I almost didn’t have an Indian wedding dress for our big day. In fact, we bought our Indian outfits just two weeks before our wedding so we were kind of cutting it pretty fine.
However, I’m so happy with how it turned out. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and buying our Indian wedding outfits turned out to be exactly as we wanted.
It was a warm July weekend a few weeks before our wedding and we drove up to the Soho Road area of Birmingham to check out the Indian shops. It’s a great road to find South Asian clothes, accessories, religious paraphernalia and food. Of course, the first thing we did was get some food. We stopped by an Indian vegetarian cafe called Milan Sweet Centre for a Masala Dosa and Chai. It was delicious! Bellies full we set off in search of saris.
After a couple of shops full of saris, and plenty of beautiful pieces out of my budget, we stumbled across a shop that was closing down! There was a red sari on the mannequin in the window but this was sadly totally out of budget. It was beautiful though, we detailed embroidery and stunning draped design.
A little bit of rummaging and a chat to the store owner and I was soon in the changing rooms trying on some of the last stock they had. The first one was a winner! I found my Indian wedding dress.
My Indian wedding dress is a lengha, which is essentially a skirt and top with a long piece of fabric that can be wrapped and pinned however the wearer would like. The skirt was a stunning full skirt with lots of layers of tulle underneath. It is red with large gold embroidered flower pattern, with lots of gold thread and sequins, which I thought was perfect to complement the floral lace of my original wedding dress.
My favourite part of the dress is that when I twirled the skirt swung out. It felt super feminine and pretty.
For the top part of the lengha I shore a simple plain red blouse, also called a choli, with simple gold embroidery along the neckline and along the hem.
I wore the skirt pulled high up and tight on my waist so the blouse almost blended in to make it look like a dress. I know the choli is traditionally worn to show the midriff but I was a little self-conscious of having my belly out. Perhaps if I’d had more time I might have had the two sewn together to make an actual dress, but the lengha worked well.
For the scarf, or dupatta, I had a simple red length of fabric with a gold border. I simply pinned this to my blouse and this was used to tie me to Raj and his scarf for the Hindu ceremony.
I chose a lengha rather than sari in the end as I needed something that I could change in and out of quickly on the day because we were doing both ceremonies in one day. Plus, I’m still totally new to tying my sari, and let me tell you…it is not easy at all. I think it’s going to take me years to get the hang of that. Therefore, it was best to have the most convenient yet pretty option I could find.
For accessories I found another shop of Soho Road selling every kind of colour or costume jewellery you could think of. I chose a muted gold/brass coloured set. I had a matching tika for my parting, a and necklace . Plus bangles in red, gold and cream for both arms. I also wore a bindi on my forehead, I chose a simple clear crystal design.
On my feet I wore some red heels that I already owned. I didn’t feel the need to buy new ones for the Hindu ceremony as I was going to be wearing them for no more than 5 minutes. We took our shoes of as soon as we sat down under the mandap for the ceremony.
I had a lot of fun wearing my Indian wedding dress and I am so pleased we found outfits that matched and honoured the Hindu ceremony. I think we looked kinda cute.
Photos by Simon Brettell