What do you wear for a wedding in a different culture?

Once the excitement of receiving a wedding invitation has worn off, it’s time to start planning your outfit. Choosing a guest outfit for a wedding in the UK can be tricky enough, but what about if you’ve been invited to a wedding of a different culture or country? Not only do you have to think about what might look good, but what will suit the culture, wedding style, and the weather.

What will the bride be wearing?

British brides are likely to be wearing white or ivory at a traditional wedding, and are likely to have a long train and a veil. But do brides around the world wear the same?


In India, the bride’s dress depends on the region that they’re from. Some regions of India will see the bride wearing a saree. Whereas in other regions, the bride will wear a lehenga (a long skirt). Brides in India tend to be dressed in red or another vibrant colour. Henna often features on the bride and the bridal party too.


Japanese weddings can be very extravagant and this that can afford it can spend around £75,000 on a wedding day! Because of the large and elaborate nature of the weddings, the bride can often have around five outfits to wear on the wedding day! 


In China, it is likely that the bride will be dressed in red. The colour is seen as a sign of good luck that can warn off evil spirits. In some regions, the traditional attire for a bride is a one-piece dress that is embroidered with gold and silver. In other regions, the typical wear is a two-piece frock.

What will the groom be wearing?

Men around the world often have traditional dress that they are expected to follow. But more recently, more and more are choosing a smart suit, much more similar to  UK groom. 


Some grooms will wear traditional dress, such as a dhoti (a square cloth that ties round their waist). Others may wear a sherwani (long coat), a kurta (loose, long shirt), or a smart suit.


Traditionally, a Japanese groom wears a wedding kimono for the ceremony and then changes into a tuxedo afterwards. More recently, more modern grooms start the ceremony in a tuxedo too.


In China, the groom tends to wear a black silk coat over an embroidered robe. The groom has to wear something on their head too, usually a black hat with a red tassel. This is fading out though with more modern grooms choosing to wear a tuxedo or smart suit instead. 

What should the guests wear?

It can be difficult to choose an outfit as a guest, as there are many traditions, signs, symbols that you may be unaware of. the last thing that you want is to offend anyone.


At an Indian wedding, the bolder your outfit, the better. 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. Red is good to avoid as the bride is likely to be in red. 

Outfits should deb modest, not baring shoulders, be low cut or short, as it is a sign of disrespect. Jewellery is a must for a wedding in India – the bolder, the better.

Guests might be expected to cover their heads 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.


In Japan it is advised to avoid white clothes with black ties, as it may be what the groom is wearing. Dresses for women should be knee length or you could choose a colourful kimono instead. It is best to avoid showing any shoulder as this can be deemed a disrespectful like in Indian culture.


When choosing what to wear for a wedding in China, avoid wearing red as the bride is likely to be in red. It can be best to wear pink, peach or purple as these are all symbols of new life and happiness. Avoid black and white, as these symbolise mourning and bad luck.

*collaborative post

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