Indian weddings are a grand affair in itself. India is one of the most diverse countries with hundreds of traditions and customs that are followed. Every culture is vivid, and so are weddings. There are many rituals that occur at Indian weddings and can differ greatly depending on the family background or custom. Here are some basic etiquette tips to keep in mind when attending an Indian wedding.
- Never kiss the bride
Kissing the bride in Indian Weddings or ‘Shaadis’ is wholly forbidden. Never make this mistake, for you shall be banished by the entire clan right away. Indian parents are pretty conservative, and they would certainly not appreciate this gesture. Kindly restrict yourself to Namaste or shake hands when you greet the bride and the groom.
- Dress up
It is mandatory to dress well if you are being invited to an Indian wedding. Along with the couple, the guests are also expected to wear their finest attire and be a part of the festivities. A delightful event with ladies and men dressed from head to toe in silk and grand jewelry. This again is a common sight during Indian weddings, so don’t be shy to join in on the glamour. These days, attending a wedding wearing a “western party dress” is not uncommon but guests are often encouraged to wear traditional Indian attire. There is never “too much” when it comes to dressing up, especially in Delhi, so do take the opportunity to flaunt your favorite saree, lehenga or anarkali suit and for men, a tailored pyjama or jodhpuri suit.
- Avoid wearing Red or Black
Red is considered to be the most auspicious color in India. Therefore the bride will often be seen wearing the color red through most of the wedding ceremonies… added with lots of gold. Following etiquette guidelines, guests are encouraged to avoid wearing red. In contrast, black is considered very inauspicious in India so best to avoid wearing black as well.
- Auspicious time can be during any part of the day
There is an auspicious moment that would be fixed well in advance for the knot tying ceremony. It could be during any time of the day. Generally, in South-Indian weddings, it is only during the early mornings and before noon. But when you are taking part in a nuptial ceremony in North-India, the time could also be fixed during the wee hours of the night. It can bother your sleep schedule, but you are going to enjoy the experience thoroughly so try to stay up!
- Money is considered to be a traditional gift
Don’t get confused if you see people preparing a garland made of currencies for the bride and the bridegroom. Wearing such garlands is a tradition in Indian weddings. You might also see people holding envelopes with money inside them. This too, is considered as a traditional gift to be handed over to the newly wedded couple. If you are not carrying a big box of presents, a small envelope with a sound value currency should do the trick.
- Go with the flow
As wedding season begins around November, you may receive several wedding invitations through the winter months. It can be daunting at first to figure out the different rituals and which day to attend as Indian weddings can last for several days. From the engagement party to Mehendi or Haldi ceremony, each ceremony is carried out differently according to the couple and their family’s style. Through experience, it will become easier to understand which ceremony you feel most comfortable to join but overall, it is all about celebrating so just go with the flow and take it all in. Truly, an Indian wedding is entertaining and an experience on its own, so get yourself invited to the next wedding and don’t forget to dance your heart out and have lots of fun.