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Getting the bride ready... .Already?

With the wedding season round the corner, it is time to know what is the best for the man and woman tying the knot this season. The recent Bride and Groom Exhibition held in Delhi was an exercise aimed at making up the mind for the crucial day. With about 80 participants displaying their designer-wear, it was really time to splurge, says SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY... .

IN AN age when every second Bollywood flick ri0ngs around exaltation of the grand Indian wedding, invariably overlapping the age-old traditions with extra dozes of shine and sheen, gloss and glamour, dance and music, when the task of arranging marriages is capsuled as entertaining television shows to showcase `the unique Indian traditions', walking down the aisle is today more than mere `meeting of two minds'. If you happened to have paid a visit to the three-day Bride and Groom Exhibition held this past week in Delhi, you would not have asked how serious the Indian wedding industry has become. From designer trousseau collections for both bride and groom in myriad colours and patterns to fancy wedding invitations, from chic furniture to stylish wedding accessories, from jewellery for different occasions to honeymoon packages, from customised wedding videos to flashy footwear right for the D-day, from fashionable silverware to innovative gift wrapping, plus more, it was literally a one-stop shop for those soon-to-be-married at the city's Taj Palace Hotel.

To flag off the exhibition, held for the third consecutive year in the Capital, there was a star-studded fashion show. Based on the theme, "Romancing the Bride", the ramp was graced by top models like Neha Dhupia, Yana Gupta and Fleur Xavier, etc, flaunting bridal creations of designers including Monisha Bajaj, Ruchika Modi, Niki Mahajan, Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra and Ameera by Ranna.

The three-day exhibition witnessed 80 participants from Delhi, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur and Mathura setting up shops with their glitzy merchandise. K's Mall, Monisha Bajaj, Niki Mahajan, Nilambari Sarees, D'Mart, Gyans, Shobha Deepak Singh, cricketer Kapil Dev's wife Romi Dev and Anshu Modi were some of the participants.

Overseeing the arrangements at the venue, a busy Kiran Sharma, Director of International Trade and Exhibitions (ITE), the organisers of the exhibition, stops a while "to inform that the show has earned growing recognition and importance in the last three years and it is a world of opportunities not only for the participants to show off their latest designs but to enable the visitors to look, feel and buy under one roof".

"In fact, the first Bride and Groom Show held in October 2000, was an event to remember with a live wedding, the first of its kind. This proved to be a strong platform for exhibitors," she adds.

Justifying the timing, Kiran says, "This is because the wedding season is soon to follow." Soon before this exhibition, ITE organised a similar one in Ludhiana. "We will be travelling to Bangkok for such an exhibition later this month," says Kiran. "A dream to literally make marriages made in heaven" put the seeds in the minds of Kiran and the company's Project Manager Geetika Sharma some years ago to think of such an exhibition. "We are very happy today to see the idea becoming a success", says Kiran with pride. Yes, marriage may be made in heaven, they have to be solemnised on earth. And if that is so, why not do that in style?

Well, behind the impressive décor and display, some of the visitors complained of skyrocketing rates of the goods, but, Kiran adds, "is not wedding an event to go that extra bit to pamper oneself with some extravagance?"

This is for you to decide but Kiran's words do make one point more than clear: the sacred ritual of marriage has fallen headlong to the ambush of commercialisation.

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