In this magnificent nation of colour and joy, when an event gets relegated to the status of a festival, it leaves all bounds it may cater to, otherwise. Weddings are one such event, in India. With an ever-increasing magnitude, this is one ceremony where the sky is truly the limit. And while each one of these unions sees a smorgasbord of things to do and stuff to plan, nothing draws as much excitement as the coveted bridal lehenga.
There is no upper limit to when wedding plans begin. It isn’t a year or two, for many it’s a lifelong event that takes place in parts. While time and busier lives have robbed weddings of some of its planning time, it is still a stage of development and a very well-decorated stage at that. There is life, death and of course, marriage. Families invest in it, from the time their pride and joys are born and for many it becomes and affirmation of their social standing and their place in life.
Yet, as times progress, so has man and the prevailing thought has found much opposition. There is more to life than the excess of a wedding, and more merit to the softer, simpler aspects of the ceremony. And this change owes its gratitude to that P-word, the Pandemic induced a dramatic life changing scenario, one that restricted movement, and kept us all under wraps in our homes. From the moment it began and to when the symptoms started receding, families began to reinvent and reimagine what weddings would look like. All that many wanted was safety, security and peace of mind. So, while weddings didn’t cease, they looked a whole lot different, whether it was smaller guest lists, ceremonies that happened through screens, or lipsticks being foregone for masks and whatnot. These changes have given life a new meaning, one that makes each day count and makes memories even more memorable. Adding the spice to the current zeitgeist is the modern age of social media, where every moment gets a new stage.
And with all this in mind, comes the making of the grand bridal lehenga. Does it still do all that it used to? Well, when we look at the post-pandemic world, the bride has become a one-woman army, constantly changing and finding all that she really wants. While weddings have been centered around brides earlier, they’ve taken an even sharper focus as the meaning of wedding has changed. The modern bride is a conscious buyer, choosing the bridal line that’ll make her dream lehenga as if it is a bridesmaid to confide in. The thought of the brand must match the mind of the individual and they must be the perfect match for the bride to gain a client and the bride to gain the lehenga of her dreams. In recent times, this has taken the shape of the resurgence of the colour red in the bride’s wardrobe, a colour that’s up to no debate when it comes to how iconic it continues to be. Traditions that have seen further growth is the incorporation of Zardosi and the dupatta becoming a staple for all brides-to be. These traditions that saw some wear and tear before the pandemic, have been embraced wholeheartedly once again as they have come to represent all that we hold dear. In fact, when it comes to dupattas, it’s a history we personally share, with our chunnat wala lehenga being a staple of the bran in 90s and 2000s only to transition on to kalidaar lehengas that took the fashion industry by storm.
When it comes to the world of trends, there are those that take on new meanings, where they transcend simple wardrobe items and elevate themselves to the status of cultural cornerstones. But at the end of the day, when the bride dons her maang tikka, her deep blouse and heavy neckline, when she wears that outfit she’s dreamed off and takes the stage on to forever, she is the most beautiful person in the world, in that moment.