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What to Wear to an Indian Wedding as a Guest

Received an invite to an Indian wedding and don't know what to wear? We’ve got the dos and don’ts of dressing for traditional and modern Indian wedding celebrations

A groom twirls his bride around at an indian wedding as guests surround them throwing petals all dressed in indian wedding guest outfits in shades of orange
PEXELS / Camera Treasure

A groom twirls his bride around at an indian wedding as guests surround them throwing petals all dressed in indian wedding guest outfits in shades of orange
PEXELS / Camera Treasure

If you’ve been invited to an Indian wedding, firstly, we’re extremely jealous. Indian wedding celebrations are among the most joyful and welcoming, love-filled nuptials we’ve attended.

Secondly, you might be wondering what to wear to an Indian wedding. While western wedding attire rules are as simple as no white and you’re grand, Indian weddings tend to have a different set of requirements, so we asked the experts - including someone with extensive experience organising Indian weddings, and an Asian couture fashion specialist. 

No matter what you want to know about what to wear to an Indian wedding, you'll find the answers to your questions here!

What’s the Dress Code for an Indian Wedding?

Three wedding guests - two women and one man - posing in green hued traditional indian wedding guests together, waving their hands and making peace signs showing off the mehendi artwork applied to their skin
Pexels / Spora Weddings

“It’s about using common sense and respecting the place of worship,” says Balvi Macleod, who has attended and helped organise many Indian weddings. 

“Outfits with strappy tops and low cut necklines or side slits on skirts and dresses may be considered inappropriate,” she adds, while her daughter, Saira Macleod, comments: “Make sure your outfit is modest and appropriate according to the family. Some families are liberal, some modest, some in the middle. A good judge is to think, would Kate (Middleton) wear it? She’s a safe, classic gauge.”

Indian wedding guest outfits tend to be gorgeous, glittering numbers, as Onita Prasada, founder of Indian and Asian couture specialist O’Nitaa, confirms: “Indian wedding guests view their outfits as part of the celebratory ambience – every garment and item is considered and guests tend to go the extra mile in terms of dress to reflect their joy and love for the couple marrying.” 

What Do Guests Wear to an Indian Wedding?

“As a white woman, I wondered what I should wear when I was invited to my cousin's Indian wedding,” says Hitched contributor Melanie Macleod. “I wasn’t sure whether I should wear traditional Indian attire, or whether this would be deemed inappropriate.

"My cousin reassured me that they’d love for me to wear traditional Indian dress, but it was absolutely fine to wear a modest dress that I’d wear to a Christian ceremony. Indeed, there was a mixture of the two styles on the big day.”

Onita shares there was no need to worry about offending with my decision to wear Indian wedding attire explaining: “The couple and their family and friends will most likely really appreciate you making the effort – it’s considered a sign of respect and conveys your appreciation. 99.9% of my European clientele want to go the extra mile to show that they care and are keen to express their joy through what they’re wearing.”

“It is not necessary to wear Indian attire at an Indian wedding, however Asian clothes are designed for gatherings and celebrations and so they are colourful and comfortable,” says Balvi.

She adds that the religion of the wedding you’re attending is important, too. “It’s necessary to cover your head at a Sikh wedding, but not Hindu,” she explains.

On whether you should feel compelled to wear Indian attire, Saira adds: “I would ask the family and wait until you’ve been encouraged to do so by the family hosting the wedding.

“If you do decide to wear Indian clothing, have a look on YouTube for guides on how to wear it. It’s often an unusual piece of clothing and you don’t want to look like a fish out of water.”

If you don’t have time to buy an Indian wedding outfit, Saira recommends shopping for a long sparkly dress for the wedding day and reception.

When it comes to what men should wear to an Indian wedding, in particular Sikh celebrations, make sure your trousers are comfortable for sitting cross legged, as much of the ceremony will see guests sitting on the floor.

Men can wear traditional Indian outfits, or suits, if they prefer. 

What are Indian Wedding Clothes Called?

A blonde haired bride and groom sitting wearing traditional indian wedding clothes at a multicultural indian wedding celebration

“The most common outfit option for women at a Hindu wedding is a saree, which generally consists of a long piece of fabric (often silk) that wraps around the body from shoulders to feet, with some fabric left free,” says Onita

“Sarees are very popular but bear in mind that having five and a half metres of fabric draped around your body isn’t always easy to manage if you’re not used to it," she continues. 

