Handwoven with and in love - All about my wedding outfits!
I got married 1.5 years into starting Love the World Today and though I've always loved textiles, the awareness and learning my journey at Love the World Today has brought might be single handedly responsible for the choices I made with my wedding outfits.
I have never cared for the big labels. Clothes for me have always been an expression of who I am - on some days what I feel like but on all days what my choices and value systems are. I knew my wedding outfit had to be one of a kind, timeless and carry an energy. And more than anything, something that I can reuse again and again and again for years to come. Picking things off the rack was not on the cards and I didn’t even bother visiting the designer labels.
Luckily for me, my childhood best friend agreed to design my outfit (no one better to dress you than someone who has known you since you were 7 years old).
I put a lot of references and details together for her which led us to conclude the colour palettes (though I think I had that clarity all along) - some ivory gold, some deep red and some grey/black!
I wanted to pick textiles that were rooted in Indian art and were rich enough to not need any embroidery or embellishment on them. The star was the textile! Also because I wanted to reuse ALL my wedding outfits in various combinations.
(This has also been the inspiration for all the ethnic wear we design at Love the World Today. These are handwoven and artisanal textiles. Our star is the textile and silhouettes keeping in mind comfort at the core. The outfits are timeless and often make for heirloom pieces. One can even choose to resell them on our website via the Relove program)
Before wedding, my parents and I had the opportunity to travel a lot across the country and my trousseau basically carried handwoven sarees from different regions - Ikkat from Orissa, Paithani from Maharashtra, Bandhani from Gujarat, Kanjeevaram from Tamil Nadu, Kasavu from Kerala, Lucknowi from Lucknow, Benarasis from Benaras, Jamdani from Kolkatta, so on and so forth.
This was built over a period of time and something I cherish with all my heart and use ever so often. In my 5 years of being married, I haven’t shopped once for an Indian outfit. Each saree brings back a memory of travel or gift from my parents and each saree feels like a piece of art.
During these travels, I picked up 2 sarees that would then go on to become my wedding lehengas.
A gorgeous handwoven gold tussar silk benarasi saree from Ekaya Ahmedabad and an unusual grey handwoven silk saree with gold polkas and temple border from a now 80 year old store called Rukmini Hall in Bangalore.
Sigh! Only a textile lover will understand the beauty in the simplicity and history of these sarees.
Took me some heart to cut these sarees into lehengas but I am so glad I did because Eka made the most joyous lehengas for a dancer like me. Voluminous, incredibly versatile AND with pockets!
For the mehendi ceremony (though I didn't wear mehendi), I wore a mix and match outfit, the only one that I picked off the rack, from Vaishali Sagar. This was an absolute last minute purchase thanks to an event for Love the World Today where I discovered Vaishali's label. Her work is so inspirational in bringing the weavers of Maheshwar to the fore. And the silhouettes and details are absolutely delightful. The outfit is in handwoven cotton silk - a one shoulder draped tunic paired with a crinkled skirt. Both in shades of deep maroon with gold zari weaves, a contrast green selvedge and handmade tassels.
For the Ganesh puja, I wore an outfit gifted by a dear friend though much senior and also someone who designed clothes for our entire family for years - Puja. She made me the most comfortable mustard silk kurta and churidaar that I paired with a bright and loud pink benarasi dupatta from my engagement. (Won’t own it if I can’t reuse it!)
The wedding outfit carried my favourite word ‘grace’ (a lot of our infant wear at Love the World Today is named after the word 'grace' too :) )and our wedding date embroidered on it. The only piece of embroidery on that outfit besides the waist belt.
The tassels on my lehenga carried cherry blossom flowers (a personal story here) and the first gift Dev ever gave me - 3 shells from his dive trip in Andaman.
The dupatta I wore on my head was a very old sheer white dupatta that I owned easily from 8-10 years before I got married. During the wedding preps, we found an old photograph from a party where Dev and I were in the same frame without knowing each other. I was wearing this white dupatta in the photograph and it only felt symbolic to make this dupatta part of my wedding outfit.
We had a beautiful sundowner as the last ceremony, one that was closest to my heart because we danced and danced and danced from sunset to moonrise. The only way I understand expressing love and joy. This one had to be a hassle free outfit. We used the grey handwoven silk saree for this ceremony. A gorgeous lehenga with layers of soft net to give it the flounce. Detailed with colour pops - a mustard lining, a hot pink panel, olive green pockets, potli buttons and a temple border.
The blouse was fun and allowed me to have my hands and mind free. The only detail it carried was the strappy back and some french knots in the front. I also carried a black pashmina stole in case it got chilly by the sea. We embroidered the shawl with one of Dev’s favourite quotes and also a reminder to me ‘You have everything you need to be happy’ and then put a bright happy tassel with leftover coloured fabrics.
This lehenga was cut at floor length because I wanted to wear flat shoes. Picked by my dad of course! I loved how he was so invested in my outfits, jewellery, make up, footwear. And he truly made me believe that I am beautiful and need no special preps besides being myself gracefully and assertively! My shoes for this function was a secret between dad and me - a pair of light up sneakers (embracing the Sindhi within!)
When I look back now, I feel so glad I stuck with my instinct on my looks and kept them simple and minimal. I have used every single outfit from the wedding at least 5 times each in 5 years. And that to me is the best investment. The textiles carry so much history and the energy of the hands that have woven them. The 2 sarees were converted into lehengas by my childhood best friend and stitched by a local tailor - Aslam Master. No one else has these outfits. And they are detailed with my life and my stories. I mean how much more special can it get? Each time I wear these outfits, it’s like I am embraced by love.
I’ve always been shy of talking about my personal life which is also why I’ve probably not shared ALL details here but I also wonder who reads so much in today’s day and age. If you made it till here, I hope this article makes you think about your clothes in some way. And if you are a bride to be, then all the more.
The wedding landscape is changing big time. Everyone is making it their own in their own little ways. And clothes form a big part of that identity, Whether you choose a pant suit, a cotton saree or a full blown designer lehenga, each choice is a story that you carry. Choose responsibly. Because our love stories have the power to impact the world and our wedding outfits are part of that impact in the way we hold space, in the way we support the world at large, in the way we break generational patterns, in the way we choose to look back at our wedding day.
Mehendi Outfit - Vaishali Sagar
Wedding and Sundowner Outfit - Eka Lakhani (The saree for the wedding outfit is from Ekaya Benaras and the saree for the sundowner outfit is from Rukmini Hall, Bangalore)
Photos - Sarah Pista and Joanne D'silva
Hair and make up - Shamita Gogia