This year has not only put a lockdown in everybody’s lives but also ensured that the “Big Fat Indian Wedding” was minimised to a trickling affair during the lockdown. It was deemed almost recession-proof - until COVID-19 hit. For all the couples and families who had the ideal Summer or Monsoon Wedding planned, grand venues were replaced by living rooms, exorbitant trousseau by family heirlooms and bulky guest lists by a mask-wearing minimalistic group of attendees. However, there is hope yet for people who have planned their weddings in the winters as with the arrival of “Unlock 5.0”, a shadow of the “Grand Weddings” can be recreated, albeit keeping in mind the “New Normal”. Also, numerous families who had got married during the lockdown have decided to compensate with lavish receptions to ensure that their friends and families can celebrate with them now. So while the “Big Fat Indian Wedding” might not resurface until the pandemic is completely under control, “Stylish but Simple” Indian weddings have definitely made a grand entry.
The New Normal Indian Weddings during the Lockdown
When it comes to an Indian wedding, three elements play a vital role to ensure if it can be labelled as the perfect Grand Wedding - The right venue, a lavish menu and a trousseau grand enough to make your guests twitch with envy! While the venue and menu have been toned down this year due to the government limit on the number of attendees, the trousseau is one element which has stayed constant due to the simple fact that the bride and groom retain it for life -in photographs as well as in real. Starting with a glamorous wardrobe for the pre-wedding shoot to the right label of designer lehngas for the wedding, every item ranging from clothes to accessories is purchased and ordered after painstaking research. So what have the brides and grooms of the year of the pandemic incorporated in their trousseau which is different from the previous years’ wedding couples?
The mantra by which wedding couples are selecting the perfect wedding trousseau for the year 2020 can be summarised under the following categories:
While weddings have become small, the dreams remain large. No matter how intimate the affair, the bride will not compromise on her dream wedding look. However, with the new norms gaining ground, couture has been replaced by caution. Couples are now opting for garments which can be recycled and reused later. So while silk remains the popular fabric and bling is still popular, tulles and taffetas have been replaced by straight fits; heavy brocade by elegant embroidery. The D-day outfits are being selected keeping in mind that they can be broken down or altered into multiple pieces later. “Unlike previously, when wedding trousseau was a detailed hunt for designer labels, now people are looking for multipurpose wear that would also be easy on the pocket.
For almost nine months, the world resided at homes in their loungewear and athleisure. Even official meetings were held wearing comfortable officewear. With everyone working from home, people have now realised the importance of comfort in clothing. This word which was probably the last on the wedding trousseau requirements has suddenly been catapulted to the top three criteria in wedding wardrobe selection. What designers do seem reasonably sure of is that the trend of lightweight and simpler wedding lehngas will continue - brides would prefer to be fuss-free and comfortable. Reputed Designer Anita Dongre has always prided herself on the fact that her fashion house brought in the trend of lightweight wedding lehngas. “I don’t see that aesthetic changing for us,” she says. Chiffon being lightweight and pretty is a popular choice in fabrics for wedding garments. Silk and Velvet remain eternal favourites for the winter bride and groom due to their comfort and a regal appeal.
Value for Money:
Post COVID-19, people’s spending power and inclination to spend have both been reduced at large. While it remains mandatory to have the perfect trousseau, it is also equally important now to select items which are high on quality but easy on the pocket. Downtrading has become the motto of the year. So while the larger-than-life Designer labels are here to stay, families are opting for single pieces of haute couture for the bride and groom over the stacks that were normally purchased. The year 2020 bride is not compromising on her trousseau - instead, she is opting for a wardrobe which has high quality but a low investment. This sensible shopping has ensured that emerging designers and brands have now got a ready audience in the bridal couples, hence generating incomes for new talent.
The need to recycle outfits purchased for weddings later have led to the rise in popularity of classic fashion. Banarasi sarees and Kanjeevaram silks have surprisingly made an entry with the modern bride of this year. Sarees passed from mother to daughter are being retouched or moulded into wedding ensembles for the young bride of the year of the pandemic. Designer Palak Shah, who specialises in textiles and weaves, says: “I see a lot of classic patterns coming through. You can’t go wrong with a jaal sari, colour combinations of red and pink. Brides will veer towards timeless choices rather than being experimental.” The trend of this year is classic and brides everywhere are ensuring that they are selecting their wardrobes in styles which will be labelled as eternal fashion and class. Now more than ever, people have realised the importance of recycling, reusing and reliving in the true sense of the term.
Old Family Sarees are being given the new touch and drape
The year of the pandemic might have put a dampener on our celebrations but not our spirits. Now more than ever, we have a reason to celebrate. The joy of being alive, the happiness of being healthy and the luxury of being with your loved ones feature high on everybody’s gratitude list. Weddings provide the perfect platform to celebrate all of the above. The “Big Fat Indian Wedding” might have dropped a size or two with the “New Normal” but the occasion still demands living it up large. Indian bridal couture has beautifully encapsulated this in their choice of sustainable and safe fashion.