A couple of weeks ago, there was a very important function in the family that my mum even came all the way from Australia (her third time to India) to attend — the wedding of my oldest nephew. It’s hard to believe that I have a nephew of marriageable age. However, my husband’s sister got married young and had him when she was still a teenager.
Of course, the question many of you are probably wondering is, “Was it a love marriage?” The answer is yes! It was the third love marriage in the family (apart from my husband and his brother) and also to someone of a different community. She is Gujarati.
In testament to how “progressive” my husband’s family has become, the marriage took place without any fuss or opposition. The happy couple fell in love during college and she started making appearances at family functions over a year ago — indicating that she’d been accepted as my nephew’s girlfriend (although she was always referred to as his “friend”) and it was a serious relationship. My sister in law has always been rather broadminded though, and she was the one my husband turned to when he wanted to convince his parents to support his marriage to me.
The wedding was also the largest and fanciest one in the family to date. There was a sangeet, along with a reception for around 1,000 people held at one of the huge outdoor wedding grounds that appear side by side along a road in Borivali.
Of course, all this meant that I had to buy some new saris — one for the wedding and one for the reception. And, of course, this meant hours and hours of deliberation over which saris to choose. As I’ve mentioned previously, selecting a sari is not as simple as just picking a colour and design that you like. Over the years, I’ve learned that there are a lot of subtle differences in choosing the right sari for the right occasion in India. It’s the same as choosing the right dress for the right occasion in the west, be it a cocktail dress, a formal dress, a party dress, or a casual dress. The sari material, and the amount of embroidery, sequins, and other detailing are all factors that need to be taken into account.
As is typically the case with weddings in India (and very different to the west), the wedding ceremony is attended only by family and close friends. The sari should be conservative but formal, and without a lot of bling. Silk is a good choice of fabric. I finally settled on a fancy brocade cream silk sari from Cbazaar online. (I rarely shop in stores anymore, as I find the overwhelming attention from sales assistants makes it so difficult for me to make a thoughtful decision).
I dressed my mum in my silk maroon sari. It’s the first sari I ever owned, and which my husband bought for me in Kolkata not long after I’d met him.
Funnily enough, my mother in law was wearing a sari very similar to the one my mother was wearing. And yes, it was also a gift from Kolkata from my husband! (Bless him, his mother was happy with the sari, so he thought it would be good to give me one like it).
The wedding reception is time to dress up and flash some bling around. Sheer fabrics with sequins and crystals, and lots of jewellery, are the go. I chose this red chiffon jacquard sari, again from Cbazaar. It’s fine to wear red, the bridal colour, to an Indian wedding as long as you don’t outdo the bride! (And there wasn’t much chance of that as she was dressed in a stunning green, red, and purple lengha that she’d designer herself).