February 24th, 2016 by Kanakapriya Kalyanasundaram
Via the Chennai Silks
South Indian bridal sarees are popular for a reason!
South Indian bridal sarees define the bride in any south Indian wedding. The saree colour may reflect any of the colours of the rainbow from violet to a deep vermillion red or even be in the moonlight white favoured by the Keralite bride. The saree length, draping style and the accompanying jewellery may vary widely, but the saree is as much an essential part of the wedding as the groom 😉
But why are the south Indian brides such sticklers for the tradition?
The culture of the most conservative city in the south, Chennai will help us understand.
Wake up around 5 AM in Chennai and head to one of its many beaches, you are bound to see at least a few women in a saree and sporting Nike shoes getting their morning exercise. The saree clad women would declare, the airflow around the midriff helps them keep cool in hot Chennai!
After enjoying the cool air, take a bath and head to one of the traditional temples – Kapaleeswarar in Mylapore, Ratnagirishwaarar in Besantnagar, Mardeeswarar in Thiruvanmiyur. You will find the Goddesses in the temples resplendent in a 9-yard saree and amongst the devout, many saree clad women, some even in a 9-yard saree.
Walk into any office employing a large number of women, say a local Bank on a Friday. You could be forgiven for thinking you have walked into a mela (fair / market) of some sort – each of the woman will be resplendent in sarees, flowers and bangles.
Tired of the cultural onslaught, head to a night club in the evening. You will find at least one woman in a lacy saree looking especially sexy and gorgeous!
The story would repeat from city to city, only the locations would change. In Bangalore, it would be the Lalbagh or the Cubbon park for exercise. In Mysore, it would be the Brindavan gardens and the Chamundeswari temple.
So when the saree is great from the beach to the nightclub via the temple, why forego saree on the most important day of the bride’s life?
Every major region in south India – Kanchi, Arni, Mysore, Uppala, Mangalagiri, Chettinad, Gadwal, Pochampally, Nellore – competes to produce the most unique yet traditional south Indian bridal saree. And to cap it all off, unlike the Christian gown or the heavy north Indian lehengas, the south Indian bridal saree can be, and should be, worn on all special occasions long after the actual wedding!
And whether you have maintained a svelte figure or expanded from a 200 ml coke bottle to a 1000 ml coke bottle, the south indian bridal saree drapes every figure beautifully. No wonder the south Indian bride continues to swear by the saree since the days of Indus Valley civilisation!
Traditional south Indian bridal sarees
The south has as many traditions as there are regions, and one region’s tradition is another region’s sacrilege. The Telugu bride is most often seen in a white saree with a red border, the kind you would see on a picture of Goddess Saraswathi.
Wearing white is the ultimate sacrilege in most parts of Tamil Nadu, especially Kongunadu, where the bride can be draped in any colour except white or off white.
But the Kannada bride agrees with the Telugu bride and wears a white 9-yard saree with a deep red border and green bangles (as seen below).
The Iyer bride, on the other hand, has worn the same deep maroon 9-yard silk saree with a gold border for generations. Seen below is an Iyer bride.
She will wear the same saree at her son’s Upanayanam, at her Grihapravesam and even her daughter’s wedding! And the best thing about choosing a saree over every other bridal wear option? It will always fit just right!
The Kerala bride stuns in a white saree with gold border. The saree remains white, whether the bride is a Hindu or Christian. The Muslim bride of Kerala goes for the more familiar maroon colour.
The accessory choices range from simple, delicate to styles rivalling those seen in Tirupathi!
The Kodava bride wears a maroon sari of varying complexity, at its simplest, it looks a lot like the Iyer wedding saree. It is draped differently, though.
South Indian bridal sarees are worn by each community in their traditional styles. The Iyers of Tamil Nadu drape a 9-yard saree in the traditional ‘madisar’ style. I have seen my sister race around on a scooter in traffic rule-less Pondicherry, I assure you this style is very movement friendly.
The Iyengar style is very similar, the Pallu goes over the other shoulder.
Kodavas drape it in a style where the pleats are pinned at the back and the pallu comes to the front over the shoulder.
The Kannadiga bride also goes in for a 9-yard saree very similar to the Maharashtrian style. A lot of Karnataka traditions dovetail neatly with Marathi traditions.
South Indian bridal saree designs
The de facto standard for bridal sarees is Silk, since even Indus valley days. In those days it was limited to a select few, now it is ubiquitous. In fact, South India leads the way in silk production.
Kancheepuram leads the way for south Indian bridal sarees. The silk, from mulberry silkworms, comes from south India and the zari from Gujarat. In genuine traditional Kanchi silks, the body, border and pallu are all woven separately and then joined together in the final saree. The pallu may feature elaborate scenes from the Mahabharata or a Raja Ravi Varma painting.
Arni silks are native to the Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu. Arni boasts the distinction of weaving the first national flag hoisted atop the Red Fort in Independent India! Chettinad Cotton sarees is famous for their contrasting colours, they also make silk sarees in the same fashion. Thanjavur silk sarees once boasted royal patronage. Dharmapuri, Salem, producers of mulberry silk, also weave their own sarees. The story of South Indian bridal sarees is dominated by Kanchi, relegating other regions in Tamil Nadu to the background.
Need more ideas before you shop? Check 1000+ south Indian bridal sarees collection on Pinterest!
Retail chains like RMKV, Pothys, Chennai Silks offer a dazzling array of choices and innovations. Each of them also come up with eye-catching banners, catchy jingles and intriguing concepts for sarees. RMKV has set a record by making a single saree with 52 colours! Pothys has woven 1000 different popular flowers into saree patterns.
These stores also push the boundary of south Indian bridal sarees by incorporating north Indian style embroidery into the sarees!
Karnataka is the leading producer of silk in India and it shows in Mysore silk saree. These sarees typically have less zari and more silk, making it light and easy to drape. Mysore silks are only sold through KSIC.
Pochampally in AP is famous for their ikat dyeing technique. In the Ikat dyeing techniques, bundles of yarn are tied together tight in the pattern desired, then the due is applied to the yarn. The wrapping may be modified and the process repeated for more elaborate patterns. This yarn is then woven into a fabric. The difficulty in aligning the dyed yarn correctly during weaving gives rise to the typically hazy look of the Ikat prints. This technique is used on silk yarn to produce smooth, light bridal sarees.
Gadwal sarees from Gadwal in Telangana once boasted royal patronage. The pallu is silk, body cotton and border Zari in these sarees. These separately woven sections are then joined together in one breathtaking saree.
Venkatagiri sarees are produced in the Nellore district of AP, they once wove cotton with a sari border exclusively for the Venkatagiri Rajas. Changing social norms resulted in the weavers importing silk yarn from the south and adapting their weaving techniques to south Indian bridal sarees.
Eco-friendly south Indian bridal sarees
The modern impetus to spare other lifeforms from suffering for our pleasures has led the movement towards ahimsa silk. The silk is woven from cocoon discarded by the worms, as they mature into moths and fly away to freedom and adventure.
And the innovator who came up with the idea of letting the silk worm live and use the discarded cocoon to make yarn? Kusuma Rajaiah, a south Indian. Who else but a native can understand how hard it is for us to abandon the idea of silk and go with plant-based fibres. Seen below is an Ahimsa bridal saree.
Interestingly, examining silk fibres from Indus valley under a microscope suggests it was made after the moth flew away from the cocoon. This makes Indus valley, in 2400 BC, the first producer of ahimsa silk!
Kanchi weavers are said to be descendants of Sage Markanda who himself wove tissue from a lotus stalk. It is then logical to want to weave exquisite south Indian bridal sarees from plant fibres isn’t it? Cotton, Banana Fibre, Bamboo Fibre, Aloe Vera, Jute all fit the bill. People even weave fabrics from weeds!
Cotton is the most common of course. Mangalagiri, Pochampally, Chettinad all traditionally produce fabulous cotton sarees. Walk into any Fabindia store, you are sure to find at least one cotton saree fit for a bride.
On the other hand, producing cotton fabrics consumes a lot of water and cotton is buffeted by the Monsanto scandal. And there are a lot more innovative options.
As a nation, we are bananas (but not a banana republic, thankfully), especially in the South. We eat banana fruit, banana stem, banana flowers, eat on banana leaves, why not wear Banana? Banana Fibre is extracted made from the banana bark, the outer covering of banana stem.
Eco-conscious couples are saying goodbye to traditional wedding sarees and instead opting for organic cotton bridal dress with zero-waste and vegan food! Check out interesting examples of how they are doing it and changing traditional practices on their head! Click here to read this article.
Bamboo fibres are fast rising in popularity for their breathability, silky texture and softness. They need the addition of cotton for durability, though. Here is an exquisite bamboo saree.
Vétiver or Khus is added to our drinking water, is woven into screens to keeps us cool in summer. The fibre extracted from this root is also woven into exquisite sarees. Seen below is a saree woven using vetiver fibres.
And speaking of Kancheepuram and Sage Markanda, it is possible to extract yarn from Lotus Stem. It is practised in Myanmar, but, perhaps, it not very productive.
There are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the south Indian wedding saree:
Skim through websites and fashion magazines and form a mental picture of the look YOU want.
Window shop first. Picture may be worth 1000 words, but it cannot capture reality in all its hues.
Shop a few months in advance. At least 2-months. You need the time to get your accessories selected, blouses stitched.
Keep your wedding jewellery in mind when narrowing your choices, you want them to complement your saree.
When it comes to the Muhurtha Pattu, the saree worn at the actual wedding ceremony, bow to tradition.
Have the future in-laws come along, and let them pick out a few sarees.
Lead them around to your choice of saree rather than outright rejecting suggestions and going with what you have in mind. It is never too early to curry favours and establish boundaries.
Keep our traditions alive. If time and budget permits visit a weaving town and buy directly from the weaver. These sarees are made by handloom, the cost is going to be higher than a similar factory product. Alternatively, go for sarees sold by KSIC/Co-Optex/Dastkar.
