What to Wear to an Indian Wedding as a Guest

                Got an Indian friend who is to be married? Then you are in for a treat.  India is rich in cultural wealth. It is one of the world’s most religiously and ethnically diverse lands. A secular country which has around 500 languages and 6000 dialects.  

Indian weddings are all about extravagance. It's a celebration of a once-in-a-lifetime union and the Indians do not keep it intimate or lowkey. If you are at your first Indian wedding, you might be very confused! Indian weddings pan out for at least a week. There are so many traditions and rituals that take place. Each of these rituals have very spiritual reasons. Here is a guide to an Indian Wedding Guest! Let me tell you what you are up for!

Let’s choose your outfit:

Are you on your way to attend an Indian wedding? Ooh! Then it is a must that you give yourself a break with all your formal and casual wear. It’s time for you to get ready for your Indian themed met gala! The Indian traditional wear is very beguiling and heavily embellished. Believe me when I say, the bride’s dress can weigh more than you! The outfits are lavish, colourful and beautifully designed. As a guest, you can get all crazy with the colours. Indian weddings are vivid and bright. The more colourful, the better you are dressed. 

The bride is usually dressed in red, which is an auspicious colour in the Indian tradition. The women wear lehengas and sarees and the men wear sherwanis and dhotis. It is important for you to have a good research on Indian fashion before you choose. 

Also, Indian traditional outfits can be expensive. You can simply rent them in case you need one for a wedding. You gotta work for it. Jump onto the internet and start searching for wedding rentals, lehengas, sarees, sherwanis and so on. You also get to wear heavy makeup along with a bindi which is an Indian tradition.

As far as jewellery goes, there is no compromise. The jewels take a significant part in the entire look. They are usually expensive jewellery like gold and diamonds. They are huge and heavy, complimenting the extravagant outfit perfectly. The bride is completely dolled up with heavy ornaments, handworked and beaded clothes along with picture perfect make up for her special day. The bride is not the only one who gets to dress up. The groom also wears heavy ornaments along with his sherwani. He also wears a turban that is embellished with jewellery. 

As it goes without saying, the traditional clothing and jewellery is of utmost importance at Indian weddings. You can look everywhere. I assure you, you can’t find anyone who isn't dressed up for the wedding! Renting outfits can afterall be the best option you have got. Done invest in buying something that you will only use once at a wedding. Rent fashionable outfits for each Indian wedding that you attend and be ‘the talk’ of the gossiping aunties, popularly found at Indian weddings!

Let’s get you to understand the ceremony better:

There is so much you gotta learn! The first and foremost is the engagement ceremony where the couple gets engaged. The rings are exchanged and they are now to be married. 

The next is the Mehendi and sangeet ceremonies. This might be one of the most expected and enjoyed ceremony in the pre-rituals of an Indian marriage. It's all about dancing your heart out and singing while getting your mehendis done. There are dance offs between the families and it's a ton of fun to savour. 

Haldi ceremony takes place the night before the actual wedding and it is meant to ward off evil spirits according to ancient religious texts.

The next is the main event of marriage. This ceremony usually occurs before sunrise. The bride and groom perform rituals naming fire as god. They walk around the fire in circles, 7 times, each of which has a ritual meaning. Once that is done, the bride and groom are sealed for life in the eyes of the almighty. Later on comes the games and the reception.

Let’s talk wedding games!:

Indian weddings are profligacies. Once the ceremony is done, it's all games and fun all over again. There are so many fun games that are played between the bride’s family and the groom's family and also between the bride and the groom themselves. Games weddings are  in fact, the perfect icebreakers amidst all the guests and the couple, making sure that the entertainment and the excitement of the wedding celebrations don't fade away. Indian ceremonies have games which bring the bride and the groom’s families closer and create bonds.

Let’s talk food:

Did someone say Indian wedding? Yess! The first thought that the words ' Indian weddings’ provoke is the thought of their vast variety of food! As you know by now, Indian weddings are long celebrations. A celebration filled with dancing, singing, playing and of course, a lot of eating as well. The Indian cuisines are beyond anything one has ever relished. 

India is the queen of spices and their cuisine is very spicy and delicious, filled with masalas. The number of dishes that one serves in an Indian wedding might shock you. There is no compromise on food at Indian weddings. These weddings have at least 5 main course dishes and a minimum of 10 sides along with 5 to 8 desert options! It is possibly a whole restaurant brought down right to you! 

Let’s get the vibe:

The entire wedding will leave you astonished and in search of names for colours. The decor of the wedding venue, which is called the ‘mandap’ is usually beyond grand. The bride and groom are brought inside the mandap in elephants, horses, chariots or pallaks (Man held chariots) The couple is welcomed with a grand gesture with a band that plays all the traditional Indian instruments like the dolak, melam etc,. The people gather around the bride and groom and the mothers take aarathi, which is said to ward off evil spirits. The whole ceremony is loud and colourful. 

The Indians never go short on their guest lists. You’ll have a shocker when I say, almost all Indian marriages have a minimum of 1000 guests and as far as it goes, it can rise upto 5000 and even more in a few cases. It is a cause for a celebration and the Indians sure do know how to celebrate!

The singing, the dancing, the games and the festivities and of course the food and the decor, along with a thousand guests. I guess you get the vibe now! Get excited! It's not everyday that you get to attend an Indian wedding! 

I hope you got what you need. Here is the guide to an Indian Wedding. I can vouch that there is so much more than what one can put on a piece of paper about Indian weddings. Here is to you having a great time at an Indian wedding!

  • Chinthana Venkatesh
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