The Halakhah is concerned not only with the souls of Jews, but with their appearance. They must be modest as well as attractive. A normal amount of ornament and color in daily life are considered both innocent and proper, but excess ornamentation and loud clothes are offensive. (Admittedly, there is a fine line between good taste and bad taste.) The Talmud teaches that a woman gives her husband proper cause for divorce if she takes a vow not to wear colorful apparel or ornaments.

The bride and groom are considered as king and queen at the time of their wedding and should dress accordingly. The Talmud reports that in ancient times the bride and groom wore crowns—the rich wore gold, the poor wore braided wool. The Rabbis later ruled that, in respect to the war and bloodshed during and after the Second Temple’s destruction, such pomp and show were inappropriate.

The bride, at her first marriage, traditionally wears white as a sign of purity on the wedding day, which is considered to be a day of repentance and forgiveness. It also indicates that she has practiced the purification rites of mikvah before the wedding.

Some grooms choose to wear a kitel, a white linen robe, which is donned over the clothes as the groom arrives under the chuppah, and is removed at the end of the service. Two reasons are offered by the tradition. One is that the kitel represents a shroud, reminding the groom that though he is a king and center of attention, he is only a mortal and should repent and see to it that his actions are sensitive rather than haughty and vulgar. Second, it symbolizes forgiveness and purity to demonstrate that all the sins of bride and groom are forgiven on their wedding day. Support is derived from Isaiah 1:18: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." The western idea of the bride wearing "something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue" is apparently not rooted in the Jewish tradition.

The bride also wears a veil, reminiscent of the matriarch Rebecca, which the groom ceremoniously places over her face. The groom wears a head covering as well, as should all the male guests; indeed, all men and women who take part in the procession should do so.

The Rabbis saw danger in needless extravagance. They were especially sensitive at occasions such as weddings to the fact that such display could cause grief to the poor side of the family. Lack of jewelry on such an occasion is a sober reminder of the destruction of the Temple. Traditionally, therefore, only discreet jewelry or other ornaments are worn.