9. A word of caution when it comes to non-silk fibres – sometimes they need to mix silk into the fibre for durability/texture. If you are set against silk, check fibre composition before buying.
Andal goes into raptures describing the Lord coming down to take her hand in marriage in Vaaranam Aayiram, but she doesn’t say anything about her own bridal saree or jewellery. Strangely moving, isn’t it?
Now that you have the bridal saree figured out, do you know how to choose proper accessories? Read our comprehensive post on choosing the right accessories for sarees. Click here to read this article.
Indian bridal makeup is challenging for several reasons.The Indian bride is the center of attention on her wedding day. While her dress is definitely crucial, her makeup is equally important – not only will everyone be looking at her face during the wedding, the zillion photos from the wedding will last forever!
1. A lot of color and heat
Indian weddings are colorful, chaotic, and glorious! But they pose a lot of challenges to the bride who has probably spent a small fortune when getting her makeup done not to mention hours of patiently sitting still! If it’s a Hindu wedding, don’t forget the fact that the bride sits close to the fire and her makeup has to deal with the heat and smoke. In general weather across a major part of India fluctuates between hot and hellish anyways!
2. Smile please
As with any wedding in any other culture, Indians love to be photographed at their wedding. This means there are plenty of photographers armed with their powerful flash lights hell bent on photographing the bride all the time! The glare and heat of the flashlights can melt metal and the bridal makeup should be up to the task.
3. Giant fans and false hair piece
The elaborate hairstyle that may also include a fake hair piece held together by a lot of pins. The problem is that some Indian wedding halls end up setting up giant fans to make sure people don’t melt in the heat. These fans can really make the bride nervous!
4. Water, water everywhere!
Indian bridal makeup should always be waterproof. Just imagine all the hugs the bride has to give to crying relatives or if the bride is emotional. The bride has to have her primer, foundation, setting powder, blush, eyeshadow, mascara – to be budge proof. That way, she won’t have to worry about her face slipping off, mid-way through the wedding.
5. Wheatish complexion
Indian brides, especially the ones (a majority) with a wheatish complexion have several challenges. Wheatish skin tones are usually more oily and choosing the right makeup products is important if you want to avoid a makeup disaster on the wedding day. Also, wheatish complexioned skin tends to appear washed out and patchy if you don’t take care of your skin properly.
Indian bridal makeup tips from experts
We have lined up 47 tips from 4 professional makeup experts from around India.
Bridal Makeup Tips From Shahnaz Hussain
Shahnaz Hussain is a legendary entrepreneur who is well-known for her herbal cosmetics products, particularly her skin care products. She was awarded the Padma Shri and has a legion of admirers – particularly due to her simple, no-fuss tips regarding a beauty regimen.
Here is what Shahnaz Hussain recommends for a indian bridal makeup regimen:
1. All bridal makeup regimen must start with skin cleansing. After cleansing use a toner followed by liquid moisturizer.
2. To achieve a matte finish, use a water-based, oil-free foundation. Once the foundation is applied with a damp sponge or fingertips, use a compact powder (not in loose form) to set the foundation base.Pastel shades for highlighting the cheekbones is recommended. Use a powder blusher to apply the blush on the cheekbones and below it.
3. Pastel shades for highlighting the cheekbones is recommended. Use a powder blusher to apply the blush on the cheekbones and below it.
4. Bronze, gold, and silver eyeshadows are the most popular. Avoid using bright eyeshadows.
5. Apply a thick line of eyeliner on the upper lids. At the corners, extend the eyeliner slightly upward and outwards. On the lower lids, apply eyeliner from the middle to the end. It is best to use waterproof eyeliner.
6. Use an eyelash curler to curl your lashes, and apply mascara (2 coats) starting from the roots and extending to the tip. To avoid smudging, use waterproof mascara.For the lips, use a lip liner to draw the outline. Do ensure that your lipstick and lip liner match each other. The popular colors are natural red, plum, cherry or rose color. Use a water-resistant lipstick on your wedding day.
7. For the lips, use a lip liner to draw the outline. Do ensure that your lipstick and lip liner match each other. The popular colors are natural red, plum, cherry or rose color. Use a water-resistant lipstick on your wedding day.Apply lip gloss to your lips to get a good shimmer, thus making them attractive.
8. Apply lip gloss to your lips to get a good shimmer, thus making them attractive.Apply light shimmer to the inner corners of the eyes and cheekbones. This projects a healthy, glowing skin.
9. Apply light shimmer to the inner corners of the eyes and cheekbones. This projects a healthy, glowing skin.
10. Go in for a trial hair and makeup session, a day before the wedding day. This helps avoid any last-minute surprises in the form of blunders.
11. Since this is your wedding day, avoid getting stressed. Be happy that you look beautiful, both on the inside and outside.
Dos and Don’ts of Bridal Makeup From Sheena Agarwal
12. Use a bronzing powder to warm your skin tone. Use a natural bristle brush to apply foundation on the forehead, cheeks and bridge of the nose.
13. Use a gel foundation primer to give your foundation staying power, before applying makeup.
14. Don’t wax or do facials right before the big event. It should be done at least 5 days beforehand.
15. Don’t go in for any makeup surprises on your wedding day. Do a trial run at least 4 weeks before the big day.
16. Don’t over-camouflage under-eye circles. It will show up clearly in pictures.
17. Don’t use a talc-based powder foundation. It can oxidize and darken on the face, giving a dirty look.
18. Don’t use shimmer highlights – it can turn into an unflattering or highly reflective shine in photographs.
19. Don’t use a heavy pressed powder to set your foundation. It will leave your skin looking chalky and lifeless in photographs.
20. Don’t overdo your hair or makeup. It will upstage your dress.
For your eyes:
21. Use a brow powder one shade darker than your natural hair color. If the brows are scant, use a light neutral shade brow pencil and then using a brow powder and brush, draw the shape using the stippling technique.
22. For contouring and highlighting the eyes, use neutrals. For eyeliners, stick to the colors black, brown and navy.
23. Use an eyelash curler and apply two coats of lengthening mascara. Waterproof mascara is the best bet, for the mascara won’t run even if the bride sheds a few tears of joy!
24. Do not apply too many coats of mascara, for it could end up looking clumpy!
25. Don’t try false eyelashes for the first time on your wedding day. It should be done beforehand.
26. Do not use sparkly eyeliner – not very photogenic.
27. Don’t use dark shadows or heavy pencils for your eyes. That could leave you looking stern instead of stunning.
For your lips and cheeks:
28. Use a cheek color in pink or rose. While applying blush, focus it on the cheeks and blend the excess upwards towards the hairline. A powder blush is fit for oily skin while a cream blush suits dry skin.
29. Apply lip color using a lip brush, and with a lip pencil, draw the outline of the lips in a complementary color.
30. Choose a lip color in a warm, bright shade – roses, pink, reds look great in photos.
31. Apply lipliner under the lipstick, to make it last longer.
32. Do not wear a neutral or frost color lipstick. These colors can leave you looking pale or tired.
33. Do not use a lipliner much darker than your lipstick, to define your lips. It makes you look unnatural in photographs.
34. Never forget to wear blush. Flash photography can leave you looking washed out.
Indian Bridal Makeup Tips from Michelle Montes
Based in New Delhi, Michelle Montes works with supermodels in fashion shows and also does makeup for photo shoots with leading fashion magazines in India.
Common mistakes that brides make:
35. Brides are obsessed with looking fairer all around. While doing makeup, the bride should stay true to herself.
36. For photography, the bride should go 1-2 shades lighter, but not any further. A fair face looks strange with dark ears, arms, neck and chest.
37. Brides often think that if they wear foundation, it must be visible. Foundation is meant to hide flaws, and even out skin tone.
Tips for healthy skin for makeup:
38. When it comes to bridal makeup, healthy skin is extremely important, since the makeup sits better on it.
39. A healthy diet with lots of fruits, salad, water is a must.
40. Exfoliating the skin once a week is required. Papaya or oats is good.
Any must-haves for brides:
41. For brides, everything must be waterproof and long-lasting.
42. Brides need good quality waterproof makeup remover, toner, and night cream with lots of cotton and earbuds.
43. It is the makeup artiste’s job to put on the makeup, but the bride’s job is to take it off properly.
Indian Bridal Makeup Tips from Jass and Neel
Jass and Neel offer photography and wedding makeup services in Raipur. Through their Facebook page, they have offered practical makeup tips for brides.
44. Daytime or nighttime wedding – This is an important factor to keep in mind when it comes to Indian bridal makeup. If the ceremonies are in the daytime, keep the makeup minimal and opt for a natural look. If it is a night-time ceremony, keep the makeup heavy and opt for more colors.
45. Use a highlighter – Use a highlighter instead of shimmer or glitter. The main attempt should be to make the skin appear glowing and not shimmery. Highlight the bridge of the nose, chin, forehead and around the perimeter of the face.
46. Deep condition your hair – The bride’s hair is also an important part of the whole wedding look, and to ensure her hair looks best throughout the wedding, go in for a deep conditioning mask twice/thrice, the month before the wedding. If the bride has dry hair, use homemade hair packs to make it glossy and healthy.
47. Get Glowing Skin – Go in for facials and skin treatment, at least, six weeks before the wedding, to give your skin time to work.
Do you have other Indian bridal makeup tips to share? Use the comments section below.
Indian bridal mehndi designs have a rich and storied history.Here are some extracts from an interesting article that provides in-depth information about the origins and the history of mehndi.
The word ‘henna’ comes from the Arabic name ‘Hina’ for the plant Lawsonia inermis.
In the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, it is known as Mehndi. In North Africa and the Middle East, it is known as hina. In Telugu, it is known as Gorintaaku, and in Tamil, it is called Marudhaani.
