Wedding Flowers

Indian Wedding Etiquette: How To Tie A Sari

, - May 31, 2014 - by: miguel

Indian Wedding Etiquette: How To Tie A Sari

Image by The Marriott San Mateo.

Indian Wedding Etiquette: What To Wear When You’ve Been Invited To An Indian Wedding

Attending a traditional Indian wedding is a great opportunity to learn about a different culture, heritage, and religion. Whether you’re attending the ceremony as a member of the bridal party or simply as a guest, you might be asked to alter your clothing to something more fitting a traditional Indian ceremony. Women may be asked to wear a sari, while men could be asked to wear a kurta. This of course depends upon the preferences of the bride and groom and their families. For those ladies who don’t know much about the traditional fashion or how to tie a sari, we’ve got the lowdown:

What Is A Sari? What Is A Kurta?

Sari is the national dress for women in India, while kurta is the clothing typically worn by Indian men (though kurtas are actually worn by both men and women). A sari is essentially just a very long strip of embellished cloth (usually 13 to 30 feet long), which is draped around the body over a tightly fitted blouse called a choli. A kurta is a loose-fitting, collarless shirt that falls to the knees. The sleeves are untapered and fall loosely from shoulders to wrist. The kurta is normally paired with loose, billowy salwar pants, or tighter fitting churidar pants.

A bridal party wearing traditional Indian attire, the guys in kurtas, the girls in saris. Photo by RANDERYimagery

A bridal party wearing traditional Indian attire, the guys in kurtas, the girls in saris. Photo by RANDERYimagery

 

Selecting the material for your sari

The most common material used to construct a sari is cotton. The lightweight, breathable fabric is ideal for the hot temperatures in India, or in Arizona! Likewise, various types of silk including mulberry and wild silk, both of which are native to India, are also used to make saris. Translucent muslins can be used to weave a sari together. Before the weaving process begins, many designers will dye the thread to add color to the design. It is not uncommon to see block print, tie-dye, or Ikat prints as part of the sari design. Whatever the design, just know that it will be colorful; an all-black or all-white ensemble is reserved for funerals, color is reserved for weddings! Traditional wedding colors include vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, green, and blue.

Bridesmaids' saris from the back. Photo found via Pinterest.

Bridesmaids’ saris from the back. Photo found via Pinterest.

 

How to tie a sari in seven steps

Traditional saris consist of one piece of fabric that is typically 6 to 9 yards in length. In addition to the lightweight material, a petticoat and blouse are styled together to complete the look.

Petticoat: a garment which falls from the waist down to the floor. It ties tightly around the waist with a drawstring. It should match as closely as possible to the base color of the sari so that it doesn’t show beneath the sari.

Blouse/Choli: A tight fitting shirt that ends just below the bust. It can be short sleeved or sleeveless with a variety of necklines. They are often backless or of a halter top style. The color should always complement the sari.

Before draping the sari, fit the petticoat around your waist and tie it very securely with the drawstring. You’ll also need to put on the blouse before attempting to wrap the sari around your body.

Next, follow these steps to tie the sari:

1. Tuck the plain, upper end of the material into the petticoat so that it is just to the right of your navel. The lower end of the garment should be touching the floor at this point with the rest of the sari situated to your left hand side.

Step 1

Steps 1 & 2: Tuck and wrap

2. Wrap the material around your body once. The sari should end up in front of you, on the right hand side.

3. Take the excess sari on your right hand side and fold 5to 7 pleats in the material at the tucked-in end. You want each pleat to be about 5 inches wide and evenly spaced. Carefully gather the pleats together, making sure that they are even and fall equally off the ground. Once you have gathered them together, pin them in place together with a safety pin.

Step 3: Make pleats

Step 3: Make pleats

4. Neatly tuck the pleats into your petticoat at waist level just to the left of your navel. Once they are tucked in the pleats should open to your left.

Step 4: Tuck in the pleats

Step 4: Tuck in the pleats

5. Drape the fabric around your body once more from left to right (like step 2). Use the top edge of the sari to bring the material around to the front of your hips.

Step 5: Wrap around

Step 5: Wrap around

6. Now hold the top edge of the material and wrap the sari up under your right arm and bring it up further to drape over your left shoulder. The remaining fabric of the sari should fall behind you, hitting right at the knee.

7. Use a safety pin to secure the pallu (the fabric that hangs behind you) to your blouse, at the shoulder, so the material does not slip when you move.

 

Step 6: Bring over the shoulder

Step 6 & 7: Bring over the shoulder

 

Even if your hosts don’t request that you wear a sari, it is still a wonderful gesture to honor their heritage. Plus this might be the only opportunity you have to wear such a beautiful and colorful ensemble to someone else’s wedding.

For more info on what to wear to an Indian wedding, check out this helpful article posted on The Big Fat Indian Wedding Blog

To see some truly exquisite saris and get an idea of what expect at the Indian wedding you’ll soon be attending, come check out the Dulhania Bridal Expo this weekend. Located at the outstanding Phoenician resort, this South East Asian wedding expo is all about vibrant colors, impressive floral, and over the top weddings that are simply beyond belief! Come see LUX’s gorgeous booth (#61-62) and get a sneak peak at some fabulous bridal bouquet styles. The expo goes from 11:00am – 5:00pm this Sunday. We’ll see you there!

 

Step by step photos courtesy of about.com Hinduism

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