This article continues from Japanese Wedding Guide for Guests | Part-1”.
In Part-1, we write about the different types of weddings in Japan and what to prepare for a wedding ceremony. If you haven’t read it yet, read Part-1 first.
What to wear for a wedding ceremony and reception
- Formal wear is required.
- White suits and white dresses (or similar colors) should be avoided as these colors are for the bride and groom, who are the center of attention.
- Since it is a celebration, avoid anything that evokes the image of killing (leather goods such as snakeskin or alligator skin, dresses, and accessories with animal fur, no matter real or fake). (Leather shoes are acceptable, but you should wear plain and simple ones without much decoration.)
Wear a black or dark-colored (navy blue, black, or dark gray) ceremonial suit. If you don’t have a ceremonial suit, wear a black or dark-colored business suit that you normally wear.
A plain white shirt is a safe choice.
Ties should not be black (as it reminds of mourning). It is also a good idea to avoid animal prints and overly flashy patterns.
Only black socks are allowed. Choose black socks with some length. (Socks that do not show your ankles)
- Many people wear one-piece dresses or two-piece pantsuits (“co-ords”). Below are some examples.
- Avoid white or beige, as these are the colors of the bride.
- A black dress or suit is also fine, but accessories, innerwear, and small items should be used to make it look less like a mourning dress.
- For a noon ceremony, choose a dress that does not show too much of the shoulders or chest, and is not too revealing.
- Kimonos are also good because they are formal wear. (Yukata is not.) If you want to wear a kimono, ask the bride and groom if they have a kimono-dressing service available. (You can also look for a kimono dressing service near the wedding venue or near your home.)
If you have a set of kimonos, bring them with you; if not, rent them near the wedding venue or your home. Some kimono rental shops will even provide you with a dressing service.
The type of kimono you wear will depend on whether you are a relative of the bride or groom, and whether you are married or unmarried. It’s confusing, so if you are renting, consult the store staff.
Wear natural pantyhose that match your skin tone.
Wear shoes with a heel that does not show the toe or heel. Boots are not allowed.
A small, thin purse or clutch bag is recommended. (You can check normal-sized bags and luggage at the cloakroom [checkroom].)
You need to keep it behind your back during the ceremony and reception, so you only need the bare minimum of what you can carry inside: lipstick, handkerchief, smartphone, small wallet, etc.
There are no restrictions, but avoid anything too large or too flashy (that would make you stand out more than the bride). In Japan, pearl accessories are commonly used for formal occasions.
You can also wear a fascinator or a small hat, but it is Japanese etiquette to take off your hat when it is indoors or during meals. If you are worried about losing your hairstyle by putting it on and taking it off, do not wear it.
*Dresses like the ones in the photos below are often worn.
Part-3 features the process of participating in the ceremony on the wedding day, frequently asked questions, and things that surprised foreigners who have attended weddings in Japan.