What to Wear to a Pakistani Wedding? A Guide for English Women

One of the first thoughts that may cross your mind if you get an invitation to a Pakistani wedding is how to dress. Dressing correctly and politely is vital for this, as it is for any cultural event. We’ll be concentrating on women’s wedding dresses simply because there are so many elegant and classic choices available.  Ladies may get confuse about what to wear to a Pakistani wedding in UK as a western guest. We’ll discuss some traditional women’s attire appropriate for a Pakistani wedding.

A traditional Pakistani wedding is nothing like a Christian wedding or what we observe in Western culture. It has its set of themes, styles, and traditions, which also apply to the dress code. Vibrant colors and elaborate décor are elements of a Pakistani wedding. The three most common types of cultural clothing are the lehenga, gharara, and sharara. These dresses, which can be created from silk, chiffon, or velvet, are frequently adorned with elaborate embroidery. Let’s explore each of these choices more closely. 

What to Wear to a Pakistani Wedding

Usually, if an attire is stunning in your friend’s Christian wedding, it might not be acceptable for a Pakistani version.

So, if you are soon attending a Pakistani friend’s wedding according to their country’s style, you might be worried about how to dress properly. Well, this guide will walk you through the whole process.

By the end of the article, you will not only know the cultural differences and what to wear to a Pakistani wedding, but also which dresses are not acceptable. So, let’s get into the details!

Pakistani Wedding Attire:

Dressing properly is a must for people at a Pakistani wedding if they want to show respect for the vibrant culture and cheerful event. Many women still wear the classic lehenga, including a short skirt and cropped top or shirt. This suit is a beautiful choice for wedding guests since it often features beautiful embroidery and is available in various colors. While both the gharara and the sharara are exquisite, there are subtle differences in their styles. Wearing a tunic (kurta) over wide-legged trousers that gathered at the knees to create a dramatic flare is the gharara. On the other hand, the sharara creates an open shape by pairing a long tunic with wide-legged, non-ruched trousers.

Adding to the lavishness of each of these outfits is beautiful embroidery, zari, sequins, stones, and pearls. Selecting one of these traditional attire will surely complement the festive vibe and manners of the event, perfect for people who want to honor the spirit of Pakistani wedding wear.

The Differences of a Pakistani Wedding:

First of all, the duration of these weddings is quite long. Instead of lasting for a day or two in Western culture, Pakistani weddings can last from three to even 7 days. So, if you are invited to multiple functions, you will require different types of Pakistani dresses.

Each function has its distinctive activity, but we won’t waste your time since it is not the scope of this article. Anyway, the ‘I Do’ church ceremony is replaced by Nikkah, which is an Islamic version of ‘I Do’ (‘I accept’ are the exact words the couple say).

The group dancing part is not so common, but you may be lucky if your host has arranged something like that. And lastly, it is full of customs and traditions that vary among different families.

The Dress Code:

Primarily, there are three basic events; i.e., Mehandi, Barat, and Walima. Hence, you have to arrange at least three dresses for each one. The Mehandi dress is on a more traditional side, so, pick something like a frock or lehenga.

On the other hand, the Barat and Walima are formal and extra embellished. Here, the Barat event is more important, so you must choose the best in your wardrobe which excites everyone and enhances your persona. As far as the Walima is concerned, you can opt for a luxurious option, such as a heavily embroidered suit or a Saree.

Unlike Western weddings, where everyone wears white, Pakistani weddings have no colour confinement. You can wear whichever colour you like and feel comfortable in. However, the women prefer to choose a vibrant and bright colour to represent excitement, joy, and charm.

Traditional Dress for Mehndi:

Known for its colorful setting, music, and dancing, the Mehndi ceremony is an important pre-wedding event in Pakistani culture. Colorful, flexible dresses that allow people wearing them to move easily are common choices among the women attending this event. The Anarkali suit is a favorite among many because it reflects the shape of a round drum, a traditional decoration for Mehndi ceremonies, with its form-fitting bust and flared skirt. The beautiful colors and stitching on these cotton or silk outfits capture the festive mood of the event.

A popular and flexible choice for the Mehndi is the Salwar Kameez, which is a long tunic with loose trousers. Guests may show their unique personalities while paying respect to traditional dress by customizing the outfit with a wide range of embroidery, materials, and colors. Enhanced with accessories like a gota patti, mirror work, and colorful thread embroidery, these attires are ideal for the Mehndi ceremony because of the happy vibe they create.

Traditional Dress for Barat:

One of the most awaited events of a Pakistani wedding, the Barat ceremony, is the bride’s entrance. More formal and royal styles are usual attire for such a big event. The wedding lehenga is the traditional dress for a bride, and it is important for its rich embroidery, precious stones, and zardozi, a kind of threadwork in gold or silver. Traditional bridal dress colors include deep reds and maroons, but a more modern palette that includes pastels and gold is becoming more popular. Rich materials like silk, velvet, or brocade are preferred by the brides.

