Nigar & Kayennat

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Desi Wardrobe: Wedding Etiquette Edition

This is part of our wardrobe series: Things all desi people need. 
Wedding etiquette although not specifically a "thing" is what a lot of people need so I'm writing it up as part of the wardrobe series. 

This stands for "répondez s'il vous plaît" or respond please. Some people thinks its rude that they're ask to respond, er HELOOOO, it's not rude. You're the one being rude for not letting the hosts know whether you're coming or not coming. Weddings are expensive. Most places make you per "per head" so your hosts have to shell out money for your seat whether you turn up or not. It's ok if you have a last minute emergency (still call and let them know), but if you know from way ahead that you will not be coming then please let your hosts know. It's polite, and shows you have some manners. Likewise if you have already declined your invitation and feel like you want to go then call ahead and give your hosts time to prepare for you. 


Yes wedding functions can start late, sometimes earlier times are added to the invites because let's face it, brown people run by a different clock; when you say 1 pm they turn up at 2. So don't be the reason why things are running late, or worst still, walking in during function that's already in session. That happens! Respect the times, even if it means you are earlier than others and have to wait. Your hosts will be grateful that you at least were on time. Late arrivers will forever be resented....


You with your Iphone camera, you don't need to be up and trying to take photos as the bride/groom is making their entrance. You're blocking other people's views, your photos are most likely blurred and or rubbish, you look like a git in the wedding video. What's funny is that it's always people who aren't even that closely related to the wedding party.


It's common practice for invites to say no boxed gifts on them. Respect that. If you are very close to the hosts and you absolutely have to give a physical gift ask them first and for God's sake do not bring your massive gift with you to the venue. Drop it off a few days before the wedding. And please give an adequate sum of money as a gift...


Food might be late. Just anticipate that and you'll be fine. Things run late at weddings. No need to be that one person who complains loudly that they're so hungry. It's rude, and irritating. It's not your hosts' fault. Things like this happen when masses are being catered for. Eat a small meal before you leave your house. 

 Food can also be a bit cold. Same as the food being late. No need to be a twit. No need to complain about it. It's free food. Be gracious and be quiet. If it's that bad, you can tell your hosts about it quietly later on so they can take it up with the caterer. 

If you have a specific food requirement e.g. you're vegetarian/vegan and you're going to a non-veg wedding then let your hosts know beforehand so they can arrange sufficient food for you. Your hosts won't mind and in fact would probably be grateful that you've given them sufficient time to make alternate arrangements for you. 


Desi weddings are huge family affairs, don't be that person who comes dressed in the lowest neckline possible. It's awkward! Save that for your clubbing times where it's ok to dress that way. 

It's perfectly acceptable to wear white at Muslim weddings (what's it like for Sikh/Hindu/Jain weddings?). But black is a no no. It's a colour of mourning. Wedding are happy occasions. Dress accordingly. I always personally get angry at all the people who turn up wearing black. It's like their unhappy with your event and want you to know it. 

Dress like it's a wedding and not a house party. So disrespectful. 
Not appropriate wedding gear Aunty.

The happy couple is busy, they have so many guests to meet, greet and thank. So keep your time with them brief. I know you're close....yes you have a coffee together every week, but they still have other people to interact with so be understanding and keep it sweet and short. They're not being rude, it's just that there's 400 other people for them to say hello hi bye bye to ;)
{I dare you to name this guy Kay!}

Be polite, you might be sitting with people you don't like/don't know. This is your chance to socialise and make some new acquaintances. 

Say please and thank you to the waiters/staff. It goes a long way. Shows you're a decent person. 

Some wedding functions/receptions can be long. So what, go around, say hello to people you don't know. Make some new friends. 

Do not leave straight after the food is RUDE. Period. 


If you've been assigned a seat please stick to it. Someone has gone through all that hassle of assigning every guest a seat, the least you could do is respect it. You might be on table number 12, and you feel like you should be on number 3. It does not matter. Stay there. The happy couple has chosen to have you share their special day with you. That's what is important, where you sit isn't  reflection of how much or little they wanted you there.  Changing seats causes confusion for other guests and creates headaches for the wedding party. Don't be that person!


So you're uncle's sister in law's daughter is over and staying with you and you can't leave her home alone. We've all been there. Call ahead and ask if it's ok first. Most people don't mind as long as they are aware and have time to accommodate them. It's just not nice to be faced with an influx of extras without warning. 


Please shut up while the speeches are going on. It's nerve racking for that person to stand up in front of so many people and give a speech. They don't need people to be constantly talking over them. What you have to say can wait another 10 minutes. 


Yes we all have smart phones, and we can't live without them, but God turn it on silent/vibrate. Your phone don't need to add background music while important ceremonies are going on. 


Use them! Your hosts have shelled out a lot of money to keep you entertained. Make sure they get their money's worth. Likewise if there's queues waiting behind you then try to not hog it for long. You can always come back once the queue has died out. 


People believe it or not it is free to write in them! The amount of people that refuses to write in the you'd think they were being charged per alphabet.....Leave a message, it's not only polite but the couple appreciates it. It can be something cute, something funny, a message, a memory, a drawing. Anything! 

Pictures are all from Kayennat & Khizer's wedding! 


  1. i want wedding food now. :'( the worst part is that when I am actually in a wedding/engagement party, I don't eat even half of what I thought I would. Yes, wedding food matters a lot to me. :P

    As for Hindu weddings, black is not considered very appropriate but then people have made peace with it. Like, so many people wear it that nobody gets affected now. As for white, it is different from castes to castes. I am a Punjabi ( I think I speak for most north Indian castes when I say this) and an entirely white sari or lehnga won't be considered apt, but an outfit where white/cream is only one of the many colors would be fine, even for the bride on some smaller function. Then, there are Kerala people where white is considered auspicious and then I have another south Indian friend in whose caste white is completely no-no. So, in Hindus, it depends.

    PS: I did not get the aunty thing. What's wrong? As in people are wearing black? or the clothes are loud? I think I am missing something here.

    1. Hey Shrish, it was just what she was wearing, in my opinion that's very much a small function type of outfit and not appropriate for a wedding reception (obviously everyone should dress how they want but I always make an effort and I expect the same).
      And thanks for explaining about wearing white! It's interesting to know the different variations!

  2. GREAT POINTS! Going to write my own version of this sometime in the future.

    People really need to stop taking 1000 photos from their own phones and coming in the way of the wedding photographer and videographer. As for wedding guest books, people in India are still so new to the concept - someone needs to explain to us what to do with them! :)


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Maira Gall