• Ajay Manaktala

What to Wear to an Indian Wedding

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Invited to your first Indian or South Asian Wedding and a bit worried on what to wear or which fashion options to choose? Every weekend I meet folks just like you, so I put this comprehensive photo guide so you can quickly understand the outfits for each event and average prices.

What do you wear to an Indian wedding?

  1. Mehndi: You should wear a colorful kurta. (long shirt)

  2. Sangeet: A suit or a Jodhpuri (Indian blazer)

  3. Wedding Ceremony: A different colorful kurta and a turban if you're close to the groom (they'll give you one if they want you to wear one, called a "pagdi")

  4. Reception: A suit.

What not to wear to an Indian Wedding?

  • Wedding Ceremony: Don't wear all white or any black.

  • Reception: Don't dress fancier than the groom or bride.

Many first timers at Indian weddings simply buy one kurta and think they're good.

Then they attend the event and either feel overdressed or underdressed, or unsure why everyone is looking at them strangely because they're wearing all white. (we wear that at funerals in parts of India). There are actually a lot more straightforward guidelines to consider about color, cuts, average prices and what not to do when choosing your outfit.


What to wear to an indian wedding as a guy guest
All my explanations and caveats are below, but here's some quick info. Read below for your follow up questions. For wedding column, dark blue is ok but try to go with the color the groom is suggesting (yes, ask him or bride).

What to wear to an Indian Wedding as A Guest

You want to wear colorful and happy colors for both men and women.

1. Can you wear ALL WHITE to an Indian wedding?

Answer: TRY AND AVOID! But some South Indian folks have a Lungi (like a longer Scottish kilt) in which they do wear white. I would avoid though unless stated otherwise.

2. Can you wear black to an Indian wedding? Answer: It depends!

  • No to the mehendi. It's meant to be a colorful affair.

  • Yes to the Sangeet.

  • No to the wedding ceremony. (you might see older guys wearing black suits but try not to. If you go Indian anywhere, please wear your Kurta here)

  • Yes to the reception or any suit will do.

3. Can you wear red?

Yes, but if the bride is wearing red on her wedding ceremony, try not to match it.

4. Can I just wear a suit or cocktail dress?

Yes, but these days with such cheap options on Amazon, don't be that annoying guest who came in jeans or didn't even care to spend $50 on an outfit when the hosts are probably spending $150 per event to have you there. Embrace the customs and be a part of the festivities, otherwise don't be a buzz kill.

5. When in Doubt, just do what's on the Invite or Emails or Wedding Website!

Ultimately every wedding will have their own themes and styles and customs, so if the invite says something specific feel free to check out guidelines with other guests or your host!

Indian wedding attire for men and women first time
It's all about playing dress up with your friends bro! These were outfits for the Mehendi!

Detailed Info By Event, How to Select and Sample Prices

Indian wedding guest attire isn't as complicated