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Dress Code

What Shall You Not Wear To An Indian Wedding Reception As A Guest?

Last month, we spoke about what to wear to a traditional Indian wedding as a guest. Now you fully got the dos, let’s speak about the don’ts. May you be a friend or family, a colleague or even an international guest, there are some things you just can’t do at an official reception like a wedding ceremony but also engagement parties, Haldi ceremonies or Mehndi nights. 

Don’t Dress Too Formal Or Casual

The rule of thumb when attending a traditional Indian wedding ceremony as a guest is to dress anything but formal or casual. Traditional Indian weddings are indeed gala affairs where the outfits need to suit the occasion. For this reason, wearing simple cotton suits and kurtas is not an option. Even if you are an international guest coming from the US for example, you definitely shall not wear basic denims and a tee-shirt. Local guests would think that you don’t like their country and that you don’t want to merge with their traditions. They might get offended.

Do Not go Over The Top Either

On the other hand, don’t overdo your outfit too. You want to blend with the crowd for sure, but you also don’t want to grab too much attention. It is always better to wear one necklace less, pick a sherwani with minimal embellishment or tone down the make up a little so that you make a statement while also letting the couple and their family shine through.

Try to look elegant but don’t overmake-up or overdress. For instance, if your attire is made of rich fabric like silk or brocade, you don’t need to make up too much or insist on jewellery. On the other hand, if you picked an elegant but cheap costume, then you can do a bit more of the rest. Just try to find a good balance between both.

Do Not Wear Too Revealing Clothes

Always remember that Indian people are traditionally modest and are not used to show much of their skin. Consequently, they are also not used to see other people’s skin in the streets or at official receptions. That is why you should absolutely ban any too revealing clothes from your mind when thinking about what costume you should wear at a wedding or other official Hindu ceremonies.

Do Not Skip Jewellery

Jewellery is a must in India. Going to a traditional Hindu wedding without wearing any jewellery would be as good as going totally naked. It would be a shame to make the effort to wear a traditional Indian garb like a saree or a lehenga and forgetting to wear the appropriate jewellery. Your outfit would look incomplete and would shock the eyes of other guests.

For instance, you could pick a pair of jhumkas or chaand balis for your ears and even a simple gold chain with a sparkling pendant at your neck would complete your attire. Female guests must wear at least a couple of bangles on each hand and male guests can add jewelled buttons to add a touch of bling. This is the minimum you should do.

What Colors Not To Wear To A Wedding Ceremony?

We already spoke about the fact that some colors are inappropriate for traditional Indian ceremonies as they are seen as inauspicious. However, prohibited colors are not uniform across the country. For instance, if you go in the North, you’ll find that white is considered as a mourning color, so best avoided at an Indian reception. On the other hand if you go to a Kerala or a Karnataka wedding, the bride will most likely be dressed up with a white saree. Best is to ask other guests about the best color code to follow.

Black is another color that is best avoided at an official ceremony as it is considered as very inauspicious in India. Although many like this color for its sensuous appeal, it will also make you stick out in a crowd that is dressed in vibrant festive colors, which won’t help you to blend with other guests. Remember that you are looking for clothes that will make you mix with the crowd while also setting yourself apart through your sense of style.

Finally, try also avoiding red as it is traditionally associated with the bridal wear. It is most likely indeed that the bride will have a lot of it in her ensemble. Obviously, you don’t want to stop her from basking in the limelight the day of her marriage.

What Not To Wear To Other Official Receptions

Engagement Party

Although engagement parties are semi-formal, you still should pick a festive outfit for the occasion. It doesn’t have to be traditional, which means that you can as well wear your favourite crop top and skirt, but it still needs to suit the occasion. For this, just pick rich fabrics with some embellishments on it, it will do just fine.

Haldi Ceremony

Traditional Indian Haldi ceremonies involve covering hands, legs and face of the bride and groom with turmeric paste. For this reason, don’t pick too rich clothes as they are under the risk of being tainted during the event.

Mehndi Night

Mehndi (or Mehendi) nights is usually held at the future bride’s home and involve applying henna tattoos on each guest. Once more, don’t wear too expensive clothe because of the risk of stains, and avoid too loose tops to make sure your sleeves won’t soak into the mixture.

Sangeet Ceremony

The Sangeet ceremony is where the couple, their families and guests get a chance to indulge in a night of music, dance and a lot of fun. The dress code is approximately the same as the wedding ceremony itself. Be reassured, you won’t face any risk of staining your clothes there.

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