Help I’m Going To An Indian Wedding- What Do I Wear? A Non-Indian’s Guide To Indian Wedding Clothes
As a guest at an Indian/South-Asian wedding, I know that your main concern is what to wear without making a faux pas. Now I’ve spent the better part of a decade living in New Delhi and one thing the locals always say to me is ‘Chillax! You Goras (English people) worry too much!’ So feel easy- after all we’re talking about the culture that invented IST- Indian Stretchable Timing. Unless you’re planning on wearing a heavily beaded red outfit (the equivalent of turning up to a Church wedding wearing a long white dress and tiara) it’s hard to mess this up.
Most South Asian weddings will have a number of pre-wedding functions followed by the main wedding ceremony(s) and reception(s). So if you’re invited to more than one function, a good tip to remember is; when it comes to the fashion, the closer you get to the actual wedding day the more formal the attire. How do you distinguish between formal and semi-formal Indian wedding clothes? Well a general rule of thumb is the more elaborate the design and the heavier the beading/ embroidery, the more formal the outfit.
In this post I explain some of the more popular options when it comes to Indian wedding clothes: What they look like, what you’ll need and some useful tips.
The saree is a length of fabric, approximately 5 ? metres, folded and draped across the body. For many the saree is synonymous with Indian wedding clothes, making it a fail-safe option. It’s also an incredibly chic and very feminine garment; definitely one I’d recommend. Unfortunately many of us are daunted by the thought of having to drape one. But fear not, there are a number of ways around this: 1. You could ask the boutique/ designer you buy your saree from to convert it into a ‘fixed-pleat saree’. This way the length of fabric is converted into a skirt that you simply to wrap around you and fasten, allowing the rest to fall over your shoulder. There’s a fair amount of work involved in doing this, so do expect to pay an additional charge. 2. There are some good youtube tutorials on how to drape a saree, I would recommend?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxyyplADV5o. I’d suggest practicing a few times using a friends old saree before you rush out and buy one of your own. ?3. Many beauty parlours now specialize Indian wedding make-up, hairstyles, saree draping, etc. and they even do house-calls! So you could book a beautician to come out to you on the day of the function and have her drape your saree for you.
WHAT YOU NEED: The ?saree?, a ?petticoat? (an underskirt into which the edge of the saree is tucked), and ?choli? (a cropped blouse). You?ll need a saree which is finished with a ?fall?, this is a piece of fabric stitched onto the inside of the hem which makes sure the pleats fall properly and protects the saree hem from wear and tear. Most high-end Indian boutiques sell finished sarees, but if your saree doesn?t come with a fall, you can usually ask them to add one for you.
Named after a famous Mugal courtesan, the anarkali is a tunic fitted around the bust which then flares out. When fanned out the anarkali looks like a umbrella and so is sometimes referred to as an umbrella frock. The anarkali has regained its popularity in recent years, not least because it?s a versatile style that’s flattering on most shapes. Anarkalis are available in a variety of lengths and flares.
WHAT YOU NEED: The ?anarkali? (flared tunic), ?pyjami? (a skinny trouser, often gathered at the ankle) and ?dupatta? (a large stole, which can be used as a head covering for religious ceremonies) .
As the name suggests, this three-piece ensemble originates from the Punjab region of India and consists of a straight/ A-line tunic, a traditional trouser and stole. The current trend is for the tunic to be worn around knee length or higher, although the Pakistani fashion trend of an mid-calf length tunics is also very popular. The Punjabi suit usually comes in a variety of vibrant colours, making it a quintessential Indian fashion statement.
WHAT YOU NEED: The ?kameez? (A-line/ straight tunic), ?salwar? (a traditional trouser with gathers at the back) and ?dupatta? (a large stole).
Another three piece ensemble very similar to the Punjabi suit, only with a different trouser. Instead of the salwar, a churidar suit comes with a churidar pyjami, which is essentially a skinny trouser that gathers at the ankle.
WHAT YOU NEED: The ?kameez? (tunic), ?churidar pyjami? (skinny trousers, gathered at the ankle) and ?dupatta? (a large stole).
The lengha is a flared, floor-length skirt, paired with a blouse and stole. She’s the queen of Indian wedding clothes, which is why the majority of Indian and South Asian brides choose to wear a heavily embellished bridal lengha on their big day. Guests can opt for a lighter ?party? lengha with less embellishment, but all the glamour. Most lenghas come in the traditional umbrella-cut, but more contemporary fish-tail and bias cut skirts are also available.
WHAT YOU NEED: The?’lengha’?(flared, floor-length skirt),?’choli’?(a cropped blouse, or a longer blouse which hits the top of the skirt), ?and ‘dupatta’?(large stole).
You’d need to double-check with your hosts as some more traditional weddings may call for a more traditional outfit, but evening gowns?are?becoming more of a trend at Indian weddings, especially for wedding receptions and pre-wedding cocktail functions. ?So if you have a gown in your wardrobe that you never thought you?d find the occasion to wear again, now?s the time to pull it out!
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