What to Wear to an Indian Wedding, As Told By a Fashion Expert

Fashion

As a fashion editor, I’m always happy to offer style advice to anyone who asks for it. Most of the time said advice pertains to weddings—what’s acceptable to wear, what isn’t, and whether or not a light shade of blue looks too white in some lights. I understand the anxiety many guests experience when an invitation comes through the letterbox; choosing an outfit for a wedding as a guest—especially a guest who identifies as a woman—can be tricky. White is still considered to be a big no-no (unless it is clearly stipulated on the invite as the desired dress code—something that is becoming a more popular choice for a variety of couples, if you can believe it). Then there’s making sure you don’t end up wearing the same colour or, even worse, the exact same dress, as the bridesmaids. With brands such as Ghost and Self-Portrait delivering fashionable designs that blur the line between wedding party and attendee, it has been known to happen. However, recently, a friend came to me with a query which I simply did not have the answer to, nor did I feel comfortable musing on. The question? What should I wear to an Indian wedding?

I’m not fortunate enough to have attended an Indian wedding myself, so I’ve never had to give the subject much thought. However, this question piqued my interest. I am far too self-critical to call myself an expert on anything, but as someone who has built a career talking and writing about fashion, I wanted to fill this gap in my knowledge with sound, sage and accurate advice I could pass on to my friend, and to anyone lucky enough to attend such a celebration who may also be unsure how to stylishly navigate it. This, dear reader, is where an actual expert comes in. 

Inspired by a love for fashion but also the desire for it not to weigh on her conscience, ex-investment analyst Eshita Kabra-Davies founded luxury fashion rental platform By Rotation as a side hustle in 2019. Having travelled to her motherland Rajasthan, India, for her honeymoon and witnessed the first-hand effects of textile waste, Kabra-Davies felt compelled to change, and bring about change. A self-proclaimed “third culture kid”, Kabra-Davies is especially focused on creating a conscious and inclusive community that democratises fashion without harming the planet. Having recently headed back to Rajasthan for the first time since By Rotation’s inception for her brother’s wedding, who better to inform us on what to wear to an Indian wedding as a guest than Kabra-Davies. Having seen beautiful Indian weddings from afar—social media is truly a wonderful thing sometimes—I wanted to learn more about the intricacies that go into dressing for one, as well as the cultural meaning behind the traditions. So, read on to find out what to wear to an Indian wedding, as told by the stylishly-blessed Eshita Kabra-Davies.

@arentyoueshita wears a lime and pink Indian wedding guest outfit

What are the differences between the dress codes of an Indian wedding vs. a western wedding?
Indian weddings will often have multiple events across a few days, and each will have its own dress code. I understand this might be overwhelming, so the general advice I’d give to wedding guests at Indian weddings is to avoid wearing the following colours at religious events: White (mourning), black (inauspicious) and red (bridal).



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