Ideas & Advice

This is what you should wear if you’re a guest at a Malay wedding

Who says you can only wear a Baju Kurung to a Malay wedding? Here are guidelines on what to wear so you won’t look out of place.

Photo from Jirah & Aliff's wedding by NAFIMAGES

1. Traditional Malay wear
Guests traditionally don the Malay traditional wear - Baju Kurung or Kebaya. The two-piece Baju Kurung is modest (typically loose-fitting) yet very feminine, so it has become a staple in a Malay woman’s wardrobe. 

2. Avoid revealing clothes
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Baju Kurung. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in too - for instance, a loose tunic with your favourite pair of pants, or a maxi skirt with your chosen top. Anything goes, as long you dress conservatively, as a mark of respect to the newlyweds and their family members. 

3. Weather-appropriate 
Since afternoon receptions can get hot and stuffy - especially when held in venues without air-conditioning, you might want to wear something loose and airy. 

4. Avoid dressing sloppily
Even if the wedding is held at your void deck (your neighbour’s wedding), you should avoid dressing too casual. Dressing sloppily (wearing shorts, tank tops and slippers) is disrespectful to the hosts and the bride/groom.


5. Business casual 
Depending on the venue, there’s also no need to wear anything too formal. Business casual is your safe bet! As a guide, wear whatever you would wear to a fancy restaurant. 

6. Menswear 
A pair of well-fitting jeans and pressed shirts are the norm for men. 

7. There are no superstitious colours
Malays don’t believe in unlucky colours, so you can wear anything from bright orange to sophisticated black. 

8. Dinner reception 
A couple may choose to have their reception in the evening instead. Dinner is usually a more lavish affair and may be held at country clubs, restaurants, or hotel ballrooms. This event is considered more formal compared to the afternoon reception, and dressing up is required. If the couple has a dress code, do adhere to it.

9. Solemnisation 
In contrast, if you are attending the “Akad Nikah” (or solemnisation) ceremony, dress more conservatively, as it is a more solemn and religious event. If it is held in a mosque, female guests are advised to wrap a scarf around their heads and dress decently.