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What To Wear To An African Wedding

What To Wear To An African Wedding: 5 Outfit Tips

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Amidst the lively rhythms of traditional African music, you are cordially invited to partake in a jubilant celebration of love—a spectacular African wedding.

As someone fortunate enough to attend a cultural ceremony across the continent once, I’ve come to appreciate the unique blend of tradition and modernity that characterizes these events. 

So, I’ll share practical tips and insights on what to wear to an African wedding, helping you make a lasting impression while respecting local customs.

5 Vibrant Outfit Ideas For An African Wedding

Ankara Dress

1. The Classic Ankara Ensembles

Embrace traditional African fabrics’ rich colors and intricate patterns by opting for an Ankara ensemble. 

Choose a well-tailored Ankara dress or a two-piece outfit featuring a vibrant top and a matching skirt. 

Complete the look with statement accessories like bold earrings or a chunky beaded necklace for an eye-catching and culturally inspired outfit.

2. Stylish Kente Outfits

Celebrate the cultural significance of Ghanaian heritage by donning a stunning Kente outfit [1]. 

This vibrant and intricately woven fabric is often used to create elegant dresses, skirts, or tailored suits for men. 

“Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but how people dress on their days off is the most intriguing.”

Alexander Wang, American Fashion Designer

Opt for a Kente ensemble that showcases a mix of bold colors and geometric patterns. Pair it with neutral accessories to allow the outfit to take center stage.

Check out these stunning outfits to wear for a wedding in Italy here.

3. Elegant Dashiki Attire

For a touch of elegance and sophistication, consider wearing a Dashiki outfit. This loose-fitting, brightly colored tunic can be paired with tailored trousers or a flowing skirt. 

Opt for a Dashiki made from luxurious fabrics like silk or cotton for added comfort. Enhance your ensemble with minimalistic jewelry and stylish sandals or loafers.

Check out these elegant outfits for a Vietnamese wedding here.

4. Glamorous Aso Ebi Styles Dresses

If you’re lucky enough to receive an Aso Ebi invitation (a fabric the couple chooses for guests to wear), follow the designated color and fabric choice. 

Customize it to your style by choosing a tailored dress, suit, or blouse and skirt combo. But what do you wear to a wedding brunch?

5. Shweshwe Dresses & Suits

The Sotho people of South Africa [2] and Lesotho traditionally wore garments made from a printed and dyed cotton fabric known as Seshoeshoe or Shweshwe. 

Women can wear a Seshoeshoe printed dress, while men can pair a Seshoeshoe shirt with dark trousers.

What Colors Are Appropriate For An African Wedding?

Bright and intense colors like deep purples and gold are often seen as joyful, prosperous, and celebratory. 

These colors are significant because purple is associated with African royalty, and gold adds a bold touch. 

Traditional African fabrics like Ankara and Kente display various colors, allowing people to express their unique style while honoring their culture. 

Check out these format outfit ideas for a Jewish wedding here.

5 Surefire Tips To Select A Dress For An African Wedding As A Guest

Woman Wearing Ankara Dress

1. Consider Traditional Attire

Many African weddings involve traditional attire, which can vary widely from country to country and even between different ethnic groups within the same country. 

If it’s appropriate and you’re comfortable doing so, consider wearing traditional African clothing. 

You might choose an Ankara print dress, a kente cloth outfit, or a robe made from beautiful African lace.

2. Accessorize Appropriately

Accessories are a great way to complete your look. This could include jewelry, head ties, Geles, Doeks, or a matching clutch. 

When selecting accessories, remember to balance them with your outfit. If your dress is very vibrant and detailed, go for simpler accessories, and vice versa.

3. Choose To Wear Long Skirts Or Dresses

Long skirts and dresses bring an elegant and graceful touch to your look while respecting these weddings’ cultural norms and traditions. 

“Your outfit for an African wedding is not just fabric; it’s a portal to another world, an invitation to immerse yourself in a tapestry of colors, customs, and celebration.”

Howkapow Gift Site

They also provide comfort and freedom of movement, allowing you to enjoy the festivities, dance, and celebrate throughout the event.

4. Avoid Wearing Black

In many African cultures, black is traditionally associated with mourning and funerals rather than joyful celebrations. 

African weddings are festive and filled with happiness, so it’s best to opt for vibrant colors that reflect the lively atmosphere.

5. Dress Respectfully

Whatever you wear, keep in mind that this is a formal event, and act accordingly. 

Avoid outfits that are overly revealing or inappropriate for a family-friendly event. Always aim for elegance and respect towards the culture and the occasion.

Also Read: What Will You Wear To A Pakistani Wedding?

What Should You Not Wear To A Wedding As A Guest?

When attending a wedding, it’s better to skip casual items like jeans, shorts, sneakers, or flip-flops unless the wedding is very casual. 

Flashy or attention-grabbing outfits should also be avoided, as they may distract the couple. 

Lastly, clothing that reveals too much skin should also be avoided since weddings are often family events.

FAQs

Is it acceptable to wear white at an African wedding?

It is generally not considered acceptable to wear white at an African wedding, as this color is typically reserved for the bride. 

How long do African weddings last?

On average, African weddings can span around three days, with elaborate ceremonies, feasts, music, and dancing that ensure the celebration lasts as long as the love and joy being commemorated.

Final Words

Attending an African wedding provides a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in vibrant cultures and celebrate love and unity. 

By embracing the richness of African fashion, you can make a lasting impression while respecting local customs. 

From the classic Ankara ensembles that showcase bold colors and patterns to the stylish Kente outfits that pay homage to Ghanaian heritage and the elegant Dashiki attire that exudes tradition and modernity, various options suit your style. 

Remember to choose colors that exude joy and celebration and honor the cultural significance of each garment. 

References:

  1. https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/kente-cloth.htm
  2. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/things-to-know-before-traveling-to-south-africa
Kimberlee Johnson
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