In a country whose basis of unity, arises not from the similarity, but the diversity of its people, it doesn’t come as a surprise when the festivities take multifarious forms as well. One comes across starkly contrasting cultures and traditions without even having to leave the country. Speaking of festivities and jamboree, which other celebration could kindle more euphoria than a good old Indian wedding! And believe it or not, like many other happy occasions celebrated in India, a wedding too has many a genre (and many kind of indian bridal dresses). So whether its north, south, east or west, every wedding is different from the rest!
If weddings in a country can be of so many styles, why on earth should the bride’s wedding dress be much behind? Unlike the West, where most brides don a white wedding gown for their special day, in India, brides wear different colours and attires depending on their culture and the state they come from. Quite aptly reflecting the spectacular melange of the motherland, Indian Bridal dresses are so varied and rich in culture, that they deserve special mention. So let’s take it from the top! (Pun intended).
In the land of Kashmir, beautifully embroidered red, pink or yellow lehengas, are the norm when it comes to bridal dresses. Kashmiri Pandit brides are also known to wear a head gear, called Kalpush, which is essentially an extensive cap folded three or four times and lined with silk or cotton from the inside. The Dupatta is put over the Kalpush, which enhances the look of the bride.
When it comes to accessorising, antique gold jewellery makes quite the style statement with moderately done makeup. The bride adorns intricate necklaces, gold bangles around the wrists and Paayal and toe ring in her feet. Another unique ornament worn by the Kashmiri bride, is the Dejharoo, which is a pair of gold pendants hanging by a gold chain worn as earrings. In addition to this, a two meter long waist band also forms an integral part of the bride’s outfit.
Kashmiri Muslim brides on the other hand, wear a long loose fitting robe known as Pheran which is quite beautifully embroidered and is well suited to the cold weather conditions of Kashmir. It is usually Red in colour and is worn with a head gear similar to that worn by the Kashmiri Pundit brides, but is known as the Kasaba. It is held tight by silver pins and trinkets and decorated with gold embroidery and embellishments of silver pendants hanging on the forehead.
Although there is so much diversity within the two kinds of Kashmiri bridal outfits, it can also be seen that they are quite similar in many ways, thus making them some of the most unique Indian bridal dresses.
Punjabis are known to be fun-loving and enthusiastic people who do not miss a single chance to celebrate their culture. The bridal attire for a Punjabi bride is usually a lehenga or salwar-kameez. The colour of the bridal attire is generally very bright which compliments the brides’ fair skin-tone. The salwar kameez consists of a long, straight blouse going below the knees, with two slits on either side. This garment is called the kameez and can be seen in tons of different colors, embroideries, pleating, and other embellishments. The salwar on the other hand, is flared with a horizontal band at the end. This look is incomplete without the traditional duppata or scarf worn in front.
Punjabi brides carry off this look with great ease and perfection, thus listing Punjab as one of the most stylish states, when it comes to Indian bridal dresses.
With changing times, many Indian Bridal dresses have become subject to miscellany, but when it comes to Gujarati wedding attires, ethnicity is the key. The style of wearing the sari is unique, with the Pallav facing the front, instead of the back, like in most Indian bridal dresses. There are basically two types of wedding saris for a Gujarati bride, one of them is the Panetar which is basically a white sari arnamented with a red Bandhini border, and the other type is the Gharchola which is a red Bhandini sari crisscrossed with woven gold squares, that enclose bandhini motifs. Though red is considered as the most auspicious colour for the bride, now-a-days contemporary colours and experimental designs have also become a hot favourite option for the brides-to-be. Designer bridal lehangas available in different shades are also gaining momentum and are substituting the traditional sarees.
The Maharashtrians are very simple and down-to-earth people, so naturally, their wedding attire too tends to be less bedazzled and ornamented than other Indian bridal dresses. The traditional attire for Maharashtrian brides is the Paithani saree. It tends to be single or dual coloured, mostly gold, yellow, or green with beautifully embellished golden borders. The Maharashtrian brides have been known to favour the colour green, and why not! The splendid green colour of the Marathi bridal dress gives it an edge over other Indian bridal dresses which are usually red in colour. The paithani sarees have thick, oblique-square designs on the borders, with motifs of peacocks, kaleidoscopes, parrots etc. in the pallu of the saree. Along with this, traditional gold jewellery with simplistic makeup add the finishing touches to this amazing piece of garment. No wonder the Marathi wedding outfit is one of the best Indian Bridal Dresses.
