Are you attending an Indian wedding for the first time? If so, you are in for a very unique and exciting experience. Indian weddings are unlike any other. While attending an Indian wedding, you will get the chance to witness a wide array of food, ceremonies, colors, rituals, and dances.
Seeing as it’s your first Indian wedding, you are likely to get a bit overwhelmed by all that is going on. And, you probably also have a lot of questions about etiquette at an Indian wedding as well.
Well, fear not. We’re here to demystify some of the experience of an Indian wedding for you. Read on to learn the top five things to expect when attending your first Indian wedding.
1. Modest Dress
During typical Western weddings, especially during the summer months, bare shoulders and bare knees are usually the norms. However, at an Indian wedding, it is expected that you dress very modestly and brightly colored.
If you are a woman, and you would like to dress traditionally, a sari or a lehenga is what you’d wear. You will see men wearing sherwanis, which are long coat-like garments, or sometimes you will also see them wearing kurta pajamas at some point during the festivities like this Kurta Pajama for Men.
It is also acceptable to wear Western clothing, just make sure it’s modest, tasteful, and still colorful.
If you’d like to add some jewelry, bangles, gold chains, and bindis are common.
2. Not a One Day Ceremony
Typical Western weddings start the ceremony around 3, and then have the cocktail hour around 5, followed by the reception.
Indian weddings are rather different in that the weddings typically last for 3 days. From the pre-wedding events (rituals like Mehndi) to the actual ceremony, to the reception, there’s a lot that’s packed in a few short days. Most Indian weddings clearly let you know what events you are invited to, so you don’t have to do any guessing.
Also, be prepared for some of these events to take place at strange hours. The hour of the ceremony is often based around astrology, so don’t be surprised if you are expected to be somewhere around 2 or 3 am.
3. Come Hungry
As a guest, it is expected that you take part in the wedding feast. Accepting food is a sign that you approve of the marriage and that you are giving your best wishes to the bride and groom.
Typically, you will be treated to appetizers upon arrival, a main dish after the ceremony, and dessert after that. Indian food, while uniquely flavored, is quite delicious. So come with an open mind and an empty stomach!
4. Money is a Traditional Gift
Money is the go-to Indian wedding gift, and it is actually thought of as the most thoughtful.
You should place the money you give in a pretty bag or pretty envelope, along with your best wishes. The amount you give will depend on how well you know the couple, but no matter what currency, it is customary to give them a number ending in “1”.
5. Check Before Snapping Pics
It’s okay to take pictures during most parts of an Indian wedding. However, during certain rituals, it is strictly forbidden.
Make sure to look around before you snap any pics, just to be on the safe side.
With these things in mind, you are ready for your first Indian wedding!