It can be really exciting when you get invited to a wedding – as well as getting to spend time celebrating the marriage of your loved ones and being a part of their special day, it is often a time for you to catch up with friends and family that you rarely see. In the run up to the wedding there’s a few things that you need to think about and one of those is what you’re going to wear. We obviously all know the traditions for a wedding in the UK – don’t wear white and don’t upstage the bride etc, but what if you get invited to a wedding of a different culture? It can be hard to figure out what to wear if it’s your first one.
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.
What will the bride be wearing?
In India, the bride’s dress usually depends on the region of India that they’re from. 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. The bride can usually be found dressed in red or another vibrant colour and her garments will be carefully embroidered with an impressive design. Indian weddings are a very colourful affair. The bride and her bridal party often have henna on their palms, hands, forearms and legs which will be put on a couple of days before the actual wedding.
If you’re going to an Indian wedding, it’s a good idea to find out what colour the bride will be wearing and make sure that you avoid that colour yourself.
Traditionally, Japanese weddings are very elaborate affairs and it is more than acceptable for families to spend close to £75,000 on a wedding day which is usually paid for by the parents of the bride and groom. During the day it’s not unusual for the bride to have up to five outfit 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.
If you’re going to a Japanese wedding, you should avoid wearing white so you don’t upset the bride.
In China, you will find that the bride will typically be dressed in red as it is considered a sign of good luck that can warn off evil spirits. 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.
If you’re going to a Chinese wedding, avoid wearing red.
What will the groom be wearing?
In different cultures, the men often have traditional dress codes that they are expected to follow – however, many of them are opting for a smart suit similar to how a groom in the UK would dress.
Similar to the women, it depends on what region of India the groom is from as to what they wear. 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 they may also wear Western suit as you would expect to see in the UK. The men also have henna on their bodies but it is less elaborate and often hidden beneath their clothes.
Traditionally, a Japanese groom will wear a wedding kimono for the actual ceremony and will then get changed into a tuxedo. The formal kimono that he wears is called a montsuki, and often displays the family crest. More recently, probably due to western influence, younger grooms start the ceremony in a tuxedo too.
In China, the husband-to-be traditionally wears a black silk coat over an embroidered robe. 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.