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Wedding in Mumbai - need some assistance

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We will be attending a wedding there in less than a month. I am very excited, but anxious about various things.... the attire, our gift to them, etc...

It is a client of my husbands. The invitation indicates it is a few days long. One day it says it says the attire is Formal Western Attire. I am curious about what I should wear the other days. Will I need to get something made?

I will ask my husband to ask client the particulars but I am sure they are very busy.

Any helpful hints would be appreicated or any experience at an Indian Wedding would be great!!

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    At the wedding we went ot in June, the guests changed clothes for every event, so you'll want quite a few outfits, if possible. You can wear western party clothing to all events; a Japanese couple did at the wedding I attended, and nobody thought it odd.
    However, you will have a lot more fun in Indian clothing; Salwahrs, saris, etc. If you don't have Indian dress shops near you, you can order from Utsav.com. You can have them deliver to your hotel in Mumbai. Otherwise, if you have time you can get ready to made in India...it usually takes at least 24 hrs to have tops made or alterations, so go right when you get there.

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    In my experience, any attempt by you and your husband to dress in Indian dress (fully or partly) will be appreciated by the family and guests. However, it is not at all necessary that you do so. I would not try to wear a sari if you never have done so before. There is an art to walking in one which takes some practice. You also have to get someone to tie it for you (although hotel staff can do so in a pinch.) As an alternative, a “Punjabi suit” (loose long tunic with pants and usually a scarf, also called a salwar kameez; the top can also be called a kurta) would work. You can buy saris and Punjabi suits in Mumbai, see something like the really gorgeous (and fairly expensive) Ritu Kumar (http://www.ritukumar.com/) or the excellent Anokhi (http://www.anokhi.com/). Both high quality. FabIndia would also have some, although not jeweled pieces or as dressy, see http://www.fabindia.com for locations, they have shops all over India and would be reasonably priced (they also ship so you could buy before the trip).

    If you are stopping in Singapore on the way out, that would also be a good place to look for a sari or Punjabi suit.

    I don't think I would try to have anyting made at this point. A tailor in the US is unlkelly ot have the experience (or the fabrics), and unless your husband’s colleagues can recommend a very good tailor in Mumbai, I don't think you would be pleased with the quality offered by tourist tailors.

    I would try to wear bright colours as much as possible. Black is virtually never worn, navy blue is about as dark as people go. So for the formal event, a brightly coloured dress would be better than a black dress, IMO. In temples, you will have to remove shoes, so wear shoes that allow for this.

    For the rest of the wedding festivities, without knowing which ceremonies/dinners you are going to, it’s hard to give specific advice. Something like a lunch would probably tend toward the casual, as would something like a polo or cricket match. (At all of these, most women, esp those over about 35, are going to be wearing saris, so it may appear more formal than it is.) For most events except the wedding dinner, men would generally be in slacks and a dress shirt but no jacket (short or long sleeve dress shirt); a polo shirt is OK for more casual events. My guess is that jeans not would be appropriate for any of these expect perhaps for the henna party and outdoor events like polo. I would err on the side of modest dress if possible, i.e., keep shoulders covered and no short skirts. Young Indian women do wear jeans; but I would tend to go a bit more toward the dressy side, as the older women in any gathering are more than likely going to be wearing saris and will be more dressed up. If for nothing else than a mark of respect to them, erring on the side of dressy is probably better.

    Bring the best jewelry you have. Or buy some there….

    If you do wear a sari or Punjabi outfit and have hair of any length, pleas try to put your hair up, and in any case put flowers in it.

    If the ceremony and the wedding dinner are separated by several hours or a day, then I would say that the ceremony would be more casual than the dinner, so dress up for the latter. (Also you might wear a sari or Punjabi outfit to the ceremony but not to the dinner.)

    If you can provide specifics of the various wedding events, I may be able to provide some more specific advice. If you are invited to things like the bride’s bangle ceremony that is quite special. And of course fantastic food! Do not be surprised if the wedding is at some weird time like 6 am or 8:37 pm, the time is most likely set by the astrologer.

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    Sorry I meant to address your question on gifts. This is frankly an area where I still struggle to know what to do. I assume you don’t know the bride or groom, but your husband may know one or more of the parents of the bride or groom. Cash is actually a quite acceptable gift, but I can understand why you may not want to give cash. (I am also assuming from the scale of the wedding so far as you have described it that one or both families are fairly wealthy, so cash seems a bit pointless. One exception might be if you know that the couple will be living in the US after marriage, then a gift card to a shop like Williams Sonoma or similar would be a good idea.) A decorative item for the home is probably the best way to go. A silver frame from Tiffany is my usual gift. It is a brand, it is silver (generally considered an auspicious metal for weddings) and is not something easily available in India. It is also easy to pack. Glass/crystal would be another good idea, but will be harder for you to pack. (Candlesticks may work or a small bowl.) Gifts typically are brought to the main wedding dinner, there is usually a table near the entrance to the room where you can leave them.

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    Cicerone - I really appreciate your thoughtful response. It was extremely helpful!

    I have asked my husband to make some inquiries about the attire for us. I do not own any long gowns, so I need go look at some - Someone told me Nordstom Rack has great ones for not a lot of $.

    Icuy - thanks - I appreciate the link and information!

    There is an outing at a Cricket club and one at Race track - I am super excited, but I am worried about having the "right" outfits or even enough outfits!

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