India is a land of many cultures, religions, and wedding customs, but there's one thing Indian brides have in common: beautiful wedding clothes. Indian wedding dresses range from traditional red saris to modern white wedding gowns. Although the color, style, and type of wedding dress may vary with the bride's location and cultural beliefs, most Indian brides wear gowns with gorgeous embroidery and fine, delicate fabrics.
Traditional Red Wedding Sari
For Indian brides who really value tradition, there's only one choice for their wedding day. The red wedding sari is popular all across India, as well as in many other countries, and it's the traditional choice for Indian brides of all the major religions, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians.
This beautiful garment, which is usually constructed of deep crimson silk, is embroidered all over with gold thread. Although most wedding saris are silk, modern Indian brides sometimes choose other fabrics like satin, crepe, or Georgette.
Some of the design elements typical of red wedding saris include the following:
- Hand embroidery
- Beading and crystals
- Gold tissue trim
Wedding Saris and Dresses in Other Colors
Although red is the traditional choice, it's not the only option for Indian brides. In fact, many modern Indian women choose wedding saris in other beautiful colors. Typically, these saris also feature the elaborate embroidery and embellishment also found on traditional red saris, and they are also often made of silk or other fine fabrics.
Popular colors include the following:
Comprised of a cropped, short-sleeved bodice and a separate skirt, the lehenga choli is a traditional choice for Indian women at many special occasions, including their weddings.
Typically, Indian brides choose lehenga choli with the following details:
- Elaborate embellishment, including embroidery, beading, sequins, and crystals
- Often bright or deep red, but may also be any other pretty color
- Paired with accessories like a long wrap or scarf, a decorated belt or girdle, or lots of beautiful jewelry
The lehenga choli is an especially popular choice in North India.
White Western-Style Wedding Gowns
Many Indian brides, especially those who are Christian, dress in a white wedding gown for their wedding ceremonies. These gowns often look similar to those found at most weddings in the United States or Canada; however, they may feature a more modest neckline.
These gowns also sometimes feature unique Indian touches that embrace the bride's heritage, such as the following design elements:
- Elaborate embroidery, sometimes done by hand
- Flowing, sari-style fabric
- Gold beading or threads
- Scroll-style patterns
Cultural Difference in Indian Wedding Dresses
India is a huge country, and the people speak a variety of different languages and associate with a number of different religions. According to Exotic Indian Weddings, these cultural differences can affect a bride's choice of wedding dress. In addition, location-specific traditions can influence women who are choosing their wedding clothes, and some Indian brides wear multiple outfits for the ceremony and reception.
These are a few of the cultural difference that may influence an Indian bride:
- Conservative Muslim brides and those from other conservative cultures may choose to cover their heads during the wedding ceremony or at all times during the day. This covering can take the form of a beautiful headpiece or veil, or it may involve the dress itself.
- Modern Christian brides often wear white wedding gowns. These sometimes feature a conservative cut, but they may also be very similar to Western wedding gowns.
- For Indian women living abroad, the wedding may be all about mixing local traditions with their own cultural heritage. Often, these Indian brides choose to wear a white gown for the ceremony and a traditional red sari for the reception, or vice versa.
- Some women may choose to wear their mother's or grandmother's wedding sari or gown. Sometimes the style of the gown is changed slightly with new embroidery or embellishment.
New Trends in Indian Bridal Wear
Red continues to be a favorite for Indian wedding dresses. Since this color has religious and cultural significance, this selection is likely to stay in vogue for the foreseeable future. However, newer and softer shades of red are slowly but surely making their way into the Indian bridal lexicon. Also, designers are offering a greater selection of Indian wedding dresses and jewelry with a more delicate design. Another interesting trend is the fusion of Western style with traditional bridal themes. Some modern brides are choosing to pair cleaner lines with the traditional elaborate style of previous generations.