It is known that henna has been in use for cosmetic as well as healing purposes for at least 5,000 years. A long history of migration and cultural interaction has made it difficult to determine with absolute certainty where the tradition began.
Some scholars claim that the earliest documentations of henna use are found in ancient Indian texts and images, indicating that mehndi as an art-form may have originated in ancient India. Others claim that the practice of ornamenting the body with henna was taken to India by the Moguls in the twelfth century from the Middle East and North Africa.
Henna is also known to have been used in ancient Egypt, to stain the fingers and toes of pharaohs prior to mummification. It is theorized that dots of henna were first applied to the palms of the hands as a means of cooling down the body. Early users of henna began to add lines and other shapes to the single dots on the palms, eventually developing the elaborate and intricate designs used today.
North Vs South Indian Bridal Mehndi Designs
In North India, henna is used as a temporary form of skin decoration. Henna designs are drawn on the hands and feet where the color will be darkest because the skin contains higher levels of keratin. Henna leaves are usually dried and ground into a powder, which is mixed into a paste. It is applied using a variety of techniques. The henna paste is usually left on the skin for eight hours, after which it is removed. The pattern continues to darken for approximately three days. It is typically used for celebrations and special occasions, particularly weddings.
In Tamilnadu, henna is known as “Marudhaani” and is used in the form of ground fresh leaves (made into a paste) rather than as dried powder (mehndi). It is left on overnight, and lasts longer than mehndi (a month or more), depending on the plant and how well it is ground and how long it is left on the hands and feet. Marudhaani is used in various festivals and celebrations. The designs are usually not intricate when compared to bridal mehndi designs from the north.
Significance of Indian bridal Mehndi designs
Mehndi has big significance in Indian wedding rituals. Here are some interesting tidbits about applying mehndi on brides:
Mehndi represents the bond of matrimony and is considered a sign of good luck. An elaborate design is applied on the bride’s hands and feet. For the groom, a mere token of application of henna is considered a good omen. Yes, you heard it right. Grooms also apply mehndi.
Image Courtesy: Bollywood Shaadis
Here are some popular beliefs associated with this tradition (namely the applying of mehndi):
The darkness of the mehndi on the bride’s hands represents the deep love between the would-be couple.
The color of the mehndi shows the love and understanding between the bride and her mother-in-law.
The longer the mehndi retains its color, the more auspicious it is for the newly-weds.
Mehndi is also a symbolic representation of fertility
Mehndi is also well-known for its medicinal properties. It helps in the growth of nails, but most importantly, it has a cooling effect which aids in relieving headaches, stress, and fever. That explains why mehndi is applied to both the bride and groom before the wedding to relieve them of all the wedding stress. It also protects them from any viral diseases before the wedding.
The mehndi ceremony is a colorful and lively ceremony. It is held one day before the wedding and is often combined with the sSangeet function.
Here are some fun facts about Mehndi in marriages.
Top 21 Indian Bridal Mehndi Designs
Here are some of the classical Indian bridal mehndi designs. Go ahead, pick a design that you fancy!
1. Paisley Print Pattern
The paisley print is a timeless classic. The curved motifs are done in many forms, like the popular mango design.
TIP:Mehndi should be applied two days prior to the wedding day. This will ensure that your mehndi is dark on the day of your wedding.
2. The Floral Pattern
Flowers are considered to be a neutral motif since they match any bridal attire. This floral pattern has tiny leaves and a large flower design that is shaded to create depth. It also includes petals and vines of various sizes.
TIP: Hair removal must be done a day before application of mehndi. Another alternative is waxing of the mehndi along with the hair.
3. The Royal Architecture
This mehndi design is reminiscent of the detailed architectural designs that we will find at an ancient Mughal palace. The domes and floral designs resemble the designs carved into the cemented pillars of a royal residence. The major focus of these bridal mehndi designs is the chequered and split pattern which is very similar to a tapestry.
TIP: Manicure and pedicure should also be done before the application of mehndi because once mehndi has been applied, contact with water should be avoided as far as possible.
4. The Raja and Rani
The Raja and Rani motif is common in bridal mehndi designs. This design showcases an artwork from the Mughal era of a king and queen.
TIP: As soon as the mehndi (henna paste) starts to dry up on your hands and feet, dab it with cotton wool dipped in a mixture of sugar and lemon juice. That will help hold up the mehndi in its place and further enhance the darkness of its maroon color.
Check out 1000+ bridal mehndi designs gallery on Pinterest. Click here to view the gallery!
5. The Elephant Motif
One of the most favorite bridal mehndi designs is the elephant featured motif. The elephant motif is unique and different from common patterns like the peacock and floral patterns.
TIP: Mehndi should be left for at least six hours without allowing it to get wet with water. You may wrap your hands and feet with the help of a cling film. The ideal time to apply mehndi is at night, as you can go to sleep after application of the mehndi.
6. The Peacock Passion
The elegant and stunning peacock design is adopted everywhere in Indian bridal designs – starting with bindis, lehengas and of course, mehndi designs!
TIP: Avoid bending your wrists, fingers, toes and feet while the mehndi design is still wet.
7. The Swirl
The swirl pattern is done on each finger, leaving a blank space between the palm and the fingers. This is a classic design for brides who want mehndi but in a minimal form.
TIP: Remove the mehndi at least 6 hours after application with the help of a blunt knife or simply by brushing it off. Do not wash your hands yet.
8. The Single Mandala
The single mandala is a very common design in bridal mehndi – a large circle that usually serves as a base around which several patterns are drawn. The petals are often arranged to create a multi-dimensional look.
TIP:Keep your hands and feet warm by applying Vicks Vaporub or eucalyptus oil. You can also put some cloves on a heated pan and let them smoke. Hold your hands at a little height above the pan. The heat emanating from the pan and the aroma of cloves will help to enhance the color of henna.
9. The Spilt Mandala
A split mandala pattern is usually the central focus of a bridal mehndi design. The design involves half of the circular pattern on one hand, and the other half, on the other hand, thus making it symmetrical.
TIP: The faster you exfoliate, the faster the mehndi design will fade.
10. The Crafted Cuffs
The crafted cuffs pattern is a modern look with a focus on the wrist, rather than the palm. The main focus of this pattern is the intricate and thick cuff over the wrists. The small mandalas behind the cuffs ensure that your arms look completely jazzed up.
Tip: Avoid contact with water as far as possible, till your wedding day.
11. The Traditional Pattern (sans fingertips)
This is very traditional mehndi design and at the same time, it is unique, unlike traditional Indian mehndi design that covers the fingertips. In this pattern, the fingertips are left without any design. The motifs are also different on both hands, making the design very unique. This intricate Indian mehndi design fills up both the hands, thus making it ideal for a bride to be.
TIP: Body glitter, stones, and bindis may also be applied on your hands and feet to match the color of your outfit.
12. Two-in-One Mehndi Design
Two-in-One mehndi design is a bridal mehndi that has geometric designs, like circles, curves, lines and squares.This is a bridal mehndi which has geometrical designs, curves, circles,
When you split a design into two, draw one-half of the mehndi design on one hand and the other half on the other hand. When you bring both the hands close to each other, what comes about is a Karva Chauth mehndi design.
TIP: Did you know that when you apply the mixture of sugar and lemon juice over the mehndi design, and when the juice dries up, it will almost glue the mehndi design to your skin, allowing your skin to absorb all the good color? The juice can be reapplied 2-3 times overnight.
13. The Circular Motif
Circular motifs make for great mehndi art, as they are aesthetically very appealing. There is something about a neat circle that makes an impression, thus allowing the design to last in our minds even after the actual mehndi has faded away.
Tip:Baby oil can be used to scrub off the mehndi instead of washing it with water or soap. Washing with water usually washes off all the mehndi. Just apply the baby oil on the dried mehndi and use a thick card to gently scrape the mehndi design from your hands.
14. Lines and Patterns
Birds and flowers are not needed to create alluring designs – it can be done with the help of lines and patterns as well. When combined, lines and patterns come together to form an interesting design. Although there is no one particular motif that acts as the central part of the design, it is an impressive and sought-after mehndi design.
TIP: The color of your mehndi gradually darkens over the next day. It is better not to use soap for the next 12-hours – if you must wash, apply oil over the design and quickly wash it off. Also, henna darkens as it is exposed to air.
15. Chequered Pattern
The chequered pattern is a great way to make your mehndi design pop and to give a break to intricate patterns. It can also be cleverly used to fill up any gaps.
TIP:Apply mustard oil after you apply mehndi. It is a great color stimulant.
16. Creepers and Leaves
Creepers and leaves also make for great mehndi designs. They have a delicate flowing structure that is perfect for creating beautiful art on the bride’s hands.
TIP: When choosing a bridal mehndi design, select a design which has both thick and thin lines. Thicker lines usually result in a darker shade and thinner lines act as a filler or give emphasis on the main design.
17. Colored Mehndi Design
The colorful mehndi pattern includes glitter and stones to create colorful mehndi art. The colors really stand out and makes for an interesting look. While this is not a traditional design, more and more women are starting to experiment with this colored design.
TIP: The best color will be the day after mehndi has been scraped off. So apply your design by working backward from your special day!
18. The Border Design
The border design is a perfect choice for the feet. The design forms an outline along the sides of your feet, making a border.
TIP: Avoid getting too close to the air conditioners as it hastens the mehndi drying time.
19. Asymmetric Design
Sometimes, the mehndi designs do not need to be filled with matching and symmetrical patterns. The beauty can lie in the uniqueness of an asymmetric pattern with vine designs and floral patterns all over the hands.
TIP:Refrigerate your cones after the first use. This will ensure that the mehndi cone will last even for the second use!
20. The Tips and Cuffs
These tips and cuffs look features minimalist designs on the bride’s fingertips and elaborate details over the cuffs. The palms may have a simple design drawn on them or none at all. This modern pattern has been created with a blend of architectural and floral inspiration. It makes the bride’s hands appear like she is wearing bracelets.
