For a foreigner, figuring out what to wear to a Pakistan wedding can either be a great delight or a big headache. The first time I went to a wedding in Lahore, I wore the wrong kind of clothes on each and every function! These tips should help you avoid making the same faux pas. Many of the same traditions take place in India, particularly in Muslim weddings. The way people dress in Bollywood films is a pretty good representation of what the upper class would wear to weddings in Pakistan.
Pakistani weddings generally take place over three to four days. You have three major functions: mehndi, barat, and walima. These may be preceded by a more intimate function called the mayun, to which only close friends and relatives are invited. You may also attend a mungni, engagement party, or a dolki, dance party, well in advance of the main functions.
While in the West it is only the bride who really gets decked out for her wedding, in Pakistan everyone dresses to impress. Ladies attending a wedding may get their hair done, make-u applied, hands painted and body waxed at the beauty parlor on the day of the event. The closer you are to the family, the more expensive clothing you should wear. Many times immediate family members get new sets of jewelry custom made for each day of the wedding. Most people prefer to wear new sets of clothes for each function as well. You are expected to spend more on making yourself look good than on giving a present to the bride and groom. It is important that the closer you are to the bride or groom, the more expensive and extravagant your clothing should be. If you do not dress appropriately, it will be seen as an insult to the family. You may get away with it if you're a foreigner, but you will certainly feel out of place if you are not dressed to the hilt.
Ladies in Pakistan match everything, so when shopping for wedding clothes you must make sure to match a purse, shoes, bangles and jewelry to your suit. Taking a swatch of the fabric with you while shopping can help with matching.
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