A Bride’s Choice: Lesos or a Couture Gown?
There is a special emphasis placed on what a bride chooses to wear on her wedding day. The bride’s dress is a central part of the ceremony, not just in western influenced ceremonies, but in traditional African ceremonies as well. One of the honored traditions of Kenyan weddings is the Kikuyu custom of the groom identifying his bride from a group, who is completely covered in a lesos or similar decorative garb, symbolizing his complete knowledge of her. There are several others, including the Maasai tradition of anointing the bride’s wedding dress with the fats and oils of a gifted male sheep. With so many traditions steeped in the agricultural and rural traditions of tribes, it is difficult to reconcile them to modern weddings. The dilemma for the modern bride is finding what elements can be combined and how to choose between the two when there is no hope of compromise.
The way things used to be is that a bride looking for couture had travel to a dress shop (sometimes an arduous journey in its’s own right), who may or may not carry a dress from a specific designer, who may or may not be qualified to make alterations to that dress for a proper fit, and who may or may not be able to order the accessories that would compliment said dress. Thanks to the internet, such one of a kind dresses are now available for order and delivery, no matter how far you live from the designer. Simply upload your measurements, select your accessories, and they can be delivered as close to home as your daily mail! This has made it easier for choosy brides to find a modern dress for their special day that fits their style. But what is your style? Do you want to embrace familial tradition or do you want a crisp clean look? Many brides will find that designers have been influenced by the bold colors and vibrant patterns found in traditional kikoys and that a modern dress need not be a white, high-collared affair. If this is the case, and you find yourself falling in love with a gown that is bold and beautiful, then go for it! You won’t regret having found that special “sweet spot” of tradition and modern couture that will make your wedding, especially wearing a dress you love almost as much as your bethrothed, a memorable event. Another option for you is deciding which traditions you want to make a part of your ceremony and crafting a unique blend of the modern and traditional elements. If you have the ability to meet a designer, combine this with the tradition of involving your family, even your extended family, in the making of the wedding dress by allowing them to accompany you to select and be fitted for the dress of your dreams. Involving your family can take a lot of the pressure of keeping up traditions away.
When Never the Twain Shall Meet
If budget is no object, then the obvious answer is having two ceremonies. But what happens when your traditional wedding makes no allowances for couture? Sometimes there is just no way to combine the two, and there’s no way of affording separate ceremonies, and so you have to decide what sort of memories you want to make. While no one can say what is in your heart but you, keep in mind that the idea that your wedding day is “all about you” is nice…but unrealistic. In reality, you are marrying another person, he is accepting you and your family and you are accepting him and his family. In that spirit, keep in mind that a beautiful dress, even a one-of-a-kind beautiful dress, is still just the outside, and can only go so far in showing who you truly are.