TIP:Did you know that you can use skin-friendly glue to stick rhinestone and glitter to adorn your bridal mehndi design. Tried turmeric paste?
21. The Lacy Floral Design
Flowers are universally regarded as the epitome of femininity. The lacy floral design ranks as one of the most popular henna designs. The flowers on the bridal hands, with their deep orange-red mehndi stain, can wow you with their simple yet graceful design.
TIP:Are you aware that wrapping the mehndi design gives it a richer and darker color? You can use medical paper tape to gently wrap up the mehndi (ask the artist or have someone else do it because you could spoil the design by wrapping it yourself).Many also suggest wrapping the henna design as it gives a rich and darker color. While you can do the wrapping yourself, but there is a danger of spoiling the design. It is best you ask the artist to do so, or have somebody else do it under her supervision. You can use medical paper tape to gently wrap up the mehndi.
Nail art designs have a long history. In the book Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure, by Suzanne Shapiro, the author provides interesting insights on the history of nails and the practice of decorating it. When you read the book there is something that becomes apparent – a woman’s body and nails has always been used as a canvas to reflect culture. Nail art has been one such ancient practice. Here are some interesting insights from Refinery29:
All the way back in 5000BC, guess where nail art designs were found? It’s India! Indian women dyed their fingertips with henna and this kick started a nail art design revolution!
In 3000 BC, the Chinese produced a concoction of bees wax, gelatin, dyes and egg whites that was then mixed with rose petals to give it the pink color. This is no instant, quick drying variety. They had to leave it on their fingers untouched overnight to get a proper result!
Aristocrats of the Chou Dynasty in 600 B.C used a brightly colored gold or silver on their long nails. They were protected by blinged-out guards
In the 15th century, the Incas invented nail art. They decorated their nails with nail art designs of eagles.
In the 1800s-1900s, the Victorian era saw the rise in the popularity of manicures, with a treatment of red oil with a chamois cloth buffering.
It was the 1920’s that reinvigorated the nail art scene with the old-school red as well as the moon manicure.
In 1932, Revlon hit the market shelves. Polish in this era was made to stop staining the nail, and instead, coat it with hard enamel.
In 1934, Maxwell Lappe – a dentist created the first set of fake nails.
In 1955, Frederick Slack – another dentist accidentally discovered the acrylic sculpting-nail extension after trying to mend a broken nail with acrylic.
In 1976, Jeff Pink created one of the best-known manicures called French Manicure.
In the 1980’s, there was a kaleidoscope of nail varnishes in the market, from neon yellows to glowing fuschias to shocking blues.
The minimalist 90’s brought back colours like reds, nudes and pinks.
In the 2000’s, nails have become part of the whole outfit. Innovation continued with the 2007 invention of Minx stick-ons.
In 2008, the first gel polish aka the 2-week manicure came out. DIY nail art has reigned supreme, with nail enthusiasts skipping salons and trying out different homemade designs.
Why should you care about nail art designs?
Nail art designs come in a mind-boggling range of designs/colours. They can range from the demure look to the wild/edgy look, and make the wearer stand out in a crowd. When it comes to a bride, nail art designs are important, since they use their hands a lot during rituals and they are photographed from several angles! But that is not the only reason. Here are some other reasons as to why nail art design is important for the Indian bride.
Our pick of 17 nail art designs for the Indian bride
When it comes to planning for a wedding, if you are one of those brides who plan everything in advance, you can pick great nail art designs for your nails.
Here are some spectacular nail art designs we picked out for your big day:
1. Glitter and frost
Nothing can beat the popular combination of glitter, and light purple frost along with stones. They are set in a flowery pattern, and these colours blend in very well with a bride’s outfit and makes a fashion statement at a wedding, filled with plenty of rituals.
2.Red and gold
This combination of dark orange and gold make the perfect wedding nail art. Intricate patterns are used here that complements the bridal outfit very well. It goes well with mehndi and bangles if the bride wears them. This design looks very traditional, yet glamorous at the same time.
3. Purple enamel with stones
If the bride is conservative, then their nail art should be meaningful. The royal colour purple juxtaposed with maroon colour along with embroidery makes the nail art blend in with the bride’s outfit.
4. Matte red with gold
Another neat nail art design for Indian weddings is matte red with golden accents. The texture and golden embroidery-like texture stands out and enhances the look of a bride’s outfit.
5. Light purple and gold with rhinestones
Purple is the colour of royalty and class. Combined with gold, it gives a glow of beauty and elegance. This nail art design is perfect if the bride has a hint of purple in her outfit. Golden rhinestones can be added for that extra sparkle.
6. Maroon with red stones
When the bride is in a hurry and has no time to spare, fake nails are her best bet. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and designs, and look beautiful, once worn.
7. Red and gold
This is a delicate red and gold nail art design. It is perfect for pre and post-wedding rituals for the bride.
8. Swarovski crystals
To add that oomph factor to the bride’s outfit, nothing beats the combination of stones and crystal nail art. It looks gorgeous and stands out, definitely.
9. Glitter and sparkles
If the bride wants to look subdued, yet elegant, glitter and sparkles are the way to go. For the grainy look, glitter, micro beads or shimmer powder gives that effect.
10. Dark colours
If the choice of bridal outfit is that of dark colours like red, magenta, maroon, pink and rust, these sparkling wedding nail art designs rule the roost.
11. Red/gold with red rhinestones
Nothing beats out the combination of red and gold, with red rhinestones. This is a popular nail art design colour combination that most brides favour, to match their henna and outfits.
12. Maroon and gold
Maroon and gold are a perfect colour combination if the bride is wearing dark-coloured outfits.
13. Blue and lace
If the bride has a hint of blue and lace in her outfit, this nail art design would be the perfect accessory to her nails.
14. Nude/white with rhinestones
After the wedding, this would be the perfect nail art design for post-wedding activities. The nude colour with white and rhinestones gives off an ethereal look.
15. Ivory with black design
This is a beautiful nail art design of an ivory background with hints of black patterns on the edges. This is an alternative approach to traditional nail art design, for the Indian bride (especially if she wears a white/black outfit).
Orange/blue is a lovely color combination and goes well with casual outfits for the bride.
17.Red and black
Red and black is a classic colour combination, and that coupled with black and red stickers along the fingers is a beautiful sight to behold. Brides can wear this nail art design for outings.
Check out these amazing posts for the Indian bride
Makeup tips for wheatish complexion seem to be a popular topic in India. We investigated this a little more as there is no such word (‘wheatish complexion’) in the English dictionary.
When we look around, Indians do have a complexion that varies between fair to dark colored. What is interesting is when you are fair or dark skinned, it’s easy to figure out the right makeup techniques. But the problem comes up when you have different shades of dark or fair as most Indians seem to have.
If you were to go to a wedding or observe actresses or even actors in television or movies, you would see people whose face looks like it has been dipped in a vat of whitewash. The same applies to the bridegroom and some male guests (some movie actors) as well.
The use of the word, “wheatish” (although derived from the word: WHEAT meaning grain) here is to represent a very particular and desirable shade of skin color that is not exactly brown and not nearly pearly white.
Going through the matrimonial columns, one would get the impression that Indians are extremely fond of wheat — for most people are looking for a partner who has a ‘wheatish’ complexion. What they mean by this is that they are looking for someone who is somewhat light skinned; someone who isn’t very dark. ‘Wheatish’ is an Indianism; native speakers of English do not use it. The few dictionaries that include ‘wheatish’ define it as a word used in India to mean ‘light brown’.
Still confused about wheatish? Here is an image that will make things very clear for you.
If you are someone that has a wheatish complexion, our 14 makeup tips for wheatish complexion will certainly help you look great and feel like a Million Dollars.
14 Makeup Tips for Wheatish Complexion
Our makeup tips for wheatish complexion includes expert tips and how-to videos that you can follow to get that perfect look!
1. Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing: Before cleansing the face, wash your hands properly. Use a headband to keep any hair away from the face. Start the cleansing process by splashing some water on the face and neck first. Put some face cleanser on the fingers or a sponge, and use gentle upward circular motions to apply the cleanser on the face and neck. Avoid scrubbing too much, for it can stretch and irritate the skin, especially the eye area. Wash it off.
After cleansing, use a water-based toner on the skin and follow with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type which will help seal the moisture and provide nourishment to the skin.
2. Get your skin ready for makeup: Makeup primer is a base for the foundation or facial makeup that allows it to go on smoother and last longer. Formulas are available in cream, gel, and powder.
Primer preps your skin for the perfect foundation application by filling in fine lines and smoothing pores, and it also keeps your makeup looking fresh all day. Consider it the key to making your skin makeup-ready.
3. Water-based foundations work well: Maintaining a natural look is the latest trend in makeup. Unless you have extremely dry skin, the best choice for your foundation will be water-based.
4. Choosing the right foundation: The best way to find the perfect foundation that matches your wheatish complexion is to try three shades of foundations – one shade which is lighter than your skin tone, the second which is very close to your skin tone and the third which is a shade darker than your skin tone.
Swatch the shades, one after the other on your jaw line and see which shade matches your skin tone. Try the shade which matches your skin tone on one side of your face to see if it accurately matches the skin tone.
If you are unable to find the correct shade, buy two shades of foundation – one lighter and one closer to your skin tone. Mix both of them and use.
5. Choosing the right concealer: A concealer is much needed when dealing with discolorations, blemishes, and dark circles. Go in for a concealer that is a shade or two darker than your skin tone, depending on the coverage level.
It is best to opt for a full coverage foundation, as it minimizes the flaws to a great extent. You can use Studio Fix Fluid by Mac or Makeup Forever HD Foundation.
6. Don’t forget the neck: If you are applying a full-face foundation, make sure to blend it down your neck, as it tends to be a few shades lighter than the face. This helps in giving you an even look throughout. To blend the foundation well, use a buffing/stippling brush.
