The Attire Of A Punjabi Bride
Updated: Jan 1, 2021
Punjabi Brides are a vision of beauty on their wedding day and are decked out from head to toe with embellished accessories. A bride's attire is a symbol of her status, therefore she will be adorned with as much jewellery and accessories as possible. All of her attire and jewellery can weigh a substantial amount, requiring her to be assisted by female relatives to ensure she doesn't topple over.
Traditionally Punjabi Bride's will wear red which is an auspicious colour, however they can wear any bright and vibrant colour, you just won't typically find a bride in black. With modern influences on fashion, pastel hues have also become popular for a bride particularly abroad. Nonetheless you can be sure that any Punjabi Bride will look absolutely stunning in her bridal attire no matter what she wears. So here is your guide to what a Punjabi Bride will traditionally wear on her wedding day, though please note it is not an exhaustive list.
*NB: All images have been sourced from well known Photographer Harnav Bir Singh located in Ludhiana, Punjab. I absolutely adore his work as he has an innate ability to capture the very essence of the couple he photographs. Why not check out his amazing photography at his website Harnav Bir Singh. Please note I have no affiliation with Harnav Bir Singh.
The A-Z Guide
of the Punjabi Bride's Attire
The Lehenga Choli is essentially the bride's wedding gown traditionally worn in red which is an auspicious colour. The lehenga is a full length skirt which will typically be ornate with embellishments and embroidery depending on the region's traditions.
The lehenga is then worn with a choli, which is a short sleeved blouse usually matching the lehenga. Unlike Southern Indian blouses, in Punjab a blouse is typically full length and will not show a woman's midriff out of modesty. Although with modern times there are some social classes where it is acceptable to show midriff, particularly for those who live abroad.
As the lehenga is adorned with many jewels and embroidery it can easily weigh 10kg. Therefore it will have suspenders to strap over the brides shoulder which is worn beneath the choli. Colours that are commonly worn are red, orange, blue, purple, green or pink unlike the traditional white gown of the western bride.
A heavily embellished veil is traditionally worn over the brides head and draped around her body. This is known as a dupatta or chunni. Many brides will match their dupatta to their lehenga however some brides opt for contrasting colours.
As with the lehenga, the dupatta is also embellished with jewels and ornate embroidery. It can easily weigh 5kg and needs to be pinned into place on the brides choli. The bride must wear a large bun hair style to be able to keep the dupatta in position on her head.
Every Bride isn't complete without a beautifully ornate statement necklace around their neck which is known as a haar. This large statement necklace is usually matching with the long necklace known as the ranihaar. Not every bride will wear a ranihaar though you can be sure that they will always wear a haar.
It is auspicious for a bride to wear much jewellery on her wedding day. Part of the jewellery that she will adorn is a ranihaar which is a long necklace draped around the brides neck. This is in addition to the ornate necklace that the bride will wear around her décolletage.
Brides will wear glorious over sized ornamental earrings on her wedding day. They are usually that heavy from the sheer size that many earrings will have a small string of beads that pins into her hair to help carry the weight. A brides earrings will typically match her tikka and side tikka.
The tikka is an ornamental piece of jewellery attached to a string of jewels or beads, that is draped from the middle of the brides head, and rests on the centre of her forehead. It rests in the centre of the forehead where the agya chakra is located which is known as the third eye. This represents a union of the bride and groom on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.
This usually matches the tikka however it is worn only on one side of the brides head pinned to her hair on a string of jewels or beads.
These are the 21 red and ivory bangles that the brides maternal Uncle gifts to her. The bride will wear these after her wedding as a symbol of her newly wedded status.
A bride's jewellery isn't complete without a nath known as a nose ring. Many brides don't have their nose pierced and will wear a faux nose ring. The nose ring is usually attached to a string of jewels that easily pins into the brides hair.
This is known as a hand chain which consists of a ring that is attached to an embellished chain or chains usually connecting to an ornate bracelet.
The payal is also known as an anklet and therefore worn around the brides ankles. Traditionally it was worn to announce the arrival of the new bride to her husbands house with the faint jingling that the bells on the payal made.
The kaleere are dome shaped ornaments that hang from a brides wrists. They are usually attached to the brides chooda by a maternal relative on the day of her wedding. They can vary in intricacy from simple beaded kaleere to more ornate and frivolous golden kaleere.
A bride is not complete without mehndi designs applied to her arms and legs. Mehndi is applied at the Mehndi Ceremony which is usually a couple of days before the wedding. It is derived from the henna plant and lasts for a few weeks before wearing off. It is a fun tradition for a bride after her wedding day to not have to do any household chores until such time as the mehndi designs have worn off.
The ornate bangle that is worn on the brides upper arm is known as the bajuband. These days it is not as common for bride's to wear a bajuband. Traditionally they would be worn on both arms signifying strength.
This is the embellished chain that a bride wears around her waist. This isn't as common for a Punjabi Bride as it would be an Indian Bride, though it is still a piece of jewellery that can be worn by a bride.