What to Expect at an Indian wedding – A Guide for Foreign Guests

By  | 

Image by Impress Digital Studio

From country to country there are innumerable charming, interesting and even unexpected customs and wedding traditions. If you are lucky enough to have a unique opportunity to attend an Indian wedding, you need to get prepared and find out what to expect so that you don’t get baffled on your arrival. From wedding customs, food, clothes to dancing and music, here is a helpful guide which will help you get ready to bust the move and have a blast at the traditional Indian wedding.

Know what to wear

Image Shalin Media Arts

Before you start dress shopping and packing, know that the traditional Indian wedding lasts for a minimum of three days. A Hindu priest, called pandit, may consult the stars and preside over the ceremony and dates. Therefore, it can sometimes get hard to plan the wedding date. Nevertheless, you should get your invitations for the events a few months in advance. So you can book your tickets and plan your trip comfortable. Make sure you have at least 3-4 different party dresses for each of the events.

Indian weddings are all about wearing luscious, multi-colored apparel. A rule of thumb is never to wear plain black or white outfits as these colours symbolise misfortune. Usually, female guests will wear the most elegant and bright saris, lehengas or Indian suits which they will accessorize with ravishing and most exquisite jewelry. Don’t worry if you don’t have a traditional sari, you can wear a suitable dress in red, yellow, orange or any other favourite colours other than black or white. Shades of white, beige, and other pale colours are acceptable as long as there are some accents and pops of colour to break the monotony. Many modern couples do not place any restrictions on what their guests can or cannot wear to their ceremony as long as theydo not over-expose the skin.

Image Classy Captures

On the first day, the bride and groom get beautified with a special paste or turmeric applied to the body. You can wear yellow or other bright colours on this day. On the day of the Henna or Mehendi, you can wear green, blue, red, purple, orange or any other colours other than black or white. For the Sangeet, the two sides meet, sing and dance. Here you can again wear a colourful dress and shoes that are comfortable for dancing. And finally on day three is when the official Hindu ceremony commences. Never wear plain black or white to this event as it symbolizes ill-luck or misfortune.

Pick the right jewellery

There are many ways to symbolize an eternal devotion to one another. At an Indian wedding, a bride will typically put vermilion or red powder in the part of her hair, wear a red sari, and be presented with glorious gifts. She is usually given mangalsutra, which is a black or gold necklace tied by her husband around her neck. According to Indian tradition, this jewellery piece symbolizes holy matrimony and a bond for eternity. As a guest, you can find unique jewellery on Moon Magic site like those worn at a traditional Indian wedding. You can also wear jewellery that suits your attire.

Keep snacks and water bottle handy

Images by SnapStories

Amongst many important customs, at an Indian wedding, you should prepare for a fiery closure. A spiritually important wedding custom is pledging vows around the holy fire, called Agni. During this ritual, the couple needs to circle around the fire seven times. There is a great significance in this ritual in that; with each step around the blaze, the bride and groom recite the sacred Hindu pledge of marriage. Keep a few snacks and a bottle of water handy as this ritual can go on for hours. You are of course allowed to leave for a bit to go to the restroom or the snack counter; most modern Indian couples ensure that their guests are not left bored and hungry during these rituals. So there will always be something for you to do or see!

Enjoy the food!

Expect a lot of people, sometimes hundreds, at an Indian wedding. As all the guests need to eat, despite the number, the food at Indian weddings is always meticulously prepared and utterly delicious. During each of the multi-day events, you will get a chance to try the unique Indian wedding menu that ranges from spicy to sweet, non-vegetarian to vegetarian. Their classical dishes are mainly spicy, but you could be served with western and eastern food blends as well. What is more, there will be plenty of beverages and desserts so no one will be left out.

Let loose on the dance floor

Image Octopus Films

After the long, traditional ceremony, the couple’s families might throw a flabbergasting and memorable reception party for all the guests. Expect speeches, serenades for the bride, karaoke, dancing and singing performances. The Bhangra is one of the most popular Panjabi-type of music dance, so be prepared to listen to it all night. When it comes to presents, money is always an option, but they have a reverse-gifting rule so that you don’t need to dwell much about what to get as a present.

All in all, get your comfy shoes on because you will be dancing all night(s) long. Indian weddings are an absolutely wonderful experience so make sure that you have everything captured.

Back to Blog