7. Using the powder brush: Dust some powder all over the face to seal the look. Make sure you tap the powder brush lightly, to remove any excess powder. The powder also matts the skin.
Do not opt for transparent powders as they are white in color and may look a little ashy on certain areas.
9. Get that chiseled look: To get a chiseled look, contour your face using a foundation that is a few shades darker than your skin tone.
10. Using highlighter and bronzer: Use a gold colored highlighter above the outer corner of the cheeks and below the eyes. Use a slight amount of bronzer below the cheek bone.
11. Using eyeshadows: For eye makeup, use rose-gold eyeshadow for the entire lid, and a dark brown eyeshadow on the crease line and then blend it in, using a pen/smudger brush. The eyeshadow palette is Inglot customized eyeshadow palette.
12. Use the right eyeliner: For that perfect contouring, use eyeliners in shades of green, blue and brown. Avoid anything in neon color.
13. False eyelashes: Make sure you wear false eyelashes to enhance your eye makeup.
If you are opting for bright or neon shades of lipstick, then pair the lipstick with a darker shade of lip pencil. Line the lips with the pencil and fill in the color as a base for the lipstick. This helps the lipstick to stay longer and prevents it from feathering.
Makeup tips for wheatish complexion – Dos and Dont’s
1. Although wheatish complexion looks great, it tends to appear washed out and patchy if not taken care of. So, do not skip the daily cleansing and moisturizing routine.
2. Remember to exfoliate regularly to achieve an even-toned complexion, to give a smooth finish to your makeup.
3. Before applying makeup, remember to wash your face with an exfoliating face wash that is suitable for daily use.
4. While buying foundation, check the tester on your forehead or jawline, rather than your wrist, to get a clearer idea!
5. Use lots of mascara to make your eyes stand out.
6. Going overboard with the bronzer can take your look from tanned to charred.
7. Stay away from brown, maroon, brick or mahogany lipsticks, as these colors can make your face look darker and pale.
8. Lastly, remember that it all comes together if you are confident in your own skin. Looking like a star is what we all aim for, and it is not too difficult then.
Did you love our makeup tips for wheatish complexion? Please add your comments below.
Indian wedding sarees are the Rolls Royce of sarees! The saree is the world’s oldest, and perhaps the only surviving unstitched garment from the past. The four to nine metres long cloth that women drape around themselves was first known as Sati from the Sanskrit word – meaning, a strip of cloth, which evolved into Sadi and then Sari.
Over the years, this garment has not only become a sensuous, glamorous all-time wear for women but also serves as a canvas for weavers to create artistic weaves, jewelled or gold-silver embellishments, creating a completely new market for wedding silk sarees.
Encyclopedia notes that the saree is associated with grace, and is widely regarded as a symbol of Indian and South Asian cultures. That’s why Indian wedding sarees are cherished the world over.
Sarees have evolved to keep pace wth the changing times and Indian bridal sarees are no exceptions. Modern weaving techniques continue to coexist with age-old traditions in the making of Indian wedding dresses for bride.
Indian weddings require exquisite Indian bridal sarees
In India, weddings are said to be over the top. Indian wedding sarees are extravagant and ultra-luxurious, with complex, intricate and extensive embroidery and embellishments. They are created specially to make the bride look the most gorgeous on her special day, and the center of everyone’s attention.
The base fabric usually used for bridal saris are in shades of red, pink, cream or beige. The choice of these colors depends on the bride’s glamour quotient on her most special day. Some of the bridal saree works include Zari, Zardosi, Resham, Thread, Stones, Stone embroidery, Diamante, Patch, Kundan, to name a few. Other popular works include sequins, Kardana, Digital prints, Borders (velvet and lace borders).
Let’s look at 5different types of Indian wedding sarees, where they are made, where you can buy them and how to take care of them.
1. Kanchipuram sarees
Indian wedding sarees are known by the places where they are made. Kanchipuram sarees are no exception. Kanchipuram is a town located near Chennai. Kanchipuram sarees make use of a combination of numerous colored threads.
Adding to the attraction of the saris is the exquisite and elaborate zari work. These are woven naturally and distinguished by their wide contrast borders. It is believed that two weaving communities from neighboring Andra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars, migrated to Kanchipuram more than 400 years ago during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya. These weaving communities sparked the growth and popularity of Kanchipuram silk sarees.
Kanchipuram sarees make use of a combination of numerous colored silk threads. Their elaborate zari work and colorful borders with motifs provide an opportunity for the weavers to keep the sarees in tune with the changing fashion. Here is a documentary that shines some light on the making of a Kanchipuram silk saree.
Traditionally Kanchipuram sarees have Indian motifs based on temples and paintings. We also see scenes from epics like Mahabharata as well as modern patterns and designs that will appeal to contemporary Indian brides.
“Kanchipuram saris vary widely in cost depending on the intricacy of work, colors, pattern, material used like zari (gold thread). Simple sarees can be weaved in about 10-12 days, but decorative ones require up to 20 days of workmanship.Kanjivarams are expensive and can cost anywhere between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 50,000. The cost of the sari depends on the amount of zari intertwined with the silk. The more the zari work, the more expensive the saree will be.”
We also found that expensive Kanchipuram sarees can breach the Rs100,000 mark easily!
Where can you buy Kanchipuram sarees?
Of course, Kanchipuram is just a short drive from Chennai. You can directly buy from the looms. But if you prefer shopping in air-conditioned comfort, try visiting the huge outlets in T.Nagar, Chennai.
Caring for your Kanchipuram silk sarees
Kanchipuram silk sarees should be stored in hangars in a dark closet. You can also wrap them in cotton cloth if you have run out of hangar space! You can wash silk sarees in cold water with shampoo. Dry it in the shade and never wring your silk saree. With care, Indian bridal silk sarees from Kanchipuram will last several generations. For in-depth instructions on caring for silk sarees, please check out this blog.
Interested in learning more about south Indian wedding sarees? Check out our comprehensive blog post that lists all the varieties of south Indian wedding sarees, how to drape them, and buying tips. Click here to read this blog post.
2. Benarsi sarees
Benarsi sarees from Varanasi (Benaras) are considered among the finest sarees in India known for their gold and silver brocade, fine silk and exquisite embroidery. They have engravings on them, and that explains as to why they are relatively heavy!
Benarsi sarees traces its history all the way to the Mahabharata. However, they became popular in Indian during the time of the Mughals and was exclusively made for the royalty. These sarees have Persian influence in terms of designs and patterns and were made of gold and silver threads for the royalty.
Their special characteristics are Mughal-inspired designs such as intricate intertwining floral and foliate motifs. If you have ever been to the Taj Mahal you will see similar floral patterns there reflecting the Mughal style.
Benarsi sarees need not be always silk. They are also available in Georgette, Cotton, and Organza. Of course, we are interested in Indian wedding sarees and that automatically means silk!
If you are indulgent, you can get a pure zari Benarsi sari. But if you want silk, you also have the option of choosing different types of silk – Katan, Kora, Khadi, Tussar to name a few.
Did you know that the motifs of Benarsi sarees are based on Jasmine, Thousand Emeralds, Marigold, Betelnut Leaf, and Mango?
Price of Benarsi sarees
These sarees range in price from Rs.2000 to Rs.60,000, depending on the embroidery and works. If you want pure zari Benaras saree with hand-crafted embellishments, you will end up paying over Rs100,000.
Where can you buy Benarsi sarees?
You can purchase them at Bari Bazaar in Varanasi. There are six districts in UP that sells this saree legally – Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts. Chowk, Godoulia Market and Vishwanath Gali are the main markets where you see a wide range of these amazing sarees.
Dry cleaning is preferred. Since it is exorbitant these days, consider washing the saree with cold water and mild detergent. While washing, first wash the saree 2-3 times with cold water and then consider using detergent or shampoo. Wash the saree alone and do not mix it with the blouse and petticoat. Avoid using a brush or rubbing the saree. Do not wring the saree. First, wash the pallu and borders, and then the entire saree. Do not dry the saree in direct sunlight.
To remove stains, use petrol to remove hard and dark stains. To remove nail paint stains, use acetone. Use a mild detergent or shampoo to remove food stains. To remove ghee, butter and oil stains, first rub talcum powder on the stain and then wash with mild detergent.
Benares sarees are lovely to wear at weddings but they are very heavy, and if stains appear on them, they can look ugly and requires a lengthy process to get rid of them.
3. Mysore silk sarees
Mysore silk is a trademark of silk sarees made by KSIC (Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation) in Mysore, Karnataka. The distinguishing feature of this saree is the usage of pure silk and 100% pure gold zari (a golden coloured thread containing 65% of silver and 0.65% of gold). These sarees are manufactured in a silk factory located in Mysore city.
The factory that makes these sarees was started in 1912 by the Maharaja of Mysore by importing 32 looms from Switzerland. In 1980, this factory was transferred to KSIC and now has around 159 looms. Every saree produced here comes with an embroidered code number and a hologram to verify authenticity.
Mysore silk sarees are also undergoing an innovating change with the use of kasuti embroidery, thickly woven pallus (the part of the saree worn over the shoulder), bandhini techniques and new colours like lilac, coffee-brown, and elephant-grey. There are 115 varieties of sarees in more than 300 shades of colors. Varieties like crepe-de-chine, georgette, zari printed crepe and semi-crepe sarees are available for purchase. The designer Mysore silk saree has zari work all over, and motifs like mango buttis, floral borders and an elegant pallu.
The original sarees are priced between Rs. 1000/- to 50,000/- depending on quality.
Where can you buy Mysore silk sarees?
Badsha’s Saibeen Silks, Sukri’s Silks and Menaka Silks are all located on Devaraj Urs Road (Bangalore). They stock Mysore silks. The State Emporium and Bhojayya Shilpa Silks located in the heart of the city at KR Circle (Bangalore) is also where you can purchase Mysore silk sarees.
