With the wedding season in full swing, Asha Chowdary looks at some innovative ways to tie the knot.
Should the wedding ceremony be on a quiet beach or in an ornate cathedral? Strings of yellow blooms everywhere or some simple table dressing with fresh lilacs? Underwater photographs or candid snapshots? Moroccan fare or Pan Asian?
Gone are the days when it was enough to check on the availability of a priest, rustle up an ensemble at the nearest tailor and choose a biryani menu. As the wedding season arrives in the city this month, changing times and eclectic tastes have seen wedding trends undergo a total transformation. Today, most wedding planners are coming up with innovative ways to make each wedding the first of its kind.
Young bride Richa says, “I always wanted my wedding to be something I will remember, with a ceremony I can tell my children and grandchildren about. This is why I decided to get involved in every aspect of the arrangements.” Her mother Lata adds, “We chose the colour olive, which is the colour of mehendi. For the Sangeet ceremony, we decided on red and white touches. A logo created from the initials of the bride and the groom is printed on gift hampers, invitations and on itinerary. As for food, we chose from Burmese, Mexican and Italian fare.”
Says Vithika Agarwal of Divyavithika Wedding Planners, “Rajasthan and Goa continue to be the most popular wedding destinations is India. Among international destinations, Italy, Bali and Thailand continue to be popular. Mint is the undisputed theme colour this season.”
The demand for event planners to create that perfect wedding is rising. Says Oum Pradutt, Managing Director, Phase 1 Events & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, “Royalty themes, beachside weddings and Bollywood-centred weddings are in now. Event managers are now involved in making the wedding a stylish and grand affair. Innovations include candid wedding photography, regular receptions replaced by exclusive cocktail parties and bachelor parties, and the like.”
The ‘Date Card’ is a new entrant, says Vithika. “Couples choose ‘Save the date’ messages for practicality and the fun you can have with it. For instance, creative ways of telling people about your wedding range from sending magnets or small flipbooks filled with photos of the bride and groom. These are fun ways to set the tone for the wedding.”
Exotic destinations and five-day weddings have become the standard. “However, among the wealthy, it is as much a business gathering as a social event. It is an ultimate statement of wealth, power and social standing. Food is still what people spend the most money on,” Vithika adds.
Interestingly, bridal wear is seeing a number of changes too. Designer Deepika Govind says, “Brides now prefer delicate crafting and workmanship on their lehengas or saris, not over-the-top, ornate clothes. Brides are opting for new exciting interpretations in clothes for all the ceremonies.”
According to Deepika, it is the season for sheer overlays — organza or chiffon ankle-length jackets worn with a lehenga, antique gold sequinned shrugs, short jackets worn over strapless lehengas, lace sleeves, cowl necks, halters, jewel necks and boat necks too.
For men, it is a good time to stay traditional. “Ceremonial but not ‘bling’ is in. So the groom will most likely select a black or a midnight blue Bandgala or tuxedo and pair it with dull-satin trims and buttons. Superfine high-count wools in the barathea wool and luxurious cotton velvets are the best base fabrics,” says Vidya Nataraj, co-founder of www.tailorman.com.
The biggest change is in wedding photography. “The focus is more on moments beautifully captured during the ceremonies,” explains Vithika. “Couples want photo books designed around what was important to them in the wedding and not just traditional albums. Wedding videos are now treated as making of a film and not just chronicling the event.” Wedding planners add that technology seems to be the way forward. “Live web casting is another popular concept, especially with destination weddings or when loved ones can’t make it,” Vithika says.
Couples are also searching for fun elements from their respective cultures to bring into their own wedding. Socially conscious couples are discovering ways to incorporate charitable giving into the celebrations.
“From a Dabaang-style baraat to an Oriental-themed reception we have done it all,” says Vithika. “People want to create something special; that reflects their style and personality.”
As for new makeup and hair trends, Swati Gupta, Creative director at Bodycraft, says, “Pre-bridal treatments are mandatory and many couples come for long interviews to discuss how the colours they use can be co-ordinated with the decor and theme of the wedding. Also brides and grooms now want to have fun at their weddings, not just endure the ceremonies.”