What do I wear to an Indian wedding? (I'm white if you haven't figured it out.)
I'm accompanying my man to this wedding in May. The couple is interracial (Chinese and Indian) and there will actually be three events across two days. Also, do I need to have a second outfit for the second day? Oh by the way, did I tell you that my man is Indian-American, is close friends with the groom, and is actually in the wedding?! When I appealed to him for help, he assured me that whatever I wore would be fine.
Because it is an interracial wedding, I'm sure there will be people from several different backgrounds attending. I'm comfortable wearing almost anything but I have no idea what's appropriate and I'd hesitate to wear something that felt like a costume. Mostly I would like to fit in with the general color, mood, and modesty level.
When I put out the APB on twitter, Anna immediately volunteered to write this one. (My readers rule. What else can I say??)
So let me start out by saying I'm not Indian, but I had a sorta-Indian wedding and have been to several of them as a guest. The first one I ever went to was back in the fall of 2009, when I traveled to San Francisco for my now-husband's cousin's wedding (the first time I'd met his extended family). My then-boyfriend's sister had excitedly told me I should wear a sari, and that her parents would bring a few of hers from their house in Los Angeles, but it made me incredibly nervous—I'd never worn one—so I packed a dress just in case. This sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but the dress I packed was actually my prom dress. It was really pretty and not prommy, though, and it would have been a really good option (elegant, colorful, long enough). But I'm so glad I didn't go with it.
My now-sister-in-law helped me pick out a bright lime green sari and, with the help of a jillion safety pins and some very tightly-tied drawstrings, got me into it. And let me tell you, I honestly had never felt more beautiful. I don't care what kind of schlub you are; if you put on a sari, you look gorgeous. I was a little self conscious that my tum was sort of hanging out, and I was worried about, like, being able to pee without having to take the whole thing off, but it worked out so well. And I think it helped make a good impression on his family—that I was willing to put myself out there and try something new, and that I was obviously really happy and excited to be giving this part of their culture a shot, etc. Also, peeing was way less hard than I expected. Good stuff.
So I'd say, if one of your guy's Indian lady-friends (or a sister or cousin or someone) has a sari you can borrow—and, importantly, if you know that someone will be around on the day of to help you get yourself into it—then go for it. You'll look awesome, not at all out of place, and I am certain you won't feel like you're wearing a costume. The other thing you could do would be to buy (or rent: Borrow it Bindaas has really pretty stuff and is like Rent the Runway for Indian garb) a lehenga or salwar kameez—they're just as pretty but require way less skill in terms of assembly/draping. And pile on the bangles.
But if you're just too anxious about all that, you shouldn't feel weird at all wearing your normal stuff to the wedding, especially since it's almost certain there will be guests from lots of different backgrounds there. Out of respect for older family members, I'd suggest avoiding anything too short or low-cut (if you really want to play it safe, don't do strapless or super-skimpy straps, either). Bright colors are always good. And I would bet that most people will have a different outfit for the second day; remember that the focus is very much on the couple and not on the guests' outfits, but if you want to feel uber-prepared, you might want to have a costume change ready, too.
Most of all, don't worry too much about it. Have fun and dance your butt off.
p.s. Unrelated but is this not the best DIY ever??