Caring for your Mysore silk sarees
Never machine-wash a Mysore silk saree. A saree should be either delicately hand-washed and are best dry-cleaned. At home, we can wash them in soft detergents. Soap-nut boiled in water, yielding a soft lather, is best for silks. Only pre-washed silk is washable. Read the label!
After washing, we should roll the silk saree in a white towel to remove the excess moisture, and then hang dry on a padded hanger.
Maheshwari sarees have royal origins dating back to the 18th century. Here is an extract that provides an in-depth description of the history and significance of Maheshwari sarees.
Maheshwari fabric is mainly used to design Maheshwari sarees, and it originates from the town of Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh. These sarees were first found and produced in the town of Maheshwar, hence the name. Initially, they were made of pure silk, but over time, cotton was one of the major fabrics used for these exquisitely designed sarees.
The interesting legend behind these sarees is that Queen Ahilyabai Holkar ordered various craftsman and artisans from Malwa and Surat to design a special saree with 9 yards, which later came to be known as the Maheshwari saree. These sarees were supposed to be a special gift for the royal relatives and guests who visited the palace. In fact, it was the queen herself who designed the first saree. Following this, Maheshwari sarees became extremely popular in and around Madhya Pradesh.
The grandeur of the forts in Madhya Pradesh and their designs is what played an important role in inspiring the technique, weaves, and motifs on the Maheshwari saree. Some of these popular designs include the Mat pattern (chattai pattern), along with ‘Chameli ka phool’ which is inspired by the Chameli flower. One can also see the ‘Eent’ pattern which is basically a brick and ‘heera’, which is a diamond.
Of all the Indian wedding sarees, we believe the Maheshwari silk saree is best suited for brides that prefer a lightweight and comfortable bridal attire.
Here is a video of Maheshwari saree in the making.
A unique characteristic of Maheshwari sarees is that it is reversible! You can wear the sarees on both sides. It is available in silk as well as in cotton.
The price of Maheshwari sarees can vary depending on whether it is made of silk or cotton or a mix of silk and cotton. Silk sarees can be priced from Rs1000 all the way to Rs 30,000 or even more!
Where can you buy Maheshwari sarees
The Rehwa Society in Maheshwar was formed by the son by of Queen Ahilya Bhai Holkar in Maheshwar. This is a collective that aims to empower local craftsmen to make Maheshwari sarees and also help sell their products through large retailers like FabIndia. You can, of course, go to Maheshwar if you are interested in buying from the looms there. Who knew your love for Indian wedding sarees can take you places!
Caring for your Maheshwari sarees
Maheshwari sarees are light weight and can handle a gentle wash cycle in cold water and mild detergents. If your Maheshwari saree is made of silk or is expensive, please use caution when washing. All the tips applicable for maintaining a Mysore silk saree or Kanchipuram silk saree is applicable for Maheshwari silk sarees as well.
5. Paithani sarees
Paithani sarees are named after the town responsible for its inception (Paithan), Maharashtra. They are made of exquisite silk and are hand woven. The craft of weaving this saree was invented in 200 B.C and flourished during the Satvahana era.
In the ancient days, the Paithani sarees were no less than ornamental treasures and was paid for by the western travellers in gold and gems. To date, the real Paithani sarees are handwoven with real silver or gold or pure silk.
A true Paithani saree is characterized by the borders of an oblique and square design having a pallu with a peacock, mangoes or lotuses. They are available in kaleidoscopic colors, and this effect is achieved by varying the weave. A particular color is used for weaving lengthwise while another is used widthwise. The design woven on the border separates it from all other sarees.
The greatest speciality of the Paithani saree lies in its pallu. It can also have edges lined with rare gems and precious pearls. The time taken to create a Paithani can range from 2 months to a year, depending on the pallu and border.
Price of Paithani sarees
Paithani sarees are one of the most expensive among Indian wedding sarees. Its manufacturing can cost anything from 60,000 rupees to 5 lakh rupees. It is customary to wear a Paithani saree with plenty of Gold ornaments in Maharashtra. Hope you can afford the saree and the gold accessories!
Where can you buy Paithani sarees
The numerous shops that sell sarees in Dadar market sell Paithani sarees. There are stores in Pune (Peshwai, Tathastu and Kajari) that see Paithani sarees. Of course, you visit Paithan which is about 56 kilometers from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Caring for your Paithani sarees
Our recommendation is not to mess your Paithani sarees and use it as gently as you can. This is an heirloom to be passed on to the next generation. All the tips applicable for silk sarees is applicable to Paithani sarees as well. Because you have gold threads to worry about, please do not wear your Paithani bridal saree and go anywhere near food.
There are numerous Indian bridal blouse designs and it can be quite intimidating for a woman to pick the right one. The reason this is a difficult choice is because of the bewildering array of clothes and designs along with the headache of maintaining these blouses as they sometimes can become heirlooms to be passed on to the next generation!
The problem with Indian blouses is that they have to withstand a lot of heat (if you happen to go through a Hindu religious ceremony in front of the sacred fire) and yet remain pristine. The choice of the design and cloth material also becomes important depending on whether the wedding is happening in the summer or winter. In summer, the blouse design has to account for excessive heat and humidity while, in winter, the blouse should keep you warm and cosy.
We have collated the ultimate list of Indian bridal blouse designs along with interesting information on the cloth material. Where relevant, we have also included information on how to care for your blouse with proper washing instructions!
1. Zari vines
In this Indian bridal blouse design, delicate zardozi embroidery borders this blouse with a large back cutout. Gold lotus bud motifs are beautifully detailed with zari accented floral vines.
Zari Vine blouses are woven in both silver and gold. The silver metal reacts to the atmospheric air and looks dull. To maintain the shine of the zari vine blouse, wrap it in muslin or a soft cotton dhoti. You can wash them in mild soap water, rinse well and dry in the shade immediately. You can wipe the embroidery with a damp cloth and dry it under the fan.
Never wrap the sari vine blouse along with the saree, but hang them separately in hangers. Every once in a while, it can be dried out in the sun to keep it away from fungus
2. Wrap blouse
This Indian bridal blouse design is accented with metallic borders and expert zari work. The gold zari work adds a regal brocade element that makes every dress drool-worthy. The wrap-around blouse that ties over the choli shows a bit of skin and the solid pink bow that pops up on the blouse grounds the looks and makes it wearable.
It is recommended that hand washing is the mode of cleaning the wrap blouses if it is made of silk. Use lukewarm water and mild, non-alkaline soap. While rinsing, add white vinegar to the water to remove soap residue. Or, add a few drops of hair conditioner finally for an extra silky feel. Do not wring or twist – roll in a towel to extract water.
3. Velvet bodysuit
A black net body suit with a multicolored stone and beadwork encrusted bustier pairs well with a plain, light-colored chiffon saree. The advantage of the body-suit is that it fits true to size.
Since velvet is a soft, luxurious fabric that is formed from silk, wool, mohair, etc., it can be difficult to know how to clean it. Some velvet fabrics like knit velvet or fine velvet with plain weave must be dry cleaned. Crushed velvet can be machine washed. Store your velvet bodysuit horizontally in your closet.
4. Transparent sleeves
Transparent sleeves that carry a little bit of embroidery and bling are a great way to extend the blouse design and create a sense of coherence. Transparent cloth on the sleeve naturally draws attention and can carry design elements from the saree or the blouse to maintain coherence.
There is only one way to add a definite sheen and elegance to your otherwise simple saree – go sheer on your blouse. Net blouses or sheer blouses are in, and there are innumerable ways that it can add a dash of glamour to your saree. A classy combination is net blouses with full sleeves.
A high-collar full sleeved blouse is yet another way to do it – the high collar adds a definite elegance to the style. Net blouses look great when they are half-sleeved as well, just as long as they are designed right with some beautiful work on them.
5. Sweetheart cut and Princess sleeves
This Indian bridal blouse design features a heart–shaped opening for the back and princess cut sleeves for the shoulders.
6. Spiderweb saree blouse
These intricate strips of fabric mimic the weave of a spider’s web. The neck is best kept as a halter. The spider web cut you see below will be a big hit if you are a Spiderman or Spider-Woman fan! Who said Indian bridal blouse designs cannot satisfy comic fans?
7. Barely there – Sheer blouse
This sheer blouse perfectly complements the light-colored saree and can be worn at a party, or a night about town. Just make sure your inner garments cover all the right places at strategic locations. Somebody said there is a thin line between being fashionable or getting embarrassed! Indian bridal blouse designs can certainly push the cultural boundaries!
8. Scalloped-edge window blouse
The thought of a sexy saree blouse conjures up the image of a lace-curtained blouse or scalloped edge lace creating a window neckline. Somehow, lace and sexy goes hand in hand. A saree blouse made with lace which has linings only at the front torso (chest down) with no back lining looks very sexy.
Lace blouses are delicate. You can wash lace blouses on the washing machine using the gentle wash cycle and mild detergent. Make sure the blouse is placed inside out in the washing machine. Also, don’t use the dryer or iron.
9. Princess cut blouse design
The princess cut blouse satisfies traditionalists as well as contemporary aficionados. Remember, Indian brides are constantly juggling solicited and unsolicited opinions from aunties and distant relatives that have sprung out from the woodwork. Wondering why this is even called the princess cut blouse? We don’t know the answer either. Add your comments if you do.
10. Oriental crop jacket blouse
This Indian bridal blouse design entails a vest-like jacket, which is yet another way to add a certain bling and beauty to your saree. It works better if the oriental crop jacket has a good amount of mirror or gold or thread work on it.
For the oriental crop jacket to stand out, make sure that the saree hasn’t got too much of heavy work on it and that it complements the saree beautifully.
11. Mughal cut out blouse
This Indian bridal blouse design (see below) features a gold colored full-sleeved blouse with a cutout panel reminiscent of the Mughal era entryway. It is paired with a matching saree or a lehenga choli. The closest authentic Mughal era women’s dress is the Peshwaz. The only difference is that the Peshwaz is not a blouse and it runs all the way down to the ankles.
