distract any evil spirits hoping to bring harm to the marriage.
This bride from Ribnovo in southern Bulgaria is wearing traditional folk dress. What’s more, her face is painted white and decorated with sequins, a practice known as gelena. Interestingly, most weddings in this region take place in the winter, and the whole village joins in with the celebrations.
Every July 21, the village of Galičnik in Macedonia holds a mass wedding ceremony for multiple couples. This bride was once one of them, and she is dressed in the village’s traditional wedding dress – a long sleeved gown with gold fringing and a red and black skirt.
Thai brides traditionally wear two-piece outfits consisting of a top and a long skirt. Plus, while the styles and fabrics used vary between regions, a bride’s outfit is usually designed to match or complement the groom’s costume.
8. Sri Lanka
Although some brides in Sri Lanka choose a western-style dress, this woman is showing off the traditional Kandyan costume, which carries many influences from Indian Hindu weddings. She also wears a Kandyan sari made from embellished fabric and a headpiece known as a Nalalpata.
In China, many brides choose to get married in red – a symbol of love and prosperity. This color scheme is often extended to the rest of the wedding too, with everything from candles to flowers coming in the same scarlet hue.
This Mongolian bride is wearing a traditional robe known as a deel. As it is for a special occasion, the deel is made from silk. However, more common robes, for everyday wear, are crafted from cheaper materials, like cotton and wool.
In Hungary, the bride’s outfit is often an heirloom handed down through the generations. Certainly, this bride wears a traditional embroidered dress in white, blue and red, with several underskirts to give it a fuller appearance. Moreover, her headdress has wheat woven into it to symbolize fertility.
This is the Aesan Gede, a traditional wedding costume of the Palembang region in South Sumatra. Indeed, the rich fabrics – shot with silver and gold threads and elaborate jewelry – recall the wealth of the grand Srivijaya Empire in days gone by.
This bride is getting married in the mountains of the Andes, where wedding days are filled with bright colors. For that reason, she wears a cloak, hat and skirt woven specially for the occasion. Her groom will also receive a woven poncho.
2. South Korea
In South Korea, brides wear a variant of Hanbok, or traditional dress. The origins of these robes can be traced back to the 3rd century BC, and their loose style was designed to allow freedom of movement. Today, Hanbok is still worn for ceremonial occasions such as weddings.
This bride in Uzbekistan wears intricate robes that have been lovingly embroidered by hand with traditional patterns. What’s more, the bride will have a helper on hand to make sure that she is impeccably dressed throughout the ceremony.