What to Wear to a Muslim Wedding: A Shopping Guide for Guests

Celebrate with style and respect.
Three outfits for guests at Muslim weddings
Photos, left to right: House of Indya, Kalki Fashion, ASOS
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Jenn Barthole
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Jenn Barthole
The Knot Fashion & Beauty Contributor
  • Based in New York City, Jenn Barthole is a Freelance Editor for The Knot, where she contributes fashion and beauty content.
  • Jenn also contributes wellness, interiors, celebrity, fashion, beauty, and travel content to notable publications including ELLE, Refinery 29, Domino, TripAdvisor, EBONY, Cosmopolitan and PopSugar.
  • She graduated with a major in Communications and a minor in Spanish, from Loyola University in Balt...
Updated Jun 12, 2024

Muslim weddings are beautiful celebrations of love and commitment, filled with cultural significance. However, as a guest, it can be tricky to determine what to wear to a Muslim wedding. Since Islamic wedding wear is typically traditional, it's important to choose attire that shows respect for the religion and its vibrant customs.

Whether you're familiar with Muslim weddings, multicultural nuptials or are attending one for the first time, you've come to the right place. We've put together a guide, with expert styling tips on what to wear at a Muslim wedding, with shoppable outfit inspiration, to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable throughout the festivities.

What to Wear to a Muslim Wedding as a Guest

Dress Modestly

In order to know what to wear to a wedding, it's important to understand the couple's background and fashion protocol. When it comes to Muslim weddings, "The standard dress code varies widely depending on the couple's culture" says Aisha Rawji, the founder and CEO of Indian fashion retailers Kynah and Kiska Studios.

This is especially true for South Asian and Arab Muslim weddings. In South Asian cultures, guests dress in more festive, glamorous attire while adhering to a wide variety of modesty guidelines. In contrast, Arab weddings often emphasize understated fashion and guests tend to dress very conservatively, with women fully covering their arms and hair with a hijab. In general, the attire tends to be less revealing compared to some South Asian styles.

Regardless of the culture, Rawji says, "When choosing an outfit, expect to cover your arms and legs, or to wear higher necklines. Sometimes you will also be required to put something over your head, so having a scarf will be helpful."

Embrace Cultural Flair

Rawji also notes that Muslim weddings often embrace rich cultural elements, so have fun incorporating traditional wear, fabrics, and design into your look. For example, wear dresses or separates with intricate embroidery, modest ethnic prints, and intricate patterns, which add some detail to an otherwise simple look. Also, for South Asian weddings, guests typically dress in vibrant colors or jewel tones. For Arab Muslim weddings, more muted tones or soft pastel tones are popular. Note, brides are likely to wear heavily embellished gowns with long trains, so avoid any extensive beading or excess fabric.

Be Practical and Comfortable

Muslim wedding ceremonies can sometimes involve sitting on the floor or removing your shoes. "It depends on the Muslim sect the couple belongs to and the event location, but planning your outfit with this in mind is helpful," says Rawji. If this is the case, wear easy-to-remove shoes like flats, mules or pumps. Also, opt for flowy fabrics that drape nicely and allow for easy movement.

Muslim Wedding Guest Attire Names to Know

  • Kaftan: "These loose-fitting, knee-to-floor-length tunics check all the boxes when it comes to modesty and simplicity. Simply layer them over leggings or wide-leg pants," says Rawji. Consider a more embellished or silk version depending on the formality of the event. A bold kaftan in a bright color or bold print would be a great choice for pre wedding events like the mehndi or sangeet ceremonies.
  • Kurta: "Available for both men and women, kurtas are a shorter tunic, with full or elbow-length sleeves, worn with pants or a maxi skirt," says Rawji. It is an excellent choice for a traditional nikah (the main wedding ceremony), which calls for the most modest dressing of all the events. To add a touch of cultural flair, drape a dupatta (a long scarf) over your shoulder or your head (if needed during the ceremony).
  • Lehenga: Rawji says, "Lehengas, a traditional floor-length skirt, are another great option that are modest enough." They are typically worn with a crop top so, "Customize the blouse lengths to ensure it covers the midriff and has a higher neckline or use a dupatta to drape over your shoulders and chest for added coverage."
  • Anarkalis: "Anarkalis are knee-length or longer Muslim wedding dresses for guests, with full sleeves, that usually come with pants or skirts. They are a modest, convenient option for a relaxed post-wedding event called a walima," says Rawji.
  • Sherwani: Appropriate to be worn to nikahs, this is a long coat-like top for men that falls below the knees. It is buttoned down the front and is typically made in luxurious fabrics like silk, brocade or velvet.

