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What to wear to an Indian Wedding as a Guest?

Wedding Guest Outfits

Wedding bells ringing with another invitation? We feel your excitement already- and why not! After all, Indian weddings are one of the most delightful and energetic celebrations to attend! With a line-up of colorful ceremonies and long social hours decked up in the best Indian wedding wear, these occasions are one of the most elaborate and cherish-worthy events.

As a wedding guest, the thrill of attending the nuptial with the pre and post-wedding functions can have you instantly perked up. But whether it is your best friend’s wedding or a business associate, the question will always leave you baffled-

“What to wear for the wedding functions?”

With the cultural norm of wardrobe ostentation and social presentation factors, it’s always wise to have a well-planned wardrobe as a wedding guest. Each get-together of an Indian wedding has a distinctive meaning and varies in terms of ambiance, thus, calling for different dress codes. And that means you need to pep up your efforts to choose your wedding party outfits.

This post will help you plan the right attire for every Indian wedding function, scroll down for a detailed explanation for each of the rituals!

Wedding Wear Outfit Ideas for Guest:

What is the outfit theme of the ceremonies? Should you wear an elegant western designer gown- or some Indian traditional silhouette? – Most of us going through these thought processes have much to balance like social status, part ambiance, and individual preferences.

Whether you’re rooted in India or belong to any other part of the globe- we suggest styles that reflect the Indian culture- it’s better to grace an Indian wedding in ethnic wear. Sarees, salwar suits, and lehenga cholis are the most common festive ensembles. However, the style and details may vary with the community culture.

North and West Indian weddings are usually pompous and flashy. So look for high ostentation, like brocade lehengas with metallic golden buttis and bright rani pink silk sarees. Heavy crystal-studded necklines and chunky embellishments get a thumbs-up for such celebrations.

South and East Indian weddings are comparatively quiet. But when it comes to clothing, women take pride in wearing heritage weaves like Baluchari Sarees, Tussar silks, Kanchipuram silk sarees, Pattu sarees, and other varieties of silk and silk blends. Intricately hand-crafted gold jewelry also forms an integral part of festive attire. Wearing a saree is not necessary, though. You can pick a sophisticated-looking silk salwar suit or a plain georgette suit paired with a designer dupatta.

Nikah, the nuptial ceremony of the Islamic culture, also calls for similar attire, with slight variations in colors and silhouette styles. Sharara suits, Anarkali suits, and indo-western lehenga suits in green, golden, and black hues are suitable for the ceremony. Unlike in most other communities, black outfits are acceptable for a Nikah ceremony.

Your attire overall will have little to do with the community unless you strictly wish to keep up with their traditions. Otherwise, as a guest, you can wear a sharara suit even for a South Indian wedding and a Kanchipuram silk saree for a North Indian one. The main attributes are that the attire should be traditional and modest. Avoid deep necklines and similar skin-revealing details.

Colors for the occasion

Ethnic wear is an overdose of colors, and so is the vibe of Indian weddings. These occasions give you the liberty to indulge in varied palettes. Unless there is a dress code or color theme, you can pick any of your favorites- from bright pinks to jeweled greens and mystifying blues- or the entire spectrum.

However, heavy red/maroon sarees or monotone red or maroon lehenga cholis are mainly for the bride.

Softer palettes of pastels and neutrals are also equally acceptable. You can pick a pastel peach cotton silk saree for a day ceremony and a taupe sequinned lycra saree for a dusk-hour celebration.

Accessories are inevitable

The age-old social norm is to enter a wedding venue wrapped in heavy ornaments. Indians love flaunting precious metals and diamonds on such days so going to an Indian marriage is like stepping into a treasure island. While planning your wardrobe, choose your jewelry depending on how closely you relate to the couple tying the knot. Closer the connection, the heavier the jewelry!

However, with a shift towards subtle dressing and wardrobe experiments beyond the wedding legacy, these days, you can play low with the accessories, especially as a wedding guest. So if you do not possess a heavy gold necklace or a sparkling diamond set, there’s nothing to worry!

Choosing trendy footwear is essential if you’re fashion-conscious. It’s good to stock up on embroidered juttis, colorful chappals, and stone-studded heels for such occasions. You may want to avoid your favorite high heels- the rituals of an Indian wedding can run into hours!

Dress Code As Per The Functions:

Various functions held around the nuptials are varied. It is advisable to wear outfits that are appropriate for the occasion. From strictly traditional ensembles to new-age designer wear- your outfit selection should depend on the function and socially acceptable dress codes.

