Indian weddings are pretty extravagant as compared to Western culture. No matter what the religion is, the entire wedding ceremony is quite gorgeous. As guests, you are expected to happily bless the wedding couple and honour the family by having dinner and/or lunch with them. Yet, there are certain wedding etiquettes that you are expected to follow.
These things are considered to be the customary etiquette and they need to be maintained. Failing so, you will be considered to have insulted the host. These may seem like minor issues but ignoring them can hurt the feelings of the host as well as the ceremony.
Here is a list of things which you need to keep in mind while attending a wedding ceremony. So, put your best foot forward and become the best wedding guests there is.
1. Maintain the Wedding Dress Code
Almost all weddings these days are organised as theme parties and the dress code is mentioned in the invitation letter. If not, you have to play safely in this zone. For a Christian wedding, the rule is simple and clear—just avoid wearing anything white or absolutely black. For Hindu and Muslim weddings avoid absolute red as that colour is for the bride.
Traditional Indian costumes will certainly be appreciated, but failing will not do any harm. But do not wear anything that the ceremony’s culture (especially the Indian wedding ceremony) would not approve.
The wedding etiquette guide: Dress up, don't dress down. It's part of the respect you hold for the occasion
2. Being part of the religious ceremony
When you are attending a wedding that is being organised at a religious place, make sure that you maintain the required etiquette. You will need to take off your shoes before entering the holy place—wearing socks or stockings are allowed inside the shrines. You will also need to cover your head with a scarf or stole. If you are wearing any traditional Indian dress, it will not be a problem as you can use the drapes of the saree or the dupatta to cover your head, but if not make sure to carry a scarf with you.
Men can make use of a large handkerchief. You may also require asking whether taking photographs are allowed inside the holy place or not. Just follow all these while attending the Hindu pre-wedding rituals and main ceremony.
The wedding etiquette guide: Cover your head or be ready to do so for a religious wedding.
3. Food Facts
Indian wedding which is organised at religious places generally offers the Prasad or blessed food. It is required to receive the Prasad in cupped right hand, transfer it to your left hand and then eat with your right hand. If the wedding is taking place in some other venues, you can be free from these obligations. Indians are very particular about what we offer to the guests.
So, if you are a vegetarian, you will surely find a separate vegetarian food corner (when the host is serving non-vegetarian as well). Meat served by the Muslim host will surely be 'halal' version and obviously with several vegetarian options in their wedding menu.
The wedding etiquette guide: Stick to your food corner and don't mix plates which carry both if you're at a conservative gathering.
4. Behaviour Facts
India is pretty conservative regarding behavioural matters and you must not think about kissing the bride! Male guests are not expected to kiss or even dance with the bride.
While weddings are expected to a mingling environment where eligible bachelors and bachelorettes come in the public eye, remember you're among families and relatives. Flirtations, PDAs and speak easy zones are not expected over here and may cause things to become uncomfortable.
The wedding etiquette guide: Keep away from PDAs
5. Don’t show up drunk
Don’t cause a scene or indulge in any public fight by over-drinking alcohol. Drink as much that you can manage. The couple getting married should be the centre of attraction. Please don’t make it about you.
Drunk guests can become a nuisance if they decide to have a gala time at the expense of others. And that can mean anything from harassment to bar fights, amid complete families.
The wedding etiquette guide: Drink below your limit.
6. Respect local culture
In case you are a foreigner and are aware of Indian wedding etiquette, you need not worry as we are extremely good at adjustments. We truly treat our guests as ‘gods (Atithi Devo Bhava!). Guests from a foreign country need not worry too much about hurting someone’s feelings as people will understand that you are not aware of all the traditions. They will be happy to help you if you are willing to become a part of their culture and thus, won’t mind your mistakes.
The wedding etiquette guide: Check what's acceptable in advance
These are some of the things that any wedding guest should be mindful of. Being a wedding guest these are certain things which will help you better prepare for a wedding that you are expected to attend in the near future. Follow these and you're good to go.
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