When you think big fat Indian wedding, your mind wanders to a grand display of holy matrimony: song, dance, flowers, gold, elephants, grooms like princes, brides like goddesses. There’s only one word to describe it: grandeur.
North Indian weddings constantly redefine grandeur. With their customs standing so starkly in contrast to South Indian traditions, weddings up north are very different from weddings that take place in the south, east or west of India.
Taarini gives you a glimpse of the most significant wedding traditions of North India:
Sagai: It all begins with the sagai. The engagement ceremony is a party in itself. Today, the sagai is an occasion of much pomp and show. Guests including friends and family witness the announcement of nuptials between the two families. It is a way to show and tell the world to “save the date” for there will be a wedding in the offing.
Sangeet: Easily one of the most fun and looked-forward-to event preceding a North Indian wedding, the sangeet is a get together of both families along with friends to make merry a couple of nights before the wedding. Although it carries little or no religious significance, it sets the tone for the endless celebration that is a typical North Indian wedding. In today’s day and age of fun and Instagram-ready fashion, the sangeet has become an evening of non-stop song and dance, with both families trying to outdo the other with dance moves, true Bollywood style!
Mehendi: Said to be one of sixteen adornments that a bride needs to wear for her wedding, mehendi is a deep red or brown temporary tattoo that embellishes a bride’s hands and feet. Such is the popularity of the mehendi ceremony that it has travelled down south over the years and even spread its merry tendrils to the west and east. While traditional families prefer to host a separate mehendi and sangeet ceremonies, several others are turning to joint ceremony to stick to their strict budget weddings.
Baraat: A familiar sight in Bollywood movies is the well-known baraat. On the auspicious wedding day, the groom and his family arrive at the venue in a formal procession called the baraat. The groom arrives on a horse surrounded by family and friends dancing to energetic drum beats. The man of the hour is greeted at the entrance by the bride’s family with a customary tika on his forehead, welcoming him to their family.
Phera: This is perhaps the most auspicious custom of a North Indian wedding. The bride and groom sit around a small fire, as hymns are chanted, creating an austere and solemn atmosphere. The groom ties the holy thread or mangalsutra around the bride’s neck after invoking the blessings of the almighty. They then take their first steps around the fire as husband and wife, making vows to each other, to protect and treasure each other for evermore.
There are other important rituals and traditions such as the kanyadaan, jai mala and vidaai which form part of North Indian weddings. Their significance can never be emphasised enough, for every tradition comes with its own special meaning. Perhaps there is one particular custom you hold close to your heart? Let us know in the comments below!
Have you glanced at your parents’ wedding invitation? Or your grandparents’? It’s a whole world apart from what you see in your mailbox today. The style, the lettering, the conventions… they’re all different. Today, things are grander, quirkier, more colourful, less traditional and, we’ll say it, inviting to look at.
Maybe we should take a moment to reflect on how things changed with something so fundamental to a wedding. Where did the custom of sending out letters end and how did the age of quirk dawn?
It all started with the Middle Ages. A town crier would go around, walking through the streets with an important scroll of parchment in his hand. He would ascend the steps of the town towers or pedestals at the town centers, and announce the betrothal in a loud, carrying voice. As more and more people became literate, some of the noble and wealthier families started to pay monks to write invitations in intricate calligraphy, along with the family crest on top. They would then send these out with a seal of wax so reminiscent of period movies we all watch and enjoy.
But with the dawn on the 17th century, the printing press was rolled into the world. Invitations then became accessible to middle class households. Printed invitations would be sent to families, bearing the names of guests on the piece of paper. It is believed that the final invite was topped with tissue paper to protect the card from smudges.
As the world embraced this practice, India too, thanks to the British Raj, welcomed the tradition with much enthusiasm. It was first the Indian royalty, the merchants and landlords, who were eager to partake of this colonial practice before it became popular across the country. They contained no poetry, no prose, just plain text that named the wedding party, and bore the guest’s name on the front.
Soon, however, wedding invitations grew to become an artist’s delight. They started to carry richer, more vivid colours such as gold and red. The emphasis shifted from merely naming the couple and the guests, to providing design and art. Some extravagant cards even went so far as to be studded with tiny semi-precious stones as a way to show off the family’s financial worth. Though the invitation followed the conventional “flip and open” mantra, they had turned a whole lot more innovative than before!
