Indian Bridal Wear
A traditional Indian wedding is a vibrant and elaborate affair with the blushing bride being the cynosure of the ceremony. The Indian bride has a variety of Indian bridal wear options to shimmer, sparkle and glow as she drapes herself in the choicest of embroidered fabrics and elegant jewels. Although conventionally Indian wear is synonymous with the Sari, the Ghagra Choli, Lehenga and the Salwar Kameez, most of the people outside India do not know of the humungous choices available in each category. India being a country with diverse religions and cultures, every religion, culture or region boasts of a unique wedding style replete with their regional specialties and diverse rituals.
Traditional Indian Bridal Wear
Since India is home to a large number of cultures and religions, it might be impossible to list down the bridal wear variations in every religion and the following sub-sections. Here are some of the popular Indian bridal wear styles existing in prominent sections and cultures of the rich Indian heritage:
The Punjabi Bride: The traditional bride in Punjab can wear either a sari or a Lehenga. The colors that are generally worn are vibrant colors like red, orange or magenta. The sari or the lehenga is heavily embroidered with phulkari work which involves use of darn stitch on the wrong side of a coarse cotton cloth with colored silken threads. Although many interesting patterns of phulkari work can be seen, traditionally motifs of wheat and barely stalks with ears were seen commonly. Usually, the bride wears gold jewelry. Another characteristic feature of traditional Punjabibridal attire is the chuda that is a set of red and cream ivory bangles.
The Maharashtrian Bride : Owing to the fact that the green color is considered as auspicious and also a sign of prosperity in the state of Maharashtra, the bride is usually draped in a green sari with traditional zari embroidery which involves fine gold or silver threads woven into fabrics. The Paithani is perhaps the most popular sari in Maharashtra named after the Paithan region in the state where these saris are woven by hand. Made with the finest silk, the paithani, is characterised by borders of an oblique square design, and a pallu with a peacock design. Also famous is the Nauvari sari which is a sari that is nine-yards in length. Although the Nauvari style originated in the era of the Maratha empire, where women ventured into the battlefields in crucial times of war, the Nauvari sari is a popular form of trousseau in Maharashtra till date. Usually the jewelry includes gold ornaments with pearls. The bride also wears the famous nath which is a pearl crusted nose ring.
The Bengali Bride: The traditional Bengali bride is draped in a Benarasi sari with a wide zari border and a red cheli or veil on her head. The bride wear an attractive headgear called sholar mukut which is a crown carved out of bark of a tree. The bride's forehead is adorned with interesting motifs made with sandalwood paste. The bride wears traditional heavy gold jewellery and her head is covered with a dupatta. Traditionally, the bride wears three types of bangles namely shankha (conch shell bangle), Pala (lacquer bangle), and loha (iron bangle).
The Muslim Bride: The Muslim brides are always dressed in cherry red bridal robes. The Lehenga or the Salwar Kameez is heavily embroidered usually with golden work. Silk is generally the fabric of choice in traditional Muslim bridal attire. The bride’s head is always covered with a Ghungat that covers not just the head but also the shoulders, back and comes down almost to the waistline
The Catholic Bride:The Indian catholic bride is no different than catholic brides across the globe. White is the color of choice since it symbolizes purity. The traditional catholic bride wears a traditional bridal gown with a delicate veil.
The Tamilian Bride: In Tamilnadu the bride is draped in a red or maroon sari. The Kanjeevaram sari is a very popular type of sari that is created in a small town of Kanchi in Tamilnadu. The traditional bride in Tamil Nadu adorns her hair with fresh orange and white flowers. In addition to the other common jewelry, the bride traditionally wears traditional jewelry like Raakudi which is worn in the hair and the Oddiannam which is a type of ornamental belt.
Contemporary Indian Bridal Wear
Although traditional bridal attire continues to be popular with Indian brides, many of the brides are always keen on trying out more contemporary or even designer bridal wear for their wedding day. The traditional Kanjeevaram sari , Painthani sari do exist, but they have been upgraded with more contemporary designs and motifs. Traditional saris are now made available with more options in terms of the colors as well as the embroidery patterns. Geometrical patterns, abstracts are finding a place in Indian bridal wear as well. The traditional ghagra choli is also now available with more modern patterns and cuts. The traditional Indian bridal wear has now evolved to encompass the more contemporary fashion trends across the globe.
Contemporary Bridal Sari: The contemporary bridal saris that are available today, retain the elegance of the traditional look and yet manage to add a streak of modern fashion trends with interesting variations. The traditional blouse worn with the sari had traveled beyond the puffed sleeves to include interesting noodle straps, fashionable necklines, and heavy embroidery. The Indian brides have also come up with more modern draping patterns for the sari. The Indian bride is now experimenting with more contemporary colors that were once perceived as rather unconventional. Blushing pinks, marine colors, cool pastel shades, earth colors are now becoming a part of the bridal trousseau.
Contemporary Lehengas and Ghagra Choli: Just like the sari the Lehenga has evolved in this era of fashion and style. The regular lehenga or the ghagra which was like a flared long skirt, is now being experimented with. The Indian bridal wear options now include pleated, embroidered and even fish cut lehengas . The Dupatta or the chunari which is an integral part of the Indian bridal wear is now available in more fabrics and more contemporary embroideries, dyes, and even handwork. The choli as mentioned earlier has gone uber cool with sleeve-less, strapless, narrow-strapped, or noodle strap varieties.