What Not To Wear to an Indian Wedding

We’ve all heard that, when attending an American wedding, you should never wear white (or anything close to white) so as to avoid distracting from the bride’s dramatic color contrast with everyone else at the wedding.

Guess what? You probably shouldn’t wear white to an Indian wedding, either. There are practical reasons for this, chief among them: henna and turmeric, which are both a huge part of Indian weddings and which stain everything in sight a deep red or vibrant yellow. There are also traditional considerations to take into account. In most parts of India, Hindus view white as a color of mourning. Widows and widowers in India often wear only white for the rest of their lives, in honor of their deceased spouse. That’s not exactly the vibe you want to bring to an Indian wedding.

What else should you steer clear of? Anything too revealing, whether that means you’re rocking a miniskirt or a super low-cut top. The wedding ceremony occurs in the presence of the Almighty, and we’re guessing you wouldn’t usually show off your decolletage at church. Also, there are always modest, elderly Indian people there, most of whom seem to have traveled impossible distances just to be present for this wedding. Let’s try not to shock them by displaying your impressive thigh gap. Consider a pashmina if your dress is very low cut.

Lastly, remember that the bride will probably wear red to the wedding ceremony. If you have a choice between red and navy cocktail dresses for the weekend, reserve the red dress for the reception, and opt for navy for the ceremony. Just like in an American wedding, you should try not to detract from the bride on her big day by wearing red (or bright pink) during the ceremony. Brides will usually change for the reception, so you’re clear to wear red for that event.