The Essential Guide to Hindu Weddings: Bridal Attire and Jewelry

2014 Apr 3 - by dulhan
Hindu brides definitely have a weakness for bridal wear trends (as you've probably seen all over the magazine) like blue lehngas or peacock prints, but there are quite a few items that are holdovers from Vedic times that don't look like they're going anywhere.

{photo by DKreate Photography via Sneha & Varun's Wedding}

Hindu Wedding: Introduction

Hindu Wedding Engagement

Hindu Pre-Wedding Traditions

Hindu Wedding Traditions

Hindu Post-Wedding Traditions

Hindu Bridal Attire and Jewelry – You’re here!

Hindu Groom’s Attire

Hindu Wedding Food and Desserts

Hindu Wedding Shopping List

The Solah Shringar, which includes everything from the sindoor at the top of the bride's hairline down to the bichus on her toes, is the traditional set of 16 pieces every Hindu bride must wear.  Brides often pick and choose from the prescribed set, but you're definitely going to see her wearing bridal mehndi, haar, karn phool, and choordiyan.

{Photo by Cory Ryan Photography via Soumya & Jesse's Wedding}

Besides the Solah Shringar, Hindu brides' traditional garments will vary significantly by region.  In the North, brides generally wear silk lehngas - a dress that features a short blouse, which can either end at the waist or slightly higher, and a long A-line (or sometimes mermaid-shaped) skirt that billows away from the waist.

{Photo by Limelight Photograhy via Michelle & Jim's Wedding}

The lenghas are usually blinged out  with rhinestones, beads, zari work, and a mixture of textiles like velvet, lace, and baandani.  Bridal lenghas are traditionally red in many states, with blue or green accents as well as gold embroidery.  Different states, of course, have different traditional colors - the Gujurati panetar is white and red with occasionally other color accents.  You'll find a range of traditional motifs embroidered into the lenhga - everything from birds, to deer, to stars and hearts.  There is no single set look for a lengha and it all falls to the bride what she'll wear on her day.

{Photo by R&L Photography via Diana & Andrew's Wedding}

Brides will also vary on which jewelry types they favor.  This comes down equally to a decision based on tradition and preference.  Some brides love the royal rani look and opt for jewelry that features giant polki diamonds, like jadau or kundan.  Others may pick and choose their favorite pieces from a variety of styles, though usually so they form a completely matching set that coordinates with their dress.

{via Tarun Tahiliani Bridal Collection 2012}

In the South, brides wear intricately woven kanjivaram silk saris and temple jewelry.  They belt their saris with gold cumbarbands and pin up their hair with white and orange flowers.  Southern bridal wear also usually includes a long braid that twists down the bride's back and it may not all be natural hair - it is common to weave in fake hair to make the braid look fuller and longer.

{Photo by DIVINEMETHOD Photography via Tharshini & Dushant's Wedding}

Again there is no set color for the Southern bride's sari, but red is the traditional color.  It has to be, if nothing else, pure South Indian silk and brightly colored.  To the untrained eye, the kanjivaram silk sari may look simple, especially stood next to the North Indian bridal lehnga which is so flashy, but kanjivaram requires expert skill and is finely detailed with gold zari.  They are also incredibly durable and are incredibly expensive as a result.

{Photo by Lauren Reynolds Photography via Neeraja & Timothy's Wedding}

Indian brides come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and so do their preferences.  While community tradition may dictate one path, there is no set course for what the bride will wear.  Simple or decked out, an Indian bride is above all classic.