Women are invited to dress up in sarees, which are known for their elegance and class. The traditional drape of this garment ranges in size from around two to four feet and length from five to nine yards. It enhances a woman’s feminine charm when put loosely over a shirt or choli that has embellishments. Guests can also choose from fashionable sharara suits or elaborately embroidered Anarkali suits, all of which create a feeling of elegant beauty appropriate to the lavishness of the Barat ceremony. Whoever wears one of these clothes will feel like they’re a part of the celebration’s rich fabric thanks to the complex patterns that typically combine modern and traditional elements.

Traditional Dress For Walima / Reception:

Last but not least at a Pakistani wedding is the reception, or Walima, which marks the official welcoming of the bride into the family of her groom. This wedding ceremony is known for its slightly more modern and lavish vibe in contrast to the others. Ladies of the Walima typically prefer outfits that combine classic beauty with modern flow. Lehengas with a modern touch, such as softer color palettes (peach, mint green, and baby blue) and delicate stitching that expresses delicate beauty, are a favorite among guests.

Skirts, with their classic elegance updated with modern details like pastel color combinations and simple embroidery, are another popular choice of dress. Flowy and fragile fabrics like chiffon and organza are often used to make these skirts. A designer dress, with its sleek style and lavish fabrics, is another option for some ladies; it shows elegance and is a result of the blending of Western and Eastern fashion trends. To stay true to the traditional Pakistani style of wedding luxury, these dresses are typically decorated with beautiful handwork and pretty jewelry.

The Best Choices for English People:

Since now you are familiar with different themes and dress codes, let’s get into some examples of what you can wear to a Pakistani wedding.

Dress Code to Wear to a Pakistani Wedding:

If you are looking for what to wear to a Pakistani wedding as a guest then you can choose any of the following attire. These attires are perfect for white people who are attending a Pakistani wedding in UK. 

1. Lehenga

It is a long form of the frock that goes beyond your ankle to even cover your whole feet. Usually, it is stitched with the blouse top, making it a complete one-piece suit. However, you will also find separate blouse tops in Indian variants. A delicate drape or scarf, known as a Dupatta, casually worn around it.

Although it looks stunning on the natives and Pakistani women, it will also match your ethnicity as an English woman perfectly. Choose something brightly or softly coloured, such as yellow, skin, baby pink, sky blue, white with golden work, etc. Each will be gorgeous.

what to wear to a pakistani wedding

2. Embroidered Frock

Frocks are closely related to lehengas, but they have some distinctions. While the above-mentioned attire is made with heavier fabric, such as silk, velvet, organza, etc, frocks use a lighter material to make the dress more breathable. So, if you are attending a marriage ceremony in hotter weather, it is better to choose a frock over a lehenga.

So to say, go for a heavily embroidered frock that truly symbolises a traditional Pakistani culture and embellishes your personality. You can pair it with trousers or capri pants of the same or contrasting colour. The embellishment over the frock, either with embroidery, pearls, beads, or other ornaments is excellent in giving English women a new look.

3. Kameez Shalwar

If both the above dresses don’t match your style, you can choose the most common traditional attire, Kameez Shalwar. But it doesn’t mean you should go for something simple. Since in Pakistan, women mostly enwrap in this attire, this category has grown many branches.

While searching, you will find kameez shalwar for casual wear, events, semi-formal, and (your pick) wedding-styled. The long shirts will envelop you in a mesmerizingly elegant cover, that will be complete with a matching drape (Dupatta). You can also switch the tunic-styled kameez with a shorter-length kurti for delicateness.

4. Saree

Leaving all ideas aside, suppose you want to surprise your friend and go with a full-blown traditional appearance that is highly appealing, attractive, and a complete looker, without rupturing the traditional values. A saree is the perfect answer.

But behold it is not easy to manage, especially for an English woman who has never worn one. You can practise it with other Pakistani friends a few days earlier to perfect the gait in this dress. But once you get control of it, you will undoubtedly become a spotlight.

A saree is excellent for beholding your feminine beauty and gorgeousness while also confining the cultural norms in spectacular attire. If you are confident about carrying this 6-foot-long dress while successfully enjoying the event, then don’t wait anymore.


Finally, Pakistani weddings are lavish events that reflect the culture and tradition. The elaborate patterns and bright colors of traditional outfits are what make these celebrations unique. Whether you’re a guest or a member of the wedding party, dressing appropriately is necessary for fully enjoying the celebrations and paying tribute to Pakistani history. Guests may feel beautiful and comfortable in their attire, which ranges from traditional Pakistani garments like lehengas and sarees to modern alternatives like palazzo suits, as they celebrate this wonderful occasion.    

However, if you are unsure where you can buy such Pakistani wedding dresses that will be a stunner as well as don’t make you look odd among others, Rivaaj has your answer. It is one of the leading Pakistani women’s clothing stores in the UK, where you will find numerous traditional and cultural dresses for this special occasion. Visit Rivaaj London to check out their latest collections Today!