Monday, 27 May 2013

You may be able to describe it in two simple words - Indian wedding. But there's nothing simple in either being Indian or arranging an Indian wedding. Even the most organised person with the best laid-out plans can exhaust herself trying to find the perfect way through the glittery maze.

Over the years we have seen the big, fat Indian wedding only become fatter. The increasingly demanding clientele may have ensured the success of the wedding industry which grows by 25 per cent each year but money doesn't always translate to what appeals to the eye or what one's heart desires. In the glittery market of abundance what sets you apart is often your personal style statement that's difficult to substitute - it may lie in the erotic motif of your mehendi or the unconventional colour of your lehenga. Here are a few ways in which you can make a mark on your wedding day.


It may be just one neckpiece and earrings instead of all the jewellery from your treasure trove, but it's still impactful. Brides these days are going for customised ornaments. Jewellery designer Raj Mahtani, whose collection was recently displayed by Raveena Tandon at the HDIL Couture Week says, "Brides these days are quite discerning. They are pretty clear about the look that they want for themselves.

Whether they are going for the lehenga or jewellery, they want their whole look to represent their personal style. In short, they want bespoke jewellery. They are not satisfied with anything that they have seen before."

A bride may visualise or know in her mind what she wants but till it's laid out in front of her, she wouldn't really be convinced about the design - this is so in the case of her bridal attire as well as jewellery.

And what places should one go to? Chandni Chowk or a fancy designer store? This is where personal shopping assistants step in. With their knowledge of design and the old and new shops in town, they know exactly what the bride is looking for, and where to find it. They are the best guides for a woman who stops only when her eyes agree with what she sees. Whatever the colour, the material, the motif - your shopping assistant will be ready to talk to you at length to get a hang of your personal style and taste and act accordingly.

Off with the orchids. What's taken the fancy of people are marigold, lotus and jasmine. Indian flowers are in demand big time. That apart, informal functions or the ones that precede the wedding, such as cocktails have a demand for roses of all colours.

If it's India, Goa and Rajasthan are the hottest destinations for weddings. Fashion designer Rina Dhaka says, "Palaces in Rajasthan and Goa make for very beautiful venues from what I've seen recently. It's lavish, romantic, yet personal." There are also people who are taking the wedding to exotic destinations such as Morocco, Greece or Italy. Vandana Mohan, wedding planner, says, "What's noteworthy is that people aren't rigid about holding on to every custom. I recently had a Marwari client who chose Florence as the venue. It's not as if they were in Florence just because they could spend money.

The wedding was arranged in such a way that the Indian setting blended with the Italian splendour to make for a perfect mix of the East and the West."

Each one of us probably has a favourite picture from our parents' wedding album. People now are taking it a step forward. Wedding photographer Cimmaron Singh says, "Intimidating shaadi shutterbugs with their point and shoot attitude and filmi photos and are passé. Couples are now looking for a more personalised way to mark the day.

Portraits, candid moments and behind-the -scene snapshots are being neatly bound into coffee table books and art prints." Today there are various styles like romantic black and white, vintage sepia tone and vibrant colour to choose from and the wedding fraternity wants it all. "Behind every well planned wedding is a well researched wedding photographer waiting in the wings," says Singh.

Bollywood is still big. And it rules. But it doesn't stop with Hindi music these days. International DJs are being hired for prewedding bashes organised by the bride and groom. People don't stop at getting Shah Rukh Khan to dance at their weddings.

For a good price you can get Akon. DJ Khushi Soni says, "It's not enough to just know music and play according to your own taste. You need to understand the preferences of the bride, the groom and the guests at each of the functions." If there's lounge that works for bachelor parties, there's folk and old Bollywood numbers for sangeet and Sufi notes for the reception.

No pancake. That's the simple magic formula. You may have heard this a lot of times - when it comes to make-up, less is more. But what's worth remembering is that the advice rings true even on your wedding day.

"A lot of people go a little overboard on their wedding day as far as make-up is concerned.

It's not as if it always reflects their personal style. The bride may well be subtle with make-up on a day-to-day basis but thinks that the bright lights will make her face look pale on her special day," says make-up artist Vidya Tikari.

"The difference these days is that we have far superior products than we used to earlier and with the already heavy bridal attire, one doesn't really need to deck up," Tikari advises. Keeping it simple and making sure that the make-up goes with the bride's skintone, rather than trying to make her look 'fair' makes for a look that's worth remembering.

Mehendi designs aren't restricted to conventional motifs anymore. As women get saucy with Kamasutra designs and erotic art on their hands and feet, even the guys are getting tattoos and mehendi done for that special day. Get specialists to design your fantasy that goes beyond convention.

Shock a few people. It's worth the effort to raise a few eyebrows. Who doesn't want to stand out and have his or her own unique way of attracting attention on that special day? Getting a tattoo to mark wedding days are becoming an increasingly popular ritual all over the world. So go for it.

The recent Bridal Couture Week showed that people are even choosing the unconventional white for the lehenga - till now white had never gone beyond Kerala as the colour for bridal attire. Instead of one heavy lehenga or saree, brides are now opting for more sophisticated and simpler styles that can be worn later too.

Indian weddings are no longer about just shaadi and reception. One major area where people's choices have become wide is the food spread. It's not just Continental, Indian and Mughlai.

There may be a lavish spread of Italian, Japanese or Greek food as much as Kerala or Bengali specialities. Top that with at least one evening that's especially dedicated to the young friends of the bride and groom - when there has to be innumerable hors d' oeuvre to go with the cocktails that flows freely.

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