• Ajay Manaktala

Indian Wedding (facts, event timeline and attire)

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

Are you invited to your first Indian wedding? Maybe you’re wondering: 

  • what to expect? 

  • how to behave? 

  • the types of food 

  • fashion and what to wear

  • and how not to make a fool of yourself? 

You’re in the right place! 

In this post I’ll cover the following topics in an “Indian weddings for dummies” sort of way, as many first time guests have a million questions and don’t want to bother the couple too much with seemingly silly questions. 

Indian Wedding Guide for the Non-Indian

Since this is a long post, to outline it, we’ll discuss:

  • Background on Indian Weddings

  • RSVP and Invite Protocol

  • What kind of Wedding are You About to Attend?

  • The Main Events you see at most Indian Weddings in the USA, Canada or the UK

  • Do I need to Attend All Of it? 

  • The Actual Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Mixed Wedding

  • What to Wear, Kurta, Leheng and Sherwani Basics. 

  • The types of Food you can Expect

  • FAQ for First Timer Guests and Things not to Do

  • Should you give a gift or cash or nothing or look at the registry? 

  • Sangeet or Garba Dancing Guide

  • Reception Seating

  • And pretty much any other questions first time Indian wedding guests have! 


  • I'm going to assume your a first time guest.

  • Your probably a colleague, acquaintance or similar relationship to the bride or groom.  

  • I'll assume you don't have an Indian background and probably just have an Indian/Pakistani friend you know or work with, and this experience is new. 

  • If you’re best friends or best man with the bride or groom then you’ll have to take some personal input from them to double check what is required of you! 

Side Note: Many times we see an Indian person working in America for a few months, then give out invites to everybody in his office in Michigan for some wedding back in India.  This is probably just a formality and unless you guys are super close...trust us, he's not expecting you to fly across the world.

Background on Indian Weddings

Indian weddings have gone on the world map in 2019, with folks like Priyanka Chopra marrying Nick Jonas in AMERICA AND INDIA and the billionaire Ambani family hiring Beyonce to play at their Sangeet  (I'll explain what a Sangeet is below don't worry).

Just like with American weddings, you can have a small church wedding with a brunch buffet for 50 people and keep the costs down to a few thousand, or you can have massive celebrity weddings that go into the millions.  

On average, however, most Indian weddings in the west go about two to maximum of 3 days, and first time guests are mainly required to attend the Sangeet, Wedding and Reception. 

So don’t feel overwhelmed as every experience is unique and different!

First things first...what do you do about that invitation or email you got! 

RSVP Etiquette

Don’t worry if you’re not EXACTLY sure if you’ll be able to attend the wedding.  

Invitations will go out either in card form (for which the hosts will ask for your postal address, o