12. Lehenga with a twist
Lehenga is the Indian version of a bridal skirt. It is usually embroidered and pleated. Lehenga is worn with a blouse or choli. Now, what happens when you decide to get married in the winter? Designer Suneet Verma has come to your rescue with his long coat design. Yes, your blouse is a long coat. Indian brides are made to sit in front of the fire for the extended duration of time and hence, this design will work only for the reception or parties. Who said Indian bridal blouse designs cannot be modern and yet remain traditional?
13. Keyhole Blouse
In this blouse design, the backlines are seen in the form of a keyhole image, in a center hollow portion at the front or back. It may be a simple slit at the center line, and the split is usually secured at its top with a hook and eye, or loop and button. While the drop shape is more popular, there are other shapes of oval, round or diamond, but now designers have brought in new fashion cuts as well, modifying the shape still keeping the hollowness a creative blouse feature.
While the drop shape is more popular, there are other shapes of oval, round or diamond, but now designers have brought in new fashion cuts as well, modifying the shape still keeping the hollowness a creative blouse feature.
14. Jacket blouse
A short jacket that has sleeves reaching up to 3/4th length is a classic combination of tradition and modernity. Choose a short jacket that reaches only up to your waist for it to serve its purpose. While keeping the look simple, short jacket blouses work well in adding that little bit of bling and class to your saree attire.
We recommend this for the wedding reception if you want to go toe to toe with your man in a suit! The advantage of this design is that you can wear this for your office parties as well later.
15. Indian overcoat
This bridal blouse design is effective when you want to cover your blouse without the need of a saree pallu, or if you want to drape the saree pallu differently. This is similar to the traditional Indian vest that men wear in North India. The vest can serve as a contrast to the dress and also provides a visual break or focus point.
16. Gota blouse work
This Indian bridal blouse design is not decidedly ornate with Swarovski crystals and gems, nor is it totally bland. Gold lame and delicate embroidery are woven into the blouse. Gota embroidery traces its roots to Rajastan. Here is a detailed explanation of Gota embroidery:
Gota is a gold or silver lace from Lucknow, various other coloured ribbons of varying width, woven in a satin or twill weave may also be referred to as Gota. Gota is crafted using appliqué technique with a strip of gold or silver or various other coloured ribbons of different widths woven in a satin or twill weave. It involves placing woven gold cloth onto fabrics such as georgette to create different surface textures.
Our recommendation for cleaning a Gota blouse would be to soak the piece in a tub cold water with mild detergent. Leave it in for about 10 minutes. Then soak it in a tub of clean, cold water. Do not wring, instead, just dab the cloth on a flat surface with a dry cloth to remove the water. Finally, line dry in a cool place.
17. Full sleeves crop jacket
There are innumerable ways to add that zing to your saree and one of them is wearing it with a jacket style blouse! A style that has been much in vogue lately, adding a jacket to your saree can add class to your saree attire.
After you’re done draping your saree, (preferably over a sleeveless inner blouse), wear the jacket over the saree, unbutton the top few buttons of the jacket and wear your pleated saree over your shoulder from above your jacket.
A full-sleeved and a collared jacket will up the style quotient of your saree if adding elegance to your attire is what you want your jacket to do.
The only drawback with a full-sleeved jacket is the possibility of getting food stains. Remember to watch where you are placing your hands if you end up having a traditional meal served on a banana leaf!
18. Double layered sari blouse jacket combo
Long jackets that reach up to the knees, which were popular back in the 40’s and the 50’s are one way to add some class to your saree while also bringing in some old world charm to your attire. Use shiny silk jackets or jackets with hand woven fabric for the attire to look its best. Along with making you look classy, it can also protect you from the cold!
Your back will look oh so sexy in this blouse with a deep V cut out. This is an ideal design for a summer wedding in India as you will need plenty of air under the harsh camera lights. These blouses are also pocket-friendly as the only thing different from a regular blouse is a tailor that can get the job done.
20. Boucle blouse
The fabric is the easy part – what really sets saris apart are their blouses. The boucle fabric was made popular by Coco Chanel. In French, Boucle means “curl” and a boucle blouse is made from yarn that contains loose curls as well as in tight circles. if your wedding is in the winter, boucle blouse will work well. Their thick and soft texture will keep you warm.
Boucle blouses should not be washed with regular clothes. An occasional dry cleaning may be done. In between, you can use a soft bristled cloth brush, like this one, every time you use the blouse. For more information about boucle, check out this informative site.
21. Embroidery and beads
Modern Indian brides probably spend a majority of their time fussing about the choice of their wedding attire more than anything else. Just ask the shopkeepers manning the stores. One of the challenges that modern, educating brides have is to choose a blouse that will wow everyone and at the same time evoke respect. If you are a prospective bride and you agree, you might like this design.
This style evokes a blend of sophistication and style. Will be a great choice for brides that are professionally successful. The seamless combination of lace and silk based blouse makes it a perfect wear for receptions and post marriage parties.
The best way to wash these blouses would be to soak them in soap water upside down and wash them by hands gently. If you have beads and stones, make sure you never put the blouse in the machine even if you plan on using the gentle wash cycle.
DISCLAIMER: No daughter-in-law was harmed when writing this blog post. Dedicated to all mother-in-laws of India.
Christmas gift ideas can make or break relationships
The first few years after marriage are exciting times indeed. You are probably on your best behavior in your attempt to impress your husband and your in-laws. After the initial charm wears off, things can get pretty monotonous. Your resolve for good behavior may be tested by useless Christmas gifts such as a toilet seat, used sweaters, fruit cakes that are three years old.
But fear not. If you have an Indian mother-in-law, we have come up with a definite list of gift ideas that will not only wow your mother-in-law but also help her uphold her fearsome reputation (well, mostly).
1. Immersion water heater
The immersion water heater is used to heat up water, be it in a bucket, tub and elsewhere. It is a very convenient tool since it is portable and can be carried just about anywhere. Just give this gift to your mother-in-law and watch what happens.
2. Subscription to all regional TV channels
Regional TV channels provide innovative ideas for mother-in-laws to plot the downfall of their daughter-in-laws and vice versa. The bonus benefit is that you will be able to temporarily get rid of your mother-in-law when the soaps are on.
Most of us in India use the inverter as a power backup. With the frequent power cuts in India, the inverter makes a perfect gift for the mother-in-law. Your mother-in-law can now make sure that the immersion water heater and the TV work when she wants. Someone said, “tools of torture are no good if they don’t have power!”
4. Chapati rolling pin
The chapati rolling pin is a versatile tool in the Indian kitchen. It traces its history way back to the times of the Ramayana. Kaikeyi, one of the wives of King Dasaratha, was jealous of Rama becoming the king and wanted to get him out of the picture for the sake of her son Bharata. It is rumored that she threatened to beat king Dasaratha with a chapati pin if her wishes weren’t met! Mother-in-laws have since then used this versatile tool to make chapatis and also to beat the hell out of their daughter-in-laws.
5. Gas stove
The portable gas stove is a great invention. It traces its origins to the first ever chief engineer of the Indian Electricity Board. He realized that there is no hope in hell that he can deliver power to the far corners of this vast country. This realization also made him wary of electric cookers and induction stoves. So he invented the gas stove. Little did he realize that his invention redefined the way mother-in-laws abused daughter-in-laws. Give this gift to remind your mother-in-law her cultural duties.
6. Weighing scale
The portable weighing scale can easily beat the chapati pin and the portable gas stove in terms of its versatility. Some of its uses include – measuring you mother-in-law’s weight, measuring your weight, and measuring the weight of gold jewelry you might have brought in as dowry. The key point to note here is the weighing scale when used in conjunction with the gas stove and the chapati pin can dramatically improve the effectiveness of the mother-in-law in enforcing age-old Indian traditions.
7. Knitting needles
What better way for your mother-in-law than to pass her free time by knitting a cap, sweater, or gloves for the new arrival to the family (a baby, of course!). We couldn’t resist the thought of having a dual use gift that can be used for knitting and accidently poking each other.
8. Designer closets
Designer closets provide an opportunity for your gay husband to stay in the closet and also gives your mother in law an opportunity to dish out punishment by locking you in the closet.
9. Rocking chair
This is an innovate gift that can serve as a means for your mother-in-law to vent her anger. Based on a scientific study, it was found that rocking the chair at 100 rocks per minute calms frayed nerves. Your husband will also use it extensively as he can nod in agreement to your mother-in-law without spraining his neck.
10. Floor mats
These are time tested gifts and can create warmth in cold places (aka wherever your mother-in-law lives). In the event of unexpected gas leaks or explosions, left over debris can be easily rolled into in the floor mats and disposed of overnight.
11. Paprika powder
Dried chili powder will come in handy for making all the lip smacking dishes you were trained for by your mother. We recommend a sweeter version of the chili powder that will help you in case your mother-in-law decides to mix it in your tea. Spanish paprika will definitely fit the bill.
12. Board game
Help your mother-in-law point out to all the good things in life that her darling son would have bought if only he had listened to her advice and married the daughter of the rich jeweler instead of you.
13. Season ticket for Tirupathi
This is probably the ultimate gift any God fearing Indian daughter-in-law can give to her god fearing mother-in-law. Puzzled? Well, when everybody is shouting “intolerance”, it’s time for Christians embrace Hindu Gods! The twin advantages of this gift are – 1. When you have a girl child, your mother-in-law can immediately dash off to Tirupathi to pray for a grandson the next year and 2. When she thinks you are wasting her son’s hard earned money, chanting “Govinda, Govinda” can acquire a whole new meaning. Are you a staunch Christian? You should consider a season pass to Bethlehem. That’s, at least, a week of alone time for you and your mother-in-law.
