Monday, June 3, 2013

Wedding Kimono Colors and Motifs

A reader recently asked about wedding kimono colors and motifs, so here's my quick translation and summary on exactly this topic from a Japanese wedding/special occasion florist site. :)


"There are what are called the "three primary colors" for a Japanese wedding kimono: white, black and red.

White can be seen on shiromuku (all white wedding kimono) and black in some hikizuri (trailing kimono), but where do we see red used?

Red is a truly supreme color when used with "color-uchikake" (non-white overcoat wedding kimono). Note that by "red", I mean only a true vermilion. This red is a classic and traditional Japanese color.

It is a lively color with several meanings: strong magic, protection from disaster, and exorcism of bad luck or bad spirits."

It goes on to say that due to use from noble houses, red also has the feeling of being a rich, splendid color.

"However, when it comes to choosing wedding kimono, you're not limited strictly to red, black, or white. For example, purple gives the feeling of nobility and high class, green suggests harmony, and pink gives a feeling of happiness."

Because the bride is so important, the company advises readers to carefully consider the colors used in the wedding hall so the bride's kimono doesn't get visually lost in a bunch of colors.


There are many auspicious patterns for wedding kimono.

"When we say 'auspicious patterns', we mean things like the classic 'pine/bamboo/plum' combination motif, cranes, tortoises, and phoenixes.

(Here the tortoise is included
with the plum, pine, bamboo motif.)

Other 'auspicious motifs' include the geometric "shippo", the 'treasure ship' motif (a ship laden with treasure or containing the Seven Immortals), Heian-era ox-drawn carriages, or any motif with lucky connotations."

You can also choose a motif that is not specifically an auspicious motif, but in that case you need to carefully consider the season of the motif you want to use.

If the kimono contains auspicious motifs, it can be worn any time of year, but if it has a normal motif it is bound by that motif's seasonality in terms of when you can wear it. For example, it wouldn't look good to wear a fall-themed kimono with red maple leaves to a spring wedding.

"The next point to consider is the proportion of your body to the designs on the kimono. Tall or bigger people should go for large, boldly sized designs and short or smaller people should go with smaller, finer designs. Generally speaking, you want to create balance between yourself and the kimono."

Always double-check your height and the kimono's height as you'll need to both take pictures and walk in it.

All images from Ichiroya and used with permission.
Source: Dramatic Flowers