What to Wear at a Traditional Indian Wedding

Indian weddings have a well-earned reputation for being extravagant, exhilarating and unlike anything else you’ve experienced. Often spanning several days, they involve a large number of guests and a no holds barred approach.

If you’ve been invited to an Indian wedding for the first time, you’re probably wondering what to wear. The wedding attire that you may be used to isn’t gonna cut it this time around, and instead you have an opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone and try something new and exciting for the first time.

Understand what type of ceremony you’re attending

Traditional Indian weddings can go for up to three days. Each of these days involves a different ceremony that requires a different dress code.

The first day involves a Ganesha Pooja, which is a Hindu ceremony for close family and friends that takes place at home. The second day is the Sangeet, which is a joyous evening of celebration for the couples’ loved ones. Typically on this day, the bride is adorned in henna tattoos. The third day is when the ceremony takes place, followed by a reception.

Dressing conservatively is essential, especially for religious ceremonies. The more traditional the venue (such as a mosque or temple), the more traditional your attire will have to be. Traditional ceremonies will require guests to cover their shoulders and sometimes even their heads. This will most commonly occur during Sikh ceremonies, whereas during Hindu ceremonies more relaxed clothing is allowed, such as pantsuits and sarees.

No matter what religion the ceremony is, the reception will generally allow guests the most freedom regarding their attire as you’re there to celebrate and be comfortable.

Wear lots of colour

One of the most important elements of dressing for an Indian wedding is colour. While it’s common to wear black and other neutral colours at western weddings, bright and bold is always the style in India.

Generally, guests are encouraged to wear pastels for daytime events and jewel tones in the evening. However, stay away from red and pink and these are the colours that the bride often wears.

Cover up

While different ceremonies and different religions will dictate just how conservatively you’ll have to dress, in order to be respectful you’ll still have to cover up to a certain degree at any traditional Indian wedding.

You’ll be expected to cover up your shoulders, legs, and sometimes even your arms. For women, form-fitting dresses and exposed cleavage are also considered inappropriate, so if you’re wearing Western attire make sure they cover all the areas that Indian garments do.

Traditional garments

If you really want to embrace and immerse yourself in Indian culture, wearing a traditional garment to the wedding is the way to go. There are a number of different styles of clothing available that will suit every style and price point. Here are some of the most commonly worn traditional garments:

Sherwani

Designer Sherwani for Groom

A sherwani is a traditional long coat-like top for men and is commonly worn during traditional ceremonies like weddings. Sherwanis for men are stylish, colourful and long-sleeved, making them the perfect attire for any type of Indian wedding. It’s typically worn over a kurta or a shirt, with fitted pants.

The sherwani represents royalty and elegance and is made from luxurious materials such as silk and velvet. They have evolved over time to incorporate more modern fabrics, cuts and embroidery, helping them to remain highly popular and respected. Designer sherwanis for grooms are also very popular, thanks to their high quality and enduring appeal.

Bandhgala

The bandhgala is considered to be the Indian version of the tuxedo and is the perfect combination of western and Indian sensibilities. Also known as the Jodhpuri, it is Indian’s oldest formal suit. Perfect for a formal event, the bandhgala comes in a variety of colours, patterns and embellishments.

Indo-western

Indo-western fashions are an increasingly popular combination of Indian and western styles that draw inspiration from both traditional and contemporary influences. They are appropriate for more casual wedding attire, such as the reception. However, they are modern and stylish enough that you’ll be able to get plenty of wear out of them at other types of events.

Kurta wear

A kurta is a long, loose collarless shirt traditionally made with cotton or silk. Kurta pajamas for men are highly popular and versatile and can be used for both casual occasions and formal events alike. As trends have evolved, kurtas with standing collars have become more common and sought-after. They can also be worn by women, and are known as kurti.

The best part about dressing for an Indian wedding is that it allows you to wear something elegant, colourful and bold. With so much of western style rooted in minimalism, it’s an exciting chance to embrace the fun and fearless traditional fashions of India.

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Sushrit Vaiyata

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