MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING
DRESSING UP FOR A FRIEND’S WEDDING CAN BE TRICKY. YOU CAN’T UPSTAGE THE BRIDE BUT YOU SHOULDN’T LOOK LIKE A SLOB EITHER. POOJA PILLAI TELLS YOU HOW TO STRIKE THE PERFECT BALANCE.
Shoppers take note. The wedding season is upon us and how. If it’s not a wedding in the family, then it’s either a friend’s wedding or a colleague’s. Almost everyone has a nuptial or two to attend in the months ahead from November to February, so it’s a good idea to know exactly what to wear and what to avoid.
These days, there’s no need for anyone to be badly dressed at a wedding. Especially if it’s your best friend’s wedding. Of course, it is the bride’s big day and while no one should try and steal her thunder there’s no need to be a wall- flower either. With the wide variety of outfits that are now available for guests attending a wedding, the usual Kanjeevarams and Banarasi silks can be shelved in favour of something more glamorous and modern.
PITFALLS TO AVOID
“No matter what, the bride should always stand out,” emphasises designer Anita Dongre. “During the wedding season, I am usually approached by an entire family to design a wardrobe. It is not just the bride that I design for, but also her mother, her sisters, her cousins and sometimes even her friends. The focus is always the same— on making the bride stand out. However, that doesn’t mean that the sisters, cousins and friends have to look any less attractive,” she adds. Dongre’s advice is to avoid wearing the same colours as the bride, “If you know she’s going to wear red for the sangeet, stay away from it. And if the bride is wearing a
particular shade of hot pink for the wedding, you can avoid that and opt for some other colour instead.”
Designer Maheka Mirpuri agrees and adds her own set of restrictions to the non- bridal wardrobe. “In general, it is known that the bride would wear a heavy lehenga to at least one of her wedding functions. So if you are a good friend avoid showing up in a heavy lehenga. After all, there are many other lovely outfits for guests to choose from such as anarkalis, shararas and saris. Just remember to play it safe and try not to upstage the bride.” Of course, if you do want to wear a lehenga, just make sure it is not during the wedding ceremony itself, which is when most brides wear lehengas, and that it is in a non- bridal colour, such as lime green or some shade of blue.
There’s also the question of how much is too much when it comes to embroidery and embellishments on garments. Designer Azeem Khan says that it is best to avoid anything that shines or glitters too much. “As a rule, I would advise wedding guests to stay away from crystal work on their garments,” he says. “Also, there’s no need to go overboard with gold and silver embellishments. Try something more muted, like resham embroidery. It looks understated and yet is elegant,” he adds.
Another thing to remember is to keep your make- up as muted as possible so that when the wedding pictures come in, you don’t look like someone screaming for attention.
Of course, none of this means that a wedding guest’s wardrobe should be devoid of glamour. Just keep in mind the occasion, work with your body type and keep up with the latest trends to find that perfect outfit for each of those wedding functions.
MEHENDI AND SANGEET
Perhaps the two most enjoyable functions during any wedding are the
mehendi and sangeet. Relatively more informal than the wedding ceremony and the reception, the mehendi and
sangeet are marked by a great deal of song and dance, and is an occasion for everyone to let their hair down. “On these occasions, it is a good idea to wear something experimental and funky, with an element of fun in it,” advises designer- duo, Shyamal and Bhumika Shodhan.
Designer Sakshee Pradhan adds that the bride’s sisters and friends should remember that they will probably have to run errands during the wedding functions and staying practical is just as important as looking glamorous. An anarkali is a wise choice for the mehendi and
sangeet as it offers freedom of movement. You can either make your outfit funky by having it cut with an asymmetrical hemline or neckline or you could opt for a more stately look by going floor- length. Dongre suggests adding a plunging back to the anarkali to add a modern edge to the outfit and emphasise a well- toned back.
Another trendy option is a sharara. A lehenga, as long as it is not too heavily embellished or ornate, is also a good option. By keeping it light, you’ll also be able to move around and dance more freely—an important consideration during the mehendi and sangeet.
