If you are invited to an Indian wedding and you are not part of that culture, you may wonder what you should wear during that special event. It is, in fact, a very good an important question to ask yourself, because dressing in a particular fashion is part of the ritual, and you should respect that. Here are a few things you should know about how to dress for an Indian wedding if you have been invited as a guest.
The Dress Code is Important at an Indian Wedding
In today’s international world, many of us have friends located all over the world. Some we met at university, others while doing business. But if an Indian friend invites you to come to his or her wedding, you should take the time to enquire about what to wear to an Indian wedding, since it is quite important for your hosts. In fact, it is probable that there will be an indication of some sort on the invitation you will receive about this subject. Still, you should go deeper and look into the traditions and customs when it comes to what you can or should not wear at an Indian wedding.
Bring a Lot of Clothes
An Indian wedding lasts for a few days, usually around two or three. During this time, there will be many different events that will be held. Here are four that usually find their way into the Wedding days:
The Engagement Party
In all the events taking place, keep in mind that an Indian wedding is a festive event. The way you dress should reflect that. Arriving all dressed in black would be a major fault on your part. The engagement party is a semi-formal event. It is not necessarily anchored in tradition as much as the other ones, so now is the time to wear your normal clothes, as long as they go with the celebratory mood. Rich coloured fabrics and a few embellishments on it will do just fine for this occasion.
The Haldi Ceremony
This one is definitely a traditional event, so you should pick-up a few Indian clothes to wear, including for this event. However, in this case, make sure that what you wear isn’t too valuable. The Haldi ceremony is where legs and face of the bride and groom are covered in turmeric paste, so there is a chance your garments may get dirtied before the end of the ceremony…
The Mehndi Night
This is another traditional ceremony which involves henna tattoos. All guests will take part in this, so your turn will come. Again, don’t wear something too expensive but definitely stay in the Indian style clothes. If you can, wear something loose.
The Sangeet Ceremony
For this event, you should dress similarly as at the wedding itself. This is a night of celebration where friends and family, with the wedded couple, get to spend time together having fun, dancing to the music all night long.
For this particular occasion, you need to dress with traditional Indian clothes, as a sign of respect. This is a traditional ceremony, where women usually wear a saree in bright colour. This type of clothing usually covers the body from shoulders to ankle. There should also be some fabric to cover your head during the ceremony itself. As for the men, they usually wear a long sleeved tunic and pants. In both cases, colours should prevail, with various patterns printed on them and many embellishments to go along with it. Gold and silver should be used as add-ons as well.
Covering Up Is a Must
During an Indian wedding, women and men have to cover up their heads. The woman can do so by using a part of the textile from their saree but they can also bring with them a scarf, which they will use for that particular purpose. As for men, they can use a handkerchief to do so. However, make sure you do have something to cover your head with; otherwise, this would be very disrespectful to your hosts.
Be aware that in a traditional Indian wedding, all guests are expected to cover their shoulders and legs at all time. Sometimes, even the arms should be hidden. Therefore, if you are wearing western clothes, make sure the dress goes below the knees and that it doesn’t fit too tightly on your body. If the wedding takes place in a house of worship, you will be expected to take your shoes off before entering.
Colours don’t mean the Same in India as in Western Societies
You may think that white is a great colour to wear at an Indian wedding, but if you do; think again! Although white is a sign of purity in Western societies, it is the colour you wear at a funeral in Southern Asian countries. Black is also out of the question as an Indian wedding requires bright colours. Let your wild side take over and put on a bright red, yellow or pink dress! An Indian wedding is a time for celebration so join in the rainbow and enjoy a few days of partying while respecting the traditions of your hosts.