Wedding time in India is saree shopping time. No matter which part of the country you live in, saree is quintessential to any Indian wedding shopping. Even if a bride chooses to wear a lehenga for the main ceremony, there is always an occasion for draping the saree at more than one function. With the festivities spread over several days and several ceremonies, each bride needs not one, but several different sarees for each occasion. It is not just the bride who needs to look her best, the rest of the family too needs to live up to the occasion. This needs a lot of planning to shop for the best looks and the perfect saree for each occasion.
Saree shopping is not an easy job. We are truly spoiled for choice with hundreds of different styles, colours, fabrics and designs to choose from. Well, worry no more, here is your best guide to wedding and bridal saree shopping. Read on and make your wedding saree shopping experience a delightful and informed one.
How to Select a Wedding Saree
Before you venture out to buy a wedding saree online or in a shop, you need to get your basics clear. You need to figure out several important issues before you go and put in your money into a wedding saree. This is highly advisable as wedding sarees can be very expensive. Making the wrong choice can not only set you back financially but also ruin the most important day of your life. A wrong saree can affect the way you look. Here is what you need to decide before you start looking for sarees for the wedding:
Budgeting is an essential part of any wedding. This is also true for the bride. You have only so much amount allocated for your bridal look and this will also include your jewellery, accessories, and makeup, etc. that go on to complete your bridal look. So, it is best to find out how much you can spend on your entire bridal trousseau and look before you go out and splurge all the money on a saree and have nothing left over for anything else. A safe bet on how much you should allocate for your bridal saree would be about 10 -15% of the total budget for your bridal look. The rest you will need for your makeup, jewellery, accessories and other dresses you plan to wear throughout the various ceremonies.
Now that you have the budget sorted out, let us take a look at other factors that you should consider while buying wedding sarees.
Traditionally, the most popular shade for Indian wedding sarees is from the red spectrum. There are literally thousands of shades that fall into that category and it again poses a problem of which color is best. Personal taste aside, there are certain factors you need to consider when deciding on a color for your saree. The first and foremost being your complexion. Not all colors suit everyone. If you have a dark or dusky complexion, you’d be wise to stay away from shades of lilacs and browns. They will make you look pasty and wan. Go instead for vibrant shades of wine, deep purple, dark green maroon, yellow, orange, etc. to make the best of your complexion.
The next thing you need to consider is the time of the day your wedding is being held. For a day wedding, lighter shades such as pink, peach, green, yellow, etc. are better. For a night wedding, darker colours such as red, maroon, gold, rust, etc. are a good choice.
If you like to follow the latest trends in bridal dress colours, then go through Mandakini’s Indian wedding saree collection, which features the latest in designs, colours as per the prevalent fashion trends, and pick a colour and shade that you prefer.
There are hundreds of different styles of sarees. Some have broad border some have thin. Some have large motifs, others have small booti spread all over. Which one will make you look best depends on your body shape and size. If you are unsure of your body shape, this article will give you a clear idea of your body shape. If you are the tall thin body size, you can wear and carry off anything. However, for the short and plump brides, picking out the right saree matters a lot. The style of the saree will determine how you look. Tall or slender brides look great in sarees with horizontal stripes, broad borders, and large motifs. However, they would make a short or plump bride look shorter and stodgier.
Broad Borders For Tall, Slim Brides
Short or plump brides should instead opt for sarees with thin borders and small motifs closely placed together. Vertical stripes or small checks are also good for shorter brides.
The fabric of the saree can make or break the look. It doesn’t only need to look rich, it should also have a great drape and should look good on your body.
The most common fabric used in bridal and wedding sarees is silk. India, with its rich weaving traditions, offers hundreds of different weaves and silk types to choose from. From the delicate chanderi silks to the heavy banarasi silk sarees, to the stunning and elegant kanjeevaram silk sarees, the choice is vast. The fabric you choose should look good on your body. A stiff fabric that flares out may look great on a tall and slim bride, but certainly not on a plump or short one, who requires something close-fitting and silhouetted.
Choose a fabric based on your body type. Soft, well-draping fabric will look good on all brides. Kanjeevaram sarees make an excellent choice for any bride as they drape beautifully. Mandakini’s Kanchipuram saree collection is its pride and joy. The collection includes exquisite bridal sarees in all the colours of the spectrum.
