Wedding bells ringing with another invitation? We feel your excitement already- and why not? After all, Indian weddings are one of the most zestful celebrations to attend! With a line-up of colorful ceremonies and long social hours under the most vibrant backdrop to display your best Indian wedding wear pieces, these occasions are definitely elaborate and cherish-worthy.
As a wedding guest, the thrill of attending the nuptial with the pre and post-wedding functions can instantly perk up your vibe. 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 perpetual norm of wardrobe indulgence and the need for luxurious social presentation, it’s always wise to have a well-planned wardrobe as a wedding guest. Each ritual of an Indian wedding holds a deeper 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- too many of them!
This post will help you plan the right attire for every Indian wedding function, scroll down for a detailed explanation for each of them!
Outfit Ideas for Wedding Guest:
Well before you begin ordering your favorite wedding guest dresses online, here are a few quick details to consider –
What is the outfit theme of the ceremonies? Should you wear a bodycon tulle dress, a high-octane western designer gown– or some Indian traditional silhouette? – Most of us going through these thought processes have much to balance like social status, ambiance, and above all individual preferences.
Whether you’re rooted in India or belong to any other part of the globe- we suggest 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 or the Indian region where the bride & groom’s families are rooted.
North and West Indian weddings are more about pomp, bling luxury, and flashy details. So look for high ostentation, like brocade or heavily embroidered lehengas with metallic golden butties and bright rani pink silk sarees. Exquisite crystal-studded necklines and over-the-top 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 Tussar silks, Kanchipuram silk sarees, gold zari border silk sarees, and other varieties in silk and silk blends. Intricately hand-crafted temple jewelry in precious gold 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 sacred ceremony. Unlike in most other communities, black outfits are acceptable for a Nikah.
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.
Color Palettes for Indian Weddings
Ethnic wear is distinguished with a riot of delightful colors, just like the vibe of Indian weddings. These occasions give you the liberty to indulge in varied palettes. Unless there is a 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.
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. The closer the connection, the heavier the trinkets!
However, with a steepening shift towards subtle dressing and elegant 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 about!
Choosing trendy footwear is essential if you’re fashion-conscious. It’s good to stock up on embroidered juttis, colorful chappals, and embellished 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:
Functions held around the nuptials are varied, following cultural nuances in all their glory. It is advisable to wear outfits that are modest and appropriate for the occasion. From strictly traditional ensembles to new-age contemporary 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. Wide-leg palazzo suits or lightweight printed or minimally embroidered salwar suits are ideal picks for the occasion.
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, a flattering palazzo suit, or a boho 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!
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 peppy music and freestyle dance. You can match the ambiance with floral suits and colorful 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.
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 aura of 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 a silk saree with golden zari borders will work well, you can deviate with a contemporary outfit. A jacket suit or a chic, pre-stitched saree is equally acceptable for the occasion.
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 may be more like a cocktail party. It appears 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.
The bottom line – keep it swish!
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 traditional wedding wear. Women get decked up in heavy silk sarees, wedding sarees, lehenga cholis with shimmery elements, and lots of precious jewelry. Richly accented sharara suits and majestic Anarkali suits also go well with the occasion. As far as possible, you must avoid Western silhouettes and look for Indian outfits with modest details. If saree draping is not your thing, you can opt for a readymade saree. A hint of ruffles on the edges would look trendy!
The reception is a formal post-wedding party where the extended family, 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.
The bride turns from Miss to Mrs, and the family members face exhaustion by this time, but the merriment doesn’t end there! 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!