So you have been invited to attend an Indian wedding! Congratulations! I can imagine that you are extremely excited but, at the same time, maybe slightly unsure of the appropriate outfit that you as a guest should wear. In this guide, we will ease your confusion and stress by helping you figure out what to wear as a guest. Fortunately, the best part about Indian weddings is that they are heavily known for their festive feel, extravagance, and traditional celebration of love. So by the end of this guide, not only will you be confident that you are dressed for the occasion, but you will also be self-assured that you are getting the full cultural experience. With that being said, let's get started.
Step 1 - Choosing the Garment - Resorting to the Classics
The reality is every Indian wedding will always be different, but fortunately, the classic and traditional wear will always remain relevant. For a conventional ceremony, it is always an option to wear traditional Indian clothes as a guest.
For women, this usually includes a colorful saree that consists of one very long piece of fabric wrapped around the body and draped over a shoulder that covers the ankles.
For men, the classic wedding attire is usually a long-sleeved tunic and pair of pants.
Usually, for both men and women guests, wedding attire is expected to be vibrant and concentrated with highly saturated colors, patterns, and prints. The best place to find these types of garments is by visiting local Indian, Pakistani, or Nepalese bazaars or markets that usually carry these types of clothing. But, of course, the last thing you should do is ask the bride and groom for fashion tips considering that they are already busy stressing and planning the wedding.
Step 2 - Choosing Colors - Be Conscious of Cultural Norms
Great, so now that you know the basic garment to wear, it comes down to choosing the details such as colors and patterning. When it comes to Indian weddings, it's important to be aware of how these weddings differ from traditional western ceremonies; among the key differences is the standard colors of garments. In traditional western culture, wearing white is seen as a symbol of peace and purity. In South Asian culture, however, white is seen as a symbol of mourning and is associated with funerals. So the key fact to remember for Indian weddings is to stay away from both black and white. Besides these two colors, every other color is fair game and encouraged for guests to wear.
Step 3- Choosing the Appropriate Style & Fit - Being Respectful of the Culture
In addition to choosing the appropriate garments and colors, it is also vital to select the proper style of clothing that is respectful of the culture. The first aspect of this is to bring a head covering. For example, for women wearing a saree, they can either use their drape fabric to cover their head or bring a scarf. For men, they can bring a handkerchief to cover their heads for the wedding ceremony.
Besides this, men and women should also be conscious about covering up. For example, most traditional Indian wedding wear should cover the shoulders, legs, and arms. Additionally, always avoid clothing that reveals cleavage or previously mentioned areas. Lastly, make sure that your dress is not tight or clings to the body.
Step 4 - Choosing the Accessories
Now that you have chosen your garment, color, and style, it's time to accessorize. Accessories are a big part of Indian weddings and are a big part of style choice. For women, it is advised to bring out your best jewelry for the wedding event. Some possible suggested accessories include:
At the end of the day, make sure to accessorize and wear your best and what is comfortable. Weddings don't happen very often, so make sure to go all out and do your part as a guest to show your appreciation for the couple getting married.