Wedding traditions vary across India, depending on the region and religion, but at most traditional weddings the bride sparkles in a colourful ensemble. She wears rich fabrics, and ornate jewellery, all designed to make her look her best. In India, the wedding is seen as the bringing together of two families rather than just the bride and groom, so the care taken in making the bride beautiful reflects the commitment being made.
Brides in traditional Indian weddings generally wear red, as it is considered to a lucky colour. Hindu women decorate their arms with henna tattoos and put red powder called sindoor in the hair as well.
Indian brides wear dresses made of fabrics that shimmer and shine, such as satin and silk. The fabrics are ornately embroidered and can feature sequins, pearls and other embellishments.
Many Indian brides wear a wedding sari, nine yards of stunning fabric designed to be gracefully draped around the body. The bride first dons a blouse, that is either short-sleeved or sleeveless, and fits tightly on the body. Blouses are short, often cut just below the bust. Next the bride wears a petticoat, which fits around the waist and falls to the floor. The petticoat should be the same colour as the sari, but once the sari is draped, the petticoat should not be visible. The final step is draping the sari in one of several styles, including the Nivi, the Maharashtrian or the Madisaara Style.
Northern Indian brides traditionally wear the Lehenga, a floor-length skirt that is worn just below the waist. The Lehenga can made of linen or silk, among other fabrics, and is usually ornately embroidered. Like the sari, most brides prefer to wear their Lehenga in shades of red. The Lehenga is worn with a Choli, a form-fitting blouse, and Odhani, a scarf-like head covering.
Brides in India adorn themselves with gold and jewel-encrusted necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even jewellery for the hair. The traditional bridal set includes an ornate necklace with earrings designed to match. Historically, the bride's jewels are considered her streedhan, a financial resource if needed.
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