In conversation with two women who have specialise in covering the best of Indian weddings- the brains behind WedMeGood and CrazyIndianWedding
Any colours issue would be incomplete without talking about the giant sensory explosion that is an Indian wedding- the red swirls of the sashaying sarees, the generous gold of the jewellery enveloping a thousand sparkling diamonds, the snow white akshat, the rainbow coloured salad centrepieces (that nobody eats), and the yellow genda phools all come together to create a cornucopia of design and beauty, making the day special for those getting married, and those attending!
To celebrate these colours, and to find out the latest in wedding planning, we spoke with two whip-smart entrepreneurs who are determined to chronicle weddings and their accompanying minutae with wit, a dash of humour and plenty of style. And one of the things that we discovered while speaking to these girls is just how many different style aesthetics are prevalent in the wedding space. The two websites and the people behind them couldn’t be more different , but they both shared the same mission to make every marriage special (and fun) for the bride and groom
For the past three years Mehak has been one of India’s foremost beauty and lifestyle bloggers at http://www.peachesandblush.com
She first began sharing updates from her wedding preparations on her beauty blog, but later, noticing a lacunae in the market, created our favourite guilty please website wedmegood.com. Today, in just three months of its launch it sees more than 50,000 monthly visitors vicariously enjoying the beautiful real wedding she covers, or browsing the hand-curated list of wedding professionals that she’s painstakingly put together- ranging from wedding gift designers to photographers. Mehak’s emphasis is on young, hip weddings where a lot of the inputs come from the participants itself and which have a high degree of personalization. Her inspiration is the famous international wedding website stylemepretty.com, and Mehak and Anand (her husband and business partner) have been able to incorporate a similar ethos of fun and novelty to their website.
As for her own wedding, Mehak had an 18 month long engagement, but she tells us that the average engagement these days is about 6 months, with the last couple of them being intense preparation.
She’s noticed that over the past few years, the trend has shifted towards brides and grooms taking a more active role in the wedding planning and is amazed at the specificity of the vision they bring in- whether its a Vintage English Garden themed wedding or a Great Gatsby-themed Sangeet. People are bringing in a bit of themselves, their likes and dislikes, and aesthetics into the actual event.
Her taste in wedding music leans towards a rustic or semi-classical sound and a recent favourite is the music of Hari and Sukhmani. She is also a huge fan of Sufi-infused music to set the mood at a wedding party. And when it comes to the dance floor, Bollywood music is the great uniter, with the soundtrack of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani always getting everyone up on their feet.
Mehak has just the same checklist for brides and grooms. First and foremost, she recommends you invest time and money in a good photographer, because you could host the best party, but have the most splotchy memories from it if your photographer doesn’t get it right. Secondly- she reiterates- that you bring in a little bit of yourself to the event. This doesn’t need to cost a lot but could make the entire event a bit more memorable. Some of the nicer recent ideas she’s seen include coasters with the bride and groom’s story inscribed on them, wedding pictures of the parents playing in the background as their children get married, table centerpieces with famous quotes about love, and our favourite- a cricket match between both sides of the wedding to celebrate the spirit of the event!
As for the most extravagant idea she’s come across, she recalls a wedding in Mumbai where the planners planted artificial grass on the walls of the hotel, to create a green retreat in a crowded cramped space, converting a torrid June wedding into a tropical paradise!
Since it is our colours issue we couldn’t resist asking Mehak what the current trends in bridal colour palettes was, and she said that pastels and a lot of softer colour palettes were in, ranging from peach to minty greens and gentle creams.
Finally, for someone who runs such a wonderful website on wedding stories, Mehak was a surprisingly low maintenance bride herself (though she did tell us that every bride becomes a bridezilla at some stage), with her parents doing most of her wedding planning. We asked her what she would do differently if she could do it again, and she said that she will have a better and less conventional photographer, who did a lot of candid shots. She would ideally like to also bring in a bit of DIY aesthetic to the wedding and perhaps add a photobooth so that guests could capture their memory of the day as well!
After all, an Indian wedding is NEVER just about the two people getting married!
Roli Gaur Vashisht’s blog started as a distraction from all her wedding madness, to store her memories from the event and to chronicle all the pieces of information she gathered while planning her special day. She had no idea that it would be so well received! Today she has a growing readership of brides-to-be, women who are reliving their marriage from aeons ago, and young girls who are just there for the fashion!
She also has loyal male readers some of whom enjoy wedding preparations and planning just as much as her female fans. Her blog features a mix of real wedding stories from readers, hilarious vlogs, and reviews of some of the wedding-related products and brands that she enjoys, with a distinct North Indian bent and an emphasis on traditional styles and weddings.
Roli tells us that the average Indian wedding’s preparation stretches for a minimum of 6-8 months these days, through most- if not all -of the engagement period. Some of her favourite celebrity weddings include those of Riteish and Genelia, because she’s a traditional girl at heart, and loved all the traditional pomp and costumes. She also enjoyed the royal wedding with Kate Middleton dressed like a fairytale bride. On the totally opposite end of the spectrum , she completely fell in love with Kalki Koechlin’s wedding ceremony since everyone in the pictures looked like they were having so much fun!
Her all time favourite wedding song is Jashn E Bahaara from Jodha Akbar, a song she finds hopelessly romantic so much so that she walked to it for her own wedding!
We asked Roli for a checklist for brides and she said that a bride basically has to do everything- buy her own clothes, trousseau, jewellery, plan the event, ensure the rest of her family looks nice and everything goes off as hitch-free as possible. S She warns us that there will always be problems, but at least two weeks before the wedding, the bride should let go, hand over the reins to someone she trusts, and start enjoying the day. As she put it – let others smoothen out the wrinkles, you just relax!
Predictably her checklist for grooms is a lot shorter- just be there on time, and book a wonderful honeymoon.
We asked her about the latest trends in wedding planning and she mentioned that destination weddings are popular these days, with the bride and groom taking off with their close family and friends to an exotic location for all the ceremonies. More popularly, those who can’t take off so far, are booking in rooms at the wedding venue for a couple of days with families and friends from both sides to enjoy a ‘destination’ wedding without the expenditure!
Her favourite low budget ideas for a great wedding include the use of balloons, kites, anything at all personal to decorate the wedding venue, and to consider floral jewellery for one of the ceremonies. Not only does it look regal and beautiful on the bride, but also costs a fraction of what yet another gold ensemble will!
As for the extravagant ideas that she’s come across- she says that while there are many crazy ideas, the one that she just can’t endorse is having a film star come over to perform on your wedding! She recalls attending a wedding with a celebrity attendant, and everyone just queued up to watch him, instead of paying any attention to the poor bride and groom. She suggests you’re better off spending that money on making the day special for you, and the attendants instead of wasting it on an unnecessary distraction!
We asked her if she would like to change anything from her wedding and Roli said that she would change absolutely nothing! Her wedding may not have been the most modern or designer in nature, but she loves the fact that she was married in exactly the same way as her parents or grandparents with all the attendant traditions! She dreams sometimes that perhaps she would have liked to get married on the beaches of Goa in a flowy white gown with her closest friends and families, but knows that at heart, she is a true traditional North Indian Red Bride.
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