What to Wear to an Indian Wedding (Ladies)

So you’ve been invited to your first Indian wedding. Hooray! This is sure to be one of the most fun-filled and exciting weddings you’ll ever attend. Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Get your sleep, snack when possible, and hydrate. You’re going to have a great time.

Now for the inevitable question: what to wear? The answer, my dear reader, is color.

Most Christian weddings involve a beautiful white dress, a tuxedo or classic suit, and bridesmaids in matching satin dresses holding perfect bouquets. Most Hindu weddings, by contrast, involve a red dress, a sherwani or kurta, and potentially no bridesmaids at all.

In India, white is often seen as an inauspicious (or unlucky) color. There are, of course, parts of India where that is not the case, and there are Hindu brides who proudly wear white down the aisle without so much as an eyebrow raise from their traditional aunties and uncles. However, most Indian weddings are full of color — red, gold, blue, green, purple — you name it, it’s there. This is your chance to break out that magenta cocktail dress you never wear, or the canary yellow dress that your mom bought on sale and you love dearly but can never find the right occasion to wear it. Sure, you can wear cream, or beige, or black, but you will regret it. Color is the name of the game!

There is no requirement to wear Indian clothes, but if you have them, now is a great time to wear them. And if you have been looking for an excuse to buy something Indian-inspired, consider an Indo-western dress, which are all the rage these days. Some examples of dresses in our favorite color (blue!):


Some tips when shopping for Indian clothes:

  • Clothing can vary in price substantially, and higher prices don’t always mean higher quality.
  • Try to find a local retailer in your town if you can, so you can try on the clothes, as sizes are a little *different* in Indian apparel.
  • Make sure if you shop online that you buy from a reputable retailer, and pay attention to shipping times — many retailers are shipping to you from India, and it may take a couple of weeks to reach you.
  • Also read carefully for whether the outfit is “ready made” or needs to be “stitched.” If the outfit needs stitching, that means they’re sending you fabric to turn into the outfit pictured, or they’re going to ask you for several measurements so they can make the outfit on your behalf.