What to Expect When Attending an Indian Wedding

Indian culture is a wonderful combination of the colourful, the chaotic, the wonderful, and the weird. Nothing points to the uniqueness of these traditions the way a full-blown Indian wedding does. These are so much more than a simple wedding ceremonies; they can be huge events that give a unique glance at the fascinating nuances of this wonderful culture. If you’re attending your first Indian wedding some time soon and aren’t sure quite what to expect, read on to get the low down of a typical big fat Indian wedding!

Indian weddings are huge

Weddings in India are massive affairs where hundreds of people are invited to partake in the festivities. Maintaining proper social decorum is a huge part of Indian culture which means that it’s common to invite colleagues, distant relatives, and friends – even if you haven’t seen them in years! Rather than risk offending anyone by making them feel left out, it seems more common for the bride and groom to invite all their acquaintances. Which is why there are some weddings with guest lists that number over a thousand people!

Indian weddings are long

Depending on how close you are to the bride or groom, you may not be invited to every single event. Indian weddings on average last around three days with happenings like henna parties, religious ceremonies, and receptions featuring lots of food and dancing. Whether you’re invited to every event or just one, be sure to make the most of it and enjoy the experience to the fullest!

Indian weddings are colourful

If you’re debating what to wear to an Indian wedding, just remember these two words: bold and modest. Black and white are two colours which are big no-nos for a wedding in India; instead go for bright and bold hues and wear plenty of jewellery. You’ll notice right away that guests at an Indian wedding love to deck themselves out in vibrant colours and eye-catching gold jewellery – the brighter, the better! If you don’t have any traditional Indian clothes to wear, go for modest attire that covers your shoulders, legs, and cleavage.


Photo via Flickr

Indian weddings are extravagant

If you haven’t noticed already, when it comes to weddings Indians love to go big or go home. Wedding venues will be lavishly decorated with a slew of bright colours and beautiful flowers. No one wants to lose face by appearing stingy when it comes to their wedding, so some events may seem quite over-the-top to the average Westerner. One thing you’ll probably notice right away is the bride’s wedding clothes. These sarees or lehengas can cost tens of thousands of rupees and are so bedecked and bedazzled that they can weigh up to 8kgs!

Indian weddings are (sort of) gift-less

Unlike Western weddings where the bride and groom register for certain gifts so guests have a list to choose from, many modern Indian couples are forgoing physical gifts in exchange for cash these days. If you’re not sure whether to bring a gift or not, personalise a card and include a present of cash inside the envelope. Whatever amount you choose to give, make sure it doesn’t end in 0 as this is considered unlucky. Give 501, 801, or any other amount that ends in 1 instead.


Photo via Flickr

Indian weddings are food fests

There’s no better place to discover the wonders of local food than at an Indian wedding. Making sure you’re serving good food is a must when planning your wedding, so you’ll be introduced to some high-quality food. The best part is, meals are usually served buffet style which means you can fill your plate again and again. There will be a variety of both vegetarian and meat-heavy dishes and a range of savoury, spicy, and sweet!

Indian weddings are full of games

One of the most enjoyable traditions featured in an Indian wedding has to do with shoes. The groom’s shoes, to be specific. Throughout the wedding, the bride’s side will continuously try to steal the groom’s shoes and hide them away. If they succeed, the groom has to haggle with the bride’s side and pay them to get his shoes back. Keep an eye out for some major shenanigans as some people take this game very, very seriously!

Indian weddings are dance parties

You may think you look like a deranged possum when you dance, but at an Indian wedding none of that matters. Once the music gets going no one is safe from having to lay it all down on the dance floor! Don’t feel shy when it comes to showing your moves, even the older aunties and uncles will get out there and dance. The important thing is to participate and enjoy yourself. Even if you’re just waving your hands in the air, no one will care as long as you’re getting down to some good ol’ Bollywood hits.

Have you attended an Indian wedding before? What are some of your favourite parts of this Indian celebration?