Sri Lankan grooms, especially those of high status, dress magnificently for their wedding. They wear a so-called “Nilame Costume” that looks really extraordinarily. Originally, it was a royal traditional outfit, but today, anyone in Sri Lanka can wear it for a wedding. You don’t even have to custom-make one, just use rental Nilame Attire. Such clothes for the groom are unique and typical only for Sri Lanka. Often, you can see Nilame on the groom, his groomsmen, the ring boy, and some other significant members of the bridal party.
The Nilame Costume has a long history. It is the national outfit of Sri Lanka that appeared around the 17th century under the cultural influence of European colonizers on Sri Lanka. The Nilame Attire is a mix of the local and European clothing traditions of the time. And at first, it was worn only by the royal family, officials of the highest rank, and very high-status men. The craft of making such ornate and skillfully-created outfits was kept secret by the royal tailors. But later, other tailors learned to make Nilame garments and, today, they are available to anybody who can afford to buy or rent one.
Sri Lankan groom and his male wedding party members wearing Nilame outfits
So, these days, many Sri Lankan grooms wear Nilame Costumes for their wedding. And typically, the groomsmen and the page boy are also dressed in Nilame Attire, although, it usually differs a bit from the groom’s costume – in color, decorations, amount of jewelry, and so on. By the way, the traditional colors of Sri Lankan Nilame Attire are maroon, red, ivory, blue, and cream, but it can also be black, green, yellow, purple, etc.
The Nilame wedding costume consists of a number of pieces:
- white loose-fitting trousers;
- bright-red cloth is wound around the waist and peeks from under the wrap that goes next;
- large light-colored cloth wrapped around the hips that reaches below the knees. It is gathered at the front above the belt in a big knot;
- wide decorative belt with a huge and ornate brass buckle;
- striking velvet jacket with short puffed sleeves and a lot of embroidery and other embellishments;
- ornate velvet hat of unusual shape that matches the jacket;
- decorative shoes;
- massive jewelry, particularly a large ceremonial pendant on a long chain that hangs as low as the belt buckle. Also, bracelets, rings, other pendants, brooches, etc.
The Sri Lankan groom’s outfit is probably one of the most eye-catching and unique-looking wedding attire in the world. It gives the wearer a real royal vibe. Anyone would feel special in such wedding clothing. But, of course, the Nilame Attire is a traditional Sri Lankan costume, so outsiders shouldn’t use it for their wedding just for fun or hype.
Young Sri Lankan boy in Nilame Attire. A ring boy could look like this