- Getting dressed up in something special is part of the excitement that is going to a wedding.
- Around the world, people wear a variety of clothing to get married or attend a wedding.
- While in the UK it’s common for guests to wear hats when attending a wedding, traditional Peruvian dress for wedding guests typically includes wearing multiple skirts at a time.
The ways people dress for weddings can differ around the world.
And the bride and groom aren’t the only ones who can wear traditional wedding outfits. In many countries, guests will also don outfits that can reflect their customs and religious beliefs.
Of course, traditions may vary by region, and not everyone from a certain culture or country practices the same things.
Take a look at what traditional wedding guest attire may look like around the world.
Traditional female dress for a Mandarin wedding typically features a qipao — also known as a cheongsam.
Traditional qipao can be a one- or two-piece, knee-length, or floor-length silk dress, and will often feature an embroidered floral pattern. You can also spot a high or low collar around the neckline.
Malaysia is made up of several different cultures. But for the Malay people in particular, women sporting traditional wedding attire might wear a baju kurung.
The baju kurung is typical everyday wear as well. So to dress it up for weddings, some guests may wear a variation known as baju kurung cekak musang, which has a Mandarin-style collar with five buttons. It’s usually velvet and may feature a special brocade pattern.
Guests of a Hindu wedding traditionally come dressed in bright saris. At some weddings, the guests may even coordinate their outfits to make a human rainbow, which is said to wish the couple a harmonious life together.
Wearing a bright colour can be seen as a sign of respect for the newlyweds, while wearing a dark sari could be interpreted as highly offensive to them.
Dressing in bright colours and pulling out all the stops is highly encouraged at a traditional Yoruba or Igbo Nigerian wedding.
While the colours and accessories may be bright, guests traditionally wear more conservatively-cut dresses. Guests may also wear a matching gele — or head-wrap — that’s been specially made for the occasion.
The agbada seen here was historically part of traditional Yoruba dress. Now, it’s caught on throughout the world, but you can still find men sporting the wide-sleeved robe to weddings.
It’s customary for guests of an Orthodox Jewish wedding to make sure their knees, elbows, shoulders, and necklines are completely covered. Men will usually wear a yarmulke — also called a kippah or head covering — through both the ceremony and reception.
At an ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding the men will likely wear robes and shtreimel — a round, fur hat.
In Ghana, you may find guests wrapped in dresses made from kente — a woven West African fabric in colourful patterns.
Guests at a traditional Indonesian wedding might wear a kebaya pictured here or a batik — an outfit of a blouse and dress, or a dress made from a patterned, waxy fabric.
Kebaya comes in several varieties depending on which in Indonesian culture you’re talking about. The Balinese kebaya traditionally features lace and floral patterns in a myriad of colour ways.
It’s customary for men at Indonesian weddings — particularly in the Javanese culture — to wear a batik collard shirt like the ones shown here. The word batik refers to the pattern and the way the shirt was made.
Clothing is highly celebrated in Tibetan culture, so dressing up for weddings is a big deal. Men typically wear a decorated white shirt with a popped collar, and women will wear a more colourful outfit sometimes featuring an apron or a wide, flowing robe depending on the region.
Cultural Tibetan women can also be seen wearing headdresses like the one pictured here on different special occasions. There are a lot of variations, but ultimately the headdress in general is an important part of festive attire.
Guests in a traditional Chechen wedding will wear conservative, formal dresses and hijab — a head scarf — as a result of a dress code strictly enforced by the government.
Traditional Kurdish dress for women includes lots and lots of layers. While details vary across regions, typically the outfit includes long pants under long dresses, layered under a jacket or vest, and fashioned with a belt — all in bright colours.
Shoes embroidered with colourful beads or precious stones are also part of the traditional wedding attire, as are layers and layers of gold jewellery.
During one of the many celebrations that make up a traditional Jordanian wedding, the women in the groom’s family will join the bride in wearing a traditional thobe dress seen here. This is said to let everyone know they are relatives of the groom.
Styles of the thobe dress are different depending on what region you’re in. The Jordanian thobe shares its red, black, and white motif with the Syrian thobe.