Much like the Marathi weddings, Bengali weddings too are humble and unpretentious affairs. A Bengali bride’s traditional wedding sari is usually made in Banaras silk, white in colour with a red, maroon or pink border. The sari, though simple in appearance, exudes elegance and grace with gold zari or buta work. These wedding saris also come with amazingly done motifs, which gives the entire outfit, a very ethereal look, further accentuated by sophisticated pearl and kundan jewellery. The Bengali bride also dons a head gear called Mukut, and her make-up also consists of artistically designed red and white dots on the sides, and a big red bindi in the centre of her forehead. Reflecting beauty and elegance, the Bengali bride is certainly a gem for the onlookers, as much as the Bengali Wedding saree is a gem for the Indian Bridal dresses.
Like in many other Indian bridal dresses, the traditional wedding attire for a Rajasthani bride is a Lehenga, which is essentially a three piece garment consisting of a blouse called the Choli, a long skirt called the Ghagra and a Dupatta or a scarf, which beautifully complements the former.
A lot of Gota work is used on the Rajasthani version of the Indian bridal dress. The impressive use of appliqué, with intricate patterns that are embroidered in fine gold threads, not to mention the Zari ribbon, enhance the richness and beauty of this bridal outfit manifold.
Rajasthani brides are known to splurge on lots of jewelry for their wedding day, that mainly consists of a Rakhri which is a circular piece of jewelry for the forehead, Balis or hanging earrings, the Chooda which is a set of gold and ivory bangles, Timaniyaan – which is a choker studded with uncut diamonds and jems embedded in gold leaf, Bichuye – gold anklets, Bajubandh or stone-studded armlets, and a Nath – a nose ring. The distinctive outfit and extraordinary jewelry, not only add to the look of a Rajasthani bride, but also make the Rajasthani wedding attire stand out from all other Indian bridal dresses.
Marked with modesty and soberness, Assamese weddings are attractive and beautiful in their own way. The traditional dress worn by the Assamese bride is called a Mekhla, which is a garment generally created from Muga silk, and adorned with gold and silver threads. Mekhla is quite an interesting ensemble, as it surely appears like a sari, but unlike the usual single cloth saree, mekhla comprises of two to three pieces of clothing, a feature which distinguishes it from other Indian Bridal dresses.
The first part of the Mekhla is worn as a skirt and the other half is draped like an anchal of the sari. The fabric on the anchal part is light-weight and flowy, whereas the fabric of the skirt is ornamented with a broad border and embroidery and is relatively heavier in texture. These Mekhlas are designed in a myriad of rich colors such as blue, green, yellow and red, which is again a distinguishing feature of this Indian bridal dress.
For the Assamese bride, jewelry is the most important form of accessory. Most of this jewelry is made of gold and is worn in contemporary or traditional designs, but some Assamese jewelry is also made by hand, and is called Jun Biri. The Jun Biri designs are immensely inspired by nature, musical instruments and various Assamese household goods, a form which is never seen in any other Indian Bridal dresses.
Telugu brides are known to wear red silk sari for the big day, as this color is considered to be very auspicious, which also holds good for many other Indian bridal dresses. The bride can also choose a color that is similar to red, such as crimson or orange, the main idea being that it should be bright. The attire is then aptly matched with traditional pieces of jewelry in gold and pearls.
In Tamil Nadu, gorgeous Kanchipuram saris make up the dress code for the wedding day. For ages, rich silk Kanchipuram sari has been the hallmark of any Tamil bride’s wedding ceremony. Replete with traditional motifs, the six yard long sari, apart from gold thread work, also has magnificent sequins and embroidery work, making it one of the most elegant Indian bridal dresses.