[Girl About Town] What to Wear: To an Indian Wedding

It’s not me sharing outfits today but Victoria. I saw her recent escapades on Facebook and just had to ask her to share her outfits, pulled together for what looked like a fabulous Indian wedding. Victoria is always glamorous and her four (yes, four!) outfits didn’t disappoint so I hope you enjoy looking and perhaps get some ideas for weddings you are attending this summer (or share some of your own outfits.)

I’ve been to a lot of weddings. 37 to be precise, not including our own, and I have four more over the next 12 months. I therefore have a lot of practise in putting together wedding outfits. Some of you that follow me on Instagram may have seen me in my wedding outfit planning efforts. I treat them in the same way I treat work projects – lots of preparation, diagrams and chat about the final product, but all thrown together in a panic in the last few moments, that often works out quite well, but is very different from the original plan. Shhh, don’t tell my boss!

I used to buy something new for each one – a new hat or dress, shoes or clutch… but then I totted up 12 invites in one year, some of them being two or three day events (so you know, you also need a special outfit for the big “night before” dinner and then something fancy-but-hangover-comfy for the morning/day after “survivors” gathering) and seeing as I’m neither a Kardashian nor a Middleton, it all got a bit much for my bank (in)balance and so I started recycling. I now have a pretty good suite of “occasion wear” from which I can mix and match future outfits.

So for 2014’s five weddings I sorted all my outfits out at the beginning of the year and knew exactly what I was going to wear…. and then I realised one was an Indian wedding and I had literally no clue where to start.

Thankfully the bride was on the ball, arranged a number of shopping trips for us less-clued up guests, provided a handy “what to wear, when” guide for the girls and boys for the various events and was kind enough to pick up little bits and pieces for us on her numerous trips to India.

So, here’s a run down of what I actually wore…

Civil Wedding (Friday afternoon)
For the Civil Wedding, the guideline was “British summer wedding” and having checked out the venue (One Marylebone) and spoken to the bride about her colour schemes (soft colours, white and pale pinks) at length I knew exactly what to wear.  I pulled out a dress (special edition Olivia Rubin/Dorothy Perkins collaboration), a white Whistles clutch, some H&M hair clips (as I couldn’t fit a hat in my overnight bag) and my old faithful pink Louboutins (my wedding shoes – still the comfiest heels I’ve worn in five years!) and a fussy H&M pale pink necklace. I had intended to wear some new baby blue ankle strap shoes from New Look, but it was far too hot and I didn’t fancy “ankle-muffin top”.

Sangeet/Mehndi party  Friday evening
For the celebrations on Friday evening the guidance for Indian clothing was a trouser suit/Salwaar Kameez/Anarkali or Lengha (a skirt and a top with a scarf) and for western clothing, something bright. On a shopping trip with the bride, I found a nice hot pink and rose gold anarkali (a long floaty dress/top, trousers and a long scarf) which I dressed up with a pair of neon blue pointed courts (super cheap but super comfy from Linzi), some large gold chandelier earrings, some hot pink and gold bangles (a gift from the bride) and a rose gold evening bag from Mulberry.

We were performing a dance to Jai Ho as a tribute to the bride and groom at the event, and as it was incredibly hot and sticky that day, it was a no brainer that my hair was glued up and off my face in a bouffy beehive. It may look fancy, but let me assure you it’s not, I got dressed in a corridor and my hair is held up with a ton of dry shampoo, a gallon of elnett and quite a lot of sweat. Gross! Sorry!
Saturday was a day of rest and recovery for me, not so for the bride who had another two outfits to rock!

Hindu Wedding  Sunday day
The guidelines for this included “any type of Indian clothing, most guests will be in a sari” or if I chose western clothing, to be respectful and make sure it wasn’t too short or revealing. I was worried that wearing Indian clothing might have seemed odd, or offensive, seeing as I’m not Indian, but the bride assured me it was a good idea and even lent me one of her saris – in a beautiful pistachio green, embroidered and embellished in gold. It consisted of a petticoat, a blouse and a long, loooong piece of material which you fold, wrap, gather, tuck and drape around your body.

Thankfully, the bride’s mother had pre-folded and sewed the pleats at the front, so when I arrived (in essentially my underwear at a posh five star hotel (The Grove)  it was only a case of wrapping, tucking and draping in the nearest toilet cubicle (which was thankfully rather plush, considering the venue). I found someone to pin everything in to place so I flashed no tummy (too soon in the year for that!) and to keep everything secure. I accessorised with big gold earrings, a sparkly hair band, more bangles from India (another gift from the bride) and some gold sandals I wore as a bridesmaid 7 years ago, from Faith, which are still going strong! I took along my trusty Lulu Guinness lips clutch for a pop of colour!