Some male guests may come wearing a traditional shemagh — the tasseled, red and white head scarf seen here — but it’s not a requirement.
Guests at a traditional Moroccan wedding may break out their colourful kaftan — a dress that acts as an overlay for layers underneath — for the occasion.
Another popular outer layer at weddings is the karakou — more of a jacket. It’s traditionally worn to celebrate Algerian weddings.
Karakou can come in different styles, colours, and necklines, but it’s almost always made of velvet and heavily embroidered.
Members of a traditional Mixtecos, Mexican, bridal party may be asked to wear classic, colourful attire similar to what’s pictured below.
Guests may wear traditional ao dai pictured here — a fitted, silk dress worn by men and women — to a Vietnamese wedding. Ao dai can come in different sleeve-lengths, styles, and colours.
At an Amish wedding, you may find female guests and bridesmaids in long dresses, aprons, white caps, and sometimes a black cape — similar to these outfits.
Men in attendance may wear dark pants, white shirts, and sometimes jackets — their typical Sunday outfits — similar to what you see here. While it’s not common for men in the Amish community to wear a necktie every day, they may wear one to a wedding.
At a traditional Xhosa wedding, there’s a chance you’ll find the bride, groom, and their guests sporting outfits made of shweshwe — a cotton fabric that has been dyed and printed with different colours and patterns.
Basotho women will sometimes wear a dress made from seshoeshoe — seen here — to a traditional wedding in Lesotho. The dress can be made in any pattern and colour combination as it’s made of the same shweshwe cloth that’s popular across South Africa.
As such an integral part of Basotho culture and history, the wool blanket seen here is also traditionally worn to weddings. Women may wear it draped over their seshoeshoe, or wrapped around their waist.
The Basotho blanket is a unisex garment and may be worn by everyone.
There are nearly 10 different costume variations cross Macedonia and many of them involve embroidery and embellishments.
Traditional folk costumes for a Galicnik wedding can weigh nearly 55 pounds — or 25 kilograms. They’re made of mostly red and white fabric and are heavily embroidered, especially across the sleeves and top half of the dress.
Folk costume for men in a Galicnik wedding means a black coat and a shallow, round, black cap.
It’s traditional for villagers all over Peru to wear their colourful clothing during special occasions like weddings. Whether that’s polleras, — woven skirts, which typically get stacked one on top of the next — or ponchos typically worn by men, each village has its own unique version.
Russia is both geographically and culturally vast, which means there’s no one tradition when it comes to wedding attire. However, in the central, southern city of Tomsk, traditional wedding costume may include a sarafan — jumper — with a blouse underneath.
It was once a popular choice for wedding-wear across different parts of Russia, with red being the colour of choice.
Wedding guests in the UK are often known to sport hats, and fascinators — smaller, sometimes more ornate hats — have become increasingly popular since the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.
It’s customary for guests and members of the wedding party to wear a hanbok at a traditional Korean wedding.
With a characteristically fitted top and wider bottom, the hanbok can come in different colours featuring different patterns. They’re less common at weddings today, as the guest list may largely be made up of coworkers — which has set the dress code at more of a business or business casual attire.
It’s traditional for guests of a wedding in Comoros to wear shiromani or sahari na soubaiya — a sari-like outfit consisting of two pieces of patterned cloth.
While women may wear the garment draped over their heads, men typically will wear a head-covering of their own to the wedding. This embroidered cap is called a kofia.
There are several elements that make up the costumes of Maramures, Romania, which may be worn during traditional weddings. For women, notable parts of the outfit are the puffy sleeves coming together in a cuff, the kerchief, and the aprons.
For men, it’s the white shirt, trousers, hat, and jerkin — the embellished vest seen here. Both costumes, though, traditionally feature a loom-woven bag with some sort of distinct pattern.
It wasn’t until 1840, when Queen Victoria wore white, that the white wedding dress became a new norm for weddings in the US — subsequently removing it from the wardrobes of many guests.
Before that, brides would typically wear whatever dress they deemed the best one in their closets as white was — and let’s be honest, still is — extremely difficult to clean.
People around the world have since adopted this piece of Western culture — which means it’s becoming more common for guests to follow the don’t-wear-white-to-a-wedding rule.
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