A lot of brides around the planet wear classic white wedding dresses on their big day. But women are getting bored of hundreds of practically identical wedding gowns. So, some of them choose traditional wedding attire of their country, which is usually more colorful, rich in textures, adorned with authentic handmade details, etc. Let’s compare several different traditional wedding dresses from Sweden, Indonesia, England, Ghana, Native American tribes, and Tunisia.
Swedish wedding dresses are diverse and festive-looking, with a lot of embroidery, lace, beadwork, and other decorations as embellishments.
Under the dress, a woman traditionally wears several layers of woolen skirts – they make the bride warmer and add the volume to her wedding gown.
The attire is complemented with jewelry, typically traditional silver jewels.
One of the main elements of the outfit is the intricate crown. It’s eye-catching and attractive, though rather heavy. Every crown is unique. And a bride feels like she’s a queen on her big day. These crowns also are a connection between different generations, as they were used hundreds of years ago and today, all the same.
Vintage Swedish wedding crown. It’s silver, gold-plated, adorned with gems and rubies. This crown is from the American Swedish Institute
A lot of Swedish brides, especially in rural areas, prefer a folk wedding attire to a modern white wedding gown.
For Indonesian people, a wedding dress means a lot. Indonesians love their traditions and follow many of them thoroughly.
An Indonesian folk wedding gown is called “baju kurung”. The dress itself is typically loose and above-the-knee-length. It is complemented by a number of garments. The traditional colors for bridal attire are red (represents love, affection, and emotions), black (represents infinite good mind), and yellow (represents wealth and nobility). The fabrics used to make it are velvet, brocade, satin, and other rich and expensive fabrics. A lot of details are made by hand, like embroidery beading, sequins, etc. Every piece of the wedding outfit matches the rest of the attire.
Royal wedding outfits from Bali, Indonesia
Indonesian brides wear a specific large jewelry item on their heads. It is called “suntiang” and represents the responsibility the bride receives after her marriage (the suntiang really is heavy!). This piece resembles a crown or headdress rather than a jewelry item. And it looks stunning.
Of course, there are many other bridal jewels worn by a woman on her wedding day. They can be made from solid gold or faux jewelry – both variants are acceptable.
Indonesian brides are honored and respected highly. That’s because this country’s society is matriarchal.
The typical English wedding gown should be white and princess-like. Women in this country wear white bridal dresses since Queen Victoria (mid-19th century). The princess-style of a dress and various sparkly decorations make every bride look like a queen herself. Of course, such a dress is very costly – it has so many embellishments (crystals, lace, gems, embroidery, etc.). A lot of traditional English wedding outfits are large, with trains and cathedral veils, with hoop skirts and other details that make it look grand.
Ghanaian brides wear kente dresses on their wedding day. It is a very colorful outfit with typical African patterns and prints. A kente dress is hand-woven. In the past, it used to be made from silk, but today, cotton and rayon are usually used. Also, white lace or some other sheer fabric is added to the woven kente cloth at the hem and neckline.
The patterns are diverse and a couple can choose the one they like. The national Ghanaian colors are yellow, red, and green, so they are the most widespread wedding dress colors.
Rolls of kente cloth with different patterns. Photo from Wikipedia.org
In Ghana, wedding gowns are often tight-fitting. They can be longer or shorter, but typically, about the knee-length or below-the-knee-length. So, no princess-style dresses for Ghanaian brides.
In the Native American culture, no matter what tribe you take, the favorite and most widespread craft is beading. So, their wedding dresses, of course, are decorated with a lot of beadwork. The traditional Native American wedding gown is a buckskin dress with beaded decoration and accessories. Each beaded pattern is symbolic and has a deep meaning, this knowledge is passed down many generations.
The bridal attire is also often adorned with some kind of tiny clattering items that make noise when a person moves. Their role is to scare away evil spirits and serve as protection accessories.
The Native American buckskin dresses are rather hard to make. And that’s where skilled craftswomen are able to show off all their talent. Such outfits cost accordingly – up to $10,000.
The bridal buckskin dress is typically white, as white as leather can be. The beading adds plenty of color and decoration. Also, fringe is a very popular adornment. The wedding dress is complemented with jewelry and accessories richly decorated with beadwork as well.
Tunisian wedding dresses are among the most costly and fancy-looking in the world. At the same time, they still have a lot of traditional features, their cut and details are authentic, preserved by generations of artisans.
The main garment is called “kmejja”. This dress is worn at the henna party before the wedding. This dress is gold-embroidered and very festive-looking. It is worn over the traditional underwear – a lace chemise and pantaloons. The kmejja is complemented with detachable embroidered sleeves called “jabda”.
Vintage Tunisian wedding dress
On her head, the bride wears a cap called “koufiya” and a headdress called “prenshkeya”. On top of all that, a gold embroidered veil called “khtamra” is put, it covers the bride’s face.
The look is finished by plenty of massive gold jewelry.
Tunisian traditional wedding attire is made in two colors – gold and green. Green symbolizes life and yellow money and financial well-being. The outfits are very ornate, and thus, heavy – appr. 10 kg or 22 pounds. Craftswomen spend 5-6 months to create a Tunisian bridal gown.