Dressing Indian Brides can be done wrong. We have been shooting Indian weddings in North America and the Caribbean for the last 8 years. We have seen it all from Hindu weddings on the beaches of Mexico to lavish Sikh weddings on the lakeside. Where every attention is given to the colors of the choora (bangles) of the bride and dupatta there are things couples often miss.
1 Dupatta too wide and heavy
The top mistakes brides make when styling their perfect wedding day look are: having a too wide and heavy bridal dupatta, having a small ghera for their lengha bottom, and choosing the wrong type of cancan underneath their lengha.
Wide Border and Heavy Dupatta – The bridal dupatta is one of the most important pieces from your entire bridal look for your Indian wedding. The bridal dupatta is one thing we really like to educate our clients about before the wedding day. When you are shopping for your Indian wedding lengha, pay extra attention to the dupatta.
The designer sometimes has their interest in mind by selling you a heavy detailed embroidered bridal dupatta.
Wide Border Indian Bridal Dupatta Mistake for Indian Bridal Wear – Wide border dupatta will have to be pinned either on your shoulder or around the back. The more you have to pin the dupatta, the more bulker it’s going to look. The Indian bridal look will not look clean. The ideal dupatta border should be between 1 to 3 inches wide; so, you don’t have to heavily pin the dupatta. From our 9 years of experience, the more the dupatta is free, the more comfortable it is for the bride.
When the dupatta is heavily pinned it can also restrict your head movement. There is absolutely no benefit to having a wide dupatta border. Also, when the border of the dupatta is wide and thick, it is not going to sit on your head nicely and create bumps. Most of the time, it will be making a pointy cone on the crown of the head where it sits. Your hair and makeup artist will not be having fun pinning a wide thick border thick dupatta.
Heavy Bridal Dupatta Mistake for Indian Bridal Wear – Now one thing is to have a wide border bridal dupatta and another thing is to have a heavier dupatta or chunni with your lengha for your Indian wedding. This applies more to brides who are planning to cover their heads with their bridal dupatta. Also, if you have two dupattas as your Indian Wedding Bridal look, then keeping the heavier one on the shoulder would be ideal.
Be mindful that if your bridal dupatta is heavy with embroidery, then most of the weight of the dupatta will usually lie on the hair bun. That will create a lot of pressure to pull the bride’s chin up and hair bun down.
Secondly, the heavy dupatta is going to need to be pinned somewhere else as it is too much weight over your head. Therefore, the shoulders or back of the outfit will be pinned with the dupatta. Again, more pinning means more bulky areas.It is more comfortable any day if you keep your dupatta light with smaller borders. You can go all heavy embroidery work on the lengha for your perfect Indian bridal lengha.
2. Pinning the Dupatta properly
Putting the dupatta on the Indian Bride is in itself a skill. We have seen some artists in the beginning of their careers really struggle with the bridal dupatta settings. It is also one of the things you should ask your makeup artist if they are comfortable with dupatta settings.
Sometimes Non-Indian or inexperienced Hair and Makeup artists with dupattas may not yet develop the skill set for the Indian bridal attire. They may be great makeup or hair artists; however, dupatta setting is another skill altogether. We are blessed to have some great makeup artists who have taught us how to put on the dupatta on an Indian Bride.
We were able to help brides by resetting their bridal dupatta on multiple occasions when their dupatta did fall before the ceremony or required fixing before their post-wedding shoot. Although we are still not fully skilled as talented makeup artists are going to be, we can help with small adjustments. A heavy and wide border bridal dupatta is going to be any day more difficult to put on a bride and more uncomfortable, so please keep that in mind when wedding outfit shopping.
3 – Gheraof the lengha too small
Ghera is basically the flow or width of the bottom part of your lengha.
When you are buying or making your custom Indian bridal lengha, usually a skilled designer will guide you about the process of making an Indian Bridal attire. This is one of the differences if you are buying off-the-rack pre-made outfits than getting a custom bridal piece for yourself.
Yes, custom pieces are going to be more expensive and will need more time to make. Ideally, North American designers will need about 5-6 months to make any custom bridal outfit. For a larger, more regal, and flowy Indian bridal lengha, you will need to invest in a larger ghera for your lengha skirt. Since you are adding more fabric to the bottom of your lengha and that means more embroidery, the price will go up by about 10-20 percent.
Do you know how much the ghera should be, a very important part of Indian wedding attire?
Answer to it really depends on multiple factors like hip size and height. Ideally, 5 meters or more should be good. If you want the grand effect, then you should have 6 meters or more ideally. Now, sometimes pre-made lengha will only have 3 or 4 meters of the ghera which should have 8 to 10 panels or kaliyan.
