Wondering what to wear? We've prepared this guide to outline the most common South Asian events and their recommended attire.
HALDI & MAYOON
The Haldi is a Hindu pre-wedding ceremony where relatives apply turmeric paste to the face and arms of the bride and groom. Similarly, the Mayoon is a Pakistani ceremony where close female relatives can have henna designs applied to their hands and feet. Colorful outfits are encouraged to both events!
Colors: Yellow, Green | Outfits: Less formal attire
The Mehendi is a colorful event that takes place before the wedding ceremony. Female attendees can have henna designs applied to their hands and feet during this event to celebrate the upcoming marriage. There's singing, prepared dances, and plenty of music – so dress comfortably, but fashionably. Any color goes, with the bride typically wearing green or yellow shades.
Colors: Bright and colorful – Yellow, Green | Outfits: Formals, Lehengas
The Sangeet is another colorful Indian, pre-wedding event consisting of music and dancing. Lehengas, anarkalis, and sarees are good options for this event, and any vibrant color goes. Get ready to view choreographed dances and performances from close family and friends.
Colors: Bright and colorful – Yellow, Green | Outfits: Formals, Lehengas, Anarkalis, Sarees
The Nikkah is the traditional Muslim wedding ceremony where the couple is married under Islamic law. This ceremony can be conducted independently or during the Shaadi. When done independently, this event is typically reserved for close family and friends. Any outfit goes for this ceremony, but guests are encouraged to bring dupattas (scarves), as a prayer will take place where guests wrap their scarves around their heads.
Colors: Light colors | Outfits: Formals including dupattas (scarves)
The Shaadi is the main wedding celebration event, usually characterized by the most formal attire and accessories. This is your time to look your best! Any type of formal outfit works for this event, but keep in mind that brides in South Asian culture wear red to their Shaadi, so it's best to avoid red colors. Dances can sometimes occur at the Shaadi as well, and overall you can expect great food and lots of photo-taking.
Colors: Anything | Outfits: Formals, Sarees
The Valima is most closely compared to the wedding reception event, where both western and traditional outfits are encouraged. Men can choose between sherwanis or suits, and women dress formally. During this event, the newly married couple thanks their guests for their attendance, receives speeches from close family and friends, and celebrates their new marriage.
Colors: Muted colors – Blue, Silver, Forest Green | Outfits: Formals, Lehengas, Sarees