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What to wear for Asian weddings

Lots of people ask me what’s the appropriate thing to wear to a wedding, so here’s a breakdown for you….

At the ripe old age of 28, I’m finding myself making more and more appearances at friends’ wedding receptions. Compared to last year (when I attended zero wedding parties), this year sees a whopping increase with at least five wedding receptions attended so far.  And for the coming year, I have already RSVP-ed to two wedding parties. Whoa!

It seems like everybody in their late twenties suddenly realizes that this is their last chance to get hitched before the dreaded 3-0 creeps up on them. Anyhow, it was at these joyous-yet-super-boring, cookie-cutter wedding receptions that I often see foreigners (friends of the bride or groom) showing up wearing something red. More often than not, the guys come wearing either red neckties or red dress shirts, and the girls in red dresses.

And every time that I saw this happening (which is like, every time), I kept wondering whether these foreigners think that red is the only appropriate color when attending Asian wedding parties, because it certainly is not!

Here in Thailand, basically any color goes. The only two colors to stay away from are black (indicates mourning) and white (that's the bride’s color, kind of a universal rule there).

In India, never wear white as it symbolizes death. Other than that, any color goes as well, but the bride gets to wear red and gold for the occasion.

Japan seems to be a little off on its own on this subject. Whereas black symbolizes death in many Asian countries, it is regarded here as the appropriate color for formal wedding receptions.

Now in China, Taiwan, and other Chinese-speaking countries, you will of course want to wear red, red and more red. It’s kind of like giving them a four-leaf clover. It just means good things are coming your way.

So next time you find yourself going to an Asian wedding, remember these little rules. Red is great and is usually a safe bet, but you certainly have more color choices when it comes to choosing an outfit. Unless you are trying to ruin the party, avoid white and black in general.

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