During your stay in Japan, you might be lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s wedding. Besides your obvious joy for the couple, you might become anxious as to what to wear!
Generally, weddings are considered formal events in Japan (although it is now trendy to hold weddings with a more casual atmosphere). Because of the formal character it is protocol to put in some extra effort to dress up nicely for the occasion. Here are some more detailed rules.
It’s a pretty common rule that is applicable not only to Japanese weddings but also to weddings in a lot of other places in the world. Wearing white is a no-no because white is only reserved for the bride, and it would be rude to look like you’re trying to outshine the bride on her special day.
Strapless gowns and other shoulder-baring garments could be perfectly acceptable in weddings in other countries, but they are inappropriate for daytime weddings in Japan. Shoulder-baring clothes are considered too showy and not formal enough for a wedding. What girls tend to do instead is match their dresses with a bolero or short jacket, creating an outfit that is girly and more formal at the same time.
Girls attending Japanese weddings typically wear fairly elaborate hairstyles, as befitting to the big occasion that a wedding is. Doing up your hair is a way to show your well wishes to the newly-weds, and it is considered rude to leave your hair in its natural state, or wear a casual hairstyles. Women usually book an appointment with the hairdresser to style their hair (typically in up-dos) before attending a wedding, and often come out of the salon looking ready to get wed in any other country.
Simple is best is not the rule for Japanese weddings: women who attend weddings make an effort to wear their finest: long pearl necklaces, shiny hair accessories and dangly earrings are not uncommon. The more the better!
As you can imagine, Japanese weddings turn out to be quite frou-frou and dressy (and we are not even talking about the bride here). Arguably, it is a reflection of how fashion tends to be girlier in Japan than in most other countries.