Choosing what to wear to an Indian wedding is an important task, but it may seem stressful. Indian weddings are known for their extravagance, traditional customs and rituals, and celebrations.
As a guest, you may not be sure what to wear to maintain dress codes or follow those important rituals and customs. We have gathered the top tips for choosing outfits for an Indian wedding, as well as the different types that are traditionally worn.
Indian Wedding Outfit Tips
There are many different factors that will go into preparing for an Indian wedding. While there will probably be some dress code cues on the wedding invitation, it’s helpful to know what to consider based on those instructions. Whether it will be a traditional Indian wedding down to the outfits or will be an infusion with Western culture, here are a few top tips to consider.
Prepare for Multiple Ceremonies and Events
Traditional weddings last around three days, which may call for different outfits. The first day is Ganesha Pooja, which is a Hindu ceremony that takes place at home with close family and friends. The second day is for the sangeet or Mehendi ceremony, where the bride and groom are joined by loved ones for an evening filled with dancing and celebrating. This is often when the bride gets her henna tattoos designed on her hands and feet. The wedding ceremony takes place in the morning on the third day, followed by a reception in the evening.
For each ceremony you are invited to, you should plan to dress formally unless the bride and groom say otherwise. You can save your most formal ensemble for the final reception.
While Western society already states to avoid white so as to not clash with the bride, white is also associated with funerals in India and South Asia, so it’s important to avoid wearing any white on the actual wedding day. Indian brides will traditionally wear red, so it’s important to avoid this color out of respect for the bride. Black is also viewed as unfavorable.
If the wedding will be Sikh or Hindu, both men and women should also bring something to cover their heads during the ceremony. If you choose to wear a saree, you can use the drape fabric, or bring an extra scarf (dupatta).
Avoid Revealing Clothing
Traditionally, Indian wedding guests cover their shoulders, legs, and sometimes arms. If you’re not going to wear an authentic Indian outfit, your Western clothes should be just as modest. This means no cleavage, mini dresses, or revealing clothing that clings to your body.
Don’t Be Afraid to Accessorize
Bring out your best jewelry and body adornments because bling is a big component of Indian fashion. You could include bangle bracelets, ornate earrings, beaded handbags, or a bindi.
Indian Wedding Outfit Inspiration
From traditional lehengas to bright jumpsuits, we’ve put together three of the most traditional Indian wedding outfits along with inspiration to help when you’re shopping.
Outfit #1: Saree
A colorful saree is an elaborately tied fabric worn from the shoulders to the ankles and covers both your arms. Any extra fabric is left free and can be used to cover your head during the religious ceremony.
Outfit #2: Lehenga
Another popular option is the lehenga. Unlike a saree, it’s typically a two-piece outfit consisting of a crop top and a full skirt.
Outfit #3: Sharara
This is a type of suit featuring a wide-leg, palazzo-style pant with a matching tunic top (sometimes called a kurti or kurta). This set will typically be decorated with sparkly beading, brocade patterns, and embroidery.
If you’re looking for more outfit inspirations to help you figure out what to wear to an Indian wedding, check out our Pinterest board where we’ve compiled more ideas for sarees, lehengas, and shararas. As we mentioned before, you’re going to want to accessorize! You don’t want all of those pieces to get tangled together, so make sure you bring your travel jewelry case to keep them safe and secure.
For more outfit ideas for wedding events and travels, check out our blog and follow us on Pinterest!