Whilst many brides agonize over the style of wedding dress, for some Japanese couples, it’s the ceremony itself which may pose the biggest dilemma. The typical marriage in Japan would once have taken place in a traditional Shinto setting, with the bride clad in a pure white kimono known as shiromuku. Recently however, Western style ceremonies have become de rigour for fashionable young couples. Along with Western vows, music and tuxedos, the Tokyo fashion scene has enthusiastically embraced frothy bridal couture.
Whilst grooms tend to favour the traditional tuxedo, the modern generation of brides, having been reared on a diet of Disney princesses and Barbie, will sometimes opt for prom style ball gowns, available in colours ranging from traditional white to more flashy shades like aqua and magenta. For the die-hard cute culture fan bride, there is a range of Hello Kitty gowns, whilst for those with more regal sensibilities, fashion houses like Takami Bridal create timeless gauzy creations that wouldn’t look amiss in the courts of Marie Antoinette.
Japanese designers have also created new kimono wedding styles for those looking to blend modernity and tradition. The most popular style of kimono for modern girls is the hikifurisode, with its elegant, form fitting silhouette and graceful lines, brought up to date with contemporary looser hairstyles. Floaty uchiake kimonos many from organdy material and patterned with delicate antique floral prints or motifs such as cranes are also growing in popularity.
Some brides will solve the quandary of kimono versus Western gown by wearing a Western style wedding dress for the main ceremony, then switching to a bright hikifurisode for the after party. As any Tokyo fashion queen knows, making a statement is everything- so why pass up the chance to make double the impact?