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What do American guests wear to an Indian wedding?

Indian weddings are an extravagant affair, filled with colorful clothing, traditional customs, and lavish celebrations. If you’re an American guest attending your first Indian wedding, you might have a few questions regarding what to wear. Dressing appropriately is essential to respect the traditions and decorum of the event. You want to look stylish, but you also don’t want to offend anyone by wearing something that’s not suitable for the occasion. So, what should you wear as an American guest to an Indian wedding? In this post, we’ll guide you through the do’s and don’ts of Indian wedding attire for guests.

Understanding Indian Wedding Dress Code

Indian weddings are a fusion of various customs and traditions that date back centuries. The dress code for Indian weddings is highly sophisticated and depends on the type of event and the time of day. Most Indian weddings comprise three or four distinct occasions, each with a different dress code. Depending on your invitation, you might be invited to one or two events or to the entire wedding.

Mehndi Ceremony

The Mehndi ceremony is usually the first event of the wedding, and it includes the application of henna on the bride’s hands and feet. It’s a joyous occasion, filled with music and dance. It’s customary to wear casual, comfortable clothing for this event. Women can wear colorful kurtis, salwar kameez, and leggings. Men can wear traditional Indian kurtas or jeans with a shirt or polo.

Sangeet Ceremony

The Sangeet ceremony is a musical night filled with performances by family and friends. It’s usually held the night before the wedding and is considered one of the most entertaining events of the wedding. The dress code for this event is usually casual, but still traditional. Women can wear a long skirt or a saree. Men can wear a kurta or a shirt with jeans.

Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is the main event of the wedding, and it usually takes place in the morning. It’s important to dress formally for this event. Women can wear a saree or a lehenga choli with traditional jewelry. Men can wear a sherwani or a formal suit with a tie.


The reception is a grand celebration that usually takes place in the evening after the wedding ceremony. It’s an opportunity for the bride and groom to introduce their families to each other. For the reception, women can wear a saree or a gown. Men can wear a formal suit with a tie or a tuxedo.

What to Avoid?

While it’s important to dress formally and appropriately, there are some things that guests should avoid wearing to an Indian wedding. Indian weddings, like any other traditional event, have their own set of customs and etiquette, so it’s essential to keep them in mind while dressing up.

Avoid Wearing White or Black

White and black outfits are generally considered inappropriate for Indian weddings. White is the color of mourning in Indian culture and is associated with funerals, while black is considered inauspicious.

Avoid Revealing Outfits

It’s important to keep in mind that modesty is highly respected in Indian culture. So, revealing outfits like low-cut dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, and shorts are not recommended. It’s best to avoid tight-fitting clothes that cling to the body.

Avoid Wearing Leather

Most Indians are vegetarian, and wearing leather is considered disrespectful. It’s best to avoid wearing leather shoes or carrying a leather bag to an Indian wedding.


Indian weddings are joyous events filled with lively music, dance, and a stunning display of traditional attire. As an American guest attending an Indian wedding, dressing appropriately is crucial to being a part of these beautiful celebrations. Remember to choose traditional, modest, and bright attire that adheres to Indian customs and traditions. Dressing up for an Indian wedding is all about embracing the colors, designs, and cultural essence of the event.


What to wear to Indian wedding for non Indian guests?

Attending an Indian wedding is a great opportunity to experience and appreciate the colorful and vibrant culture of India. However, as a non-Indian guest, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to wear to such an event. It is important to remember that Indian weddings are formal events, and therefore, dressing appropriately is crucial when attending one.

For men, the most common traditional attire is lehnga jhabba/kurta pajama. This attire includes a long shirt, usually made of silk or cotton, with embroidery or embellishments, and paired with loose-fitting pants, also known as pajamas. The shirt can be paired with a waistcoat or Nehru jacket and topped off with dress shoes, or traditional Indian sandals, known as mojari.

For women, the most common traditional attire is a saree, a gagra choli/choli dress or a Punjabi dress/salwar kameez. A saree is a long piece of fabric wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder, creating a beautiful, elegant look for any woman. A gagra choli/choli dress or salwar kameez is a two-piece outfit consisting of a long, flowing skirt and a top or tunic. These outfits come in various colors and designs, offering women a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing what to wear.

If traditional attire is not your thing, there’s no need to worry. You can opt for a more westernized outfit, such as a long flowy skirt with a blouse, or a dress. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the attire should still be conservative and formal for attending an Indian wedding.

Accessories are a big part of weddings, and it is best to accessorize according to the chosen outfit. In India, women adorn themselves with a lot of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings and more. Men can opt for a simple watch or a traditional turban called pagri to complete their outfit.

Choosing the appropriate attire for an Indian wedding depends on your personal style and comfort level. However, it is essential to keep in mind that this is a formal event and dressing conservatively is highly recommended. Indian weddings are a celebration of love, family, and culture, and dressing the part shows respect and appreciation for the customs and traditions of the bride and groom.

Do you wear black to an Indian wedding?

In Indian culture, weddings are considered one of the most auspicious and important ceremonies. It is a time for families to come together in celebration and shower the bride and groom with blessings for a happy and prosperous life ahead. As a guest, it is important to be mindful of the customs and traditions of the Indian community. One such tradition is the dress code for attending an Indian wedding.

Traditionally, the Indian bride wears a red attire on her wedding day as it is believed to symbolize prosperity and good fortune. As a sign of respect towards the bride, women attending the wedding should avoid wearing any shade of red. It is best to opt for other bright and vibrant colors, such as pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, and so on.

Another color that is not considered favorable for Hindu ceremonies, including weddings, is black. Black is associated with mourning and sadness in the Indian culture, and wearing it to a wedding may come across as disrespectful. It is best to avoid wearing black or any other dark colors at the wedding.

While it is important to be mindful of the dress code, it is also essential to prioritize comfort. Indian weddings are usually extravagant affairs that go on for several days, with several events taking place throughout. It is best to choose an outfit that is comfortable to wear for extended periods, especially during ceremonies involving sitting on the floor. It is also essential to keep in mind the type of fabric and weather conditions.

Attending an Indian wedding is an honor and an excellent opportunity to learn about and appreciate the richness of Indian culture. As a guest, it is important to dress appropriately, be respectful of the traditions, and enjoy the festivities. While there are a few colors to avoid, guests have a wide variety of options to choose from, so pick something vibrant and enjoy the celebrations!

What is the color of Indian wedding?

In Indian culture, weddings are considered one of the most important events in an individual’s life. The customs and traditions of the wedding ceremony hold deep cultural significance for the bride and groom, their families, and the community. One of the most distinctive aspects of Indian weddings is the vibrant and colorful attire worn by the bride and groom and their guests.

For centuries, Indian brides have worn a specific color to their wedding ceremonies, which is saffron red. This shade of red is known as “sindoori” or “vermilion” and is considered auspicious in Hindu culture. Red is believed to symbolize purity, love, and commitment, making it the perfect color to represent the sacred union of marriage.

However, in recent years, modern Indian brides have started experimenting with different colors for their wedding attire. Some brides still choose to wear traditional red, but others opt for bright pinks, oranges, and even pastels, depending on their personal preferences and the region they come from.

Interestingly, different regions of India also have their own traditional colors that brides prefer to wear. For example, Bengali brides often wear shades of white and red, while South Indian brides tend to wear rich gold and ivory colors. Moreover, groom’s attire can also vary widely in different regions from a simple outfit to a heavily embroidered ensemble.

While saffron red is undoubtedly the traditional color of Indian weddings, the beauty of Indian culture is its regional diversity which is reflected in the various colors and styles of wedding attire.