The Traditional Igbo Wedding Outfit

Updated on December 7, 2019
tony55 profile image

This author loves to research and write about traditional cultures.

Traditional Igbo Marriage Outfit
Traditional Igbo Marriage Outfit | Source

Traditional Igbo Wedding Outfits Are Beautiful

A traditional wedding is known as igbankwu in the ethnic language of the southeastern Nigerian Igbo, and it is a beautiful ceremony filled with traditional customs and elegant pageantry. The wedding guests participate in traditional customs, eat local cuisine, and don native outfits for the ceremony.

During traditional Igbo weddings, amazing high-fashion and customary outfits are worn that are representative of both families and friends. The guests, family members, and bride and groom wear fabrics and designs that complement one another.

The festive celebration is filled with joy, happiness, and fun but is incomplete without the high-fashion outfits worn on these joyous occasions.

Nigerian designers and tailors highlight their creativity with the customary blouses, wrappers, skirts, dresses, and head ties. The styles are brilliant and brightly colored, and there are endless variations, all of which give the men a noble air and flatter the female form.

The outfits worn by the women are eye-catching, elegant, regal, and thoughtfully designed. At these traditional weddings, there is a dress code and color theme chosen by the bride and groom. In addition, there are many similarities between the modern traditional wedding outfits worn by the Yoruba and Igbo ethnic groups.

Both ethnic groups color-code their ceremonies, blouses, skirts, agbada, and wrappers, and use lots of embroidery and accessories. The major distinctions are in the ceremony and traditional requirements, which are different, yet serve the same purpose.

Image of beautiful Nigerian woman courtesy Nairaland.com
Image of beautiful Nigerian woman courtesy Nairaland.com | Source
Igbo traditional wedding guests often wear the same color code.
Igbo traditional wedding guests often wear the same color code. | Source

The Color Theme

A desire for uniformity and solidarity with the bride and groom dictates that the bride's family and groom's family choose the color theme for the event. The colors chosen by the bride’s family might be a different color than those selected by the groom's family.

However, each color should represent the color theme for the occasion, such as purple and gold. Even though the bride’s family, friends, and associates might choose to wear purple, the material is the same.

It applies to the groom's friends and family if they choose gold as their theme color. The same applies to the material selected by the bride for her people, called the Aso-Ebi.

Although Aso-Ebi is the same material and distributed to the family for the traditional wedding, the guests are able to create amazing designs using this uniform material. Sometimes, they use a local fabric called "tie and dye" as a uniform outfit.

Traditional outfits.
Traditional outfits. | Source

Igbo Marriage Dress Code

The dress code should have an ethnic design that complements the rich culture of the geographical area of the bride's heritage. The traditional outfit worn by the bride is usually a blouse and wrapper or dress.

They have a wide range of choices of material from silk, George, damask, print, machine print, lace, or any other material they'd like.

Beautiful Ibo marriage blouse and skirt.
Beautiful Ibo marriage blouse and skirt. | Source

Women's Outfits

The Blouse

The top blouse could be sown as a short-sleeve, sleeveless, or long-sleeve blouse. If the color choice is gold and blue, the blouse usually is gold, and the skirt or wrapper is blue.

The blouse comes in various designs with embroideries that add a more dramatic flare. The embroidery can be on the short sleeves, neck region, or the entire blouse, depending on the bride's taste and preference.

The blouse can have a low or high bust-line or be moderately cut, and it should add to the woman’s beauty. A decorative piece such as a brooch, flower, or rose adds to the beauty of the blouse. If a decorative piece is not part of the blouse, then a beautiful hand fan creates a dramatic effect.

The Wrapper or Skirt

The wrapper is usually a different color than the blouse and might be plain or have folds, frills, embroidery, or overlaps, depending on the woman’s taste. The wrappers are tied waist high, and in modern wrappers, they can be held firm with extensions or rubber bands.

The wrappers can be a single- or double-piece, depending on the choice of the wearer. Therefore, if the color theme is pink and purple, then the blouse is pink and the wrapper is purple. The skirts can be expressive and either long, flowing, knee-length items, or flirtier ones (for a young woman).

The designer can do virtually anything with the skirt, even adding pieces of other materials to add to the dramatic flair. Young women and bridesmaids prefer skirts to wrappers, while married women both young and old prefer the elegant wrappers.

George wrappers are usually the preferred materials for these traditional weddings.

Traditional coral beads on a bride.
Traditional coral beads on a bride. | Source
Coral beads.
Coral beads. | Source

Accessories

The outfit is not complete without accessories to bring it all together; one of the most important accessories is the orange coral beads around the neck. The coral beads are usually large and prominent, giving balance to the whole ensemble.

