Indian weddings are beautiful ceremonies rooted in tradition and culture. As with attending any religious or culturally-important event, it’s essential to read up on etiquette. This includes gifting practices, dances, and food and drink.
Indian wedding etiquette can differ from more Western customs. Understanding Indian wedding etiquette isn’t challenging as long as you are aware of the dos and don’ts of wedding guest attire.
When you think of Western weddings, you might picture the big white wedding, with the bride wearing a white dress and the groom dressed in a more traditional black tux. Well, in Indian culture, the bride and groom both incorporate vibrant, beautiful colors into their outfits, and wedding guests do the same.
If you’re attending an Indian wedding and you’re unsure what to wear, or if you’re simply just curious about wedding norms of Indian culture, look no further.
Before we start, if you’re particularly curious about wearing white to an Indian wedding, the answer will likely be no.
In the Hindu tradition, wearing white to an Indian wedding as a man or a woman is a sign of disrespect. In this context, the color white is associated with mourning and funerals. Black is regarded as a generally unlucky color, which means that it doesn’t even make appearances at funerals (as per Western mourning traditions).
Traditional Indian clothing is world-famous for bright colors, stunning embroidery, and cascading fabric, all complemented by one-of-a-kind, shimmering jewelry. Lucky for you, as a wedding guest, you have plenty of options, no matter what the dress code happens to be.
Whether it’s a summer wedding, semi-formal, black-tie, or cocktail attire, we’ve got you covered, so read on for what men can wear as wedding guests.
What Happens During an Indian Wedding?
Keep in mind that Indian weddings last three days (on average), so it’s best to bring enough outfits to accommodate every event.
Weddings may differ based on religion; Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity are India's three most popular religions. Despite the variety of religious practices, wedding festivities lasting for several days is common amongst many groups.
The following example outlines a traditional Hindu wedding:
The first night is when the Ganesh pooja is performed by the couple’s priest. This Hindu ceremony is usually reserved for the happy couple, the bridal party, and the closest relatives. Wedding guests are not traditionally invited to this, so guests will not need to bring an outfit for this event.
The second night is marked by the mehndi ceremony when the bride and her loved ones are decorated with delicate henna markings. After this, on the second day is the sangeet, where all the wedding guests are typically welcomed to enjoy some food, dancing, and more.
The third day is the culmination of all the festivities. Guests celebrate the couple with a ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
Not sure which ones you are expected to attend? No stress: double-check your invitation; it should be on there.
There’s a chance you were only invited to one of the occasions, so once you figure out how many you will be attending, be prepared to invest in more than one outfit.
Wedding Dress Codes: Know Before You Go
First things first, before you pick out a specific color to wear for the wedding day, you should see if there is a specific dress code to avoid any potential faux-pas.
Wedding dress codes might seem frustrating, but they are actually a super helpful guide.
Western weddings have some pretty specific rules. For example, if the invitation calls for black-tie, men have a single option: a black tuxedo. White-tie dress codes are even more formal than black-tie. If you are attending the opening night of the opera or meeting royalty, this will likely be your go-to option.
Indian weddings offer men a chance to exchange the tired blazer, bowtie, and chinos for something far more exciting. Now, you will have a variety of colors and styles to choose from.
Check the wedding invitation, or at least correspond with another wedding guest or even one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen if they have any insight on appropriate wedding guest attire. If you’re still unsure of what to wear, and the wedding invitation doesn’t give any indication of a dress code, try to see if you can determine what the vibe of the wedding is going to be.
Depending on whether the occasion is going to be a black-tie wedding, a winter wedding, a beach wedding, or anything in between, your attire must reflect the type of occasion the couple has planned. From there, you can decide on a specific style and color that will match the type of occasion you’ll be attending.
Once you have the style and occasion figured out, the fun part is finding something to wear! For an Indian wedding, there are plenty of options for menswear, ranging from more casual to semi-formal.
What Color Should Men Wear to Indian Weddings?
As we all now know, wedding guests (both men and women) shouldn’t wear white to an Indian wedding. We also discussed how black clothing could be associated with bad luck: a dark black suit is probably a no-go.
However, there is one more color that wedding guests should avoid at all costs. We’re talking about red.
Red is the most prominent color of choice for Indian brides. This color is a symbol of passion, sensuousness, and fertility. Additionally, red is linked to the goddess Durga (also called Shakti or Devi).
In Hinduism, Durga is a well-loved protector of everything good and lovely. In India, the color red is tied to the concept of marriage as a whole, which is why women don this shade during Karva Chauth as well.
With red, black, and white off the table, what are your other choices for the big day?
Mint and green are very popular colors to wear to an Indian wedding because they are associated with life, freshness, fertility, and harmony. Other colors that are used in Indian weddings include yellow, blue, pink, and cream.
What Outfits Should Men Wear to an Indian Wedding?
Women have the Salwar Kameez, Sarees, the Lehenga Choli, and more (not to mention all the jewelry!).
Today, we are going to talk about Indian men’s fashion.
When choosing Indian celebration garments, men are fond of the Kurta and the Sherwani with matching pants. These options come in a wide variety of beautiful colors with intricate beading and detailing. something
The Kurta Pyjama Set
The Kurta Pyjama set is both attractive and comfortable. This set often features a tunic that extends to the knees, hanging over coordinating slim-fit pants called Churidar.
The Kurta can feature design elements like sequin or thread (zari being a stunning fan-favorite addition). Besides color and design, consider the fabric choice. Satin might be better suited for cold temperatures, whereas silk or rayon can keep you cooler on hot, sunny days.
A Sherwani Set
If you have a Kurta set you absolutely love, consider adding a Sherwani over it. A Sherwani is a coat-like piece that matches well with your Kurta and churidar.
Often far more elaborate than the average suit jacket, you can find unique Sherwanis like a Teal Green Embroidered Raw Silk variation. The rich green colors allow the elephant embroidery to take a subtle center stage.
Or perhaps you favor a Light Blue and Gold Embroidered Sherwani, showcasing zari work and a pocket square that matches the color of the churidar.
Every outfit presents a special opportunity to express your individual aesthetic while adhering to traditional Indian practices so that you can celebrate in style.
Stay Mindful of Modesty Standards
Before choosing your outfit, look over your wedding invitation to see if there are any specific modesty standards that you should adhere to.
In any country, it’s often best to avoid asking the bride or groom; they are super busy and have a million and one things to worry about. Bridsewomen and groomsmen are a great resource, as are family members or friends who will be attending.
Most styles of Indian wedding attire are already made to be conservative, so it shouldn’t be a problem you encounter when searching for an outfit. Just be extra sure that it fits properly and that you won’t have any wardrobe malfunctions on the dance floor!
Potentially, you might be asked to cover your head during the wedding ceremony or related events. You may also be asked to remove your shoes in certain houses of worship.
Indian weddings have different types of celebrations that occur over multiple days, so make sure that whether it’s the wedding ceremony or the wedding party, your outfits are good to go.
Wedding Guest Outfit: Know Before You Go
Wherever your travels take you, weddings are beautiful celebrations that remind us of the power of love, family, and community.
At Lashkaraa, we are here for every celebration in your life. From our helpful fashion guides to our pre-draped Sarees, we’re here to make traditional Indian fashion easy and accessible. The hardest question you should have is which your favorite piece will be.