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Punjabi weddings are huge, entertaining, chaotic events, with loud music, a ton of food and no lack of spirited dancing. This type of wedding is guaranteed to be a long and exciting celebration -- beginning early and finishing late -- with traditions that you are probably unfamiliar with. One of these traditions is clothing. Knowing what to wear when attending a Punjabi wedding is a key part of fitting in, having fun and showing respect to the couple and their families.
A large part of dressing for a Punjabi wedding is ensuring that your attire is modest and respectful. At a religious site, exposed shoulders, plunging necklines and mini-skirts not only will be out of place, but also they will probably make the other guests quite uncomfortable. To ensure you follow the unspoken guidelines of the wedding, it is best to dress in a floor-length dress or skirt, have a high neckline on your clothing and cover your shoulders. If you are wearing a sleeveless dress, it is acceptable to bring a shawl to throw over your shoulders.
As part of the ceremony of a Punjabi wedding, you will be required to sit cross-legged on the floor in the main prayer hall (Darbar Sahib) of a temple for a minimum of 45 minutes. Therefore, it is important to ensure that in addition to dressing modestly, you wear something that will not cut off your circulation or cause you to itch uncontrollably during the most religious part of the day. To avoid these and other disasters, wear something comfortable that is not too tight or short.
At a Punjabi wedding, it is tradition to wear bright colors to symbolize the joyous occasion. You will see fiery oranges and yellows, hot pinks, indigo blues, emerald greens and many other colors among the ladies. Pastel colors are also considered acceptable choices, especially in the spring and summer. The one rule at a Punjabi wedding (besides "go bright or go home") is to not wear red. As wearing white to western weddings is considered frowned upon, wearing red to a Punjabi wedding is equally wrong due to it being the traditional bridal color.
At the majority of Punjabi weddings, the men will wear a western suit usually in a dark hue (like navy, brown, black) or a lighter pastel color such as lime, peach or beige. Some men will choose to wear a traditional Punjabi outfit, complete with a robe and turban. As far as colors go, the men are not required to wear or abstain from any color -- except the obvious exclusion of the bridal red color.