The most important rule in any wedding is – Never overshadow the bride. Whether you are a distant or a close relative or friend, this rule applies. You need not know the exact type, style or shade of dress the bride would be wearing for you to tone down your dress. If it’s a north Indian wedding, avoid extensive red or pink in your dress. Although brides today are more enterprising in their choice of color, these are still the most used bridal dress colors. Some states and regions are more flexible and so there isn’t a particular color to avoid. Just make sure your look is far more understated than the bride is likely to have. Where you have a regional bridal dress code and it is not normal for guests to wear the same color, avoid it.
How Fat is the Wedding?
Indian weddings are big fat weddings with the amount of pomp, ceremony and spend that go into them. Know how big and fat the wedding is. You can easily judge this from the bride or groom’s family background. If it is a fairly simple wedding, tone down your look accordingly. A single piece of neck jewelry with complementary ear rings, bangles and other accessories may be enough. But if it is a very high spend wedding, you can dress up quite a bit if you choose to do so. Alternately, you can go for an understated look which can be right at most weddings, but make sure there’s a unique element to your look, or it will be a wash out. This element could be the dress itself, the color combination, the style of stitching, the embroidery or the jewelry.
How Close are You to the Bride or Groom
This too dictates how dressed up you can be. Particularly, if you are the bride’s mother, sister or close cousin, you will be a bit more heavily dressed than the rest of the guests – with mothers wearing a more toned down look compared to the younger ones. Also, if you are a very close relative who would be helping the bride or the groom through the ceremony which is common in Indian weddings, make sure that your dress is comfortable to sit, stand and move around easily in. If the wedding is at a late hour and lunch or dinner time is different from that of the ceremony, close relatives usually wear a different dress for each. You can be more flexible with the lunch-dinner set since you aren’t really with the bride at this point. But stick to the guidelines for the ceremony itself.
Sari – Lehenga – Salwar Kameez
The younger lot of guests has a lot more flexibility in choosing the type of dress to wear among saris, lehengas, salwars or churidhars. Many, these days opt for lehengas for the ease of handling as well as the great flexibility in styling it to suit their desire. Older ladies usually avoid the lehenga. Choose your dress with some attention to the family or regional custom. But, by and large, it’s your choice.
Avoid the bridal color unless it is just a small part of the design. As with any dress you wear, choose your dress color based on the season, your complexion and body structure. Darker shades are right for winter and evening weddings. Also, for the fairer complexioned and heavier structured body type. Lighter shades go well with summer and day time weddings. They look particularly good on you if you are wheatish to dark complexioned and have a slender build. Avoid blacks, they are considered inauspicious. Although the do-not-wear rule is far more flexible with whites, avoid them if you aren’t sure, since they are worn in mourning.
If you are travelling to a different city for the wedding, pack the dress with care to prevent crumpling. You may not have access to an iron or a laundry unless you stay at a hotel. Carry an extra outfit at least, just in case there is another occasion to attend or one of your outfits don’t work out the way you thought it would. Also, choose your accessories carefully so that you don’t carry too many highly expensive items. You may share the room with other guests and may be dependent on the host for locking your items away safely. With so many guests, it’s just not possible for the host to do it with the required care. If you are staying in a hotel, needless to say, make sure you lock it safe in the hotel locker. With weddings happening across the country these days, make sure you know the weather specifics and pack accordingly.
In the end, it’s about sharing in the happy occasion and wishing the couple a great future.