Indian weddings are renowned for being one of the most extravagant and colourful ceremonies in the world. Indians take their wedding day very seriously – so seriously, in fact, that it often spans multiple days!
After the initial excitement of being invited to a traditional desi event, you might be a bit concerned about what to wear to an Indian wedding. You may be asking yourself: What is a lehenga? How do you decide which saree blouse looks good? Which dress goes with which event?
We know it can be a bit challenging as a guest to decide upon a culturally appropriate set of clothing, especially if this is your first time shopping for ethnic Indian wear. We have your back and let you know everything about what to wear to an Indian wedding.
10 Ideas On What To Wear To An Indian Wedding
Here is a breakdown of what to wear to an Indian wedding depending on the cultural zone and the particular wedding event:
1. North Indian Wedding
You may be wondering what is an Indian wedding dress called. In the northern part of India, the bride often wears an elaborate lehenga which is a long, full skirt with a fitted blouse and dupatta (a long scarf). Apart from lehengas, guests often wear sarees, which are long garments that are draped over the body and worn with a blouse which looks a bit like a fitted crop top.
2. South Indian Wedding
In the southern parts of India, women often wear a saree or a traditional garment called a pavada, which is a long, full skirt with a fitted blouse and dupatta. The garments are often made of pure silk in beautiful colours and with dazzling golden borders. If you are unsure of what to wear to an Indian wedding as a guest, you can’t go wrong with a classic pure silk saree in a bright hue, such as turquoise or magenta, with a matching or contrasting blouse.
3. West Indian Wedding
In places such as Rajasthan, traditional wedding attire includes a lehenga or saree paired with a choli (a form-fitting blouse) and is often adorned with heavy embroidery, sequins, mirror work and other embellishments.
4. North-East Indian Wedding
In the northeastern parts of India, such as Assam, women may wear a saree or a traditional garment called a Mekhela chador, which is a two-piece outfit consisting of a long, full skirt and a fitted blouse. If you’re wondering what colours to wear to an Indian wedding? Generally, you should pick bright colours instead of dull greys. Avoid all-white outfits or too much black.
5. Roka Ceremony
This is a pre-wedding ceremony where the families of the couple formally announce their intention to get married. It is typically a small gathering of close family and friends. Some ideas on what to wear to an Indian wedding Roka ceremony: an ornate kurti or a modest georgette saree is a great look for guests.
This is a ceremony where a paste made from turmeric, water, and other ingredients is applied to the skin of the bride and groom to cleanse and purify them. Here, the tradition is to wear an outfit in a shade of yellow. A mustard yellow kurti or pastel yellow maxi dress would work well.
This is a pre-wedding event where family and friends come together to sing and dance in celebration of the upcoming wedding. It is typically a festive and lively event, so wear something colourful and bold. Go all out with your most dazzling accessories and get all dolled up!
This is a ceremony where the hands and feet of the bride are adorned with intricate designs created using henna. You can wear a gown or a kurti with a matching churidar (skinny pants with bundled up fabric near the ankles). Ideally, something comfortable which you can sit in easily for longer.
9. Wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony is the main event and is typically a religious ceremony that follows the customs and traditions of the couple’s faith. So, what to wear to a wedding ceremony? Here, it would be appropriate to wear something traditional and modest. Perhaps a silk saree with an elaborate border paired with a modestly cut blouse.
Here, people dress up in both traditional outfits as well as Indo-western garb. What to wear to a reception? Well, if it’s in the evening, you could go for a long flowy gown with sequins or maybe a stunning midnight blue satin saree. Experiment with blouses that have cut-out backs or halter necks.
What To Wear To An Indian Wedding To Match The Festive Vibe
Indian weddings are colourful and vibrant, so guests may choose to wear bright and bold clothing to match the festive atmosphere. If you are totally unsure about what to wear to an Indian wedding, you could try a lehenga. Also, don’t forget to accessorize! For men, a traditional turban or a garland of flowers can add a festive touch. For women, bangles, bindis, and traditional jewellery are all popular choices. Just remember to have fun and wear something that you are comfortable dancing in!
FAQs on What To Wear To An Indian Wedding
Can I wear a normal dress to an Indian wedding?
Check with the bride and groom whether they have a dress code. Traditional Indian attire includes a sari or lehenga for women and a sherwani or kurta pyjama for men. In general, Indian weddings are typically formal events, so it’s a good idea to dress up and accessorize well.
What should I wear to an Indian wedding in the US as a guest woman?
Indian weddings can be long affairs, so it’s important to choose an outfit that you’ll be comfortable in. If you are not comfortable wearing a saree, perhaps an ornate salwar kurta would be a good option. Also, consider the weather and the location of the wedding when selecting your outfit, and choose shoes that you’ll be able to walk in comfortably.
What should a foreigner wear to an Indian wedding?
Choose sarees, lehengas and gowns that are ornate and that don’t show too much skin. In Indian culture, certain colours have specific meanings and are therefore considered auspicious or inauspicious to wear at a wedding. It’s a good idea to avoid wearing black to an Indian wedding and instead opt for colours like gold, silver, or pastel shades.