Formal Wear: Weddings

  July 16, 2022   Read time 2 min
Formal Wear: Weddings
Ties, however, are quite likely to be worn at weddings, and a groom may also wear a light colored suit like off-white or olive green rather than the more common gray or navy blue. Male guests usually wear darker colored suits.

On formal occasions like weddings, women dress like movie stars on premiere night. Because the genders are segregated on such occasions, women spare no effort to present an impressive image: low-cut dresses in heavily embroidered fabrics revealing a lot of cleavage and bare legs are quite usual, even for women who generally observe the hijab rules in mixed company.

On the wedding morning, the bride and her close female relatives visit the beautician/hairdresser. Traditionally, single women had their eyebrows shaped and facial hair removed with a twisted thread for the very first time a couple of days before their wedding, a visual indication of entering marital status. On the big day the bride would be made up in bold colors, while any unmarried sisters and cousins would wear muted, low-key make-up. Her mother and middle-aged matrons would also wear make-up, but nothing excessive. However, these practices are now changing, at least among some urban families. Young women often have their eyebrows shaped irrespective of their marital status, while both married and unmarried young women may wear make-up as flashy as they dare, and sport quite extravagant hairdos. Even middle-aged women, if they are close relatives of the bride or the groom, now will dress more like the younger women.

Bridal make-up and hairdressing salons are booming businesses in Iran. A bridal party made up of the bride, her mother and sisters, and possibly one or two aunts will spend the whole day of the wedding until the evening at the hairdresser’s salon getting prepared for the reception. The cost of a bridal make-up and hairdo ranges from about $400 (or £250) for the bride only (equivalent to a teacher’s monthly salary), depending on the hairdresser’s location. The total bill for the bridal party make-up is paid for by the groom.

Make-up fashion shows the influence of neighboring Arab countries, such as Khâliji (Gulf-style) and Loobnâni (Lebanese). Other current make-up fashion items are temporary tattoos on bare arms, the neck, and cheeks, make-up that looks like a tan, hair extensions, and color contact lenses. When the bride is dressed and made up in the beauty salon, she wears a specially made white chador or long cape and hood to cover her gown and make-up for the ride to the reception hall. The groom picks up the bride from the beauty salon in a flower-decorated car in which, if she is not particularly bothered about the hijab rules, she may take the white chador off. Brides that observe the hijab rules closely may also cover their faces because of the heavy make-up, probably the only instance of face-covering in mainstream Iranian culture. Covering the face is extremely unusual in Iran and is likely to attract curious stares.

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