On her wrist, the bride might choose to wear ivory wristbands, bracelets, bangles, or silver and gold chains. Female guests can choose slightly understated coral beads worn on the neck and wrists or crystal beads and a brooch.

The handbag should be small and match either the blouse or wrapper to give the outfit a uniform appearance. Large bags are not ideal, but they are useful for carrying gifts for the bride and groom. This also applies to footwear, which should match the colors of the outfit, especially the color of the blouse.

Low-heeled shoes are ideal for such occasions because of dancing and other vigorous activities. A heavy brooch is introduced into the coral beads, and a rose can be placed on the blouse's shoulder for dramatic effect.

Which accessory is common for the Igbo bride?

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Nigerian head wrap.
Nigerian head wrap.

The Head Tie

The head tie is an important part of the outfit and is important when wearing a blouse and wrapper. The head ties in traditional weddings usually match either the blouse or wrapper.

Any combination works as long as the chosen color theme for the event is strictly followed. Head ties are usually made of a lightweight material like silk, polyester, or mono-colored and plain nylon.

Instead of wearing a head tie, the bride sometimes wears a cap made from coral beads. She might choose to braid her hair and wear beads woven into the braid.

Bridal Outfit

Clothes
Head wear
Accessories
Blouse and skirt
Head tie
Coral beads
Dress
Head wrap
Ivory beads
Blouse and wrapper
Beaded hair
Precious stones
Flowy gown
Coral cap
Gold bracelets
Bridal makeup.
Bridal makeup. | Source

Makeup

Makeup is an essential part of the whole process that gives the bride a beautiful, alluring look. A professional makeup artist uses simple tones based on the woman’s facial features. The makeup artist should introduce elements and colors similar to the wedding's color theme.

In a more native setup, the bride wears short, knee-length skirts, a short blouse, and has her midsection covered in coral beads (known as Gigida). She also wears coral beads on her neck and ivory bangles on both wrists and ankles.

She might also choose to carry a feather hand-fan for effect and to accompany her dancing.

Modern traditional men's outfit.
Modern traditional men's outfit. | Source

Men's Outfits

The men are part of this fashion melting-pot and are clothed in loose-fitted, knee-length shirts and flabby trousers. The men use only one of the chosen colors or materials, which they sow into any traditional outfit they favor.

A cap is also part of the outfit but does not necessarily have to match the outfit. Therefore, the caps come in red, black, gold, and other colors commonly seen at these weddings. Some prefer suits, regular shirts, and trousers, but donning clothes that match the color theme shows kinship with the couple.

The groom might add a heavy Agbada with lots of embroidery on top of his native shirt and trousers.

Latest Igbo Blouse Style

Igbo Traditional Wedding Color Combinations

  1. Gold head tie, gold blouse, and blue wrapper.
  2. Silver head ties, silver blouse, and magenta wrapper.
  3. Pink head ties, pink blouse, and purple wrapper.
  4. Gold head tie, gold blouse, and gold and red skirt.
  5. White blouse and magenta skirt/wrapper.
  6. Wedding dresses might have two color designs.
  7. The bride might wear a monochrome colored outfit (dress).
  8. Wine head tie, wine blouse, and blue wrapper.

Interestingly, a recurring color choice for the blouse is gold, and purple wrappers are very popular. Instead of coral beads, beautiful chokers with crystal pendants, including heavy embroidery on the blouse, make a great outfit.

Traditional Igbo wedding outfits are lovely, lively, and a delightful part of the important ceremony.

© 2014 femi

Comments

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    • profile image

      Vivian 

      7 months ago

      Lovly

    • profile image

      Favour 

      22 months ago

      I love the attires that these womens use its amazing. it is a good Traditional Dress

    • profile image

      Jack Favour 

      22 months ago

      I love the attires that these women's use its amazing.

      It depends on your geographical location. However in Nigeria there are many fashion designers and seamstresses that create beautiful cloths on demand. locate bridal shops in your area through simple Google search.

    • profile image

      Chukwunyerenwa chikodi 

      23 months ago

      These attires are great and splendid

    • tony55 profile imageAUTHOR

      femi 

      24 months ago from Nigeria

      It depends on your geographical location. However in Nigeria there are many fashion designers and seamstresses that create beautiful cloths on demand. locate bridal shops in your area through simple google search.

    • profile image

      loser24 

      5 years ago

      I love the attires that these womens use its amazing.

    • tony55 profile imageAUTHOR

      femi 

      5 years ago from Nigeria

      Thanks for your comments word55 & dark and me, Nigerian women are naturally beautiful more-so on such glamorous occasions.

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      5 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Tony, interesting, The women are very beautiful. They must eat quite healthy there.

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