There’s truly no wedding like an Indian one. With bright colors, elaborate ceremonies, and legendary after-parties, Indian weddings are unforgettable affairs.
Just like in the West, there are plenty, if not more, traditions in India when it comes to apparel. The apparel’s style and color are hugely important for both the bride and the groom, not to mention the wedding guests.
If you just received a wedding invitation for an Indian wedding and need some guidance, we’re here to help! Whether you’re planning a traditional Indian wedding or attending one, we have lots of tips on which colors to include and which to avoid. (Bookmark this page for a guide to Indian wedding color palettes.)
Now, let’s get started!
What Are the Traditional Colors for an Indian Groom?
Let’s start with the men. Typically, grooms wear sherwanis, which are long coats that generally go past the knees. Sherwanis are thicker than kurtas and are closer to a jacket than a shirt. In other words, they’re the tuxedos of Indian culture.
Grooms Often Wear Red, White, and Gold
Often, at Indian weddings, both the bride and groom wear red. Grooms might pair that bright, eye-catching red with regal neutrals, like white and gold, for a more balanced look. They don’t want to take away attention from their bride, after all.
Where the red appears, however, is up for interpretation by every individual groom. Some choose to show it with their wedding safa, while others opt for embroidered red embellishments on their sherwani.
What Color Should an Indian Groom’s Shoes Be?
There’s no one rule around groom’s shoes, though they are more often than not a gold or red embroidered shoe, called a joota.
While all Indian weddings are different and unique, some revelers will opt to participate in a ceremony called the Joota Chupa or Joota Chori. This tradition is often a joyous and fun one.
To summarize, after the bride and groom remove their shoes before the wedding ceremony, the siblings of the groom will snatch up their shoes and hide them and won’t return them until their brother pays them a handsome reward. It’s pure sibling revelry with an added bonus of cash. What’s better than that?
So essentially, if you’re attending an Indian wedding as a Westerner, don’t be surprised when wedding guests start to try to steal the groom’s shoes. However, also keep in mind that the wedding you’re attending might not have this as part of the schedule; again, all Indian weddings are unique and can be very different from each other.
What Are the Traditional Colors for an Indian Bride?
Contemporary brides have plenty of options for what to wear on their wedding day, though red has always been and remains the standard.
Indian Brides Traditionally Wear Red
Unlike grooms, brides are typically decked out in red from top to bottom, whether they opt to wear a lehenga or a saree. All colors are symbolic in India (and everywhere else across the globe), but red has especially positive connotations. Some people consider red to be all about new beginnings and prosperity, which is why it’s so often used in wedding attire and wedding decor.
You can’t take your eyes away from Indian brides on their big day. In addition to their showstopping attire, they also have elaborate mehendi (henna designs) on their hands and arms. These designs are symbols of good luck.
What Color Are the Bride’s Accessories?
Brides have lots of accessories to pick from when planning for their wedding. Many opt for elaborate nose rings and Bollywood-inspired jhumki earrings. Bangles are also typical.
Traditionally most brides wear gold accessories with colorful gem accents.
What Colors Should the Wedding Party Wear?
Attending an Indian wedding as a guest means you’re in for an unforgettable weekend — or week, depending on the family. Indian weddings are typically multi-day affairs that include ancient traditions and possibly plenty of modern, fun additions as well.
Are you attending an Indian wedding soon and wondering how to put together your wedding outfit? Here are three color ideas we think will work well.
First off, you shouldn’t be afraid of dressing boldly and colorfully. Rich, vibrant colors like jewel tones are a totally normal and expected attire choice. By jewel tones, we mean deep teals, regal purples, emerald greens, and deep yellows.
You can also try a color combination, pairing these jewel tones together. These colors also often appear in wedding color schemes, so you’ll fit in well and look great in wedding photos.
Next up is gold, which is a fab option if you want something a little more neutral. This bright, shimmery color is a feature in many wedding dresses, so it’s a natural extension of any wedding theme.
What’s great about gold is that you can layer it with either your sari or dupatta for a striking metallic look that will have you feeling shiny and special.
Peach and Blue
While many formal outfits are monochromatic, there’s no reason at all why you can’t opt for complementary colors. We’re big fans of peach and blue, like this floral georgette gharara suit.
The soft pink and dusty blue of this look come together fabulously for an understated but elegant look for any wedding guest. With just the right amount of gold zari and stonework, it reinforces just how special Indian weddings are.
What Colors Should Guests Wear to an Indian Wedding?
Just like you would never wear white to a western wedding, Indian weddings also have their own rules and customs surrounding colors that should be avoided at all costs.
Avoid Wearing Red as a Guest
As it’s especially common for Indian brides and grooms to wear red on their wedding days, you should avoid selecting an outfit that is mostly red as a guest. Even modern brides, who are taking more risks when it comes to their looks, would probably appreciate their guests straying from red.
Remember that wedding planning can be a full-time job for many brides and grooms, even with lots of support from family and friends. When their big day finally arrives, all attention and love should be directed toward them. And considering you have the rest of the rainbow of bright, gorgeous colors to choose from, you won’t have any trouble at all opting for something else.
Bright, Festive Colors Fit Right In
Speaking of, let’s talk about those typical colors, but first, here are a few more things that you might want to avoid.
It’s inappropriate to wear white to a western wedding, so you might think that white is alright for attire at Indian weddings. In fact, the opposite. The color white is associated with funerals and mourning. It might not mesh with an event that is meant to be a celebration of life and love.
Think carefully about certain colors. For example, some families would prefer guests to feature accents of black and white in an outfit rather than a full-on white or black outfit. Generally, white or black embroidery is common and not considered disrespectful.
Instead, look for rich, saturated colors to make up the bulk of your outfit. This is one of those rare instances where an outfit that stands out will actually blend in because so many wedding guests are wearing big, bright colors.
That doesn’t mean you can’t go for pastels, though. Pastels and faded colors are common during summer weddings, especially when you want to stay cool and fresh.
But if you ask us, Indian weddings are great opportunities to wear something you wouldn’t typically get to wear. Embrace the ask and go for it.
Creating an Unforgettable Wedding
Between Pinterest, Instagram, and our families, there seems to be an infinite amount of wedding ideas out there for brides and grooms. From putting together a color scheme, deciding on your wedding attire, and picking out a beautiful wedding venue, everything in an Indian wedding is intentional and highly detailed. The colors, the music, and the flowers are all symbolic.
If you’re getting married (congratulations!), don’t forget to lean on your culture and your heritage, which have been doing weddings for a long time and can guide you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’re attending an Indian wedding (congratulations!), embrace the tradition you’re seeing around you and remember that these are sacred acts.
Above all else, have fun. The key ingredient in an unforgettable wedding is the bond between the bride and the groom as they embark on a journey to spend their lives together. No matter what colors surround them, if there is love, then there is sure to be one memorable party.