Ganesh Puja/ Tilak

The wedding rituals usually begin with a Ganesh Puja, Shanti Havan, or Tilak ceremony. Your attire for the semi-formal occasion should be simplistic and comfort-promising. The ceremony may involve a bonfire, so it would be better to opt for cotton fabrics and loose-fitted garments. Roomy palazzo suits or lightweight printed or minimally embroidered salwar suits are ideal picks for the occasion.

Haldi ceremony

Messy but delightful- the Haldi ceremony is one event that requires careful outfit selection. The ritual involves smearing turmeric paste onto the face of the bride and the groom. That means your party-wear garment may get permanent yellow stains that can render it useless.

A budgeted printed saree, semi-formal palazzo suit, or a skirt and crop top set are safe bets for the Haldi ceremony. Opting for outfits in shades of yellow is a good idea for two reasons- they subdue the messy appearance of turmeric stains, and yellow has almost become the official color code for the Haldi ceremony. For accessories, you can pick artificial flower jewelry or street-style tassel earrings, as disposing of these low-cost add-ons later won’t make you feel disappointed!

Mehendi party

Hands decorated with henna designs and the scent of eucalyptus oil in the air- the Mehendi function is one of the jolliest happenings of an Indian wedding. Although these days the bride and the groom’s families together arrange a Mehendi party for their guests, traditionally, it was only a function for the bride’s family and friends.

The vibe is colorful and lively, with wedding music and dance. You can match the ambiance with floral suits and floral lehenga cholis or- blend in with a green outfit. Pink and pastels are also popular color palettes for the Mehendi, but you can indulge in any color of your choice.

Sangeet

If you’re planning to attend an Indian wedding, the Sangeet is one function you wouldn’t want to miss! A musical evening with enthusiastic dance performances by family and friends, the Sangeet function matches the main wedding ceremony with its energetic vibe.

The dress code is usually ethnic, with lots of bling and sparkles. Although a traditional lehenga, floor-length Anarkali, or an embroidered or sequinned saree will work well, you can deviate with a contemporary outfit. A jacket suit or a palazzo saree is equally acceptable for the occasion.

Ring Ceremony

The exchange of rings between the couple a day or two before the wedding is a ritual taken from western culture. The ring ceremony is usually devoid of cultural elements and maybe more like a cocktail party. It is more like an evening ball where the bride turns up in a fairy-tale designer gown. You can follow suit with a glamorous evening gown made in flattering fabrics like satin, georgette, and silk, or contemporize your plain saree with a statement blouse and diamond earrings.

Wed-Lock ceremony/ Pheras

Seven circles- seven vows- the Indian wed-lock ceremony is a beautiful moment to witness. It involves a series of religious rituals, and the dress code is purely traditional wear. Women get decked up in heavy silk sarees, wedding sarees, lehenga cholis with shimmery ostentation, and lots of jewelry. Richly ornamented sharara suits and Anarkali suits also go well with the occasion. As far as possible, you must avoid western silhouettes and look for Indian outfits with graceful details. If saree draping is not your thing, you can opt for a readymade or pre-stitched saree. A hint of ruffles on the edges would look trendy!

Reception

The reception is a formal post-wedding party where relatives, friends, and associates walk up to a decorated stage or highlighting backdrop and bless the newly-married couple. To keep up with the sparkling set-up, you may have to elevate your look by indulging in heavy wedding wear. The reception usually doesn’t have a dress code unless specified by the host. So you can choose from traditional or indo-western attire. Whichever outfit you pick, ensure it has a good amount of glitter or dazzling elements. Sequinned sarees and crystal stone embroidered garments look great for a reception party.

Post-wedding functions

The bride turns from Miss to Mrs, and the family members face exhaustion by this time, but the merriment doesn’t end here! After the reception it’s the vidai (farewell) of the girl from her parent’s family and her homecoming into her husband’s house.

A Gujarati bride usually wears a Gharchola for this ritual (also called Gruh-Pravesh by some communities). The Muh-dikhai is also a post-wedding function where the bride meets her husband’s extended family and social circle for the first time.

These rituals are held on a larger scale in smaller cities of India, while the fast-moving urban lifestyle has led to many of these functions getting combined or just avoided altogether. However, you can grace the occasion in a semi-formal salwar suit. You can also experiment with your look by choosing a fusion outfit that is comfy and effortless!

After having sorted your look for the wedding functions it’s time to enjoy the celebrations!

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