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.

India Today - - WEDDING SPECIAL -

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

cock­tail party

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