Today, bold is in. Invitations come in all forms – boxed, flower-shaped, musical cards, scrolls, and even booklets! Poetry is often inscribed inside the invite, telling the story of the couple’s whirlwind romance, or else just heralding in a new start to their lives ahead. Illustrations, theme-based paintings and even caricatures have found a place on our wedding invitations!
So what will your card look like? A throwback to the minimal 50s, or an embrace of the eclectic present? A combination of vintage and varied, perhaps, to bring out your own unique persona. Whatever it is, it will have its place in wedding card history.
Your family wants an elaborate bun decorated with small flowers and rhinestones. Your friends tell you to let your hair down in soft curls. Your mother wants mellow makeup. Your bridesmaids tell you to get spunky. Is it any wonder, then, that you’re slowly turning into a bridezilla that’s unable to pick a hairstyle and a makeup arrangement to go with it? We get it – it’s hard to zero in on a particular hairstyle that’s in keeping with the times and make sure everyone around you is happy. So, here’s the lowdown on staying a bride, and straying away from bridezilla.
Have some fun with the bun
We’ve all seen the simple, traditional bun. While it looks neat and tidy, a bride needs a bit more. So give the side-parted ringlet bun a chance. It looks sophisticated and also gives you a chance to flaunt some stunning motifs. It’s quite easy to do it yourself, too, which will be of great help, especially if your wedding is a budget wedding. Here is a simple tutorial to help you out!
A throwback to the classic. A touch of the contemporary. Who says only Disney princesses could flaunt thick braids that are as flawless as they are beautiful? With some imagination (and a helpful Taarini tip), you could look every bit as pretty as Elsa or Jasmine! A soft, loose romantic braid hairstyle is just the ticket to enhance your beauty. What’s more, tis hairstyle perfectly supports the maang tikka, so that’s an added bonus. If you’re doing it yourself, you might want to check this out.
Another braid that’s growing in popularity among brides is the Mermaid Braid. It goes great with a simple lehenga and blouse, something pastel and matte. Now, it’s a little tricky to get it right the first time, so you may want to get someone’s help doing it. Better yet, get a friend to do it for you! It’s simple once you get the hang of it. Don’t take our word for it, though – see for yourself!
Curls and twirls
Given that a bridal outfits are bedecked and possibly heavier than yourself, how about taking the “less is more” philosophy route when it comes to your hairstyle? Opt for relaxed curls and pin them for a casual yet elegant vibe. All you need is a curling iron, some bobby pins and a few minutes of your precious time. Pro tip: go in for a Jhumar when your curls are set. You won’t regret it.
These hairstyles work great for budget weddings, because they’re all DIY. They’ll come in handy for other occasions too – a sangeet, a mehendi ceremony or even a roaring bachelorette party. So be sure to try them out and let us know what you think in the comments below. We’d love to see what gets brides all excited when it comes to styling those lustrous locks!
Ever since Pinterest, DIY has stormed into weddings with an unprecedented success. Before a DIY wedding, who would’ve thought that centrepieces could look so beautiful and cost close to nothng? It’s not just weddings – even bachelorette parties and sangeet have turned into DIY affairs, with everything to show for it including bright hues, stunning paper craft and delicate décor.
For an important function like the mehendi ceremony, you’ll need to bring your DIY A-Game to the fore. But worry not, because Taarini shows you six ways to transform your mehendi ceremony!
Cut the chai, cut out the rest
Cutting chai glasses come in delightful colours and patterns these days. From bright pinks and oranges, to summery florals and gradients, you’re spoilt for choice! These glasses make for great décor at an informal gathering. Your mehendi ceremony is a light, fun event with family members relaxing in each other’s presence for the first time. So, make sure your décor adds to the merriment too!
If your mehendi ceremony is at home, as it is more or less done across India, your couch needs a little sprucing up. Whether it is a cane sofa or a soft faux leather couch, you’re bound to have cushions. Bring home some attractive cushion covers to bring your surroundings to life. Think Aztec prints and ethnic designs. Think multi-colour happiness. All in all, think festive!
