Stellar Gift Guide #4: Hindu Wedding Guest Etiquette

June 6, 2013    |    By +
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Wedding-Thumbnail_Hindu2Sometimes we get invited to an event and have no idea what to expect or what is expected of us. We’ve all been there; confused, bumbling and ultimately embarrassed. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m doing a whole series on wedding guest etiquette by religion so that no matter what kind of wedding you get invited to, you’ll show up like a pro. This time, I’m setting the record straight on Hindu wedding guest etiquette. What’s going to happen? What are you supposed to wear? Will anything weird go on that I have to participate in? Read on and get rid of your wedding attendee jitters.

The Gift:

  • Money should be given in cash in amounts ending in the number one (i.e. $101, $111, $221, etc.) because it’s considered lucky. Checks are also acceptable. If you are giving cash, put it in a fancy looking envelope.
  • The traditional gift is a small gold or silver religious statue. A statue of the Hindu God Ganesha, the lord of beginnings is a good idea, as is a statue of Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, fortune, and fertility. But, this shouldn’t be your angle since you don’t practice this faith and it would seem kind of weird.
  • Don’t give leather! Hindus believe the skin of dead animals, especially cows, to be sacrilegious.
  • Of course, when all else fails most kind couples have created a registry somewhere where you’ll find a gift that you know they will appreciate. Find out where they’re registered using our handy wedding registry finder.

Wedding Traditions:

  • The bride traditionally wears red or burgundy.
  • Traditionally, alcohol and meat are not served. Expect to eat delicious Indian foods like dal, mixed vegetables, rice, and naan bread.
  • Don’t expect wedding cake! Desserts will be equally as delicious but not the traditional cake you’re expecting. A few classics that might show up are: gulab jamun, rasgulla, and rasmalai.

Rules for You:

  • Take your shoes off in a Hindu temple. So avoid overly complicated heels that are difficult to slip in and out of.
  • Don’t wear red. You wouldn’t want to show up the bride.
  • Don’t wear white. It is reserved for Hindu funerals.
  • Otherwise, you can pretty much wear any color you’d like, dress up fancy or don’t, and by all means you are not required to wear an Indian dress.

There you have it! It’s your easy guide to surviving a Hindu wedding with savoir faire. I hope that you feel better about being a guest and can have some fun now. Remember that weddings are celebrations after all.

Stay tuned for more wedding guest etiquette.

And, if you want to go rogue and buy a wedding gift without consulting their registry or their traditions…see all of our favorite wedding gifts!

Hindu Guest Guide Etiquette

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.