In South Africa, Makoti dresses for traditional weddings are known for their versatile and colorful styles. These traditional attires not only make every bride stand out on her special day but also add color to the event. Makoti dresses for traditional weddings vary depending on the ethnic group of the bride.
In essence, the fabric, dress style, and accessories brides rock with their makoti dresses naturally reflect their cultural identity. These days though, South African brides love incorporating modern dress styles into their makoti dresses, resulting in stunning and incredible makoti dresses for traditional weddings. Below are 20 slay makoti dresses for traditional weddings you can give a try for your big day.
List of 20 Makoti Dresses for Traditional Wedding
- Xhosa Makoti Dress
- Zulu Makoti Dress
- Swati Makoti Dress
- Sepedi Makoti Dress
- Colorful Venda Makoti Dress
- Tsonga Makoti Dress
- A Modern Makoti Style
- Xhosa Traditional Dress for Lobola
- Swati Lobola Dress
- Shweshwe Lobola Dress
- A Simple yet Elegant Lobola Gown
- An Elegant and Stylish Lobola Dress
- Bridal Gown Themed Makoti Dress
- A Modern Makoti Dress
- A Venda-Inspired Makoti Dress
- A Colorful Makoti Dress
- A Stylish Pink Makoti Dress
- Black Makoti Dress With Intricate Beadwork
- Stylish Shweshwe Makoti Dresses
- Tsonga Inspired Makoti Dress
Slay Makoti Dresses For Traditional Wedding
By slay, we mean beautiful, impressive, and classic makoti dresses that you can rock on your traditional wedding day. Dresses in this segment are derived from various ethnic groups in the country, which gives room for a wide range of choices by brides.
So, whether you are Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, or Sepedi, we have carefully selected beautiful makoti dresses for your viewing pleasure.
1. Xhosa Makoti Dress
For Xhosa brides, this classic Xhosa Makoti dress is the perfect way to showcase the rich heritage of the Xhosas. This lovely blend of the traditional striped long skirt, a beaded apron, and the stylish doek (head tie) will make any bride stand out.
A typical Xhosa bride wears a black doek (iqhiya) wound on her traditional wedding day, which is usually tied and dipped low to veil her eyes. Covering her eyes shows respect to her elders and in-laws.
This style can be worn with an Isicholo (hat) as well. An accessory of a beaded neckpiece, beaded cape, and beaded bangles completes this traditional look. Xhosa brides may also choose to wear an ankle-length skirt, which indicates that she is no longer a girl and avoids unwanted attention from other prospective suitors.
Once the traditional wedding is over, the bride (makoti) is quickly handed an idaki (a dress given to her by her husband’s relatives). She also starts wearing a blanket or shawl around the shoulders, her iduku, and an uxakatha (towel or thick scarf) around her waist. The shawl represents the qualities of protection and nurturing expected of her.
2. Zulu Makoti Dress
This makoti dress is the full Zulu attire for brides. The traditional Zulu bridal outfit is far more complex than European wedding attire, as different elements of the traditional outfit have different meanings. The traditional makoti dress consists of the isicholo (which indicates that the young woman is no longer available for courting), with a veil, a beaded cape draped over an isicwaya, and a beaded apron worn over a pleated skirt (the isidwaba).
Accessories include ropes of twisted calfskin (which are strung in a coil over the bride’s shoulders and under her arms), beaded necklaces (imvakazi – which in some cases includes twisted fig leaves), bags of pebbles tied around her ankles (which rattle as she dances), bracelets, bangles made from white cow-tail fringes (which are traditionally worn around both arms and knees), earrings, and patterned leg/arm beads.
Other accessories include the distended gall bladder of the goat that was slaughtered before she left her father’s home (which is usually worn on the right wrist) as well as a small assagai (which shows her strength). The assegai, when pointed up, symbolizes the bride’s virginity.
Once the marriage is consummated, the knife will be pointed down. Although a very traditional dress, this makoti outfit can be stylish and elegant, and it comes in various colors.
3. Swati Makoti Dress
A traditional Swazi wedding ceremony is called umtsimba. A Swati bride can never go wrong with the traditional emahiya (with the ends of the cloth tied together over the right-hand shoulder for a young maiden or over the left-hand shoulder for a married woman) and ligcebesha necklace.
Coming in colors like red, blue, yellow, and so on, the emahiya is a simple makoti dress that needs little to no accessories. A shield and a short knife complete this traditional style. However, a bride may still choose to wear beads and wool to cover her face and adorn her head with a crown called sidlodo, which consists of two bunches of large black feathers of a long-tailed widowbird.
Another common makoti traditional wedding attire is the cow leather skirt (sidvwaba – which signals her new position in society) and a garment with fur called sigeja.
4. Sepedi Makoti Dress
You can spot a Sepedi makoti from miles away just because of their vibrant and colorful dresses. The go-to styles for the Sepedi makoti include plaited or layered dresses with minimal accessories. The dress color is usually a combination of yellow, red, blue, pink, white, and turquoise colors.
These bright colors of Sepedi bridal traditional attire signify the tribe’s happiness, while the designs symbolize their unique sense of creativity. For this Sepedi makoti dress, we have a long layered free-flowing gown with ruffled sleeves and embroidery on the neckline.
However, Sepedi brides also wear their traditional wedding dresses mostly with hele, the inner fabric that is tied around the waist. The Metshek, which is worn on top, goes with it. The look is usually completed with a piece of head jewelry called Moruka, which raises the bride to her throne.
