What To Wear To An Indian Wedding

Written by Tanya Arora

The ‘big fat Indian wedding’ is an epitome of fun, tradition, colors, and a larger than life celebration of a match made in heaven. But the best part about an Indian wedding is not the complex rituals, the elaborate menu or the pomp and show. It’s the clothes that truly make a ‘shandaar shaadi’ what it is!

In case you have no idea what to wear, especially to the long list of pre-wedding functions you’ll have to attend, we’re here to help. We’ll give you the lowdown on the Indian wedding wear dos and don’ts and will even suggest the kind of outfits you should wear so you can look your absolute best!

Let’s get started!

The Haldi Ceremony

First up is the haldi function, which as you know, is the smearing of turmeric on the bride and groom so that their skin glows on their wedding day. This function can get very messy so make sure you wear something you don’t mind getting bright yellow stains on! That said, don’t wear something old either. A salwar kameez in pastel shades such as pink, yellow or orange would be best.

As for men, you can either wear the classic tee and jeans combo or opt for a plain kurta pajama.

The Mehendi Ceremony

From the ochre-yellow of the haldi to the copper-brown of the mehendi, there’s no denying that an Indian wedding is a transition from one color to the next! And just like the haldi ceremony, the mehendi or henna ceremony is an equally slather-ish affair!

So, girls go ahead and wear something comfy for this function, as once the henna is on your hands, you’ll be left pretty much immobile. Although you can wear decent casuals, refrain from sweatpants, hoodies, and shorts. A nice kurti with leggings or pants will do just fine too.

For guys, this function is all about gatecrashing and going over the wedding planning details one last time while sipping on their favorite cocktail. So, keep the attire light and semi-casual. Khakis are a good option.

The Sangeet

From this function onwards, it’s all about dressing up. Dressing up and killing it that is! Since this is a party and it’s all about song and dance, don’t shy away from bold colors and heavy embroidery. Although, try to save your A-game for the wedding!

Women should definitely consider wearing a nice floor length Anarkali salwar kameez or a flared lehenga choli to this event. A sari à la Deepika Padukone from the Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani-fame will look great too!

Men should also dress up for this affair. A bright kurta pajama will look festive and feel comfy at the same time, allowing for those killer dance moves! A suit is a good option too as long as you can dance in it.

The Wedding

And finally, we’re at the wedding! This is the time to put your best foot forward and let the world know that your style game is top notch. Try to wear rich fabrics that add to the grandeur of the Indian wedding.

Ladies, play up with make-up and get all of those accessories out! Try to keep it ethnic to the extent possible with beautiful embroidered gowns or lehenga cholis or even salwar kameez. Opt for a nice hairdo too, that accentuates your outfit and makes you look like a million bucks!

Gentlemen, a bandhgala with Jodhpuri pants is what we’ll recommend. You can also wear a richer kurta pajama and even a fancy suit for this occasion. Slick back, gelled hair will make sure you look your dapper best.

The Reception

This function is about sobering it down just a notch from the wedding and playing it elegant and classy. So maybe pick out that one dress you always thought was too fancy and sophisticated to wear anywhere else.

Women can opt for graceful sarees in silk, crepe, chiffon or even georgette for this occasion. Try experimenting with the way you drape your saree to look unique. You can also wear an evening gown that doesn’t show too much skin.

A classic suit and tie would be the perfect choice for men! However, try not to repeat the same kind of outfit you wore to the wedding as it can get drab.

The above suggestions aside, you need to follow a couple of rules which are as follows:

  • Avoid wearing pure black or white to the wedding.
  • Try to dress up slightly conservative, which means minimal cleavage and leg show as Indian weddings are conservative.
  • Never forget to accessorize! Bangles, bindis, necklaces, payals – wear what looks good on you.
  • Keep a scarf, dupatta or a shawl handy as for some types of Indian weddings (Sikh or Islamic ones) you may have to cover your head.

This is the season of weddings, and we hope that you’re now better prepared to handle the monumental challenge of ‘what to wear to an Indian wedding.’ One last advice? Don’t forget to wear that dazzling smile!

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