Opt for a pre-stitched saree if winding fabric on the wedding morning could prove tricky, or Onita recommends considering a lehenga instead:

“A lehenga is a colourful, embellished three-piece outfit consisting of a high-waisted skirt, cropped blouse (known as a choli) and a scarf (called a dupatta) that can be easier to wear.”

For Sikh wedding celebrations, Onita notes you’ll need a scarf for the religious ceremony in order to cover your hair and head and it’s also customary to remove your shoes in places of worship. If the wedding is taking place in a temple, be sure to wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

As for Muslim wedding ceremonies, Onita highlights that it’s important to cover your head, legs and arms. If you’re in doubt over what to wear, Balvi suggests asking the couple their preferences - especially when it comes to colour, as this varies across India, she says.

What Colours Can You Wear to an Indian Wedding?

An indian bride in a traditional red and gold indian wedding outfit winks at the camera and raises one arm in the air triumphantly

“I’d recommend that you ask the couple their preference on colour,” Balvi advises. “Some colours such as black are not regarded as auspicious so it’s worth having the discussion as colour preferences vary across India.

Saira cautions against white too, explaining: “White is normally worn at funerals but can be acceptable with lots of sparkle and embellishment.

“The biggest no when it comes to weddings is wearing a white scarf (chuni) on your head. This is a sign of a widower. If you do go for white, make sure it is full of embellishment.

“Red is typically not worn on the wedding day as this is reserved for the bride. However, many British Asian brides have opted for other colours in recent years. Despite this, you wouldn’t catch me wearing red on someone’s wedding day.”

The Finishing Touches to an Indian Wedding Guest Outfit

A couple at an indian wedding, the woman is wearing a traditional indian wedding outfit in lilac and the groom wears a western style berry coloured tuxedo
PEXELS / jinto mathew

You’ve bought, borrowed or rented your outfit, but you’re not done yet. Onita notes that accessories are an essential component of Indian wedding attire: “Indian wedding clothing is almost always accompanied by statement jewellery – you’ll be considered underdressed if you skip jewellery or accessories altogether. Like makeup, it allows you to play up your personal style and compliments your clothes.

“Most women wear at least a few stacked bangles with earrings, a necklace and perhaps a headpiece such as a maang tikka. This consists of a circular piece of jewellery worn on the forehead and pinned into place in the hair with a chain.

"Wedding guests would typically wear a less extravagant maang tikka than the bride and bear in mind that your jewellery doesn’t need to be expensive – wear pieces that you love and team them with a favourite bag and striking scarf. It’s all part of the ensemble.”

Gold and vibrant jewels are the most popular jewellery options, but feel free to go all out in your own way.

Indian Wedding Guest Outfits for Women

Not sure what to wear to an Indian wedding as a woman? We've got the best Indian wedding guest outfits for women here, from as little as £30!

1. Fringed Orange Saree - Amrika

  woman in orange and pink floral wedding guest outfit sari and gold jewllery

The fringe detailing on this coral and orange floral-print saree sets it apart from the pack, while the golden thread makes it extra special.

£534 | Shop Now

2. Magenta Satin Saree – KBE

A woman wearing a berry toned indian wedding guest outfit, complete with gold and turquoise trim

This rich berry toned saree is a thing of beauty – double check that the bride isn’t opting for magenta, otherwise you’re golden.

£92.72 | Shop Now

3. Mint Green Draped Dupatta Palazzo Set – Esha Koul

A mint green indian wedding outfit consisting of an embellished crop top draped with a gold beaded saree and a full length mint green skirt

Fresh in every sense of the word, this palazzo trouser set features delicate rose gold detailing and a bordered dupatta shawl to add to the glitz.

£278 | Shop Now

4. Fuchsia Skirt and Jacket Two-Piece - Amrika

two piece pink indian wedding outfit with gold belt

Make a statement in this show stopping coordinated two-piece, complete with waist-cinching belt and divine embroidery. The low neckline is calling out for a statement necklace, if you ask us. 

£948 | Shop Now

5.Yellow Anarkali Suit – Georgette Party Wear

A yellow coloured indian wedding guest outfit consisting of a long sleeved top with gold embellishments on the neck and sleeves, a full length skirt and a sheer gold and yellow draped fabric

The detailed neckline, rich embellishment and a sunshine hue set this anarkali dress apart from the rest. Subtle detailing around the bodice and the scalloped hemline add to the elegant effect.

£189 | Shop Now 

6. Purple Printed Draped Saree With Pants – Esha Koul

A berry coloured saree with a white pattern and matching berry coloured trousers

This slinky satin trouser, top and saree set is ideal for winter weddings and pieces can be styled out individually to give it even more legs. 

