Taking the plunge: The 2017 wedding guide
From the rustle of silk and the faint metallic whiff of silver and golden threads woven into saris or intricately embroidered on blouses and lehengas to luxury cars bedecked with marigold, and jasmine, Indian weddings are truly quite magical. Once you put the stress and drama leading up to the big day aside, that is. Apart from the exquisite trousseau and luxury cars, there’s also the elaborate repast that could make or break a wedding. Our cover story this week, sees experts like designer Sailesh Singhania, and Gaurav Caterers, who’ve served Mukesh Ambani and president Ram Nath Kovind, letting us in on how to make a bridal style statement, the biggest wedding trends this season, and other tips to make your wedding one that will be remembered until long after the reception.
MAC cosmetic’s Global Senior Artist, Sonic Sarwate, is living his dreams. Based in Mumbai, Sonic’s work sees him jet-setting across the world, from Milan to Paris to New York. “Everyone dreams of working in a city like Paris. I always wanted to. Growing up, I never imagined I’d travel so much,” shares Sonic, whose tours are usually tied to Fashion Weeks. As a result, he has worked on models from various ethnicities. “It makes you more versatile, working with diverse skin tones and faces,” says Sonic, who’s done make-up for A-list model and Victoria’s Secret angel Joan Smalls, apart from Bollywood’s Sonam Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Huma Qureshi and Bhumi Pednekar.
Wedding-wise, Sonic shares that there is a lot of individuality at the moment. “There are quite a few options available for the brides of today. And there is a lot of room for experimenting. It has become very important to make a style statement as a bride,” explains Sonic, who also has a fair share of his time dedicated to ‘big fat Indian weddings.’ For brides looking for make-up tips, Sonic recommends keeping the rest of your look normal with one element that is experimental and edgy.
Bright red and colours with a red base, such as pinkish red and orange red, are trending for the lips, cheeks and eyes, says Sonic. Other trends that are making their presence felt are high shine (glossy skin) and exaggerated features (such as enlarged lips and eyes by clever use of make-up). “Brides are becoming very particular about their eyes. They want their eye-make-up to be immaculate,” he reveals. But more important, shares Sonic, is the health of your skin, which can be achieved by staying hydrated, choosing the right moisturiser and having a good skin care routine. Some of the products he recommends include Clinique’s Moisture Surge, a water-based gel and MAC’s Studio Moisture Cream.
On make-up mistakes to avoid, he says being too colour-coordinated does not make for an appealing look. “If you are wearing a red outfit, go with soft dust pink for your lips or peach with red undertones. Something that will complement your sari or lehenga. Also, when your ensemble is too dressy, keep the make-up simple,” he says, signing off.
Trousseau to form
As brides get more experimental and creative with their looks, it’s only natural for designers to follow suit. Keeping the demands of the new-age bride in mind, designer Masumi Mewawalla’s Autumn Winter collection for her label Pink Peacock Couture, Meraki, sees the use of three-dimensional floral motifs and checkered patterns, with silhouettes that boast choker collars, and off-shoulder and cold-shoulder cuts. The hues, a mix of grey, nude and blush also reflect a marked departure from traditional red, green and gold, though these shades make their presence felt as well. The most daring from the line, is a tie-up skirt with what she calls ‘an audacious slit,’ speaking of a trend where brides are no longer afraid to show some skin.
“With Meraki, we have created empowering silhouettes that reflect the sensibilities of the modern Indian woman. But we’ve also stayed true to our tradition by incorporating the most authentic Indian karigari from craftsmen across the country,” explains Masumi.
Stating that 3D and checks are huge this season, Masumi adds that draped necklines is another element that is trending. “For the grooms, it’s all about regal simplicity. Jodhpuris, sherwanis and dhotis continue to be quite popular. But this year, there’s an emphasis on vintage rose gold embroidery on trousers,” she explains.
Designer Sailesh Singhania, who has dressed everyone from Deepika Padukone to Vidya Balan believes bright colours and handwoven fabrics are strong trends this year. He also notes that saris with unique motifs and borders, flared lehengas with more than 22 kalis, sunshine yellow and zardozi-embellished dupattas are finding favour with the brides of 2017. Seconding Masumi, Sailesh states that for men, there is a return to traditional Indian attire, think Jodhpuris and ikat kurtas, apart from brocade jackets
and waistcoats. His own collection, displayed at Lakme Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2017, was completely handwoven and included pure mulberry silk Benarasi saris, lehengas, jackets and trench coats.
“The saris have motifs like teacups, kettles, chandeliers and roses woven in celebratory shades of ruby red, fuchsia pink, auspicious mustards, reds and teal blue. The jackets and trench coats are made with hand-woven Benarasi brocades so this wedding season instead of compromising on your style with shawls and sweaters, you could put your best foot forward,” he enthuses. The most memorable wedding outfit he has designed up until now is a khadi jamdani for a client from London. “The bride was from London and the groom from New York. They met in Dubai. The bride got a customised khadi jamdani with their love story woven all over the sari. We wove images of the Burj Khalifa, the exchange of rings and their beach holiday on sari. It took almost eight months to get off the loo,” he reveals.
For the luxury-seeking Indian, weddings at destinations such as Goa, Cochin or Mauritius is passe. Destinations now include Ras Al Khaimah, Kota Kinabalu and Bali. “This year, the destinations that are trending are Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan on the coast of the Caspian Sea, Antalya in Turkey and Ras Al Khaimah near Dubai,” says Kunal Rai, Head - Events and Wedding, Tamarind Global, which specialises in destination weddings. What makes these locations popular is the fact that they are not as commercialised yet the countries they are located in are thriving on tourism. “The most popular hotel for these destination weddings is the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. The hotel is 45 minutes from Dubai and is sort of in a corner, so guests who come for the wedding don’t have the choice to skip a few functions and go shopping. So the hosts are happy that everyone is in full attendance,” explains Kunal. In India, the popular destinations continue to be cities like Udaipur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer.
Speaking about decor that is trending, Kunal shares that crystals and feathers are currently quite popular. “So is ice. We recently had a stage mad of ice for the exchange of garlands. The special ice, which doesn’t melt for upto eight hours was imported for the function,” explains Kunal.
On the menu
Wedding food is no longer restricted to Indian cuisine and other familiar favourites. Families prefer to go that extra mile by selecting unusual, exotic dishes. Gaurav Manikant Momaya, proprietor of the Hyderabad-based Gaurav Caterers — three-time winner of the best Outdoor Catering award by the Telangana Chambers of Events Industry, says clients look for fusion food. “People travel a lot today and are exposed to different cuisines. So most of our clients prefer dishes that combine Indian flavours with global dishes. So a Paani Puri isn’t served like it usually is. It’s served with a chocolate filling. Similarly, we have Pav Bhaji Risotto, sandwich idli, donut idli, medu vada sandwiches and the like,” explains Gaurav who recently catered to a big fat Indian wedding in Bangkok. Though the destination might be out of India, clients like the ‘desi’ touch to their wedding feast. “The only challenge we face at such destinations is hiring everything locally. Indian vegetables and fruits are available almost everywhere. Milk and other groceries are sourced locally as well,” says Gaurav who has also catered to the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Venkaiah Naidu and Ramnath Kovind during their visits to Hyderabad.