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Indian Bridal Wear

Indian bridal wear is elegant, detailed, and beautiful. Learn about the different kinds of the bridal wear and how it is worn by varied states within the country.
Uttara Manohar
A traditional Indian wedding is a vibrant and elaborate affair with the blushing bride being the cynosure of the ceremony. The Indian bride has a variety of bridal wear options to shimmer, sparkle, and glow as she drapes herself in the choicest of embroidered fabrics and elegant jewels. 
Although conventionally Indian wear is synonymous with the Sari, the ghagra choli, lehenga, and the salwar kameez, most people outside India do not know of the multiple choices available in each category.
India being a country with diverse religions and cultures, every religion, culture, or region boasts of a unique wedding style replete with their regional specialties and diverse rituals.

Types of Traditional Indian Bridal Wear

Since India is home to a large number of cultures and religions, it might be impossible to list down the bridal wear variations in every religion in the following sub-sections. Here are some of the popular Indian bridal wear styles that exist in prominent sections and cultures of the Indian heritage:
The Punjabi Bride
The traditional bride in Punjab can wear either a sari or a lehenga. The colors that are generally worn are vibrant colors like red, orange, or magenta. The sari or the lehenga is heavily embroidered with phulkari work which involves use of darn stitch on the wrong side of a coarse cotton cloth with colored silken threads. 
Although many interesting patterns of phulkari  work can be seen, traditional motifs of wheat and barley stalks are commonly printed. Usually, the bride wears gold jewelry. Another characteristic feature of traditional Punjabibridal  attire is the chuda, that is a set of red and cream ivory bangles.

The Maharashtrian Bride

Owing to the fact that the green color is considered auspicious and also a sign of prosperity in the state of Maharashtra, the bride is usually draped in a green sari with traditional zari  embroidery, which involves fine gold or silver threads woven into fabrics.
The paithani  is perhaps the most popular sari in Maharashtra named after the Paithan region in the state where these saris are woven by hand. Made with the finest silk, the paithani is characterized by borders of an oblique square design, and a pallu with a peacock design. Also famous is the nauvari sari  which is nine-yards in length.
Although the nauvari  style originated in the era of the Maratha empire, where women ventured into the battlefields in crucial times of war, the nauvari sari  is a popular form of trousseau in Maharashtra till date. Usually the jewelry includes gold ornaments with pearls. The bride also wears the famous nath  which is a pearl-crusted nose ring.

The Bengali Bride

The traditional Bengali bride is draped in a Benarasi sari  with a wide zari  border and a red cheli  or veil on her head. The bride wears an attractive headgear called sholar mukut, which is a crown carved out of bark of a tree. The bride's forehead is adorned with interesting motifs made with sandalwood paste. 
The bride wears traditional heavy gold jewelry and her head is covered with a dupatta. Traditionally, the bride wears three types of bangles namely, shankha (conch shell bangle), pala (lacquer bangle), and loha (iron bangle).
The Muslim brides are always dressed in cherry red bridal robes. The lehenga or the salwar kameez is heavily embroidered usually with golden work.
The Muslim Bride
Silk is generally the fabric of choice in traditional Muslim bridal attire. The bride's head is covered with a Ghungat that covers the head, the shoulders, back, and comes down almost to the waistline.
The Indian Catholic bride is no different from catholic brides across the globe.
The Catholic Bride
The traditional Catholic bride wears a white/off-white bridal gown with a delicate veil, where the colors symbolize purity.
In Tamil Nadu, the bride is draped in a red or maroon sari. The kanjeevaram sari  is a very popular type that is created in a small town of Kanchi in Tamil Nadu.
The Tamilian Bride
The traditional bride adorns her hair with fresh orange and white flowers. In addition to the other common jewelry, the bride wears traditional jewelry like raakudi, which is worn in the hair, and the oddiannam  which is a type of an ornamental belt.

Contemporary Indian Bridal Wear

Although traditional bridal attire continues to be popular with Indian brides, many of the brides are always keen on trying out more contemporary or even designer bridal wear for their wedding day. 
The traditional kanjeevaram sari, Paithani sari do exist, but they have been upgraded with more contemporary designs and motifs. Traditional saris are now made available with more options in terms of the colors as well as the embroidery patterns. Geometrical patterns, abstracts are finding a place in Indian bridal wear as well.
The traditional ghagra choli  is also now available with more modern patterns and cuts. The traditional Indian bridal wear has now evolved to encompass the more contemporary fashion trends across the globe.

Bridal Sari

The contemporary bridal saris that are available today retain the elegance of the traditional look and yet manage to add a streak of modern fashion trends with interesting variations. The traditional blouse worn with the sari had traveled beyond the puffed sleeves to include interesting noodle straps, fashionable necklines, and heavy embroidery. 
The Indian brides have also come up with more modern draping patterns for the sari. The Indian bride is now experimenting with more contemporary colors that were once perceived as rather unconventional. Blushing pinks, marine colors, cool pastel shades, earth colors are now becoming a part of the bridal trousseau.

Lehengas and Ghagra Choli

Just like the sari, the lehenga has evolved in this era of fashion and style. The regular lehenga or the ghagra  which was like a flared long skirt, is now being experimented with. The Indian bridal wear options now include pleated, embroidered, and even fish cut lehengas
The dupatta  or the chunari  which is an integral part of the Indian bridal wear is now available in more fabrics and more contemporary embroideries, dyes, and even handwork. The choli as mentioned earlier has gone uber cool with sleeve-less, strapless, narrow-strapped, or noodle strap varieties.

What's Hot in Contemporary Indian Bridal Wear


Although the Indian bridal wear has traditionally been limited to a few colors, the Indian brides are increasingly experimenting with more unconventional colors. For those who prefer the traditional colors, there is an option to have an ensemble that blends a traditional color with another to create a balanced look. 
Rust color, metallic shades with golden or silver tints can make a trousseau look elegant and rich. The more unconventional colors are also in vogue. Earth colors, pastel shades, or the more unconventional lavender, pinks, and blues are also in fashion. The key is to maintain the traditional elegance with a streak of modern flamboyance.


Although the traditional silk still remains to be the fabric of choice for most Indian bridal wear, there is now a wide variety of silks like metallic silk and crepe silk. If you are ready to look beyond the silk, you can pick from a wide variety of contemporary fabrics ranging from the crepe, Georgette, or even the exquisite jute varieties. Picking out the fabric largely depends on the style of your wedding ensemble and your personal preference.


The traditional embroidery for Indian bridal wear of course retains the old-world charm but the contemporary embroidery patterns offer to add a modern streak to bridal wear. Modern embroidery patterns range from geometrical shapes, asymmetrical patterns to abstracts. 
Although many would find it absurd to sport a trousseau that has abstract embroidery over it, you can use these patterns wisely to incorporate them in your traditional look. Expensive crystals, precious and semi precious stones and beads are increasingly used in the Indian bridal wear as well.


The Contemporary Indian bridal wear is chic and smart replete with all the right fashion accessories. The traditional heavy golden jewelry is replaced with more elegant gold designs. Diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones encrusted in white gold or platinum have become increasingly popular with the brides.
The Indian bridal wear is now complemented with interesting fashion accessories be it the jewelry, the sequined clutch bags, or even elegant tiaras. The sandals not only match the trousseau in terms of color but also come with fine embroidery and gems. An elegant brooch with diamonds, gems, or precious stones is another hot bridal accessory.
The traditional Indian bridal wear symbolized the rich ancient culture, but the contemporary Indian bridal wear brings a subtle blend of the new and the old as the Indian bride awaits at the doorsteps of womanhood with elegance, confidence, and mesmerizing beauty.