Check out these stylish fashion options for the Japanese bride, groom, and even the guests.
The traditional Japanese wedding dress is a white silk kimono called a shiro-maku, meaning “pure white.” For the ceremony, the bride also puts on a white hood known as a Tsuno kakushi that, according to custom, is meant to hide the bride’s horns of jealousy and prove her obedience to her husband.
For the reception, the bride changes into an uchikake. This red silk kimono has long, flowing sleeves and is often embroidered with flowers or cranes. Not only is the uchikake thought to bring the bride good fortune -- red is a lucky color in Japan -- it also provides a way to honor family since the kimonos are passed down through generations. Don’t have one? Don’t stress. It’s it's perfectly okay for brides to rent or buy new ones instead.
Some Japanese brides will paint their bodies and faces white, symbolizing purity. A bride’s hair is usually pulled back in a tight bun called bunkin-takashimada and adorned with gold accessories known as kanzashi.
A Japanese groom also wears a formal kimono, called a montsuki kimono. It’s tied at the waist with a sash and tucked into loose, pleated hakama pants that fall to the ankles. The groom can also wear a matching haori overcoat, made to keep the kimono clean and dry in bad weather. The montsuki is usually black and features the groom’s family crest in white on the front and back.
Guests typically wear kimonos as well. It’s usually left up to the bride’s parents to decide whether or not to ask everyone to wear traditional Japanese dress, or to narrow it down to the bridal party only. If you’re invited to a Japanese wedding and plan to wear a kimono, keep in mind that unmarried women customarily wear vibrant patterns while married women generally sport more subdued styles.