Note: This advice is aimed at wedding guests.
If you’re reading this you are probably already overwhelmed by the number of functions you have to attend let alone what to wear (eek!) Well, worry no more. We’ve got it covered with our dos and don’ts guide of what to wear to an indian wedding! The outfits form an integral part of the wedding experience — it makes you feel like you’re part of the festivities and it’s fun! Not to mention, the photos will be fabulous. You’ve got this!
We provide an advisory service so feel free to give us a call or pop to the shop where we can run through outfit choices. Also, check out some of our FAQs that describe some of the lingo used. 😉
The first thing you should consider is the bride and groom’s religious backgrounds. It will generally fall into three broad categories: Hindu, Sikh or Muslim.
So, what should I wear?
Colour rule: This is your chance to wear a Joseph style ‘Technicolour Raincoat’ (well, not quite but close!). It’s all about the wonderful array of colours! As a general rule stay away from red, black and white (yes — we said black! — sorry! You’ll have to step outside your comfort zone). Bridal colours are usually red and white so guests avoid those colours, and black is reserved for receptions and non-religious ceremonies.
Comfort rule: You might have to sit on the floor so bear this in mind.
Modesty rule: If it is a Sikh or Muslim wedding, cover up. We’re talking long to mid length sleeves and legs covered.
Hat rule: Don’t wear one.
Accessory rule: go for it! We have a range of themed accessories which go with most outfits.
Hindu weddings: sari (blouse and wrap) or ,lehenga (skirt and top). Legs are covered by women’s skirts and saris, but ladies often wear short sleeve and sleeveless tops/blouses. A Lehenga comes with a chunni (long scarf/shawl kinda thing) which can be wrapped creatively around outfits. Stock up on safety pins!
Sikh and Muslim weddings: salwaar kameez (tunic and trouser). This is a more modest affair so guests will usually have their bodies, arms and legs covered. Although, short/capped sleeves are generally acceptable. You can wear a sari. Some of your side midriff may show that is generally okay, but it’s best to wear the sari in a way that covers up as much as you can. Double check with the bride or groom if you are not sure. Remember that at Sikh weddings you will be required to cover your head. You can drape a scarf or shawl over your head and secure it with hair grips.
Men can wear western suits, the traditional sherwani (jacket) or kurta (long tunic). If there is a colour theme, you can wear a matching tie, pocket piece or scarf. Do not wear a turban- they’re strictly reserved for grooms!
Sikh weddings: You will be required to cover your head. You can use a knotted handkerchief. If you don’t have one that’s big enough, the temple will provide one, they’re usually orange.……And no you still can’t wear a turban 😉
Let the fun begin! It’s all about the food, dancing, entertainment, glitz and glamour!
The wedding and reception might be on the same or different days. If they’re on the same day then you can wear the same outfit to both, but you might want to change into something more comfortable and witha bit more sparkle.
Take your pick: embroidered gown, lehenga, sari (if you’re still prepared to dance in it ;)) with sequins or dimantés. Jazz up your outfit with some sparkly bangles, bindis and tikkas! Again, if it is a Muslim function you probably still want to be moderately covered up but it is less stringent than for the wedding.
Your best bet is a western suit, no need for a tux. (Nope, still can’t wear a turban!)
Mendhi night and pre-wedding festivities
The Mendhi (henna) night is a fun (and maybe a little messy) affair! Other festivities may include ceremonies or dancing! Keep your outfit light, fun and colourful 🙂
Wear something lightweight like a light sari or salwaar kameez. Remember not to get henna on your clothes! If you’re accident-prone we suggest you don’t wear one of your favs! Maybe check out our ‘Sale’ section!
Men may wear a less heavily embroidered traditional outfit or a shirt and trousers.
There’s no particular type of shoe requirement. Some pretty high heels will work. If you’re wearing a sari or lehenga then you won’t see your shoes too much as the length should be slightly higher than the floor but covering your shoes. If you are wearing a tunic and trousers then your shoes will show so maybe wear something matchy matchy.
If you’re wearing an Indian outfit, match it with a pair of mojri (basically genie/Aladdin shoes). Socks are optional but it looks better without socks (unless you’re a sandal sock kind of man… in which case… umm… )