February 16, 2010

bridal attire - going traditional

prior to going wedding shopping, i was told a few do's and don't for my bridal trousseau. i wasn't always given a proper explanation for each thing to keep in mind, which is an unfortunate problem our generation faces - lack of proper explanations for traditions. anyway, back to the do's and don't i was told:

a bride is supposed to wear a sari to her wedding

a few years back, in discussion about bridal wear, i told one of my aunts i wouldn't mind wearing a chaniya choli on my wedding day. she told me that when you pass away, you're supposed to be cremated in your wedding attire since you're supposed to be dressed up like a bride (only if you pass away before your husband; if you pass away as a widow, then they put your wedding attire beside you). she said if you wear a chaniya choli, there's a chance the skirt won't fit when you pass away. i suppose that's a nice way of saying, "first comes marriage, then comes weight gain."

one year on the eighth day of navratri, a group of women attended garba in their wedding saris.  i asked one of my aunts why they were dressed in wedding saris - she explained that the eighth day is very auspicious, so you would wear your wedding sari again. well that didn't really explain much.. i really enjoy going to garba which is why i thought of a chaniya choli to begin with since i would certainly get good use out of it. doing a bit of not-always-reliable internet research, i couldn't find anything on the topic. i did find out newly-wedded women would wear their bridal outfit on their first karva chauth (a day when women seek blessings for their husband's long life by observing a fast). i suppose i need to talk to more people to gain a better understanding. anyway, if it's true that you would wear your wedding sari on the eighth day of navratri, then i wouldn't want to have a really heavy lehenga which i can't really wear again.. or dance in for that matter.

while shopping, i did try on both saris and lehengas. i really liked the lehengas because they made me look super skinny and were generally cheaper than bridal saris. the reason i ultimately chose to go with a sari is that i found the skirts on the lehenga far too heavy.. the weight of my sari and the weight of the lehenga felt the same when folded in a package; however when wearing a sari, i found the weight to be more evenly distributed making it more comfortable to wear over the course of several hours.

a bridal sari should be one unstitched piece of fabric

one of the trends i found shopping was the choli sari style, which is basically two different saris cut and stitched together. this style is to give the bottom pleats a different look from the part that wraps over your shoulder and across your front. it's a really nice style that creates a visual interest without making the embroidery look too busy.

during my trip to india, one of my mum's cousins told me that i'm supposed to wear a single unstitched sari for the wedding; not a two saris that have been stitched together. it was explained to me that back in the day, the poor would typically take scraps of fabric and stitch them together to make a sari to wear. on auspicious occasions, days of celebration, you shouldn't wear scraps - especially on your wedding day. i suppose it shows a sign of wealth as well.

i did end up buying an unstitched piece of fabric, rather than a choli sari. like i said, the choli saris had lovely contrasts, but the specific type of embroidery i was looking for was mostly found on saris that were unstitched. good for me i guess!

a bride should not wear gold on their wedding day
last year one of my cousins told me that brides aren't supposed to wear real gold on their wedding day, their jewellery is supposed to be fake. i wasn't given an explanation as to why .. and i've also been told otherwise - it's alright to wear gold on your wedding day. kind of makes me wonder though.. how long has fake indian jewellery existed? was fake jewellery available when our grandparents were our age? actually, i should say teenagers, because in most cases our grandparents were already married and had multiple children when they were our age. if fake jewellery is a fashion trend that was made avaiable in the last 50 or so years, then this point doesn't really seem valid.

i ended up buying fake jewellery to wear at the wedding.. prices for real gold is just ridiculously too expensive right now!

this is really all the advice i've been given to date in regards to my bridal gear. i seemed to follow the do's to the tee, more so out of preference than following traditions. what can i say? i guess i'm a traditionalist kind of girl.. kiwi's certainly in trouble.

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