This unnamed bride is wearing traditional Japanese wedding attire. Her kimono, called iro-uchikake, is traditional bridalwear in Shinto weddings. Iro-uchikake is richly colored, in this case a deep red, and embroidered with flowers, animals, or other special, unique designs. In this image, the bride chose a rich gold floral pattern. The kimono has long, trailing sleeves and a padded hem to protect it as it trails along the floor. Unlike ‘everyday’ kimono, iro-uchikake are worn open rather than tied close. The headpiece is a tsunokakushi. This roughly translates to “hides her horns.” The elaborate headpiece is meant to prevent jealousy and ill thought against her mother-in-law. The woman behind the bride is wearing a traditional black kimono. Mothers of the bride and groom traditionally wear black kimono. The family’s symbol is embroidered on their black kimono, symbolically welcoming the bride or groom to their household.
Northern Macedonian wedding, with money tradition (c. 1973)
Macedonian weddings are multi-day affairs. They start the Monday before the wedding by confining the bride to her house and putting her trousseau on display. After some smaller wedding events, the Big Show kicks off on a Saturday, when the food is prepared and the day passes with groom’s wedding procession (the patinadha) and dancing. The bride and her relatives receive the patinadha and join them in a bridal dance (kalamatiano). Sunday brings another procession, the ceremony, and more dancing. The post-wedding dance might include pinning money on the newlywed’s clothes to offer them a step toward prosperity in their lives together.
This image of a Romanian bride and groom features a baby wearing a bread ring as a necklace. This was likely not just something to pacify the child. In Romania, bread is an important part of a wedding ceremony. In the religious ceremony, the bride and groom eat three bites of bread and drink wine. This represents the hope of a prosperous, good life that they will share. In addition to the bread used in the ceremony, there is a braided wedding bread. The bread, called colacul miresei, is broken over the bride’s head by her godmother. The bride shared the bread and a beverage with the wedding guests. The bread brings good luck to the guests who eat it.
Prince Naruhito and Masako Owada, Japan’s Royal Wedding (1993)
Crown Prince Naruhito proposed to diplomat Masako Owada. Three times. Twice she refused. The third time she accepted, marrying him in June of 1993. Masako was a modern Princess. She was educated at Harvard and Oxford. She had a diplomatic career with the Foreign Ministry. This was controversial; traditionalists felt she was “too outspoken and Americanized.” Modernists wanted her to keep her career instead of leaving to be married. Despite the couple’s modern lives, their wedding was traditional. They wore 8th century Heian-era attire. Crown Princess Masako’s twelve-layered silk kimono weighed 13.5 kilograms (30 pounds). Prince Naruhito wore the orange robe representing Japan’s rising sun, which only the Crown Prince can wear. The couple’s daughter, Aiko, was born in 2001. Masako withdrew from public life in 2004 for personal reasons. She has slowly been returning to public life after she and Naruhito became Emperor and Empress of Japan in 2019.
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