Weddings Around The World: Inside the Wardrobe

When you receive an invitation to a wedding in the post, the first thing you do is decide what you’re going to wear. Choosing a guest outfit for a wedding in the UK is hard enough, but what about if you’ve been invited to a wedding of a different culture? Together with Charles Tyrwhitt, retailers of timeless menswear, we look at how the dress code of a wedding changes depending on the background of the newlyweds.

The bride

Everyone knows that here in the UK, the bride will sport a stunning white gown with a gorgeous veil to match. But how do our own bridal traditions compare to India, Japan and China?

Brides in India

This can vary depending on the region. In some regions, the bride wears a saree which is a garment that looks like a long drape, in others she wears a lehenga which is a long skirt. Often the bride is dressed in red or another vibrant colour, her garments will be carefully embroidered with an impressive design.

Remember, brides in India often have hennas on their body too!

Brides in Japan

Weddings in Japan are very extravagant, with families spending around £75,000 on the big day. It is often the parents of the couple who organise the wedding, and they are willing to spend excessive amounts to save face. Because of the large scale of the weddings, the bride can have as many as 5 costume changes!  At a traditional (Shinto) wedding, the bride wears a white kimono, but more recently Japanese brides wear a dress that has a traditional print.

Brides in China

As red is the colour of luck in China, brides will often wear this. In some regions, typically in northern China, the traditional attire for a bride is a one-piece dress that is embroidered with gold and silver designs. In southern China, the typical wear is a two-piece frock.

As well as this, no bride can go without a stunning bridal brown. For footwear, a special pair of shoes are often worn that are embroidered with a symbol — for example, a turtle or a deer which symbolises happiness and longevity.

The groom

Just like the brides, the grooms are often required to follow a dress code — they can’t just get away with a men’s dress shirt!

Grooms in India

Similarly to brides in India, what a groom wears often depends on their region. Some husbands-to-be wear traditional dress, such as a dhoti which is a rectangular cloth ties around the waist. In other regions, they wear a sherwani (a long coat), a kurta (loose falling shirt that hangs below the knee), or a Western suit. The men also have henna on their bodies but it is less elaborate and often hidden.

Grooms in Japan

As you may have guessed, a kimono is worn for the wedding ceremony but the groom later changes into a fabulous tuxedo. The formal kimono that he wears is called a montsuki, and often displays the family crest. More recently, younger grooms start the ceremony in a tuxedo too.

Grooms in China

For grooms in China, they’re often required to wear a black robe with embroidery on. Often, in the modern day, the overcoat is not worn. The groom has to wear certain headwear too – this is usually a black hat with a red tassel. Some younger generations are not following the traditional dress code and simply wear a tuxedo or a Western-style business suit.

Evidently, there’s a lot that changes when it comes to weddings around the world. Do you have any of your own family traditions?

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