Apparel for Community Weddings

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Wedding Vows

It is the time for weddings at this juncture of the year and while Bollywood may be leading the wedding brigade, it is certainly the flavour of the season.

Today with couples looking beyond religion when they get married, there is a new culture of multiple wedding rituals per customs of the bride and the groom. Take the case of actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh who had two ceremonies – Konkani and Sindhi or Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas who had both a Punjabi and Church wedding. What this means is that the wedding apparel market has just got bigger and better and designers and apparel manufacturers are rethinking the wedding trousseau.

Kalaneca Kavea Chavali
Kalaneca Kavea Chavali

Culture Mix

There are different wedding apparel requirements for Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic, Parsi, Buddhist and Jewish weddings in India. “My  2018 collection Khushnoor’ Husn-E-Adaa, and Rangrezz has hit the fashion market and is a trend across the globe with its mix of old world charm and the new generation designs, making sure that Indian traditions are alive even in modern outfits. The collection blends global taste and Indian traditions. These designs are mostly inspired by Morocco and Turkish art forms. You will see palace inspired motifs, floral designs and geometrical patterns blended seamlessly into the designs. With fabrics ranging from brocade and raw silk to velvet, georgette, organza, applique, chiffon, georgette, brocades, soft silk and net, the collection caters to a wide a range of requirements,” says Designer Payal Keyal who designs all types of wedding dresses as she get orders for different community weddings. Hindu Weddings usually see a majestic sherwani, blended Indo-western kurta-pyajama and ethnic Jodhpuri suits that are for the bridegroom. Available both in simple cotton and splendid, royal raw silk, kurta pyjamas are preferred mostly by the bridegrooms. “For Muslim weddings, there is huge collection of traditional sherwanis, or a heavy embroidered kurta with churidar pajamas. Western suit outfits as well as Bandhgalas are most preferred,” says Shyam and Ravi Gupta. Traditional Sikh grooms prefer wearing Kurta, generally white in color, over which they don an Achkan or long overcoat. The achkan is often made of premium fabrics like silk or brocade. Nowadays grooms also wear Sherwanis over the kurta instead of a traditional achkan. The Achkan or the Sherwani is highly embellished with threadwork, beadwork and even with precious stone setting at times. The groom pairs either the Achkan or the Sherwani with a Churidar Pajama, Mojris and a colourful turban. “For Catholic weddings, subtle looking suits are in these days. Trim-fit suits paired with a tie ensure that the look is perfect. Bow ties are being preferred as well. Jewish weddings require plain formal suits paired with hats or either a shawl. Bright coloured suits are preferred by grooms these days,” add Shyam and Ravi.

In Vogue

In community specific wedding wear brides generally, follow the colour of the wedding dress as one of the main elements and then they adopt the current fashion cuts and embroidery styling. Designers understand the personality, body type, skin complexion the current trends, colour preferences and decide the look accordingly. “It is not difficult to help the client decide on what will suit them the best as most of them have already done their homework before coming to us and hence they know what exactly they want and what they do not want. Today more than trends followed by communities specifically, it is more of what is in trend as per current fashion forecasts based on various pre-wedding events like haldi, Mehandi, cocktail, sangeet and the like that is guiding the choice,” says Benita Vira Sahani, Co-Founder, Casa 9. As far as colours are concerned, red and pastel pink is heavily trending in Hindu community whereas pastel pinks are also catching on in Christian weddings. The traditional greens still continue to trend in Muslim weddings while the Sikh community has added various shades to their wedding outfits including pinks, orange and reds. Trends may come and go but people prefer little or no change in the traditional custom wedding attire as they do hold on to their religious traditions when they get married.

Gargee Designers
Gargee Designers

Millennial Weddings

Ideally in a South Indian wedding, a bride needs to shop for 4-5 new sarees. This includes sarees on the main day of wedding and the rituals. The preference generally is for silk owing to the rich look it creates and the vibrant colours that reflect from them. Young brides are however becoming experimental with the colours and patterns and silk sarees are now seen with embroidery and zardozi work. Again, it is no longer a plain blouse, but there is so much work that people are investing on designer blouses too. “While we have our own designs, these days the millennials have a mind of their own. Some have a very specific requirement while others generally get inspired by what a celebrity is wearing. The challenge is in ensuring that the design and colour suits the client requirement. We share designs that we have created in different colour combinations too if the client is not particular. Our customised sarees take 30-45 days to be woven,” says Kavea Chavali, Co-founder, Kalaneca. Earlier wedding wear was focused on luxury, but today it emphasizes the culture and traditions. Most of the people are going back to their roots and experimenting by adding contemporary elements to what their parents wore in the bygone era. “Initially, it was all about being fashionable, but the contemporary era is all about being classy and stylish. Today’s generation believes in preserving age-old culture and tradition. As people have an emotional and sentimental connect with their religion, ancestral culture and traditions. Thus, traditional clothing of communities is being revived and relaunched,” says Sanjeev Mukhija, Founder, Breakbounce Streetwear.

Trend Check

Wedding wear is now emphasizing on comfort and confidence. Tuxedos and formal suits are always in vogue with fashion trends for any wedding from any community. “When we talk about today’s wedding fashion trend, wedding attires are getting more modern and contemporary. Keeping this in mind, I am aiming to revamp the vintage styles to the modern style without losing its elegance and grandeur,” says Keyal. Modern to-be brides are becoming more exploratory and innovative when choosing the final colour of the wedding outfit and even with the style of the garment. Besides, brides these days are not shying away from bold colours like blue, magenta and also black. Aanchal Jiwrajka, Advisory Researcher, Stylus Innovation + Advisory avers, “brides are opting for non-traditional hues, modern silhouettes and playful details. Pastel tones such as dusty rose have replaced the quintessential crimson for brides, offering a fresh spin; think Anushka Sharma’s light-pink wedding attire. Traditional blouses are also being replaced with blouses made in sheer embroidered or shimmery fabrics. Meanwhile, ruffles and fringes fused on dupattas and sarees are adding fun, boomerang-worthy detail to traditional outfits.” Pastels have taken over jewel tones largely this year for bridal wear, which has been a shift in the Indian bridal market since the past few seasons. The dupattas have seen a revamp with feathers and tassels added for a more modern eccentric flair and the veil stood out as a statement piece mostly. This year was all about balancing the right amount of traditional garb with contemporary élan, something that has affected bridal wear across the country. Instagram shopping has become a huge trend so the purchasing capacity of a person had increased and shifted gears too. Celebrities and designers have influenced the minds with regard to a particular colour or style. People are willing to invest in a proper wedding saree and also invest in bridesmaids saree, a trend has picked up big-time over the last 5 years. The battle of handloom and powerloom continues but people are now sitting up and recognising the power and the elegance of owning a handloom saree. Women are not willing to experiment with newer brands that have a good presence on social media too. This makes them feel that they own an exclusive designer piece. After all weddings are once in a lifetime and brides and grooms are certainly making the most of it irrespective of their religion.


  • Hindu – lehenga sets or traditional woven zari sari like Kanjeevaram, Banarasi brocade, Bandhej, Patola
  • Muslim – sharara sets with heavy zardozi embroidery
  • Sikh – bright coloured red or pink Patiala salwar suits with gold
  • Catholic – white lacy floor-length gowns
  • Parsi – traditional white ghara sari
  • Buddhist – white saris with very little embroidery
  • Jewish – white embellished gowns.

This story first appeared in Apparel Magazine Dec 2018 issue here: FEATURE COMMUNITY WEDDINGS

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