You are attending a wedding and need to know what you should wear. The only thing is that this happens to be a traditional ethnic wedding. Not to worry, we will talk about many traditional weddings below that will have you prepared and looking gorgeous!

As a guest the first thing to do is educate yourself about the culture and traditions. Weddings can vary depending on the culture and there are different traditions that will be performed. Be open to trying new things – and if the wedding has a traditional dress code, this means showing your respect for the culture by wearing a suitable outfit! Before you get started, it’s wise to make sure you understand and if you have questions, ask the bride and groom. They’ll be happy to help you share their special traditions!

saree-734917_1920How to Dress…for a Traditional Indian Wedding

Dressing for a traditional Indian wedding means dressing conservatively. Leave that strapless cocktail dress at home and find a dress that covers the shoulders and knees. It’s best to avoid plunging necklines, as well. Bright and bold colours are your friend, but avoid red – it’s the bride’s colour! White and black should also be avoided because they are the colours of funerals and mourning, respectively.

If you choose not to wear a traditional outfit, then a dress with a shawl is a perfect alternative. Don’t be afraid to wear a dress with jewels as well – this will fit right in with the bright colours!

nikon-lens-685595_1920How to Dress…for a Chinese Wedding

The day of a Chinese wedding is a very lucky day, chosen based on the Chinese zodiac signs of the bride and groom and on the Lunar calendar. Your outfit will speak volumes, so be cautions with the colours you choose! Red and gold are prominent colours signifying prosperity, happiness and love. Again, red is the colour of the bride and wearing it will bring bad luck and white is a mourning colour. Best bets for colours are peach, pink or purple because they symbolize new life and happiness.

You should also be ready for a 12-course meal that will take a few hours to eat, so don’t wear an outfit that’s tight or restricting.

yarmulke-472243_960_720How to Dress…for a Jewish Wedding

If you are attending a Jewish wedding, avoid wearing white as you will upstage the bride. Your outfit should be conservative and cover the shoulders and knees. What you wear depends on how religious the couple is, so be sure to check in with the bride and groom regarding appropriate attire.

Depending on the location of the wedding, men may be asked to wear a kippah or yarmulke. This is provided at the door.

How to Dress…for a Traditional African Wedding

For this celebration, think about wearing maxi dresses in prints and bright colours. Be sure to check in with the couple about colour choices or etiquette.

As a rule of thumb, dress conservatively to avoid disrespecting the couple’s culture or religion. Check in with the bride and groom to make sure the outfit you’d like to wear is appropriate and stay away from colours that carry negative connotations or cause bad luck. Do your research so you know what traditions you’ll be experiencing and what your task as a guest will be.

The one thing that each culture has in common is the mentality that this is a celebration, so have fun and enjoy the opportunity to see how another culture celebrates.


by Sarah Zoschke

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