Your mom isn’t going to want to find time for professional hair and makeup. Or she isn’t going to want to spend money on a nice new sari. Or she will try to skip her pre-wedding mani/pedi.
Fight her on these! This is your special day, but she’ll be in the spotlight, too. She deserves to feel glamorous!
“Payal” (or sometimes “polki”) refers to gold or silver anklets commonly worn by girls and women when dressing in Indian clothes. Payal can be elaborate or simple. They frequently have bells on them, so a woman’s every step will result in some pleasant music. These are far from mandatory for a wedding, but they’re a fun addition to your outfit if you want to add a bit more bling! They’re also the perfect accessory to the henna a bride wears on her feet.
Fun fact: “Payal” is also a popular female name among Indian people!
You plan your wedding for months or years, and then it’s over in a second. Live in the moment, don’t drink too much Johnny Walker, and take a ton of pictures.
Traditions are made to be broken. Pick and choose what works for you and for your wedding. Don’t want to steal the groom’s shoes? Ditch it.
It’s time to register for gifts for your upcoming Indian wedding. What kinds of things should you include? We’re so glad you asked. There are a million guides out there for items to include on your wedding registry, but we’re here to provide you with some ideas for things that will be useful to you as a newly wedded Indian couple. Here is a list of items we’d suggest adding to your kitchen.
Spice dabba for keeping all of your Indian spices neat and nearby.
Silver cups, bowls, plates for pujas and nostalgic Indian meals at home.
Rolling pin for making rotis, chappatis, or just pie.
Roti press, for those of you who (like us) have no talent for rolling round rotis.
Mugs for chai (or coffee), especially for when your parents are in town visiting. You’ll need to have a bunch on hand, because older Indian people like to drink chai at least twice a day.
A sturdy tray or two that you can use to carry around all of those chai mugs.
A tea kettle for making chai.
Dosa and idli makers for fancy nights at home.
Pressure cooker, slow cooker, or Instant Pot.
Acrylic canisters to sort your daals and different flours (besan, atta, all-purpose, gluten-free, cake, cornmeal, the list goes on…).
What did we miss? Do you have any favorite Indian kitchen items we should add to the list? Let us know!
Budgets break. Set one at the outset, but leave yourself some wiggle room. Prioritize where you’d be willing to spend extra, and where you could skimp, DIY, or rely on family to cut costs.
So you’re going to be a bridesmaid in an Indian wedding. Congratulations! You’ll have so much fun. But, as with any wedding, being a bridesmaid comes with certain responsibilities. Are you ready for them? Here are some ideas for an Indian Wedding Bridesmaid Survival Kit that might help you.
Indian clothes generally involve a lot of fabric. You’re going to need some safety pins to keep things in place, unless you are some sort of sari-wearing expert.
Zippers on most Indian clothes are, in our experience, less than stellar. They are the cheapest, flimsiest zippers you’ve ever seen in your life. In the event of a wardrobe malfunction on the big day, you want to have a sewing kit handy, just in case. Broken zipper? No problem, we’ll sew you into your blouse. Beaded bodice snagged on something and beads now falling everywhere? Stop the bleeding with your sewing kit.
Like any wedding, you’ll need a ton of these. Consider buying a few colors to match different hair types of the other women in the bridal party.
Because a day without moisturized lips is worse than a day in hell.
Makeup Remover Wipes
Hindu wedding ceremonies usually involve application of red and yellow powder to the foreheads of the bride, groom, and potentially some other members of the wedding party. Just in case, you might want makeup remover wipes on hand to wipe away the powder for the bride, so she doesn’t have to re-do all of her makeup for the reception.
Especially if there’s an open bar. But even if there isn’t one, because who knows? You might stub your toe.
Do you want to wear a sari but don’t know where to start? Hooray! We’re here to help.
Step 1: Buy a sari. We recommend something that is lightweight, preferably made of chiffon or georgette material. Lighter saris are easier to wear for beginners, and they’re good for warm weather.
Step 2: Buy a petticoat. You will need to wear this underneath your sari. A petticoat is a plain, solid color, cotton skirt that ties with a drawstring.
They are generally one-size-fits-most. If you are particularly tall or short, or particularly thin or heavy, you might need to special-order a petticoat. But in our experience, women ranging in sizes from 4 to 14 can share off-the-rack petticoats. Big relief for those of us who like Girl Scout cookie season a bit too much.
Step 3: Buy a blouse. Saris are essentially just really beautiful pieces of fabric, like a toga. However, unlike a toga, you will wear a separate blouse with your sari. The blouse is meant to be seen, at least a little. Most blouses fasten in the front using hook-and-eye closures.
Saris usually come with a “blouse piece,” which is a 1-2 yard piece of fabric that matches the sari and can be sewn to make a blouse. However, it is hard to find a tailor who knows how to make a sari blouse from scratch. Plain sari blouses in standard colors (black, gold, silver, red, etc.) can be purchased online for a reasonable cost and usually track normal American sizing. These are a good option, and can be used with multiple saris!
Step 4: Make sure the sari has a “fall” sewn in. This is a 3-inch strip of fabric sewn to the inside bottom of the plain end of the sari to protect the sari from your feet while you walk. Without a fall, the sari could fray or tear easily if you accidentally step on your sari. With the fall, the sari is protected … a bit.
Step 5: Obtain a few large safety pins.
Step 6: Wrap your sari. Put on your blouse, put on your petticoat, and start wrapping yourself in fabric. We like this video by Good Indian Girl for a basic tutorial on how to “fold it.”
There are several options for wrapping your sari, but the most traditional method involves wrapping from right to left so you end up with the decorative sari piece (pallu) draped over your left shoulder. Secure your folds with a safety pin just below your waist, and secure your pallu to the back of your left shoulder with one additional safety pin.
You may know surma by its more common name: kohl. This eyeliner is the great-grandmother of the black self-sharpening eyeliner pencil that we all have in our makeup drawers. Eyeliner is actually an important part of a Hindu wedding ceremony: the kohl is viewed as something that can protect you from the evil eye (sometimes called the “nazzir”).
Brides usually satisfy the kohl requirement by lining their eyes in heavy black pencil, but most modern grooms are less interested in wearing makeup than their female counterparts. In their cases, you’ll sometimes see a black “x” drawn on their head, behind an ear, or a black dot in the same place. This has the same effect of warding off the evil eye and keeping the wedding ceremony lucky for the bride, groom, and their families and friends.
If you’re anything like us, when you’re anticipating a big event, it’s all you can think about, and it’s all you want to think about. So when you’re planning a beach vacation, you watch those Friends episodes where they’re in Montauk and the Sex and the City episodes in the Hamptons. When you’re gearing up for a bachelorette party, you watch Bridesmaids on repeat. So when you’re planning your Indian wedding, you probably need some movies to watch. Never fear, we’ve got you covered: Behold the DEFINITIVE list of Indian wedding movies for the modern Indian bride.
Do you have a friend who’s recently engaged and embarking on the emotional roller coaster that they call “wedding planning?” Schedule a girls’ night to watch one (or more) of these classics, or buy a few DVDs to include in her “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT AHHHHH!!!!” care package.
And don’t forget the popcorn.