4 Dos and Don’ts at an Indian Wedding

Believe it or not, weddings are an important part of business relations in India. The marriage isn’t just between the bride and groom, but between pending business deals as well. If you are invited to such a crucial event, accept the invitation to attend –but not without knowing these cultural do’s and don’ts before you go.

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1. DO dress modestly.

The first portion of the wedding, the ceremony, is a religious affair and your outfit must be picked carefully. Although you won’t be expected to dress in a sari or kurta, the host will appreciate it if you do arrive in the local attire. If you choose to not sport the traditional apparel, make sure your outfit is unrevealing, and your shoulders, décolletage, and legs are covered.

2. DON’T wear black or white.

At Indian weddings, the brighter, the better! You can wear almost any color under the sun, however under no circumstances should you wear black or white. Why? White is the color generally reserved for funerals in India while black signifies mourning. Steer clear of these two hues, and you will be fine.


3. DO bring a gift.

Like at all weddings, a gift is expected for the newlywed couple. Even if not specified on the invitation, make sure you come with a wrapped and ready present. If you’re struggling as an expat to understand what an acceptable gift would be, give the couple a cash-filled envelope or gift card. Just make sure the note is personal, and both the envelope and card are elegant. The newlyweds will appreciate the gesture, regardless of the amount contained.

4. Don’t expect a short event.

Whereas weddings in the west won’t last longer than a day, Indian weddings are known for being drawn-out, over-the-top, 3-day affairs. The first day, a priest will perform the religious ceremony; unless you are the couple’s close friend or family member, you won’t be required to attend. The second day, guests are invited to eat, mingle, dance, and enjoy performances at a banquet honoring the couple. On the third day, all attendees will arrive to a pre-ceremony cocktail party, followed by the wedding service, and finally, the reception. Phew!


Now that any potential cultural conundrums have been settled, remember the most important DO of them all: enjoy yourself! Weddings offer a window into the oldest, most beautiful, cultural nuances of Indian life –all while enjoying great music and food, and celebrating the newlyweds. Ensure your communication skills are up to par when mingling with guests and toasting to the happy couple by enrolling in Hindi lessons. Contact Language Trainers to arrange classes when and where you need them, before heading to India to revel in the wedding festivities!