Tying the knot soon? Fashion pundits share tips to pick the right bridal outfit for your D-day

23 November,2023 07:58 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Aakanksha Ahire

Modern brides of India are laying great emphasis on comfort and personalised style when shopping for their bridal outfits. If you are soon to tie the knot and have yet to shop your wedding outfit, we have fashion pundits breaking down bridal trends that will help you make the right choice

A wedding is a deeply personal experience, and the bridal look should align with how a bride envisions herself on that special day, whether it`s a minimalistic charm or a regal queen-like presence. Photo Courtesy: Geisha Designs (Left)/Asha Gautam (Right)

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A bride's hunt to find the perfect bridal outfit begins the moment families confirm a union. From drawing ideas from a celebrity's bridal outfit to scrolling through social media to checking what's trending in the world of bridal fashion, brides-to-be leave no stone unturned to pick the right bridal wear for themselves. Further, with so much attention directed towards brides in Indian weddings, looking pitch-perfect is non-negotiable.

While this is true, bridal fashion in India has seen unconventional styles emerge, redefining Indian brides. At the core of these styles are the bride's comfort and contemporary statements that counter stereotypes that have been dominating Indian marriages for far too long.

More and more modern brides of today are making a progressive statement via the choice of their bridal outfits while also maintaining the essence of Indian bridal wear. If you are a modern bride ready to set out on your bridal shopping expedition, we have fashion pundits spilling out bridal trends and outfit ideas that ensure you will shine on your big day.

According to Paras Bairoliya and Shalini Jaikaria of Geisha Designs, "A modern bride is a woman who celebrates being unique, a woman blossoming with self-belief, unperturbed by society's expectations. She isn't demure or coy anymore. She is connected to her roots and has an eye for intricacy and precision."

Similarly, Gautam Gupta, co-owner of the label Asha Gautam says, "A modern bride often embodies a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, reflecting her style and preferences. This modern bride values individuality and personal expression, often opting for unconventional dress colours, non-traditional fabrics, or a departure from classic silhouettes."

Modern brides are opting for personalised outfits
Indian weddings have witnessed a massive transformation with regard to bridal fashion. Changes in societal values, cultural influences, and the evolving roles of women have contributed to this transformation.

Paras and Shalini share an interesting observation: In 2007, brides typically arrived with their parents, decisions were influenced by elders, and the designs adhered to conservative norms. Necklines were modest, and sleeves were often covered. Brides aimed to conform to societal expectations, limiting their adventurous and expressive choices. Contrastingly, today's bride is characterised by her experimental nature, self-confidence and evolution. She embraces individuality, seeks comfort in her own skin, and values fun in her choices. This modern bride is assertive, non-submissive, and confidently articulates her preferences in wedding attire.

Adding more to how bridal fashion has evolved, Gupta of Aasha Gautam shares, "Sustainability and eco-friendly practices have become important considerations in bridal fashion, with designers incorporating organic fabrics and ethical production methods. Bridal fashion has also become more accessible, with affordable options and rental services allowing brides to achieve their dream look without breaking the bank. Further, bridal fashion has become more versatile, with brides opting for multiple outfit changes on their wedding day - from a traditional ceremony gown to a more comfortable and party-ready reception dress."

Both fashion designer duos confirm that modern brides today are leaning towards more personalised and unique bridal appearances and attire. They are moving away from traditional norms and embracing their individual style and personality. Brides are now opting for non-traditional colours, such as blush, champagne, or even bold hues and experimenting with different silhouettes. Additionally, modern brides are incorporating more intricate and unconventional details into their bridal looks, such as statement sleeves, intricate lace patterns, or even feathers and sequins.

While the choice of personalised designs is preferred by most modern brides, Paras and Shalini add, "Modern bridal trends also draw inspiration from the location of the celebration; whether it's a destination wedding on a beach, in a desert, or amidst the charm of Europe. The chosen setting influences the theme, concept, and intricate details. For instance, a wedding in Rajasthan may lean towards a palatial influence, with the bride aspiring to exude a regal appearance. In contrast, a resort location encourages a more light-hearted and casual vibe, where the bride seeks enjoyment and dancing throughout the celebration. Bridal trends have evolved into a holistic approach, seamlessly integrating elements from decor and menu to the overall ambience of the location."

Pastels take a backseat as bold colours emerge
While pastels still continue to remain a choice of many brides, Indian weddings have now started spotting bright colours and the comeback of reds.

Talking about one of the key reasons why pastel-coloured bridal wear gained prominence, besides rendering a simple and elegant look, was the time of day when the wedding ceremonies were carried out.

Paras and Shalini say, "In the past, weddings predominantly occurred during the night and thus called for bright-coloured outfits. However, the emergence of stunning locales has shifted the trend towards sundown events. With a growing number of daytime celebrations, the pastel colour trend gained momentum. Brides, even today, are increasingly opting for lighter and fresher hues, showcasing a departure from the traditional deep colours associated with winter weddings. The pastel trend continues to hold its sway, reflecting a preference for a soft and elegant colour palette."

On the contrary, Gupta says, "While pastel palettes have been popular, some brides are opting for bolder and non-traditional colours like deep reds, blues, emerald greens, or even black for their wedding attire. The pastel trend, once a beloved and refreshing aesthetic, seems to be losing its popularity in recent times. What was once a vibrant and exciting trend has now become mundane and uninteresting to many. The soft and delicate hues that were once seen as charming and whimsical now seem overused and lacking in originality."

Whether the pastel trend is fading or perceived as boring is subjective and depends on the evolving tastes of brides, designers, and cultural influences and what might be considered trendy one year may evolve or give way to new ideas.

