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Wedding Saris

September 22, 2010

Preparations for my Indian wedding in December are moving along slowly but surely.  All of the venues for the three-day event have been booked, we’ve decided on music and menus, and we’ve made our guest list.  Our next steps are to choose and send wedding invitations, and to begin to purchase the wedding outfits.

Because the wedding is spread over the course of three days, I’ll need at least three different outfits.  I’ve done some window shopping already for saris (a formal outift consisting of a blouse, a petticoat, and several yards of fabric draped around the body) and lehengas (a three-piece set made up of a skirt, a blouse, and a scarf called a dupatta), but without much luck.  I’m having trouble, especially, finding a lehenga that I like.

A red lehenga is traditionally worn by an Indian bride for the wedding ceremony, and sometimes for the reception as well.  Since these are the “main events” of the Indian wedding, wedding lehengas  tend to be highly, highly ornate.  They’re usually decorated with some combination of embroidery, sequins, brocade, and gems (and sometimes all of the above).

Frankly, though, this look is a little too much for my taste.  Plus, a more decorated lehenga translates to a much higher price, and I think it’s foolish to blow our whole wedding budget on an outfit that I’ll wear only once.

So, the hunt for my wedding lehenga continues.

In the meantime, though, I’ve been browsing different wedding sari books to give me ideas for colors and styles that I like.  One particular book called Embroidery: Wedding Sarees published by Monika International has some stunning pictures of hand-embroidered wedding saris.  The colors and materials are luxurious, and the embroidery is just beautiful and well-worth admiring.  I’ve shared a few of my favorites in the slideshow below –

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April Morris permalink
    September 22, 2010 4:50 pm

    They are all beautiful, but I really like #22, the mauve fabric next to the orange cloth.

  2. September 22, 2010 8:06 pm

    those are all delightful and scrumptious. you’ll look gorgeous in whatever you choose (but i understand about wanting to not be quite as ornate and loaded down as the typical wedding getup!

  3. September 23, 2010 2:55 pm

    Oh, I feel your pain about choosing your wedding outfit… I had enough problems with the sari I wore to my reception. I knew it would be a hot day, so I wanted it to be as lightweight as possible… and of course that means less ornate. Anyway, I ended up choosing something sheer, and without enough embroidery and sequins (despite the fact that it was the most sequined thing I’d ever worn)… it will look too plain my sister in law said. And so, it had to be sent off to have more things stitched on to it. Apparently, even my hair looked too plain after it was done… so women stuck sparkly bindis in it. In the end, I just gave into everyone and let them do what they wanted with me!! Good luck. I can’t wait to see what you choose. 🙂

    • September 23, 2010 8:47 pm

      Hahah – thanks for sharing. The bindis in the hair is too much!

      • KatherinesMom permalink
        December 3, 2010 8:56 pm

        Sweetie, I think (truly – not kidding) that you should go ahead and look the part of an Indian bride. Don’t think that you need to be as subdued as our WASP-y Puritan class background would demand. Go for it, and enjoy it!

  4. September 27, 2010 9:07 pm

    I didn’t have much time to go shopping for my wedding lengha (We were only in India for three weeks when we got married). My husband’s family made all of the arrangements for us since we live in the states. I pretty much just let everyone else decide what to do/wear. Since we didn’t have as much time we had the ceremony and the reception on the same day so I only had to have the lengha (which weighed a whopping 15kg) complete with sequins, gems, etc. Way more flashy & heavy than I would have originally picked. And like Sharell, sparkly bindis were also stuck in my hair in addition to a sequined flower.

    Good luck in finding everything!

    • September 27, 2010 9:47 pm

      15 kgs!! I’m very impressed that you could wear that throughout the day! I don’t know if I could manage that much weight.

      Thanks for sharing, and many thanks for your well-wishes.

  5. October 29, 2010 4:24 am

    Have you come across any potential lehenga winners in Delhi yet? When I was in Delhi studying abroad I was always told that Old Delhi was one of the best places to go for wedding stuff, although I did get my first sari from somewhere else instead. Have you not found anything there yet that you like? It has been interesting trying to decide what to wear for my wedding. My fiance wants to be very casual so I thought that maybe wearing a really traditional, rich red sari would be beautiful. And then my bhabi ji and mummy ji were telling me that it would be best for me to stand out a little bit from everyone else b/c they will all be wearing saris. 🙂 So, I have settled on the possibility of looking for a lehenga, though I definitely do not want a razzle dazzle super glitzy one. Rich fabric and classy embellishments will do it for me. 🙂 I might even look in Delhi when I head there this winter. Let me know if you find some good places!

    • October 29, 2010 11:04 am

      I’ve actually found a designer who is willing to work with me and create a lehenga that is basically what you just described – rich, brocade silk with a modest amount of embellishment (which still means a 10-inch border… modest by Indian standards, I suppose). I was having too much trouble finding anything ready-made that wasn’t too sparkly and over-the-top for me.

      Do try Old Delhi, though! You may be able to find something fantastic, and I’m sure it will be an adventure. But if you’re still having trouble finding something suitable, I would be happy to give you the contact information for the designer.

      • October 30, 2010 1:38 am

        Thanks so much for that idea. I had never thought of having someone just make me what I wanted. Even if it sets you back a little financially, it will hopefully be exactly what you want and you’ll have it forever! I cannot wait to see the pictures.

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