When Should We Get Married?

Many Hindu wedding dates are set not by the couple’s preferences and after consultation with their college football team’s fall schedule, but by a Hindu priest. Traditionally, wedding dates were recommended by a Hindu priest based upon the couple’s zodiac signs, specific birth dates, and potentially even their families’ respective castes.

Today, some couples still adhere to this tradition, while sticking to weekend dates for maximum guest attendance. Religious holidays are always particularly popular dates, as it seems that most couples’ stars align on those days.

Joota Chori

The joota chori, or joota chupai, is the shoe-stealing ceremony common at Hindu weddings. When the groom enters the mandap, or wedding altar, he takes off his shoes because the wedding ceremony is a puja, or religious ritual. Hindus do not wear shoes during pujas.

When the groom takes off his shoes, the bride’s sisters, bridesmaids, cousins, nieces, or friends will steal the shoes for later. Usually, this just involves female members of the bridal party, but sometimes men will join in, too.

When the ceremony is over, the groom will arrive to find his shoes have been stolen. In order to get them back, he must pay the thieves a ransom. The bounty might be a small amount of cash, but in modern wedding ceremonies we’ve seen the dollar amount raise exponentially.

Grooms: be prepared. Pack some cash in that sherwani before you leave for the wedding — it’s why you have pockets on those outfits.

How To Wear a Sari

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.

Wedding Registry: Indian Style

So you’ve decided that the “No Boxed Gifts” route isn’t for you. You won’t say no to cash, but you want boxed gifts, too. Yay! Registering for presents is fun. Here are your options:
Go to a physical store. Set up a gift registry. Like that scene from 27 Dresses, in most cases you’ll be handed a scanning device and given free reign of the store. You walk around and pick out pretty things that you want in your home. You scan them. The scanner compiles a list for you. It is awesome. Some of our favorite bricks-and-mortar store spots to register are: Bed Bath & BeyondMacy’sCrate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn. But we also like supporting local businesses! Do any boutiques in your town offer wedding registries, or at least sell gift cards? It never hurts to ask!
Go online. If you’re anything like us, Amazon runs your life. (Note: we’re Amazon Associates, but Amazon ran our life well before we got that title. Subscribe & Save is life.) Amazon provides several options for online registries, including wedding registries, and you can even include links to items that aren’t sold by Amazon. Another great option is Zola, a new registry service that is rapidly gaining in popularity.
Get creative. Want to register for something other than gifts? There are all sorts of options out there! You can register for a honeymoon with Honeyfund, or for a down payment on a home. You could even create a 529 savings plan for yourself or someone else and register for that!
Pay it forward. Another option for the bride who has it all, or doesn’t want any more than she already has, is to ask for charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts. Pick your favorite cause (or a few of them), and link to their donation site on your wedding website. Engaged couple Poonam and Nishkaam set a “Million Meals” goal as part of their ideal wedding, and we are cheering them on!
There you have it, readers! Which option do you prefer, or do you have another idea we missed? Send us a note on our contact form or via Twitter and let us know!

Rangoli

One of India’s oldest traditions, rangoli is a form of art that you frequently find at Indian weddings. If you ever see what looks like paint on the floor, in a paisley or floral pattern, that is probably rangoli (or its modern equivalent). Originally made from rice soaked in water, rangoli now is frequently just water-based paint that is applied to the ground in a decorative pattern at auspicious times. Though it has less staying power, sometimes rangoli is also made of flower petals. Look, but don’t touch!
Not only for weddings, you might also see rangoli decorations outside homes for Diwali, Holi, or even birthdays. Want to learn how to make your own rangoli? Check out these resources below:
  
Or, if you just like the look of rangoli and want a stress-relief activity…

Sunday Links – February 19

Hey hey hey! It’s Sunday! Here are some links to get you through your hangover lazy morning.

InStyle has some great tips for you budding MUAs on how to do your own make up for your wedding day (or for your next big social event so you don’t have to book an appointment at Sephora instead!).

Sick of the usual save-the-date routine? Check out these quirky ideas for inspiration.

Hot air balloon elopement. Need I say more?

On the heels of our (fantastic, wonderful, life-changing) DIY post, here are some other ideas to add a touch of DIY to your wedding!

 

What to Expect: Mehndi

If you are anything like most Indian brides, dear bride-to-be, you are currently engaged, knee-deep in wedding planning, and ready to start planning your mehndi party, but you have no idea where to begin. Unique to Indian weddings, mehndi parties are one of the hardest parts to plan. What do you need? How much will it cost? How do you find someone who can actually do your mehndi well enough for the big day?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Continue reading “What to Expect: Mehndi”

Add a Touch of DIY to Your Shaadi

Let’s face it: big, traditional Indian weddings are expensive, elaborate affairs. You’re not catering a three-day cultural and social event for 250 of your closest family and friends without spending a pretty penny. But in this age of DIY, we all have the urge to add a touch of ourselves to our weddings.
How do you do that when you’re coordinating so many other things? The trick is to do only as much as you’re able, and not to be too hard on yourself if something you planned to do has to be outsourced instead. This is the time to capitalize on your strengths and know yourself. If you’re a top-notch seamstress or professional-level hand letterer, use those skills! If you would rather die than use a glue gun, don’t force it. This is your wedding, your moment — make it enjoyable instead of stressful.
Now for some ideas! 

Continue reading “Add a Touch of DIY to Your Shaadi”

Pins

Have you ever wondered how you’re going to fasten a 15 lb. dupatta to your head for your Indian wedding ceremony?

The ornate, heavy, intricately decorated chunni is beautiful to look at in a lehngha showroom, but when the rubber hits the road (or the silk hits the hair), you might start to second-guess your choice of outfit.

No worries, bride-to-be! Here’s the secret:

Continue reading “Pins”