Recently, red is seen making a comeback. Besides being a classic, it also holds a strong cultural significance. Gupta says, "Combining different textures and fabrics, such as silk, velvet, or tulle, can create a visually interesting and dynamic appearance for red bridal attire.
While deep and traditional reds are timeless, designers may also explore variations of the colour, such as burgundy, wine, or even brighter shades like coral, providing brides with a range of options."

If you are looking for bridal outfits that incorporate unique combination of colours, the designers suggest considering these shades: White and ivory, soft pastels such as blush, champagne, and mint green, subtle golds and lavender, bold and vibrant colours like red, deep burgundy, and emerald green.

Brides who love pastels and reds can also try combining the two palettes. According to Gupta, "Mixing pastels with reds can create a visually appealing and vibrant colour palette. When combining pastels and reds, it's important to consider the tones, shades, and overall balance to achieve a harmonious look. Select pastels that complement the shade of red you have chosen. For example, pastel pinks, blush, or soft corals can work well with a bold, true red. Pastel blues, mints, or lavender can complement deeper shades of red, such as burgundy or maroon. Pay attention to the intensity of the colours. If you have a vibrant or bold red, consider pairing it with softer pastels to create a balanced and visually appealing contrast."

Bridal outfits besides lehengas and sarees
Sarees and lehengas are undoubtedly our all-time favourites, however, those looking for variations in these or completely different outfit patterns, Paras and Shalini recommend exploring versatile options like sharara suits, palazzo sets and fusion gowns.

Further, if you wish to infuse modernity into traditional bridal wear, focus on contemporary silhouettes, experiment with unconventional colour palettes, and incorporate unique embellishments - you can go for storytelling elements and make it more personalised and customised. Embrace fusion elements like jacket overlays or cape sleeves, and consider non-conventional draping styles. Balancing innovation with timeless elements ensures a modern yet culturally rich bridal aesthetic.

Here are some styling tips by the duo:

Cape Drape: Add a cape to your lehenga for an elegant yet contemporary look.
Pant lehenga: Opt for a pre-draped saree with pants for a chic and comfortable ensemble.
Anarkali gowns: Embrace the timeless appeal of an Anarkali gown for a regal touch.
Jacket lehenga: Pair your lehenga with a statement jacket for a modern, layered look. For locations where temperatures are low, brides can add an embellished jacket.
Skirt with crop top: Combine a stylish skirt with a crop top for a fashion-forward and unconventional bridal ensemble.

Some also choose to recycle/upcycle an heirloom piece (maybe a dupatta from their mother's wedding outfit) which makes it more bespoke and unique
Adding to this, Gupta says, "When opting for unconventional bridal outfits, the key is to stay true to your personal style and comfort. Experiment with colours, fabrics, and silhouettes to create a bridal look that reflects your individuality."

This fashion designer suggests brides to try out unconventional silhouettes and cuts, such as jumpsuits or pantsuits, to break away from the traditional wedding gown and showcase their personal style. "Play with asymmetrical details, such as one-shoulder necklines or off-centre embellishments, to add an edgy and modern touch to your bridal attire. Experiment with unconventional bridal footwear options, such as colourful sneakers or embellished flats, to add a playful and contemporary element to your overall look. Embrace the concept of ‘less is more' by opting for a minimalist and streamlined bridal look, focusing on clean lines and understated elegance for a contemporary and chic aesthetic."

The right accessories
Although Indian traditions lay great emphasis on bejewelling brides, our fashion pundits say it is not always necessary to go heavy on jewellery or accessories for a bridal look.

Every bride has her unique style, and some may prefer a more understated and minimalist look. Heavy jewellery can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially if you are not accustomed to wearing elaborate pieces. Ultimately, the most important thing is to feel comfortable, confident, and true to your personal style on your wedding day. Whether your look is heavy on jewellery or leans towards minimalism, it should reflect your individuality and make you feel beautiful and authentic.
A wedding is a deeply personal experience, and the bridal look should align with how a bride envisions herself on that special day, whether it's a minimalistic charm or a regal queen-like presence.

Simplicity never runs out of style
For brides who prefer a minimalistic and understated look on their wedding day, there are several ways to dress up minimally while still standing out.
Gupta suggests opting for a simple and lightweight lehenga or saree in muted tones or pastel colours. Choose fabrics like silk, chiffon, or georgette for a graceful and comfortable feel. Keep the embroidery or embellishments minimal, focusing on clean lines and subtle detailing. Opt for a well-fitted and elegant blouse with intricate but understated details. This can include sheer sleeves, minimal embroidery around the neckline, or a unique back design."

Select a flowing and comfortable silhouette for your outfit. An A-line lehenga, an Anarkali suit, or a draped saree with clean lines can provide an elegant and minimalistic look. Flowing silhouettes not only exude grace but also offer ease of movement.

"Remember, the key to achieving a minimalist bridal look is to focus on what makes you feel comfortable, confident, and authentic. Whether it's a short dress, a jumpsuit, or a simple gown, your wedding attire should reflect your personal style and make you feel beautiful on your special day," says Gupta.

Paras and Shalini share styling tips for brides looking for minimalistic options:

1. Choose a simple bridal outfit and highlight it with a statement piece of jewellery.
2. Opt for elegant hair accessories like pins or combs that add a touch of sophistication without being overwhelming.
3. Select outfits with delicate embroidery or subtle embellishments for a refined look.
4. Focus on enhancing natural beauty with a minimalist makeup approach, emphasising radiant skin and soft tones.
5. Stick to a monochromatic colour scheme for both outfits and accessories, creating a cohesive and understated aesthetic.

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