A Bulgarian woman dons a traditional wedding dress in the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria.Stoyan Nenov/Reuters
Brides on every continent know — it's all about the wedding dress.
In many countries, a bridal gown is a manifestation of a couple's heritage. The color, shape, and detail are designed in keeping with their customs and religious beliefs. In Turkey, the bride dons a red "maidenhood" belt for luck, and in Eritrea, she acccessorizes with a dark-colored velvet crown and purple and gold robe. Of course, no two brides are alike, and traditions may vary by region.
Let's take a look at how wedding dresses are worn around the world.
Before a Turkish bride leaves her father's home for the wedding ceremony, a brother or uncle ties a red maidenhood belt around her waist. The color signifies luck, sexuality, and happiness.
A Kurdish bride leaves her wedding ceremony as she is flanked by her maids in the southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari.Umit Bektas/Reuters
Source: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Today's Zaman
At a wedding in Ribnovo, Bulgaria, the bride gets her face painted white and decorated with colorful sequins by her female in-laws. The custom dates back centuries and is a highlight of the two-day ceremony.
Bulgarian Muslims Azim Liumankov and his bride Fikrie Bindzheva pose in front of their house during their wedding ceremony in the village of Ribnovo, Bulgaria.Stoyan Nenov/Reuters
Source: Reuters and The Guardian
The Sri Lankan bride blends Eastern and Western traditions, donning heavily embroidered silk saris and European-looking veils. Her jewelry should include an uneven number of gemstones, as odd numbers are deemed auspicious.
Three brides get ready before the start of a mass wedding in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters
Source: The Big Fat Indian Wedding
In keeping with the Tzniut, a Jewish guide to modesty, the ultra-Orthodox bride wears a loose-fitting gown that covers everything but her face and hands. Typically, a lacy, flowing skirt grazes the floor.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish bride Rivka Hannah Krois watches her groom dance after their traditional wedding ceremony in Jerusalem.Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Source: Racked and Orthodox-Jews.com
A traditional bride in Tajikistan wears a simple white dress over a pair of trousers. Over the course of the ceremony, which can last days, she may change into corresponding gowns.
Abdul Rakhim and his bride Nasebakhon stand with witnesses at a wedding ceremony in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.Nozim Kalandarov/Reuters
Source: BBC and Iranica Online
Some 8,000 inhabited islands make up Indonesia, and the fashion varies by region. Most brides dress in vibrant colors with heavy embroidery.
Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo Yudanegara and his wife Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara wave to the crowd in a horse-drawn carriage in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.Beawiharta/Reuters
Source: CIA and Global Indonesian Voices
Three days before an Indonesian woman ties the knot, she may have her nails, hands, and feet painted with birds and flowers in henna.
Winda Wahyuni adjusts her traditional clothes as she waits for her future husband to arrive for their wedding in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Source: The Jakarta Post
Deep reds, pinks, and purples are the colors of choice for a Pakistani bride on her wedding day. Some couples will place garlands around each other as a symbol of love and acceptance.
A bride and groom wearing traditional garlands, made of beads and cotton threads, on their foreheads, wait for their wedding to start during a mass marriage ceremony in Karachi, Pakistan.Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Source: Sociable 7 and Wikipedia
Sixteen embellishments, in addition to a lucky-red sari or skirt-like lehenga, adorn the Indian bride from head to toe. This custom, called Solah Shringar, includes the bright red powder applied to her hair part, ear cuffs, and chains tied around the ankles.
Brides sit after their make-up was done during a mass wedding ceremony at a temple in New Delhi March 3, 3014.Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Source: The Big Fat Indian Wedding
In Nubia, the bride wears three veils: a colored one atop her head, a sheer one over her face, and a heavy white sheet that masks the head entirely.
Kenyan bride Hawa Abdulkadir poses for a photograph during her traditional Nubian wedding ceremony in Nairobi's Kibera Slum.Noor Khamis/Reuters
Source: Robert Fernea
Traditional Eritrean wedding attire includes dark-colored velvet crowns and robes in purple and gold. The bride matches her soon-to-be husband.
A bride and groom wearing traditional Eritrean dress arrive for their wedding at a Christian Orthodox church in Jerusalem.Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
The Tuvan national costume reflects a nomadic way of life. Garments could easily be worn while riding a horse, and feature bright colors and rich detail.
