#GownGoals: This South African Bride’s Wedding Dress Is Everything

Permission granted to Mimi/Jessica on 10/11/16 by Nosipho Miya Leiva <poshmia@gmail.com>. (Photo: Courtesy of Nosipho Miya Leiva)

#GownGoals: This South African Bride’s Wedding Dress Is Everything

Nosipho Miya Leiva married her African and Western identity in a stunning way.

Published October 11, 2016

When 25-year-old Nosipho Miya Leiva dreamt of her wedding day she always knew that it would be unique, but never did she imagine it would go viral. And looking at her dress, it’s clear why it did — it’s utterly stunning.

Being born in South Africa and now living in Northern California, Leiva knew she didn’t want a traditional wedding dress.

“I wanted something that was modern and represented my culture and my identity,” Nosipho told BET.com of her October 7 nuptials.

“And while I am from South Africa, I went with a Ankara print, which is West African, given how popular it is in African communities and that I also wanted to celebrate being an African too.”

Knowing what she wanted, the next step was finding the perfect designer. Nosipho admitted that she she couldn't find anyone in the States and found her designer in a strange place: Instagram.

“One day, I saw South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha wearing the most gorgeous gown at the Cannes Film Festival and I was like, 'Wow.' I noticed that she tagged Rina Chunga, the [Zambian] designer who made her dress in the photo, so I clicked on Chunga’s page and was so impressed, I’ve never seen work like hers before. So through email and the phone, we started talking about ideas and designs and Chunga ended up making my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses,” she said.

And her gown really is everything! It’s a gorgeous couture fusion of a West African tulle bodice and white tulle skirt that is perfectly paired with a matching head wrap and gold choker.

“I knew I didn’t want a traditional lace veil and was like, ‘Let’s do a head wrap!’ she said. “I think it reflected my identity more and in the end looked better.”

And while her husband, Demetrius Levia, opted for a tux as opposed to traditional African garb, Chunga gave him some flair with a matching printed cummerbund and pocket square. And Demetrius, who hadn't seen her dress prior to the ceremony, was in awe when Nosipho walked down the isle.

“He heard me talk about the dress, but he said he couldn’t picture it. Yet, when he finally saw it, he told me he absolutely loved it!” Nosipho said.

And as if her wedding gown wasn’t dope enough — peep her reception dress!

Oh, the power of #BlackLove and #HappilyEverAfter! Congrats to the Leivas!

Written by Kellee Terrell

(Photo: Courtesy of Nosipho Miya Leiva)

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