5. Colorful Venda Makoti Dress
The distinct Venda striped/patterned fabric makes for an appealing traditional makoti dress for traditional weddings. Worn with a white top, the fabric is either sewn into a skirt or wrapped around the waist (the Venda skirt has a specific pattern to it). Accessories include an isicholo or a headband, beaded necklaces and bracelets, beaded aprons, earrings, patterned leg/arm beads, etc.
6. Tsonga Makoti Dress
The Tsonga makoti dress incorporates vibrate bright colors and flowery patterned designs unique to the group. Styling is dependent on the bride’s choice, and just like the shweshwe, it can be sown into any style and can also be combined with other plain fabrics. This style is a layered free-flowing gown, complete with a headwrap. With this bold style, a minimal accessory is required.
7. Modern Makoti Style
Imitating a western-styled wedding dress, this makoti dress for a traditional wedding is super stylish and all shades of modernity. The white dress is embellished with beads, colorful striped hems, and mesh deco. A traditional headwrap completes this look. This style is a modern look for a modern bride who wishes to slay on her big day.
Makoti Traditional Dresses For Lobola
8. Xhosa Traditional Dress for Lobola
This style adopts the Xhosa stripped pattern dress to create this stunning look for lobola celebrations. A full-length gown, an ‘apron,’ a simple beaded cape, and headgear is all you need for this elegant lobola dress. Accessorize with a cute handbag made from the same fabric.
The iduku, which some brides also wear, gives Xhosa women another layer of respect, inner strength, and self-confidence.
9. Swati Lobola Dress
The traditional Swati colors can be sewn into dresses that combine elements of traditional Swazi fabrics and a modern dress style. This flowy dress uses simple color and pattern as the emahiya.
It is accessorized with the traditional ligcebesha necklace and a beaded headpiece with a veil. Simple, colorful, and flattering.
10. Shweshwe Lobola Dress
Shweshwe is a popular choice when designing a lobola dress. The choice of patterns, colors, and designs is endless. Pairing the shweshwe with a simple white fabric can create this simple and elegant lobola dress. An alternation of each fabric is all it takes to create this amazing dress. Of course, you can switch up the design as it seems fit.
11. A Simple yet Elegant Lobola Gown
This lobola gown is so simple yet elegant. A simple combination of shweshwe, white patterned fabric, and some mesh is all that is needed to create this refined look. Accessorise with necklace, bangles, and headpiece of choice. However, even without accessories, this style still looks great. And, of course, this elegant gown will look created in any color.
12. An Elegant and Stylish Lobola Dress
This Xhosa-inspired lobola dress spells elegance and class. With the traditional long skirt, apron, and headwrap, any bride would look stunning in this style. Notice that the necklaces match with the button sown onto the apron. This is a great way to match accessories to the design pattern of the dress.
Stylish Makoti Attires
13. Bridal Gown-Themed Makoti Dress
This makoti dress perfectly fused a traditional style with a western cut. The lace and shweshwe paired with the graceful tulle fabric is a cool and stylish way to rock a Makoti dress.
This lovely bridal gown screams ‘bold and beautiful,’ and of course, the colors can be switched up according to taste. This bold design can be easily paired with the groom.
14. A Modern Makoti Dress
This style is perfect for flaunting those amazing curves. Streamlined to flow with the contour of the body, this style is accentuated with intricate beadworks that incorporate both traditional colors and the matching golden color of the gown.
Finally, a simple headband (the umqhele) completes this modern look. Wine golden dresses are a rarity for makoti dresses, but they can be pulled off with the right design.
15. A Venda-Inspired Makoti Dress
The Venda fabric is exceptional; its color and stripped/patterned pattern designs make it an excellent choice for sowing makoti dresses. This simple mermaid gown with ruffled layered ends gives that cultured but modern bridal feel.
This style can be accessorized with little to no accessory. This style can also be easily incorporated into the groom’s outfit.
16. A Colorful Makoti Dress
This lovely makoti dress blends a mixture of bright colors on a white dress, creating an eye-catching cacophony of colors. The color choice matches well with the beaded cape, the isicholo (hat), and the “assagai.” A colorful dress for a colorful bride.
17. A Stylish Pink Makoti Dress
This colorful style needs a generous amount of tulle and a detailed beadwork design to make an alluring bride. The pink choice is, of course, lovely, but choices can also range in red, turquoise, yellow, orange, blue, green, and lots more.
This dress already makes a bold statement with its style, so it needs little accessory. A simple necklace and bangles would do. And not forgetting the isicholo (hat).
18. Black Makoti Dress With Intricate Beadwork
The lustrous glow of this satin black, paired with the white stripes at the hem of the ruffled layered gown, gives this dress a sophisticated appeal. The intricate beadwork on the frontal adds further to this appeal, making this Makoti dress elegant and classy.
The color choice of this dress rhymes with the traditional Zulu or Xhosa colors that brides are wont to wear. Finally, an isicholo (hat) and an “assagai” is used to accessorize this outfit.
19. Shweshwe Makoti Dresses
You can’t go wrong with a shweshwe design for your big day. Shweshwe comes in varied colors, patterns, and designs, giving the Makoti as many options as possible. Shweshwe can go with lace, tulle, satin, silk, or any fabric you might want to pair it with.
As for styling, the cut, design, and headwear are up to personal taste. Also, with shweshwe, it is easy to pair up with the groom in matching outfits.
20. Tsonga Inspired Makoti Dress
As always, the Tsonga attire is remarkable for its bright colors and flowery patterns. With its modernized chic look, this gown takes the Tsonga style up a notch. This simple yet tasteful look is accomplished with a neat off-shoulder cut, a lace hand and frontal complemented with beads, a feathered organza flower on the shoulder, and finally, the layered tassel—elegance at its finest.