An Indian wedding is a chance to go all out, dressing up elaborately in celebration of the happy occasion. Western formal wear is more than acceptable, but the real enjoyment can come from the opportunity to wear more traditional Indian clothing. For women, the sari is the height of wedding fashion; for men, modest but stylish attire is the norm.
As in any wedding, no-one outshines the bride. As the bride at an Indian wedding, you can expect to spend the day from waking on getting prepared with the help of close female friends and family. From an early morning trip to a stylist or beauty parlour to getting dressed, the time before the wedding is a busy one. As the bride your clothing choices are varied. You can choose to go the traditional route, wearing the same wedding sari your mother wore, or go with a new sari.
A sari is an authentic piece of Indian clothing consisting of seven to nine meters of cloth draped about you over a blouse. The wedding sari is made of high-quality cloth and decorated with embroidery. If the sari is not to your liking, you can go with a lehenga instead. The lehenga is a long skirt worn with a matching blouse called a choli. It's quite as heavily decorated as the sari, but easier to wear than the more traditional garb.
After dressing you will wear your chudas, which are red and white wedding bangles, and gold wedding jewellery. The final touch is a gold dupatta pinned to your hair. The bride’s outfits typically consist of shades of red, an auspicious colour.
The Indian groom can dress a bit less elaborately. As a groom you can dress in a western-type suit, an achkan and churidar or salwar, or sherwani and churidar or salwar. The achkan is a long-sleeved coat as shown in the photo, worn close to the body, buttoning down the front centre and falling to the knees. The sherwani is much like the achkan only it is heavier and often lined.
Salwar trousers are wide-topped trousers which narrow at the bottoms. Churidars, a variant of salwar trousers, are tight-fitting trousers that reveal the contours of the legs. As a groom you won’t be limited to red; black and darker shades of blue, as well as earth tones, are often worn.
As a guest at an Indian wedding, you have even more choice in what to wear than the bride and groom. For women any colour is possible, and if you wish to go in Indian garb the sari and the lehenga are most commonly worn. As a male guest, you can wear an achkan with churidar or a salwar kameez, which is a matched pant and shirt. For both men and women, formal western wear is welcomed as well.