So… I’m weeks away from the (actual) big day – or days as you know how Indian weddings go. I wanted to let you in to some of my indian bridal thoughts, of where we’re having the wedding, my shopping trip in Mumbai and lots of inspiration images that I have been looking at on my journey towards a big fat indian wedding around the corner.
When I was younger believe it or not I never dreamt about a big Indian wedding, and if it ever came into my thoughts – it would feel like something really distant and far far away. When the moment actually came when where we did actually have to think practically about where and how we were going to do this – I did get slightly sentimental and exercised the thought of having it in India impractical for the world – or at least our world of family and friends bar a handful who are in India already.
Round and round in circles we went, speaking to lots of friends, colleagues and close members of family – all of which who were like DO IT. So… going with my gut (our guts) we’re getting married in Udaipur, the land of rolling palaces in and around Lake Pinchola in Indias state of Rajasthan.
In one of our family holidays to India we visited Udaipur, the City of Lakes and sometimes called the Venice of the East – absolutely stunning. Udaipur feels like the countryside in comparison to the bustle of Delhi or Mumbai with rolling palaces throughout the landscapes some of which are still functional palaces, others that have been turned into amazing hotels, holding onto their stunning interiors, gorgeous mosaics and palatial structures.
When it came to actually fixing a wedding venue – Udaipur started from a wild idea to be perfectly honest, one which we are now going ahead with and have chosen to have our special day(s). With the help of our brilliant wedding planners Purple Jasmine based in London with lots of experience of Indian weddings in all corners of the globe, the date has been set and plans are well on their way.
I’m going to be revealing what I’m wearing on this blog post (obvs) – however I’m going to share some mega inspo on what got my bridal brain ticking. As much as I am Indian through and through, wearing indian clothes isn’t something I do every day. I have always found the bridal stuff far too heavy for me so it took at bit of time getting used to when shopping around the boutiques in Mumbai this time round. Also the second you say ‘bridal’ when you walk into a boutique I found they would show you the most heavy and blinged up gowns and lehengas, I was massively overwhelmed.
Also as we are having three events (which is MINIMAL for a typical Indian wedding) I wanted to think a little bit outside the box and not conform to the usual bridal conventions like wearing red on the day of the actual wedding. I say no more but I have mixed it up a little bit which I’m really excited about. I also found that Mumbai and India in general has really moved on in compared to wedding mindset in the UK. Forgive me if I am massively generalising but actually there are far less rules than everyone thinks, which made this whole experience all the more fun!
This image below is part of the ‘Udaipur Collection’ from the most incredible indian fashion designer or more like couture house – Sabyasachi. It also just so happens that his collection this year was named after the city that we’re getting married in – it’s like he knew!
Shopping in Mumbai
The Sabyasachi store in Mumbai was absolutely incredible. Not to compare to make it cliché but it kind of reminded me of an Indian regal version of Hotel Costes in Paris. Lots of deep reds, luscious fabrics and interiors in the changing rooms with a ceiling of endless dimly lit chandeliers. It was literally like walking into an underground lair and I cannot quite express how amazed I was with the attention to detail. Everything from the runners on the stairs which were all a vintage hand woven carpets, to the artwork of maharajas and the detailing of the simplistic black shirt dresses that the ladies who worked there were wearing. He has three main boutiques in India, his main studio in Calcutta, a boutique in Mumbai and Delhi. Stunning.
Choosing the right outfit
I had done my research prior to getting to Mumbai and what felt like a huge marathon to run and all the places we visited, I did my best to follow my instincts and just go with the outfits that I looked at first and enjoyed wearing most. I had a general vibe I wanted to go for but nothing madly specific – truth be told. I think if you enter bridal shopping with too many expectations you end up getting disappointed and a little bit spun out. So I did my best to go consciously go in with a really open mind and let my own taste and feelings guide the way.
Mumbai for wedding shopping
Mumbai is a super vast, hectic and bustling city so we got a pay as you go mobile phone, made sure we had a driver to take us everywhere we wanted to go, along as ensuring we had lunch spots and plenty of water and hydrating throughout the day. It did not help that it was the monsoon season (June) so I wouldn’t actually recommend it because it slows everything down – traffic can take hours. Although I feel like Mumbai is the more fun and happening city to be, apparently Delhi is more on point for bridal shopping in India. However I’m less familiar with Delhi and Mumbai does have all of the boutiques as well as a few friends and relations.
The wedding hit list of designer boutiques
***Please excuse the brevity of my opinions below – none are negative and I appreciate that I am speaking very broadly about the face value of what I saw in Mumbai. Also the images are randomly selected by myself from Pinterest and don’t always go with the designers in the text, they are just some of my favourite pinpoints for inspiration***
Sabyasachi – as previously mentioned. An insane experience of shopping and the ultimate bridal dream. The Udaipur Collection this year was stunning, with high neck blouses with sleeves, deep colours along with light floral touches giving it almost a vintage vibe in aspects.
Anita Dongre – Beautiful stuff. I would say it’s less heavy and blingy than the typical ‘bridal’ gear. I tried loads of stuff on and got a stunning anarkali as well as a couple of extra saris that already had beautiful blouses made for them. Me and my mum sidelined from wedding shopping quite heavily here, which turned into a manic smash and grab on our last day in Mumbai because everything was so stunning. Also some lovely discreet and classy things for men too.
Tarun Tahiliani – My husband to be got most of his pieces from here. The choice was really vast for both men and women. This designer was much less traditional from what I’m used to seeing and had dhoti style trousers with jackets entering the realms of ‘fusion’ – a really popular word when it comes to Indian buzzwords in Mumbai boutiques.
Payal Singhal – We popped in to the boutique here which didn’t have much in due to seasonal changes. I can’t say too much about this designer however have heard amazing rumours.
Manish Malhotra – I have heard the name of the designer over and over again so had to go to the boutique and see what all the fuss was about. Truthfully I tried on a gown once mentioning the word ‘bridal’ to the lady in store and tried on a really unflattering down that drowned me completely making me resemble some kind of American childrens beauty pageant (not in a good way) so I did make a b-line for the exit. I’m sure amazing for some but not for me I’m afraid.
Varun Bahl – Sadly I missed this boutique due to time, however ended up getting one of my outfits from Varun Bahl from the Aashni and Co. boutique in Notting Hill on the Ledbury Road. I HIGHLY recommend scoping this shop out before making and sporadic trips to Mumbai.
Raw Mango – So again really sad I missed this shop due to time and rumour that it’s not the most bridal of shops. However I was blown away by their styling and everything I saw online. It kind of reminded me of the Dover Street Market of India. Very cool, chic and out of the box. Reminded me of my Central Saint Martin days and all the things I used to buzz for creatively.
So having stretched my knowledge of shopping in India as far as it possibly goes, as well as randomly giving snippets of what’s to come without giving to much away. I hope that it’s inspired in some sort of way. There is something so special about Indian weddings and attire in general. More is more and it’s been like stepping into a parallel world of fashion, which it literally is!
With love, Kavita Cola x