Most designers recommend staying away from colours such as bright reds, pinks and oranges as these are usually reserved for the bride. However, that doesn’t mean that one can’t wear bright colours at all. Blues, greens, yellows and purples are all great colour options for a mehendi or
sangeet. In fact, designer Nikasha Tawadey suggests keeping the sangeet and mehendi outfits bright and colour- ful. “These are the functions where you can really have some fun. So don’t shy away from wearing colours such as turmeric yellow or parrot green. If there’s a theme at the sangeet, you can follow it and still stay bright and colourful,” she says.
Well- chosen accessories will add the required chutzpah to your sangeet or mehendi outfit; there’s no need to keep it traditional. Try some rubies and emeralds, rather than gold and diamond sets. Again, jewellery needs to be light so that you’re not weighed down while dancing, while your footwear needs to be comfortable with heels as low as you can manage.
THE WEDDING CEREMONY
D- Day hosts the most solemn function during the entire wedding week and is also the right occasion to flaunt your finest outfit. Once again, you must tread the fine line between wearing something glamorous and not overshadowing the bride. Going traditional is a good idea for this particular day.
The Shodhans suggest that this is the perfect time to “please your grandma” and advise wearing an outfit that befits family customs.
However, if you are in the mood for something slightly more adventurous than the usual handloom southern silk sari or heavy Banarasi silks, you can opt for saris in georgette, chiffon or even lace. These make for a beautifully traditional look that isn’t predictable or dowdy. Mirpuri, says that it is a good idea to keep the sari relatively simple and go all out with the blouse. “You can go for heavy embellishments or go backless or do something fun with the sleeves,” she says.
As for colour, this is the one time when a guest should avoid reds and pinks, as the bride is most likely to dress in those colours. According to Mirpuri, one doesn’t need to wear rich colour. “Even colours such as sea- green and aqua blue look great,” she adds. As for jewellery, it is important not to wear too much, says Khan. A single statement set or even a pair of heavy earrings or an elaborate choker is a great idea to ensure that you look elegant. If you own a traditional gold set, this is the occasion to pull it out of the bank locker.
RECEPTION AND COCKTAILS
For the reception the key words are ‘ understated and elegant’. It is an occasion that is more formal than the former two functions, but at the same time, demands an outfit that is slightly more modern and edgier than what is worn at a wedding ceremony. “Wear a jacket or a bolero over a sari to try a new look,” says Mirpuri. “The look for a reception or cocktail should be more western. Opt for an Indo-Western fusion outfit if you feel you can carry it off. Otherwise you are safer sticking to a western colour palette in shades of silver, grey or sea green.” Western silhouettes work especially well for a cocktail party. One can either go totally western with a gown, or opt for a floor- length Indo-Western outfit. If you’re wearing a sari, try a design that is more baroque- inspired or one that is in a darker shade such as black, burgundy, brown or metallic grey. “Don’t be afraid to experiment with drapes,” says Tawadey, adding, “There are all sorts of drapes, traditional and modern, available today.”
The general idea, says Mirpuri, is to go for something structured. So if you have worn an anarkali for the
sangeet and a sari for the wedding, try going for an understated silk churidar and kurta for the reception. As much as bling looks good during the mehendi, wedding and
sangeet, opt for accessories that are more muted during the reception or cocktail.
The reception is also a good opportunity to show off your well- toned body, says Dongre. If you’ve gone traditional in the previous functions, use the reception or cocktail to show off your well- toned arms in a one- shouldered gown or kurta. However, there should be a line drawn at how much skin you show, says Tawadey. “Focus on one part of your body, such as the shoulders or the back. Don’t go for an over- kill here. As for accessories, a reception or cocktail is the right time to wear some high heels and carry a lovely little minaudiere. If you’ve chosen to wear something with playful or no sleeves, you can emphasise your toned arms with some bracelets that are not too traditional. Remember, on this occasion, you don’t need to wear the whole jewellery set— either stick to earrings and bracelets, or earrings and a necklace, or a perfect pair of earrings.
Go for bright shades of blue, green, yellow and purple instead of usual bridal colours like red and pink. Lehenga by Fahad Hussayn,
PFDC - The Boulevard "
Bright colours and experimental accessories are perfect for the sangeet and mehendi. (Top) Adarsh Gill; Rajdeep Ranawat
Wear a single statement jewellery set like this one by Jasani
Raghavendra Rathore’s elegant
Indo-western fusion wear is a good choice for a