The dress code for weddings around the world

The dress code for weddings around the world

You might be stuck for what to wear if you’ve been invited to a wedding in a different culture. When it comes to colours and dress code, what sort of thing should you choose? To get you fully prepared, we take a look at what you can expect the bride, groom and other guests to be wearing at each wedding. CT shirts, retailer of men’s tuxedo tell us more:


Have you ever wondered how the traditional white dress compares to the outfit worn by brides in India, Japan and China?


When it comes to what the bride is wearing in India, it often depends on which region of the country 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. Often the bride is dressed in red or another vibrant colour, her garments will be carefully embroidered with an impressive design.

Both the bride and her bridal party also are painted with henna on their palms, hands, forearms and legs.


A Japanese wedding is known for being very elaborate. In fact, it is acceptable for families to spend close to £75,000 on a wedding 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!

For a traditional (Shinto) wedding, the bride wears a white kimono, but more recently Japanese brides wear a dress that has a traditional print.


You can expect the bride to be wearing the colour red. This 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.

Another part of the wedding costume is the bridal crown, it is worn for photography or for show at a grand occasion. 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 main males of the wedding often have to follow traditional dress codes. However, many of them are opting for a smart suit similar to how a groom in the UK would dress.


Traditions are similar to the women’s as 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 a Western suit.

The men of the wedding often have henna on their bodies too, but it is less elaborate.


What does a traditional Japanese groom wear? They wear a wedding kimono for the ceremony and then changes into a 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.


The groom in China is traditionally dressed in a black silk coat and embroidered robe. Often, in the modern day, the overcoat is not worn.

Headwear is also an important part of a groom’s outfit. 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.

The guests’ outfits

You mightn’t be aware, but there are many traditions and symbols that you should learn about before you choose what to wear.


Don’t be afraid to go bold and bright to an Indian wedding. Wearing vibrant colours will mean you fit in with the Indian guests. Guests should avoid white or black as these are colours worn for funerals and mourning in India. It is also advised that red is not worn either as the bride will probably be dressed in this colour.

The female guests should avoid baring their shoulders or wearing low cut tops. This can be seen as disrespectful — a jewel-tone dress with a shawl is one appropriate outfit. The Indian female guests will most likely be dressed in colourful sarees or anarkali suits. Jewellery is important for women too, choose a statement piece for around your neck with matching earrings and bangles.

What do the male guests wear? They often wear a tailored kurta with a pyjama and a dupatta (shawl) can be added over the kurta. For their feet, sandals, jootis or chappals are often worn as these are comfortable and prevent overheating.

You might find that guests are required to cover their heads too if the wedding is held in a temple. For this, women can wear a long scarf or pashmina over their heads and men are usually provided with a head cover such as a large handkerchief.

Did you know that an Indian wedding is often a drawn-out event? It can be three days long! Make sure you are wearing something loose and comfortable.


When attending a traditional Japanese wedding, men were once expected to be dressed very formally with a black suit and white tie. Now however, the dress code is more flexible and it is accepted for men to come dressed in suits other than black with various coloured ties. However, it is advised to avoid white clothes with black ties.

What do women guests wear? They often wear dresses that are knee length or a coloured kimono to take on a traditional look. It is best to avoid showing any shoulder as this can be deemed a disrespectful.


If you’re deciding what to wear to a Chinese wedding, avoid wearing red as this can be seen as trying to steal the limelight from the bride. It’s best to wear pink, peach or purple as these are all symbols of new life and happiness. A formal dress is suitable for a Chinese wedding.

Avoid wearing black and white, as these symbolise mourning and black is considered to be the colour of bad luck.



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