14. Fanny pack
As your mother-in-law becomes older, she will start developing the habit of hoarding eatables, sweets, and snacks that are usually forbidden for women of her age with a dozen medical complications. Do her a favor, send her to heaven faster by letting her hoard sweets and snacks in a stylish fanny pack.
15. Scented candles
No woman can resist the glow of scented candles that light up the rooms in the evenings/nights. You can do your mother-in-law a favor by accidentally toppling the candles on her feet, staging it like an accident. That would leave her bedridden for a few days at least.
16. Personalized pillow
A photo collage pillow that has been personalized will make the perfect gift for your mother-in-law. It has pictures of all the family members. She can use it either for sleeping or to prop up her back while reclining in her favorite rocking chair. Which mother-in-law would not resist the thought of using the pillow to smother her daughter-in-law in her dreams?
A handbag is a must-have accessory for any woman. It is said that a woman’s wardrobe is incomplete without a handbag. It would be a good idea to gift your mother-in-law a handbag, and watch the reaction on her face. Beware, your mother-in-law may be secretly harboring thoughts of whacking you in the face with a completely loaded handbag!
Indian brides are known the world over for their colorful and elaborate makeup and dresses. In contemporary India, the most beautiful Indian brides will conjure up images of Bollywood actresses or supermodels dressed up in glittering and stunning bridal dresses. However, the domination of Punjabi and typical north Indian culture in Bollywood movies has conditioned our mind to think of a beautiful Indian bride as wearing the traditional “Lehenga and Choli” as you see below.
Most beautiful Indian brides need not be movie stars
But, India is a vast country and the Jodi Logik minions decided to scour the length and breadth of the Internet (we are still saving up for a pan-Indian trip) to find exotic bridal attire. Here are our top 7 most beautiful Indian brides from exotic communities around India. Before you read further, the focus of our blog is to help reset the idea of what is considered beautiful. We have steered clear of including photographs of brides from professional wedding photographers and have instead decided to focus on ordinary people and their unique traditions.
The Rabari tribe belong to the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is believed that they migrated from Iran over 1000 years ago! Here is a Rabari bride with her elaborate ornaments.
When we think of Ladakh, you will probably remember the last scene from the movie “Three Idiots” or whenever the Chinese army decides to set up a camp there!
“Angmo told me it took her only a half hour to put on the layers of wedding clothes she was required to wear. As she had on two beautiful dresses, one her bridal dress and over that a lovely dress which was a gift from the groom’s mother, a mass amount of beautiful gold and diamond jewelry and a monstrously heavy turquoise and gold headdress, called a Payrak, which is passed down through the families from mother to daughter. With all that she was wearing, it seemed to me that getting dressed would certainly have taken much longer. “
Maldhari Bride (or should we say, Bridegroom?)
The Maldhari tribes belong to the state of Gujarat and are noted as the traditional dairymen for the kings (even before Amul took over the mantle!). CNN has a colorful account of a Maldhari wedding where the groom steals the march over the bride in terms of the ornaments! We can’t even see the face of the bride, but assume she is very beautiful!
Photo by Jenny Khurai
Manipuri brides in their “Potloi” looks like life-size dolls! So what the hell is Potloi. Stop scratching your head, we have done our homework and have the answer. According to this blog,
“The beautiful bridal wear, potloi, is the wedding dress of Manipuri brides. This stunning costume was originally introduced by Maharaj Bhagya Chandra of Manipur, India. During his reign, he used to organize Rasa Lila Dance where the potlois were seen worn out by the Gopis and Shrimati Radhika . And, it is believed that that was the time when potloi had come into popularity due to its elegance and uniqueness. Later, the Manipuri Meiteis, who follow vaishnavaism, started to use this as the bridal wedding dress.”
Question – What is the most popular valuable given away as a dowry at a Gaddi wedding?
Answer – A car (Gaddi or Gaadi in Hindi) of course! Just kidding. A Gaddi bride stands out because of her unique ornament that looks more like a skull cap!
Here is a rare video clip of a ceremonial dance from a Gaddi marriage. This is a welcome change from the usual Punjabi dance tunes!
The Meghwals can be found in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. Their primary occupation is weaving and they are said to be the descendants of Rishi Megh who had the power of bringing rain from the clouds through prayers. The women are famous for their embroidery work and are master wool and cotton weavers.
Gond and Kolam Brides
Via The Hindu
The Gond and the Kolam communities of central India have some of the most progressive marriage customs and traditions. Here is an extract from The Hindu on this rather interesting tradition.
The entire cost of the wedding is borne by the side of the bridegroom. As weddings are usually solemnised at the bridegroom’s place, he needs to invite the bride to his village a day before the marriage. He has to organise a grand luncheon at the village of his would-be wife before taking her away.
The tribal people had evidently taken care of important factors like poverty in order to reduce its influence on a marriage. The family of the bride bears the expenses of the wedding when the groom cannot afford to do so.
So the next time you plan to get married, why not go exotic and borrow the style of a Manipuri bride or a Gaddi bride for the reception?
Let us know what other exotic Indian Brides we should profile or share your wedding photos if you would like to attain international fame through our blog!
When we look at online discussion forums and social media, arranged marriage evokes strong reactions from both its supporters and detractors. There is a growing belief that the concept of arranged marriages has run its course. However, in India, as it is the case with everything else, contradictions seem to nicely coexist everywhere. Look around. You will see a diverse population with different religious beliefs living together, you will see the rich and the poor sharing the same space and you will see modern and tradition all rolled up into one individual. These contradictions have a way of creating hilarious situations as we go about our lives.
Anita Jain has worked as a journalist and her work has appeared in New York magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Travel & Leisure. She graduated from Harvard University and grew up in northern California. In an article titled “Is Arranged Marriage Really Any Worse Than Craigslist?” she pokes fun at the many adventures she had meeting “eligible” boys chosen by her father through online matrimony sites.She is your quintessential second-generation Indian American that grew up in a western country but raised by parents that held on to Indian values. In other words, she probably is a member of the ABCD (American-Born Confused Desi) generation.
Here are some of her memorable encounters:
A girl can date anyone as long as he is not a Muslim!
I was working as a journalist in Singapore. Vikram, “in entertainment,” took me to the best restaurant in town, an Indonesian place with a view of the skyscrapers. Before long, though, I gathered that he was of a type: someone who prided himself on being modern and open-minded but who in fact had horribly crusty notions passed down from his Indian parents. I was taken aback when he told me about an Indian girl he’d liked. “I thought maybe she was the one, but then I found out she had a Muslim boyfriend in college,” he said. I lodged my protest against him and arranged marriage by getting ragingly intoxicated and blowing smoke rings in his face.
A cow is also a vegetarian and doesn’t smoke
One of the first setups I agreed to took place a year ago. The man—I’ll call him Vivek—worked in IT in New Jersey and had lived there all his life. He took the train into the city to meet me at a Starbucks. He was wearing pants that ended two inches before his ankles. We spoke briefly about his work before he asked, “What are you looking for in a husband?” Since this question always leaves me flummoxed—especially when it’s asked by somebody in high-waters within the first few minutes of conversation—I mumbled something along the lines of, “I don’t know, a connection, I guess. What are you looking for?” Vivek responded, “Just two things. Someone who’s vegetarian and doesn’t smoke. That shouldn’t be so hard to find, don’t you think?”
Auntie, I will speak to the boy only
It’s a common online-dating complaint that people are nothing like their profiles. I’ve found they can be nothing but them. And in their tone-deafness, some of these men resemble the parents spurring them on. One Sunday, I was woken by a call at 9 A.M. A woman with a heavy Indian accent asked for Anita. I have a raspy voice at the best of times, but after a night of “social” smoking, my register is on par with Clint Eastwood’s. So when I croaked, “This is she,” the perplexed lady responded, “She or he?” before asking, “What are your qualifications?” I said I had a B.A. “B.A. only?” she responded. “What are the boy’s qualifications?” I flung back in an androgynous voice. She smirked: “He is M.D. in Kentucky only.” Still bleary-eyed, but with enough presence of mind to use the deferential term for an elder, I grumbled, “Auntie, I will speak to the boy only.” Neither she, nor he, called back.
We are like this only
These days, I do have my limits. I’m left cold by e-mails with fresh-off-the-boat Indian English like “Hope email is finding you in pink of health” or “I am looking for life partner for share of joy of life and sorrowful time also.” For the most part, though, I go and meet the men my father has screened for me. And it is much the same as I imagine it must be for any active dater. I recall the Goldman Sachs banker who said, in the middle of dinner, which we were having steps away from Wall Street, “You know, my work will always come before my family.”
Brain surgeon that likes to dance
My father’s screening method is hardly foolproof. Once, he was particularly taken with a suitor who claimed to be a brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins and friends with a famous Bollywood actress, Madhuri Dixit. I was suspicious, but I agreed to speak to the fellow. Within seconds, his shaky command of English and yokel line of questioning—“You are liking dancing? I am too much liking dancing”—told me this man was as much a brain surgeon as I was Madhuri Dixit. I refused to talk to him again, even though my father persisted in thinking I was bullheaded. “Don’t you think we would make sure his story checked out before marrying you off?” he said.
Auntie, do you have a boy in mind?
On a recent trip to India, I was made to eat dinner at the children’s table—they sent out for Domino’s pizza and Pepsis, because as an unmarried woman, I didn’t quite fit in with the adults. As much as I resented my exile, I realized that maybe I didn’t want to be eating vegetable curry and drinking rum with the grown-ups. Maybe that would have meant they’d given up on me, that they’d stopped viewing me as a not-yet-married girl but as an unmarriageable woman who’d ruined her youth by being too choosy and strong-headed.
This way, the aunties can still swing by the kids’ table as I’m sucking on a Pepsi and chucking a young cousin on the chin, and ask me, “When are you getting married? What are your intentions?” And I can say, “Auntie, do you have a boy in mind?”