The Essential Guide to Nepali Weddings: Bridal Attire and Jewelry

2015 Jun 9 - by Nadya
While Nepali Hindu weddings greatly diverge from Indian Hindu weddings, brides on both sides of the border are incredibly similar. From bright red wedding dresses to elaborate mehndi, it's hard to tell the two groups apart.

Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photography

Nepali Wedding: Introduction 

Nepali Wedding Engagement

Nepali Pre-Wedding Traditions

Nepali Wedding Traditions

Nepali Post-Wedding Traditions

Nepali Bridal Attire and Jewelry - You're Here!

Nepali Groom’s Attire

Nepali Wedding Food and Desserts

Nepali brides, much like their Indian counterparts, opt for bright reds and golds in their wedding outfits. Typically Nepali brides wear red saris, instead of red lehngas, which are embroidered with gold thread and dotted with sequins. Green borders are also traditional and add a pop of color.

During the ceremony brides also wear their chuuni over their faces, veiling themselves. The chuuni is typically light and made of mesh so the bride's face is still visible. It may be lifted by a high top bun adorned with jewelry or an embroidered pill-box like cap.

The jewelry in Nepali weddings is fairly modest with only a few gold chains (one from the swayamvara), possibly a small maang tikka, bangles, and earrings. Often the bride is given a large, powdery tikka during the ceremony so the maang tikka is not required.

Nepali brides tie a red dori tie around their top buns.  This pretty bobble is adorned with sequins and woven wired decorations.  They are always red and may have green and gold accents.

Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photography

Instead of a mangal sutra, some Nepali brides receive from their husbands a many-stranded or single-stranded necklace called the tilhari, which is made up of small green beads (pote beads) and a large gold pendant.  The pote bead chain, without the pendant, is worn fairly regularly as a symbol of marriage and the tilhari gold pendant comes out again for the Teej festival.

Photo courtesy of News.CN

Mehndi is a must.  With a henna night preceding the wedding, Nepali brides have intricate mehndi designs that snake up their arms and ankles.  Some brides opt out of this tradition, but it remains fairly common.

Many variations in bridal dress pop up between regional groups and tribes within Nepal.  Gurung brides, for instance, from the Pokhara valley traditionally wear heavy gold chokers, head pieces, and nose rings.

Limbu brides wear a crescent shaped maang tikka Many tribal groups, like the Magars, shirk the gold for simple beaded chains of green and red over plain red saris.

Newari brides wear the red and gold sari typical in Hindu Vedic Nepali ceremonies, but they tie them slightly differently so the pallu works like a shawl across their shoulders. They also often wear a large gold crown-like headpiece, the lunya swan, which is often somewhere between 15-20 cm wide but has been known to be as wide as 30 cm.

Their hair is tied into knots and bows with small pretty adornments.    Also they wear a heavy gold (or gilded copper) necklace , called the tayo, which is contains a oval pendant and is often set with turquoise.

 Photo courtesy Charnette Banck

Though  Nepali brides differ greatly between tribal groups, jewelry and the colors red and green are always present.  Next we're talking about the grooms' gear!