What Not to Wear to a Muslim Wedding

When In Doubt, Cover Up

In order to know what not to wear to a wedding, understanding cultural norms is crucial. Since Muslim weddings emphasize modest dressing, Rawji says that it's always better to err on the side of caution when selecting an outfit. While your outfit should be well-fitted, "Avoid anything too tight, revealing, or skin-bearing" she instructs. This includes anything shorter than knee-length, sleeveless, sheer and low-cut. Whether you go with traditional or Western wear, stick to the general rules of covering up and choosing looser silhouettes. Remember, the garments can be respectful without sacrificing style.

Check the Dress Code

To determine what to wear to a Muslim wedding, start by checking the invitation to see if it mentions a dress code. Whatever you do, don't go rogue. If the invite does detail instructions, be sure to follow them to ensure that your attire reflects the importance of the occasion. The couple may request that you wear traditional attire or mention that Western wear is perfectly fine. If it doesn't specify or you're still uncertain about what to wear, don't hesitate to ask the hosts or wedding planner for some guidance. They will appreciate your effort to honor their traditions.

What Colors Not to Wear To a Muslim Wedding

While there are no strict color rules, "Stay away from wearing black or white. In some traditions the bride wears white, and black is considered auspicious," says Rawji. Also, avoid overly bright neon colors that could be considered distracting. For accessories, skip the overly flashy pieces and wear delicate jewelry and understated or metallic add-ons. These bring sophistication to your look instead. Brides may wear a veil or headpiece so avoid wearing anything on top.

Muslim Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas

Now that you've had a crash course on what to wear at a Muslim wedding and what outfits guests should avoid wearing, it's time to start shopping! From traditional clothing to Western wear, we've rounded up our favorite Muslim wedding guest attire options, in a range of prices, for both men and women. Check out our top picks below.

3-Piece Silk Embroidered Kurta Set

3-piece silk kurta set Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: Shop Kynah

This unique kurta is fabricated from luxurious Chanderi silk, it comes with a coordinating dupatta scarf and stylish, embroidered pants, so you're fashionably covered from head-to-toe. Note, the outfit is made-to-order and takes up to 12 weeks to ship.

Lehenga 3-Piece Set With Embroidered Trim

3-piece lehenga set Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: House of Indya

For a less traditional ceremony, a lehenga skirt and crop top combo is an easy outfit choice. For a stricter dress code, wear the skirt over a full-coverage bodysuit. Either way, it's easy to style and exudes comfortable elegance. This 3-piece set is adorned with gold trim for a regal effect.

Satin Maxi Dress With Drape Bodice Detail

Satin maxi dress Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: ASOS

If you're attending an Indo-Western wedding and choose to rock Western wear, go with a tasteful style. We love this vibrant, full-coverage ASOS dress, which resembles a dupatta draped over one shoulder. Add some metallic accessories to bring the look to life and you're all set for the sangeet ceremony (a cocktail reception).

Silk 3-Piece Kurta Set

Silk 3-piece kurta set Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: Amazon

For the nikah ceremony, an easy option for men is to go the traditional route in a monochromatic kurta set, like this deep red version. This one is fabricated from silk and features an embellished mandarin collar. Also, the affordable ensemble comes with matching pants and a statement scarf, so your look is complete.

Slim-Fit Shawl Collar Tuxedo

Slim-fit shawl collar tuxedo Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: The Black Tux

If you prefer to wear a suit to a multicultural wedding, consider wearing a jewel-tone version that looks both festive and elevated. This version has a slim fit, shawl collar and modern double side vents. If you're unlikely to wear this suit color again, renting it is a much more affordable option.

Patterned Sherwani With Cutwork on Collar

Patterned sherwani Muslim wedding guest attire
Photo: Kalki Fashion

You can't go wrong with a classic sherwani that is functional for all of your traditional Islamic wedding attire needs. This sophisticated design has a textured fabric and delicate embroidery with traditional motifs. It pairs well with a light-colored pocket square and fitted white pants.

Where to Buy Guest Attire & Dresses for a Muslim Wedding

Luckily, the online shopping world offers a treasure trove of Muslim wedding wear to suit any type of event and dress code. Here are some of the best online retailers to buy guest attire.

  • Etsy: Etsy is a haven for all things Muslim wedding guest attire for both men and women. Their extensive selection boasts something for everyone and every budget—from handmade embellished kaftans to jacquard embroidered sherwanis, which you can filter by dress code, color, price and even fabric. Plus, their extensive reviews and customer pictures ensure that you can get a good sense of fit before you buy.
  • Kalki: For the fashion-forward guest willing to spend a little bit more, Kalki Fashion is a great shopping destination for all genders. Their modern designs feel fresh and they carry modest options. Their website organizes their clothing by occasion, so you can shop specifically for each event (like the sangeet or nikah) and never have to guess if an outfit will work for certain occasions. They also offer free virtual styling sessions if you need help preparing your looks.
  • All Borrow: Rental service All Borrow allows you to borrow designer lehengas and anarkalis (3 piece sets) instead of purchasing brand-new outfits for a fraction of the price. You can rent each piece between 4 and 16 days, with prices ranging from $140-$260. They also offer jewelry loans so you can complete your look.
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