Do away with fairy lights for a change. They’re pretty, absolutely, but do you know what’s prettier? Lanterns. Handcrafted, paper lanterns. They’re astonishingly easy to make, and they take close to no time at all! What’s more, they’re a real treat for the eyes. You can pick up video tutorials anywhere, but hey, if you want them done in double-quick time, Taarini is always here to help you out!
Under your umbrella
Appliqued umbrellas are one of Jaipur’s finest gifts to wedding ceremonies. Honestly, they sparkle with the kind of energy only Jaipur possesses. These umbrellas, when hung from the ceiling, along with small paper lanterns or pinwheels, look like a million bucks. They’ll go great with mehendi ceremonies, especially if your theme is all-Indian.
Neeta Shankar Photography
Thank us for the thalis
Why look outside for craft when you can bring it out from within you? Handcrafted and hand-painted thalis for placing gifts and cards at your mehendi ceremony. Push aside those pastels and welcome the truly Indian hues – we’re talking reds and golds, greens and orange. These are regal, festive and celebratory. And what is a mehendi ceremony if not one grand celebration of all the good things yet to come!
So get ready to keep calm and henna on, ladies. It’s your evening, so make it as special as you want it to be. Almost everything can be put together with a bit of fun, patience and those precious minutes you can steal away from saree shopping or just admiring your little gold and diamond trinkets!
A gown without a veil. A saree without zari. A blouse without embroidery. On a wedding day, these seem off, don’t they? It is akin to a bride without jewellery. A traditional Indian wedding is dipped in dipped in silk and embellished with gold. A wedding with jewellery is unthinkable. Why, even the simplest of weddings is incomplete without a glint of gold, a shimmer of silver, a dash of diamond. There are certain things a bride can do without but jewellery is not one of them.
So here are the six jewellery favourites every bride needs:
Mesmerising Maang Tikkas
A maang tikka truly sets the bride apart from everyone else. It adds a touch of royalty to the bride’s wedding ensemble. Brides have so much to choose from – from kundan stones to plain gold, from small pendant-styles to mathapattis, there is no dearth of styles and fashions when it comes to maang tikkas.
It goes without saying that a necklace has no substitute on your wedding day. Bold, multi-strand necklaces and even classic, perfectly cut diamonds sync up exquisitely with your outfit, no matter what it is – whether you’re wearing a lehenga-blouse, a saree-blouse or a gown. Another universally flattering cut is the V-neckline – something that every church wedding witnesses these days!
As a bride, your ears simply cannot go bare. That you have to flaunt heavy earrings on your wedding day is a myth. It is, after all, your day and your choice. The prevailing trend is to go in for stone-studded earrings with light, pastel tones. If your wedding is on the grander side, we suggest you opt for bold reds and maroons for that Palace-wedding feel. Whatever you choose, be sure it complements your outfit. You don’t want to end up wearing pastel pink if your outfit is a bright green!
Need those Nose-rings
So you don’t have a nose piercing. Big deal! Presenting the new-fangled trend of clip-ons. Whether you’re going in for a small stud or an elaborate string that links your nose ring to your delicate hairdo, these little lovelies are all that rage. Now, not every style may suit your ensemble, so keep in mind that nose rings have to go perfectly with your jewellery. A stringed nose ring is only good if your wedding dress is a little on the heavier, traditional side. If you’re a blushing bride from the South, we suggest a small stud that oozes tradition. If you’re from the East or North, clip on those large rings!
Bling on those Bangles
Not only are bangles a great fashion trend for brides, they’re also the merriest jewellery item in their box. The gentle clink of bangles as a bride goes through ritual after ritual, the femininity and grace they accentuate is unparalleled. From solid gold to delicate silver, from classic glass to precious platinum, bangles are an absolute must in a bride’s box.
We know what you’re thinking – what about rings and anklets and about a dozen other objects of glittering desire that a bride needs? Well, we’ve just about grazed the top of the list. For a perfect wedding, a bride does need all this and more. So, if you do come up with everything else she cannot do without, just leave us a comment below!
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