How do you check how wide the ghera is on your Indian bridal lengha?
You can measure the circumference of the bottom of the lengha. Usually, the bottom of the Indian wedding lengha is made up of panels or in desi language called kaliyan. Each kali will be either 12 inches or 14 inches. A 3 or 4 meters wide ghera will usually have 8 to 10 kaliyan whereas on the 5 or 6 meters wide ghera there will be at least 12 panels.
Again, we are not as educated on the process as your lengha designer will be. Therefore, make sure to ask them these questions.
One thing we can surely tell you is that the larger the ghera, the larger the impact it will have on how good your Indian wedding attire will photograph and look on the day of your wedding.
Why does the ghera matter so much for Indian wedding attire?
When you are sitting on your wedding day, if your ghera is less than 4 meters, then it would not make a full circle around you. It is more likely going to rise from one side or another. This results in the bride looking sunk inside her own outfit. In some cases, when you sit cross-legged during the Sikh wedding, you can see the feet popping out of the ghera or the cancan.
It actually matters more for the Sikh wedding than the Hindu wedding. Why?
Because in Sikh weddings, the bride and groom are sitting on the floor at the Gurdwara. Whereas on a Hindu wedding, the couple is sitting on chairs. The only time at a Hindu wedding the bride will be sitting on the floor will be for her getting ready for pictures maybe.
Another reason the ghera length matters are – It looks regal and majestic!!!
If you are already making an investment into your Indian wedding lengha, would you want it to look grand? The images also will show the ghera when you are doing a twirl or when the bride is walking down the aisle. Ghera length does add value.
PRO TIP – For wider gheras, it is better if the belt of the bridal lengha is 2 inches. The reason being, it grips better your hip bone and is more comfortable on a heavier bridal outfit.
Some Indian bridal designers will tell you that ghera is to be based on your hip measurement; we don’t have the expertise to answer that question. However, from a photography perspective, larger ghera give a greater visual appeal.
4 – Hard cancan VS Soft cancan (tulle) decision
Most Indian wedding designers will be using cancan in your outfit or sometimes even layered cancan to give you more flare. It is the easiest way to add that much-needed volume to the outfit.
cancan is a mesh or net-like material that can be attached underneath your lehenga to give it the royal flare. cancan comes in two varieties: hard and soft. Adding a cancan skirt to your conventional lehenga props it outwards, depending on the kind that you choose.
There are two ways of doing this:
- Hard cancan – Hard cancan is a thick net-like material that is put on the bride’s lengha bottom. A lot of designers use these in Indian bridal outfits. From our experience, it works better on events where there is less seating involved. For example, when you sit on the floor in the Sikh wedding or for your bridal portraits, a hard cancan is difficult to push down and tends to raise your lengha bottom upwards sometimes revealing the cancan itself.
PRO TIP – Please do not open your hard-up or fluff the cancan before the Sikh wedding ceremony.Alfaaz Photography
This is because during the Sikh wedding ceremony, the bride will be sitting on the floor and if you really open your cancan, it can sometimes pop out if you have a smaller lengha ghera. That is why having a 5-6 meters ghera is so important. Hard cancan does make sharp shapes under your lengha which isn’t visually appealing.
At Indian wedding receptions, since you are not sitting down much and if you want that grand big fluffy lengha hard cancan could be the right option for you.
2 ) Soft cancan or tulle – Soft cancan material works best for Indian weddings. The soft material will settle down as soon as you sit down for your wedding pooja and phera. Same goes for Sikh weddings since there is a lot of sitting involved. We highly recommend getting soft cancan. It usually comes in white and can be dyed to match the color of your lengha.
How many layers can be added below your lehenga? Not every cloth material can manage the weight of so many layers of cancan. For example, fabrics like raw silk will already have a higher flare capacity than compared to a thin fabric like georgette.
These are things your bridal designer can help better educate you and help make you decide on what the right options are for you and your wedding events. Perhaps try to sit down with different number of layers of cancan under different lengha fabrics, and see what works best for your final Indian bridal look or looks.
Hope this blog helps you be better prepared for your Indian bridal outfit shopping. Trust us, we are not even close to what some of the professional designers will be educating you on your lengha. Our sole reason to write this blog was to educate couples on what looks better in photos and what is more comfortable on the day of the wedding.
Hope this blog helps and if you would like to write a blog on a specific topic, please reach out to us and we will love to get some expertise from our industry friends for the same. Here is a blog where we talk about 4 mistakes grooms make while dressing for Indian weddings – Link
We also wanted to give special thanks to Amara Couture for helping us create this blog. Please check them out at www.amaracourture.com.