£235 | Shop Now

7. Coral Anarkali with Peach, Grey and Gold Dupatta – Anisha Shetty

A pale pink anarkali dress with a peach and gold dupatta

Hand crafted and customisable, this beautiful cotton and silk blend anarkali ticks the pastel box trend and the embroidered dupatta will go with anything and everything.  

£138 | Shop Now

8. Navy Blue Net Saree with Zardosi Silk Blouse – Priti Sahni

A navy blue sheer saree with a gold trim and embellishments, plus a matching blue and gold cropped blouse

A gold scallop bordered saree stands out against deep blue silk, with pearls, sequins and detailed embroidery for good measure. This one has a touch of magic about it.

Shop Now | £189

9. Pine Green Lehenga Choli – Shopkund 

A pine green two piece wedding guest outfit trimmed with gold

The understated design of this polished, gold trimmed lehenga set allows sumptuous colour to take centre stage. It’s also another standout choice for winter weddings.  

£80 | Shop Now

10. Indo-Western Flared Trouser Suit – Mongas

A western style indian wedding guest outfit with an embellished blue cropped blouse and wide leg silky blue trousers

A mosaic-like digital printed top combined with silk wide legged trousers makes this trouser suit a modern gem for Indian wedding celebrations. These trousers would look just as snappy when teamed with a crisp white shirt for less formal occasions. 

£199 | Shop Now

11. Dress Hire – Bollywood Borrowed 

A wedding guest wearing a traditional indian wedding guest outfit in a green, gold and rich berry coloured combo

Whether you’ve got a few events in the pipeline that you’d like to vary outfits for or in case your budget doesn’t stretch to buying a new ensemble, Bollywood Borrowed allows you to hire the Indian wedding attire of your dreams.

From sarees to lehengas to tunics and dresses, there’s an abundance of choice to suit every style and you can also buy new or second hand outfits if you happen to fall in love with a particular item. 

From £30 | Shop Now

11. Blue Patterned Lehenga - Etsy

woman in blue embroidered indian wedding outfit

You'll feel like a princess in this intricately embroidered blue two-piece lehenga, complete with a spaghetti strap top and sparkling embellishments. Reviewers of this Indian wedding outfit praise the beautiful colours and flattering design. 

From £92.77 | Shop Now

Indian Wedding Guest Outfits for Men

Wondering what to wear to an Indian wedding as a man? We've got some stylish Indian wedding guest outfits for men here - be inspired!

1. Maroon Silk Asymmetrical Sherwani Jacket and Trousers – Mongas

A man wearing a dark red Indian wedding guest outfit consisting of an asymmetrically fastened sherwani jacket and trousers

Lavish, luxurious and quite simply frankly fit for a king, this asymmetrical sherwani contrasts gold detailing with a rich maroon shade and includes an ivory pocket square for even more polish. 

£250 | Shop Now

2. Navy Blue Kurta with Gold Trim – Bollywood Borrowed 

A wedding guest wearing a navy blue kurta with a golden trim with white trousers and pointed shoes

If you’re keen to rent a suit, you can’t go wrong with this kurta tunic and trousers combo. You can purchase insurance if you’re worried about keeping those white trousers pristine. 

From £65 | Shop Now

3. Sleeveless Salmon Waistcoat – Bollywood Borrowed 

A man wearing a traditional long white shirt and trousers, paired with a salmon coloured long line waistcoat

After something brighter? This salmon pink waistcoat will go down particularly well at summer weddings and add a ‘pop’ to neutral suits. 

From £25 | Shop Now

4. Sage Green Silk Kurta – Anita Dongre

A man wearing a sage green silk kurta for a wedding paired with white trousers

Beautiful hand-embroidery and luminous light green silk material make this kurta a keeper. All you need is a plain pair of trousers to finish your wedding suit.

£257 | Shop Now

5. Emerald Green Jodhpuri Achkan - Etsy

man in green and gold indian wedding outfit

The gold and emerald green make this outfit a regal choice for Indian weddings. Reviewers praise the high quality material and excellent fit, sharing that they received endless compliments when wearing it as a wedding guest.

From £44.63 | Shop Now

6. Metallic Green Achkan - Etsy

man in green and gold indian wedding outfit

This gold and green jacket gives us mermaid vibes, in the best way possible. For an Indian wedding in summer, we can't think of a better outfit. Reviewers praise the fit and material of this sophisticated item.

From £110.33 | Shop Now

Wondering what to expect at an Indian wedding? Read our guide to Indian wedding ceremonies and traditions.