Traditional Wedding Dresses Around the World: A Brief Overview
By Wedding Spot
A bride’s wedding dress is one of the most iconic aspects of her special day. While white has become the standard color in many countries, traditional wedding dresses around the world reflect the culture and heritage of the bride. From vibrant colors to intricate designs and stunning fabrics, each culture’s traditional wedding dress has its own unique story to tell.
We’ve covered tons of major styles across the globe below from Indian sarees to African kente cloths and many options in between. Keep reading to discover the beauty and diversity of traditional wedding dresses around the world!
The diversity of wedding dress styles
When it comes to traditional wedding dresses, there is an incredible level of diversity among different cultures. The history of traditional wedding dresses can often be traced back to ancient times, when brides would adorn themselves in garments that reflected their culture, heritage, and wealth. In some cultures like those in India, the bride's dress was often used to symbolize her wealth and status in society.
It can also play a symbolic role. In Chinese culture, the color red was traditionally worn by the bride due to its association with luck, fertility, and good fortune.
Throughout history, wedding dresses have evolved and adapted to reflect changing styles and trends, while still maintaining an element of tradition. So while many of the styles below represent traditional wedding dresses around the world, modern brides may choose to go with alternative or fusion options depending on their taste, budget, and desires.
10 of the most beautiful traditional wedding dresses around the world
1. Timeless Indian sarees and lehengas
Indian sarees and lehengas are timeless classics that has been worn by brides for centuries. These traditional dresses are usually made from lightweight silk or cotton and consists of a long piece of fabric that is draped around the body. They are usually decorated with intricate embroidery and embellishments, such as sequins, beads, and stones. The colors used in these designs are often vibrant and symbolize luck and prosperity for the newlyweds.
2. Elegant Japanese kimonos
The Japanese kimono is one of the most iconic traditional wedding dresses around the world. This garment is made from lightweight silk or cotton fabric and is usually decorated with intricate embroidery and delicate designs. The colors used in these designs are often soft and delicate, such as white, pink, and cream. The kimono is an elegant symbol of modesty and grace, making it the perfect choice for a bride who wants to look traditional but still feel beautiful on her special day.
3. Graceful Chinese qipaos
The Chinese qipao is a traditional one-piece dress with a high collar, sometimes full-length sleeves, and a floor-length skirt. The fabric used to make this garment is usually made from lightweight silk or satin and can be decorated with intricate embroidery, beads, and stones. The qipao is associated with modesty and grace, and the colors used in these designs are usually vibrant reds, yellows, and blues that symbolize luck and fortune.
4. Modern Korean hanboks
The Korean hanbok is a traditional two-piece ensemble consisting of a long jacket and skirt. The fabric used for this garment is usually lightweight silk or cotton and can be decorated with intricate embroidery and embellishments. The colors used in these designs are often bright and vibrant, symbolizing luck and prosperity for the newlyweds. In recent years, this traditional garment has become popular among modern brides who want to incorporate a touch of culture into their special day.
5. Vibrant African kente cloths
African kente cloth is a brightly colored fabric that originates from Ghana. This fabric is usually made from cotton or silk and is decorated with intricate patterns that symbolize blessings and good fortune for the newlyweds. The colors used in these patterns are usually bold and vibrant, such as reds, blues, and yellows. The kente cloth is an essential element of African weddings, making it a great choice for brides looking to add cultural elements to their special day.
6. Intricate Mexican huipils
The Mexican huipil is a traditional garment worn by women on special occasions—like their wedding! This garment is usually made from lightweight cotton or linen fabric and is decorated with intricate embroidery, beads, and stones. The colors used in these designs are often bright and vibrant reds, yellows, and blues that symbolize luck and fortune. The huipil is an essential element of Mexican weddings, making it an excellent choice for brides looking to add a touch of culture to their special day.
7. Timeless American Wedding gowns
American wedding gowns are known for their timeless elegance and sophistication. These garments are usually made from luxurious fabrics like lace and satin and can be decorated with beading or embroidery. The colors used in these designs are usually white or ivory, both of which symbolize purity and innocence. American wedding gowns are traditionally a statement of elegance and grace, making them a great choice for brides looking for a classic style.
8. Sophisticated European lace gowns
European lace is a popular choice for brides who want to add a touch of sophistication to their special day. This fabric is usually made from lightweight cotton or silk and can be decorated with detailed patterns in floral designs or geometric shapes. The colors used in these designs are usually muted pastels that create a romantic vibe. European lace is associated with elegance and grace, an excellent choice for brides looking for a timeless look.
9. Richly detailed South American embroidery
South American embroidery is known for its intricate patterns and bright colors. This type of fabric is usually made from lightweight cotton or silk and can be decorated with embroidery or sequins. The colors used in these designs are often bold and vibrant. Reds, oranges, and yellows are used to symbolize joy and prosperity for the newlyweds. South American embroidery adds a unique element to any wedding dress, making it a great choice for brides who want to stand out on their special day.
10. Whimsical Australian Bohemian gowns
Australian bohemian style has become increasingly popular among modern brides who want to add a touch of whimsy to their special day. This style usually consists of lightweight lace or chiffon decorated with intricate patterns, embellishments, or embroidery. The colors used in these designs are often bold pastels that create a playful yet romantic vibe. Australian bohemian style is perfect for brides who want to add a fun and spiritual element to their wedding dress.
The A’s to your international wedding dress Q’s
What is considered a traditional wedding dress?
What people consider a traditional wedding dress is subjective, and largely depends on where in the world the wedding is taking place.
For example, a white wedding dress may seem out of place at an Indian wedding, while a red wedding dress might be an unusual choice for an American ceremony.
At the end of the day, couples can aim to represent their own culture, family, and heritage or mix tradition and modern style with their wedding wardrobe.
What is the most common wedding dress?
The most common wedding dress in the US is the ball gown wedding dress. A ball gown wedding dress is a type of wedding dress style that features a full skirt and form-fitting bodice—it’s a princess look that many brides desire. It can be adapted to fit some of the traditional wedding dresses around the world that we’ve featured above.
What does the average bride pay for a wedding dress?
According to research compiled by Zippia, the average American bride may pay anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 for a wedding dress.
Choosing the right dress for your special day
When it comes to choosing the right traditional wedding dress for your special day, there are many factors to consider. It's important to choose a style that reflects your personal taste as well as your culture and heritage.
It's also important to take into account the season and weather conditions when selecting your dress. For example, some fabrics may be too heavy for summer weather or too light for winter temperatures.
Finally, it's important to choose a dress that will fit and flatter you properly. If you're unsure about sizing, it's best to get professionally measured before making your purchase. A good seamstress or tailor can make the adjustments after you’ve purchased your dress, too.
No matter which type of wedding dress you choose, it's sure to be a reflection of your unique personality and style. With so many stunning designs available around the world, there's no doubt you’ll find something perfect for your special day!
Now that you have an idea of what kind of dress you’d like to wear, be sure to take notes on these expert wedding dress alteration tips before you go shopping!