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advice for those hosting a desi wedding in Canada

I'm not desi. I just went to a desi wedding. I was very excited to go. It was beautiful.

The invitation did not say anything about a dress code. It said the location was a backyard. I google searched some of the words on the invitation for events that I was unfamiliar with. I found they were Sikh ceremonies. I looked up pictures of Sikh weddings and found women have to be well covered, often they had a head covering. I asked the groom (we do not know the bride) if there were any dress requirements I should know about. He said "semi formal or Indian, don't wear red". Luckily my mother convinced me to wear a long dress, even though semi formal usually means a cocktail (knee length) dress.

When we got there we found out hair of both men and women was to be covered. The groom didn't tell us this and we didn't know. We had figured since it was in the backyard maybe it was not a religious ceremony. We borrowed something, but I was really embarrassed. I felt that I looked really ignorant, when I had tried to be culturally appropriate.

If you invite non-desi guests to your wedding please make sure you inform them of any dress code etc. The groom may not have known himself. I think his background is Hindu. Still if there is a strict dress requirement let people know! It may seem common sense to you, but others may not know.

EDIT: This should not be in the "shopping" section but I don't know how to move it.

My prayer to you
Is that you do all the things you set out to do
And live your life the way you love

Thurston Moore, Psychic Hearts

Last edited by: Portia on 05-09-12 13:54:40

Senior Desi
Member since: Mar 11
Posts: 116
Location: Toronto

Post ID: 200412 05-09-12 13:50:47
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elmer fudd
Senior Desi
Member since: Jan 10

Posts: 457

My cousins who are from southern part of India had the same problem(sarees are common in south) when they had to attend their friends weddings(Sikh and Muslim).

Even there, sarees were ok as the hosts didn't mind it. They are almost always happy that you are attending the wedding and enjoying the proceedings.

So for Muslim/Sikh weddings they wore salwar-kameez or churidar(both come with transparent veils which are worn over your shoulders and can be worn over your head if the etiquette requires it).

Pretty much works for all kinds of Indian weddings in north America and in the process you can make an interesting addition to your wardrobe.

Per my observation, wedding dresses in India are typically bright as they are meant to be. You might want to chose something that is good for weddings as well as for party wear and use it more often.

This is the best way to blend into an Indian wedding for women. If you wear western clothing and are from another culture, hosts usually won't expect you to know about intricate wedding etiquette.

Last edited by: elmer fudd on 06-09-12 11:13:41
Post ID: 200438 06-09-12 10:24:32
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Member since: Jul 09

Posts: 73
Location: Ajax

Hi Portia,

No need to apologize or feel sorry :-). As Elmer Fudd said, desi host's understand that you are from a different culture and appreciate your very presence.

In fact, i have seen many hosts boast about the number of non-desi guests at the wedding.:)

I remember one particular wedding at the Swami narayan BAPS temple. The groom was a south indian Hindu Doctor and the bride was a doctor too, from oriental culture.

All the Indian hosts and guests were dressed in the western attire(including myself). when we went inside, we were shocked to see all the chinese men wearing Sherwani's(Indian male dress) and the chinese ladies wearing Sarees!!

It was really a funny and fun wedding. :p



Post ID: 200458 06-09-12 20:26:18
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Senior Desi
Member since: Aug 10

Posts: 2006

To Portia,

There is no dress code for Indian marriages, It is all about staying appropriately attired, preferrably looking traditional and mixing with the crowd. Since all traditional dresses keep one well covered, so is the impression .

Marriages in India ( be it Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, hindus from nothern or southern part) are generally divided into parts - religious part where the marriage is solamnized in front of a pundit/kazi/paathi/priest, you will agree that you need to be dressed appropriately if you attend this part and other parts are not so religious, are more a fun get-together.

The only time you are expected to cover your head mandatorily is during religious ceremony. In some of religious ceremonies you are expected to be bum seated on floor during the ceremony and hence wearing knee length skirt may not be appropriate. You may chose to skip that part and still enjoy rest of the marriage which is more a pomp and show.

In southern or eastern ( Bengal) part of India, the groom is topless wearing only a holy thread on his torso and bride is covered head to toe , so is other women. Other men are generally in traditionals.

Wearing western is common among men and not so common among the women. But there exist no rule, your long dress or a gown can do wonders.

One more thing , the color, Crimson red & flouroscent green or yellow is way to go ! :-) , wearing white is not so common.

The best part and mantra for any non-Indian attending indian marriage is - if you are wearing Indian attire , you will attract more attention, compliments, praise and offers to dance :-)

Post ID: 200603 10-09-12 13:05:16
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elmer fudd
Senior Desi
Member since: Jan 10

Posts: 457

Originally posted by san-hugo

In southern or eastern ( Bengal) part of India, the groom is topless wearing only a holy thread on his torso... Other men are generally in traditionals.

Just to clarify further, they do wear a bottom garment as well and cover their "family jewels", at least in south India(even top "shirt" is worn for most part). :)

Don't know about Bengal though.:D

Last edited by: elmer fudd on 10-09-12 23:17:33
Post ID: 200611 10-09-12 15:38:12
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