(Closed) Guest at Indian wedding, what do I wear?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
7534 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@HourThyme:  Not nearly as rude as what the OP is doing. She said in her OP that her husband did not want to go to the cultural and important and menaingful part of the wedding because he would be uncomfortable (wearing a scarf). But is willing to put that aside to go to the reception? Really? How is that not rude?

It would be kind of like showing up to my wedding wearing traditional clothing just because I am Indigenous. It is rude and often inappropriate. It is someones culture not a chance to play dress up. There is meaning behind traditional dress which I think is lost on a lot of people.

Post # 18
56 posts
Worker bee

Ok I have to admit I’m torn between giving you horrible advice and giving you honest advice. Ok I’ll be good and not start anything. You can wear anything you want to the wedding. The reason it says its a traditional wedding is so folks like you can be prepared for outfit changes and the meal. Frankly I think it’s idiotic to dress up like a traveling gypsy to fit in. Just go dressed as you and try to celebrate her happiness. Although honestly I think if you aren’t going to her ceremony because have guys have issues then I don’t think you should go to the after party to celebrate something you skipped. 

Post # 19
1286 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@j_jaye:  that’s why she’s asking, i dont think its rude to ask. Maybe skipping the ceremony, but the groom said it was fine, so i guess is ok?

Post # 20
6835 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Sheesh, people are harsh here! I got to go to an Indian wedding a couple years ago and I was super excited for the cultural experience. (I live in Wyoming and needless to say, there aren’t many subcontinent Indians around here.)  That’s all the OP is saying, and wondering what to wear so as not to be out of place. 

OP, I just wore a bright colorful dress, but some white women did wear saris. I’m sure you could go either way. 

Love your username btw! 

Post # 21
26 posts

It is not anyone on this forum’s job to decide whether a complete stranger was just trying to be polite. He most likely realizes that OP and her husband are not mind-readers, so if he did not mean what he said it’s his own fault. She is asking for advice so as not to appear flippant/disrespectful to her hosts and their relative’s beliefs. I understand that cultural meaning is Really important in donning traditional clothing, but I don’t think it is so offensive to not want to stand out. One culture’s norms may seem trashy to those from a more conservative culture. I think it would be more offensive to not care at all and wear whatever she felt like, even if it might not be appropriate for another culture.

OP I would just wear a conservative (knee length or longer) dress and bring a cardigan with me just in case. I personally would not feel comfortable in traditional Indian clothing, and I don’t think that anyone would think twice about you wearing western clothing as long as it is fitting for the occasion and not revealing!

Post # 22
439 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Lepidoptera:  I would just wear what I normally would wear to weddings.

Post # 23
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@j_jaye:  I get what you’re saying- I think the OP just came off a little too excited.

I went to a friend’s wedding in Morocco last year and I wore the traditional garb (that her Fiance helped me buy), because they wanted me to. I still have it but I wouldn’t ever wear it again because I am very sensitive to cultural appropriation (especially as I’m part Navajo).

Post # 29
731 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

i recently went to a traditional Muslim Indian wedding. the ceremony was very different than what i am used to, and i couldn’t understand the language. the bride wasn’t a part of the ceremony! only the families, and the groom. if you do attend, it makes more sense to just attend the reception like you mentioned. 

just wear a regular dress… it might be weird to show up in a sari or other outfit if you aren’t that close to the couple or their families. i understand the sari idea if she is a close friend of yours, other than that you might look or feel silly. at least i would!

Post # 31
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@Lepidoptera:  I was at an Indian reception last weekend for a friend from high school. (She was married in India in the spring). I had joked about wearing a sari and she got really excited about it.  I ended up just wearing an anarkali suit similar to this one. (which I got for about $30 on ebay and with little alteration can be turned into a western-style dress).


(I also spent the night, poorly photoshopped onto a mountain scene). 

No one said anything negative to me (which is of course, unsurprising) and she said people were amused/impressed, so I’m guessing no harm was done. Either way, lots of gold, bright colors. It doesn’t seem like you’re too close to the bride, but you may check and see what color she is wearing. I assumed red, too, but my friend wore blue. Her mom and many of the other unrelated guests were in shades of red and orange, so that may open up some options for you

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