An Indian wedding is not your typical tying the knot celebration. Their variety of rituals and ceremonies can be quite confusing if you are not familiar with them. It is traditionally a multi-day affair divided into three parts – the pre-wedding where the two families meet each other and have a gathering where they can enjoy each other’s company, the main wedding when the wedding ceremony takes place and the post-wedding when the bride is welcomed to the groom’s house and where the reception will take place.
If you are attending an Indian wedding for the first time, here is a guide on what to expect:
The dress code
Wearing Indian attire or sari is not mandatory but would be highly appreciated. The key is to dress up modestly. No plunging necklines, bare shoulders or short skirts. It is an advantage if you wear loose pants or skirts because you may need to sit on the floor crossed legged.
When it comes to the colour of your attire, the brighter the better. Indian weddings are known to be bright and colourful events. You can also wear eye-catching jewellery. Several Indian wedding ceremonies will require guests to cover their heads when they are in the temple.
It is acceptable to give monetary gifts to the newlywed couple if there is no mention of gifts on the invitation. If you will be giving a monetary gift, it should be placed in an embroidered bag or beautifully designed envelope together with your best wishes to the couple.
Male guests kissing the bride
It is not the custom for male guests to dance with or kiss the bride. They have a pretty conservative tradition, so it is better to avoid kissing the bride and respect their tradition. Besides, it is most likely that the bride will refuse.
During the reception, expect vegetarian food. It can also depend on the preferences of the family if they serve meat dishes. Jain weddings follow strict vegetarian dishes while a muslim wedding can have meat that is halal. Remember to take only what you can eat and do not waste food. It would also be rude not to eat at all, because, as a guest, taking part in the feast will bring luck to the newlywed couple.
Indian weddings usually have many guests; that is why they need big Indian wedding venues so that guests have enough room to dance the night away. Do not pressure yourself too much about offending their sentiments. They will understand that you are not well aware of some of their customs and traditions.
Attending an Indian wedding can be a joyful and colourful experience. It is full of traditions practiced for centuries. One thing is for sure, it will be quite an experience being a guest at an Indian wedding.