What Not to Wear at an Indian Wedding

Indian weddings are full of colour, pomp and show. When you receive a wedding invitation, your first concern is probably what outfits you’re going to be wearing. But even with decent prep time, it is possible for wedding guests to falter with their choice of clothes. In fact, it happens all the time – you spot at least one person who looks too out-of-place in their inappropriate attire at every function. To avoid such fashion faux pas, here’s a concise guide on what NOT to wear at different Indian wedding ceremonies.

wedding twinkle guests

At the Roka/Engagement Ceremony

Female Guests: You can wear either Indian or Western semi-formals for this event. Avoid:

 Anything too plain and casual such as denims.

 Very dressy ethnics like silk sarees or lehengas – leave that for the bride-to-be and family.

Male Guests: You can wear anything semi-formal to this event. Avoid:

 Jeans and a tee, which is too informal; at least wear a linen shirt.

 Something very formal like an embellished Kurta or Sherwani – you’ll look far too overdressed.

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At the Haldi/Churdha/Mehendi Ceremony

Female Guests: This is a ceremony where casual ethnic is the general norm. Avoid:

 Expensive outfit which it would pain to stain with haldi or mehendi.

 Tight-fitted outfits or uncomfortable shoes since you’ll probably be moving about a lot.

Male Guests: This is when you wear something loose fitting and comfy like a kurta. Avoid:

 Very dark or boring colours which will look odd at a somewhat somber, morning event.

 Something formal or semi-formal like a shirt or bandgalah.

roka ceremony

At the Cocktail/Sangeet/Reception Function

Female Guests: This is the most glamorous functions and bright-beautiful ethnic/western formals would be suitable. Avoid:

 Dull colours and casual fabrics which will have you looking washed out amongst others.

 Uncomfortable footwear because you may find yourself dancing the night away.

Male Guests: Typically, men go in for western formals like suits or Indo-western outfits for such events.


 A simple jeans-and-tee outfit – you’ll be the fashion outcast for sure.

 Very elaborate ethnic-wear which will make you seem over-dressed for such fun, vibrant events.

Wedding Twinkles

At the Wedding Ceremony

Female Guests: You need to be in your best ethnic formals with elegant make-up and jewelry. Avoid:

 Colours that are considered inauspicious such as black and white.

 Red outfits since you do not want to steal the bride’s thunder (especially at North Indian weddings where the bride wears red).

 Very skimpy or casual clothing which will render you the center of attention and not in a good way.

Male guests: Bring out your best ethnic or Indo-western wear for the wedding. Avoid:

 Heavy-work sherwanis – you don’t want to out-do the groom.

 Western formals like a shirt-trouser combo – seems like you made no effort.

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Picture Credits: Wedding Twinkles

Here's a concise guide on what you should wear to different Indian wedding ceremonies - roka, engagement, wedding, cocktail, etc.

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