Traditional Yoruba wedding garment is really something that makes weddings in Yorubaland so picturesque and festive-looking. No matter how wealthy the bride and groom are – their attires will be so luxurious that even a king would freely wear them. Let’s take a look at these masterpieces and their specific features.
Traditions of making wedding attire in Yorubaland
From the ancient times, there was a special Yoruba cloth for making wedding attires and other formal garments. Known as Aso Oke, it was the only choice for brides and grooms. Since that time, a lot has changed. Now brides and grooms in Yorubaland can choose among lace, silk, velvet, and sometimes even elements of Ankara. However, the assortment of Aso Oke still remains prevalent among Yorubas.
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Aso Oke is used to create attires for everybody. Brides and grooms, their families and friends, any of the guests can wear this fabric. If the wedding sticks to traditions precisely, Aso Oke can be chosen for Aso Ebi, a special tradition that will receive some more attention below.
Traditional Yoruba attire for bride
There are certain traditions of getting dressed for brides in Yorubaland. They are supposed to wear special clothes from head to her toes. The clothes usually mean a combination of a traditional wrapper with a blouse, and a headpiece.
The wrapper is called Iro. The wrapper is usually tied at the waist and covers the bride’s hips and legs up to the ankles or reaches the floor. It looks extremely feminine and elegant, especially today when it’s possible to choose a fabric that creates lovely folds and creases.
The Iro is accompanied by a blouse called buba The blouse is often made with the same fabric and colour as the wrapper. White lace blouses of this type look especially festive and attractive.
The headpiece is created out of a headtie that’s called Gele. This is a traditional Yoruba headpiece that can be worn in a variation of forms and shapes for the sake of creativity and elegance. In most cases, the headtie is made with Aso oke. Sometimes, brides attach small veils to their Gele.
The wedding attire of this type is usually accompanied by some fashionable jewelry. In most cases, brides wear earrings and bracelets. The majority of brides has special beads that are meant for the wedding occasion. These beads normally match the color of the attire or create a deep contrast.
Of course, every bride in Yorubaland has decent shoes that match her purse and a fan. A fan is a fashion accessory that’s used by many Nigerian brides in different regions of the country.
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Some brides have second dresses. It’s made to change the look after the wedding ceremony but these dresses are no way less stunning and luxurious than the first ones. There’s a tendency that if the first dress is made out of Aso Oke, the second one will be made out of lace.
The Yoruba wedding attire color codes
The tradition of determining the color code of a wedding is ancient and beloved. During the preparation phase for the wedding, the bride, the groom, and their families choose the colors for Aso Ebi – clothes for the guests and the family colour, if the family members want separate colours..
Why is it so important? The family and guests of the bride may be dressed in one color and the family and guests of the groom – in another one. It will help determine the relationships and create a colorful wedding ceremony with juicy vibrant color spots.
The bride’s friends, Ore Iyawo, and the groom’s friends as well receive a privilege of choosing their Aso Ebi for themselves. It’s normal for them to be dressed with more elegance and taste than all the others. Their garments are usually more suitable for young people as Aso Ebi of the same type for different age groups is not the best choice.
Besides that, it makes sense to create a lovely attire for a couple. The bride and the groom's clothes are made with the different fabrics, but same colour and the same aso oke. In most cases, the couple's colour is always different from the colours chosen buy their families.
Yoruba traditional clothes for groom
Grooms in Yorualand are usually dressed in Sokoto (quite loose pants), a Buba (a shirt) and Agbada. Agbada is an outfit that’s worn for special festive occasions like weddings and other formal situations. The chest embroidery on Agbada can be utterly elaborate and exquisite.
The attire is accompanied with a hat called Fila. Filas can be of different types and often the groom himself chooses what type of Fila he’s going to wear. The groom's Fila and agbada are made out of the same fabric as their bride’s Gele, although some couple were different materials.
Grooms also have some jewelry. In case the man has no permanent items like piercing, the only item of jewelry will be a very long and very elaborate beaded necklace. Sometimes, grooms also have an additional accessory – a horse’s tail called Irukere. This is an ancient royal item and many grooms decide to support the tradition even nowadays.
Let’s take a look at the traditional wedding attire that Yoruba couples wear on their wedding days.
Yoruba traditional wedding attire for couples
- Royal blue and white
On the example of this couple, we see how the royal blue color is combined with white. The groom also has pink stripes on his Agbada. The bride’s fan brings in a note of freshness.
- Intensive and pale gold
This couple wears gold just so well! The intensive golden color of the bride’s full attire and the combination of the pale creamy gold in her groom’s clothes creates the effect of pleasant warmth and luxury.
- Silver greys
In the attire of this couple, pale and cool shades of grey are suddenly combined with dark red, and it’s a great choice. The shiny textures and decorations make the grey color lovely, while the dark red bride’s accessories and coral jewelry of the groom add to the sense of luxury.
- White and cornflower blue
This combination of colors looks extremely refreshing and neat. The shiny whites are perfectly outlined with the cornflower blue details and brightly colored accessories. Even though the textile of these attires is not that much luxurious, their wedding garments look glorious.
- White and coral
The embroidered white Agbada of the groom refreshes the solid tender coral color of the bride’s attire. His Fila is made out of the same fabric as her head tie. The white shiny clutch purse the bride has looks like a part of the groom’s look attached to her in return.
- White and purple
The deep grapes-purple color of these attires looks just so cool in the combination with white. The bride’s heavily gemmed garment and head tie are extremely beautiful and the plain fabric of the man’s Agbada with only thin white stripes just balances the immense luxury.
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