Whichever fabric you choose, opt for a trial drape to see how the saree looks. All brick and mortar stores will allow you to test drape to see how it looks. So, utilize the opportunity to drape it and see whether the silhouette is a flattering one. If it is not what you had imagined it to look like, then pick some other fabric.
The last factor that you should consider while picking out the ideal bridal saree is the drape. How you are going to wear it. The saree can be draped in many different styles. The saree you eventually wear should be picked with consideration for the way you wish to drape it. If you are planning to wear a sari the Gujrati way with the pallu in front, you need to pick a saree with a pallu that is elaborate and beautiful. However, if you want to drape the saree as the Bengalis do, then picking a saree with a gorgeous border and intricately patterned body would be more suitable.
Now that you know what to look for in the bridal saree, you are ready to buy the saree you will wear on your wedding day, but not quite. There are a few more things you need to think about.
Things to Do Before Buying Wedding and Bridal Sarees
Before you begin shopping for wedding sarees, you need to plan thoroughly and do your research.
Determine the Quantity
The first thing to do is to determine the number of sarees that will be needed for the wedding. In this count, you need to include all the sarees the bride will need for the different ceremonies and as part of the wedding trousseau. This should also include the sarees that the other women in the family such as the mother of the bride, sister of the bride, sister-in-law, etc would need to buy. No Indian wedding is complete without sarees that need to be gifted to the family members of both the bride and the groom. So, the number of sarees you may need may be quite substantial. It makes sense to buy all the sarees together as you can then get substantial discounts.
Who will Wear the Saree
Next, you need to determine who will wear the sarees. Keep in mind the tips given above while making your decision. The mother and sisters of the bride can wear heavy silk sarees as long as they do not outdo the bride's outfit. Always remember the bride is the centre of attention and everyone else should compliment the bride.
Also, when choosing the colours, a lot depends on the age and status of the wearer. The sarees for grandmothers can be pastels and without too many embellishments while those of the mothers can be traditional in bright shades with embellishment. Kanjeevaram silks sarees can be perfect for mothers and grandmothers.
For the sisters, cousins, sisters-in-law, the sarees should be bright and modern and if it is a themed wedding conforming to the theme colour of the wedding. Mandakini’s pochampally silk sarees are perfect for the purpose. Their bright colours and patterns make them ideal gifts and great to wear on any occasion.
Often for Indian Weddings abroad, or for Indian themed weddings, there is a need for bridesmaid sarees. Sarees for the bridesmaids need to be identical or very similar to each other to create that symmetry that is so important for theme weddings. Mandakini offers a range of beautiful Ilkal sarees with kasuti embroidery are perfect for bridesmaids. You can find eight or ten pieces of the same saree for the perfect bridesmaid coordinated look.
The sarees that are meant as gifts for the family, relatives, and friends, should be reasonably priced and yet look nice. Buying very expensive sarees for gifts can throw out your budget, however, buying cheap sarees and gifting them could offend some of the people. A good suggestion is buying cotton Ilakal sarees or cotton silk sarees. They are not expensive yet look very beautiful and elegant.
Where to Buy Wedding Sarees
Traditionally, wedding saree purchasing has been done in a brick and mortar shop. But with the Indian diaspora spread across the world, just coming home to India to shop is not a very wise decision. Increasingly, young Indian professionals find it difficult to take out time from their busy work-life schedule to go shop hopping to buy the ideal bridal and wedding sarees. The trend these days is increasingly shifting towards online shopping through specialized wedding saree e-shops. It is easy and convenient as you can shop 24 hours of the day and all 7 days of the week at your own time and ease.
With the majority of the shops offering exchange and return options, you can order and then if you wish to change, you can return or exchange the saree.
When to Buy Wedding and Bridal Sarees
Wedding Sarees can be expensive and you need to save as much money as possible. It is best to buy wedding sarees several weeks if not months in advance so it is easy to accessorize your look and have everything ready for the big day. The best time to buy sarees is during discount sales. Most shops, both online as well as offline, have annual and special occasion sales. If you have the time, wait for these sales to happen before you start buying. You can easily save 10 – 20 per cent off the regular price through these sales, depending on where you buy them.
If you have planned well and wait for the right opportunity, wedding saree shopping can be fun, stress-free and economical too. Follow the tips above and walk down to the mandap looking radiant and your beautiful best.