I was recently asked what a Jewish bride and groom wear. Here’s the answer for a traditional Jewish ceremony:
The Jewish Bride
The bride wears a white gown. For a most traditional ceremony, the gown is modest, with a collar that is not too low. The shoulders are covered, and maybe the elbows too (thank you Ivanka Trump, for setting the pace for elegant demure wedding gowns.)
The veil is a must. The groom traditionally lowers the bride’s veil just before the huppah ceremony. The ritual is related to the Torah passage that tells of Jacob unknowingly marrying the sister of the woman he loved. He could not tell he was marrying the wrong woman because the bride’s face was covered by a veil. Now the groom lowers the veil so he knows who he is marrying. (But why does the bride wear a veil in the first place? This post explains: Why a Jewish bride wears a veil – It might not be the reason you’ve heard.)
Any jewelry is removed before the huppah ceremony, as an indication that we marry a person, not a person’s possessions. The jewelry can go back on after the ceremony.
The Jewish Groom
The groom covers his head with a kippah (also called a yarmulke). In some communities he wears a hat on top of that. Covering our heads before God is a demonstration of respect and awe.
For the ceremony, the groom wears a tailored white robe, called a kittel, over his suit or prayer shawl, called a tallit, over his shoulders.
Both the bride and groom wear white because Judaism teaches that a person’s wedding day is a day of spiritual renewal; a personal Yom Kippur. All one’s sins are wiped away, and the bride and groom approach the huppah with spiritually pure souls.