Reception  Sunday night
The instructions for the reception, the big finale, were “think black tie – go glam”… now those instructions I had no trouble with! I wore a bargain ASOS dress, that looks way more expensive that it was. I also have it in white, but I thought for the evening’s decor and theme, Art Deco London, the black would be better, as I last wore it at a Claridge’s Christmas party. You may have also seen it on the wonderful Rebecca as well. Great minds think alike and all that!

I accessorised with a box clutch (a fiver in an Oasis sale years ago, and until now, unused, due to its rather unuseful size!) pewter peep toe heels from the Ted Baker sale, also years old but dead comfy, some Swarovski earrings which were a 30th birthday present, a super-bling chunky bracelet – also a 30th birthday present – and again some bangles from India, given away as favours at the Sangeet/Mehndi party.

On Monday I wore pyjamas, lots of Sudocrem and Vaseline on all my sequin chafe and allergic flare ups from all the safety pins and soft, soft socks on my dance-weary feet.

I can’t publish photos of the bride without her permission, but rest assured, no matter what effort we put in, we paled in comparison to how stunningly breathtaking she was. Her outfits (designed bespoke to match each venue, theme and setting), accessories and make up had my jaw on the floor.

When she’s back from her well-deserved honeymoon, perhaps I’ll convince her to give you a sneaky peek.

How do you plan for wedding outfits? Or is it just me that’s this bonkers about planning?

Victoria x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

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7 thoughts on “[Girl About Town] What to Wear: To an Indian Wedding

  1. I LOVE this post. I go to Indian weddings quite often, both friends and family (1 already this year with 2 more to go!) and must admit I’m quite boring when it comes to outfits – I own 3 salwar kameez suits and 1 lengha and rotate them round!! I don’t wear saris mainly because I find all the draping such a faff, I need someone like your friend’s mum to get it practically ‘ready to wear’ for me so it’s not too difficult!! Your Anarkali outfit is stunning, I might have to be brave and get something more like that next time… Where did you go on your shopping trip with the bride?? I’m sure it’ll be somewhere like Wembley or Leicester which I find massively intimidating!
    And I know I’ve already said it on Instagram but I LOVE that Olivia Rubin/DP dress -gorgeous colours and you’ve accessorized it perfectly. You are also making me want Louboutins.

    • Hey Anita!

      The Anarkali was from a little stall/shop in Southall. The bride took a group of us there on a shopping trip to help us work out what we liked and what worked and helped style us. I found it SO stressful as the shapes, styles and embellishement/patterns are so far from my normal style that every time i looked in a mirror i felt horrible, so it took a while to get used to it all! That Anarkali was such a bargain (£33!!!!) and I think it was because it was quite plain, which suited me down to the ground!

      My only complaint was that there was SO MUCH material and on such a hot day, and with the dance we performed and the stage lights I was such a sweaty mess!

      I too love that DP dress. I’m sad that the two haven’t done another collaboration. Though my friend works with her husband (tenuous link) so maybe I’ll start hinting… 🙂

      • Sadly, I always find that for some inexplicable reason ‘posh’ Indian outfits are always synthetic-material-tastic (nylon and polyester all the way!!) which is deeply ironic considering that ‘casual’ salwar kameez and saris which Indian women wear on a day-to-day basis are often beautiful cotton and linen material. So I am horribly familiar with the sweating-in-an-Indian-outfit scenario – off to Sri Lanka for a wedding next week and already dreading wearing my salwar kameez in that heat!!!

        And yes! Do start the hinting!!!

  2. Oh I always do this at the start of the year too!
    I’m going to my first Hindu wedding and am SO EXCITED about it – I’m wearing a sari for the ceremony and an old favourite dress for the reception – I then get to wear another sari for the UK ceremony as that’s my bridesmaid ensemble.
    The other 3 weddings this year are all getting slight variations on one red floral circle dress (totally different crowds meaning I can wear it to death) – mainly because I’m a bit obsessed by how fun it is to twirl in it.

  3. I love those outfits! I have a set of dresses that I tend to recycle – I have a plain black, a plain white and a silvery grey 1950’s style circle dress and I will swap them out with various coloured shoes/ belts/ corsages/ pashminas etc so I usually get away with them looking like new outfits. I’ve got a few really nice embellished vintage dresses too which I will wear occasionally if it’s a glamorous evening do. I am planning to treat myself to a few more in the January sales as I have a few weddings coming up next year!

  4. All this information was great! I’m attending my first Indian wedding next week along with the henna reception and I seriously have no idea what to wear! No dresses above the knee? What about shoulders? I have a longer dress with a slit in the front, not appropriate? What about wearing black? So many questions as I don’t want to offend anyone!

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