Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy’s island of Sardinia is steeped in old-world traditions, many of which are borrowed from ancient Greece, Rome, Spain, and parts of Africa. Sardinian brides wear beautifully ornate dresses stitched with jewels.
The colors and embroidery designs of her ensemble are unique to each village of Sardinia. She is draped in a distinctively Sardinian long veil and a velvet overcoat.
A bride in Turkey may wear a traditional bindalli dress at the henna ceremony. The gorgeous velvet gowns, usually in deep reds, are embroidered in the bindalli style and have a long train and jacket. On the wedding night, she wears a traditional white gown.
A red ribbon is tied around her waist in an old custom. The person tying it is a brother or other male relative that she is close with.
The Bedouin are a nomadic Arabic population that lives in the Middle East, North Africa, but primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. A traditional wedding will begin with the sacrifice of a camel. The bride’s costume is elaborately embroidered in a cross-stitch pattern. Design patterns are sewn across the front and back of her dress and along the main seams.
The Bedouin bride also wears a veil that is embellished with heavy jewelry. A henna ceremony is customary, and the henna painting symbolizes luck, beauty, and health.
The most popular Japanese wedding dresses are Shinto style. The bride wears a shiromuku — a white kimono with a trailing kakeshita hem. A silk robe is worn over the kimono. It’s often red, though sometimes it can be orange or gold.
The bride chooses the accent color. She also wears a traditional headpiece. The style has fallen out of favor since the 20th century, replaced with western styles.
The Polynesian island Tonga, located deep within the South Pacific sea, is a place with very old customs. The bride and groom wear special costumes made of tapa. Called a ta’ovala, the labor-intensive traditional clothing is lovingly prepared by the family months in advance. A wedding in Tonga can last three days.
One of the most unique customs in Tonga requires that the groom begins the relationship with his bride-to-be as a friendship.