Bride Chaiganmaa Ondar and her husband Sean Quirk, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, toast champagne during their wedding ceremony in Tuva, Russia.Ilya Naymushin/Reuters
Source: Sayan Ring
While the Palestinian bride wears a stunning white dress on her wedding day, her henna dress — worn the night before — has a special place in her heart. The color is customized to the bride, and her mother embroiders it by hand.
A Palestinian couple speaks with each other during their wedding ceremony in Gaza City in the Gaza Strip.Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Source: Al Monitor
In the highlands above Lima, Peru, traditional brides make quite a splash in red and black gowns, made bigger by multiple layers of cotton, heavily embroidered petticoats.
A couple wearing traditional clothes wait for the start of a mass wedding ceremony in Lima, Peru.Lucero Del Castillo/Reuters
Source: Pie Peru
Western fashions have seeped into Jordan, as well, where brides wear traditional, white dresses and gold or silver jewelry. Often, a green silk cloth will adorn their heads, as the color symbolizes growth, harmony, and safety.
Brides speak to their grooms during a mass wedding ceremony in Amman, Jordan.Ali Jarekji/Reuters
Source: Bilal A. Al-Adaileh and John A. Shoup
In Mali, the bride's pullover robe, called a kaftan, matches the color of the groom's dashiki. While white is most common, some wedding parties opt for lavender or purple, the colors for African royalty.
A woman shares a light moment with her family and friends before her wedding in the district of Djicoroni, Bamako, April 24, 2014.Juan Medina/Reuters
Source: George Monger
The traditional Korean costume, called the Hanbok, has been worn by brides for thousands of years. It includes a long-sleeved jacket and a high-waisted skirt made of white cotton or silk.
A North Korean bride and groom pose for a photograph at the Moranbong hill where they went to take wedding pictures, in Pyongyang, North Korea.Wong Maye-E/AP
Source: Wedding Details
A snow white kimono is draped around traditional brides in Japan. A matching silk headdress, called a tsunokakushi, hides her "horns of jealousy" and signals her intent to become an obedient wife.
A Shinto priest leads newly wed couples with their relatives during a ceremony at the alter of Meiji shrine in Tokyo, Japan.Itsuo Inouye/AP
The Moroccan bride puts on a show with three wardrobe changes. For the reception, she trades a white kaftan, or robe, for an outfit that reflects her family's region.
A bride from the Ait Yaha tribe is surrounded by relatives as she waits for her groom in the village of Olgagh, in High Atlas, Morocco.Eve Coulon/Reuters
A Nigerian bride stands out in her brightly colored lace blouse and patterned kaftan, or robe, often made of imported Indian fabrics. Coral beads and a headdress complete the look.
Sunlola Ogungbadero, dressed in traditional attire, poses for a photograph before the start of her traditional wedding in Surulere district, Nigeria's Lagos.Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters
Source: Wedded Wonderland and USA TODAY
A traditional Iraqi bride might set the record for most wardrobe changes. Each of her seven dresses is a different color of the rainbow. Red represents love and romance.
Hussein Younis Ali, 14 walks with his bride Nada Ali Hussein, 17, during the wedding party at his home in Tikrit, Iraq.Bakr al-Azzawi/Reuters
Source: Prezi/Manni Francis
An Italian bride's "something blue" is replaced by a green dress or ornament, as the color is believed to bring luck and fertility. Most brides, however, stick with the traditional white gown.
Adrian Mutu, who formerly played soccer for Italy's Hellas Verona, and his bride Alexandra pass under flowers during their wedding ceremony in Bucharest, Romania.Reuters
Source: Exclusively Italy Weddings
American brides didn't always wear white. Through the 19th century, women wore what they considered their best dress, as white cloth was impossible to clean by hand and reserved for the wealthy.
Source: The Dallas Morning News and BBC
Queen Victoria broke that status quo at her 1840 wedding, when she rocked lacy, white silk satin. Women's magazines embraced the look's purity and simplicity, and today, it's the go-to hue for brides around the world.
Ashlee Meyer and partner KY Choi sign their marriage license as they prepare to get married at City Hall in San Francisco, California, US.Stephen Lam/Reuters