The traditions surrounding Indian brides on their wedding days--for the weddings span a number of days--are as varied as the clans the brides belong to. (See Reference 1 graph 4) Depending on the traditions of her clan, the bride may wear her hair up or down, or with or without a veil. Regardless, flowers and jewels like gold chains or tiaras in the hair are common. The style chosen reflects these considerations.
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A common hairstyle for an Indian bride is the simple plait. This is made at the nape of the neck or just behind the ear, and is formed from three strands of hair. The hair is braided for its full length. The plait is then covered, surrounded or wrapped with flowers, most commonly jasmine. If the bride's hair is not long enough for her or her clan's liking, extensions may be used to obtain the desired length.
Slightly more complicated than the simple plait, this braid is begun near the crown. It adds some elegance and complexity to the bride's overall appearance. It is also adorned with flowers and jewellery, and possibly a veil if the bride's clan tradition dictates it. The hair is also braided for its full length as with the simple plait. (See Reference 2 and 3)
Some bridal traditions require wearing their hair in a bun. The hair that constitutes the bun may or may not be plaited, though plaiting adds texture and interest to a bun. The bun may be worn high or low, centred or off to one side. The height of the groom is often also taken into consideration before choosing the hairstyle. A bride with a very tall groom may choose to wear a bun high on her head, where a shorter groom may dictate a bun at the nape. (See Reference 2)
Many Indian brides forgo the plaits altogether and wear their hair loose and flowing. A plait may also serve the purpose, if worn early on in the ceremony, to create waves in the hair to be shown off later when the plait is taken out. (See Reference 2)
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