Have you ever been invited to attend an Indian wedding but have absolutely no idea what type of clothes you should wear? If you live in the west and are not part of this community it could be a somewhat tricky situation, of course the easiest thing to do is ask the host, after all they will probably have several guests attending who don’t know either, so it’s unlikely that you would be alone in this dilemma.
OK, so that’s the easy way out, but what if you don’t actually know them yourself, perhaps you are going as somebody else’s “plus one”, that’s when you may need a bit of advice. Well firstly I doubt anyone would frown if you wore typical western formal clothes, suits for men and wedding dresses for the ladies, although this is taking the easy way out, why not be a bit more adventurous, you could buy some new jewellery especially for the occasion, it’s not unusual for women to buy new indian jewellery specifically for a wedding. Generally speaking the women will wear one of three styles of dress and these are highly likely to be very bright and colourful.
First the Saree, this is probably the one which you will already have heard of and usually consists of a fairly plain blouse which is almost entirely covered by up to nine metres of elaborately coloured and decorated material which can be wrapped around in a number of different ways to create this fantastic indian classic look.
Next is the Lehenga and although you probably don’t already know the name you will have undoubtedly seen people wearing them before, it’s made up of a long skirt with a matching blouse or Choli, with a very long scarf (traditionally called a Dupatta) because it’s a more common style of outfit for western tastes, this could be a much easier option as there is no need to learn how to wrap a saree around.
Finally and the easiest to wear is the Salwar Kameez, these are worn by both men and women (of course different styles for each, an obvious way to see the difference is that the women’s don’t have pockets), they are essentially a long shirt which is worn with tight or loose trousers underneath and usually a matching Dupatta.
The bride at an indian wedding will traditionally wear an embroidered Saree, this may have been her mothers which was handed down, or it may be new. It is likely to take many hours for the bride to get dressed as in addition to the saree, there is special indian bridal jewellery to be worn, Chudas which are red and white bangles only worn by the bride and of course hair and make up to be done.
As a guest you could also consider some new indian jewellery to accompany your new saree, salware kameez or lehenga, there are many styles to chose from and some are copies of those worn in bollywood films and many gold jewellery sets are inspired by Jodha Akbar costumes and kundan bridal jewellery is quite fashionable at the moment.
Whatever style you choose, it’s a great opportunity to get dressed up! And of course you want to look your best while the wedding band plays on throughout the night and particularly as the wedding photographer is snapping away.