A Bengali Girl based in London who fell in love with her now Punjabi husband, through food and travel !!! A ‘ Bongjabi’ wedding as she calls it- complete with outfits from both cultures !
What’s your love story?
It’s a love marriage. We met in London in 2007. Gaurav was head over heals (or so I believe!) as soon as he met me but it took me a few months to realise “this is it”. Professionally we are poles apart, he’s a scientist and I am a marketer but the common thread that brought us together was perhaps our love for food and travel. We travelled throughout Europe, trying century old restaurants in Prague, unusual wine in Rome, shopping from designer galleries in Paris to flee market in Vienna. We have done it all! and then after all the fun and fair, here we are, married and look forward to be 80, still holding hands and admiring the sunset in some part of the world.
Was it a cross cultural wedding? Any interesting “differences of culture” that came up during the wedding? How did you resolve them/ react to them.
I am a bengali and Gaurav is a punjabi. On the face of it, it was a cross-cultural wedding but both the families were super excited as they got a chance to be a part of not-so-usual wedding. Fortunately everyone had a desire to understand each other’s culture. My in-laws travelled from Delhi to Assam for a week to participate in all pre-wedding ceremonies and were eager to try various bengali fish dishes, whereas, my family was keen to learn punjabi dance moves.
The main wedding was in Bengali style but my in-laws performed some Punjabi rituals too, so it was a perfect “bongjabi” wedding. I always wanted to dress up as a traditional bengali bride but I also love chooda and kalirey that punjabi brides wear so I added these with “sankha-pola” (the bengali equivalent). I thought its a great way to mix both the cultures and the icing on the cake was it looked very pretty and colourful.
Where did you buy your outfits from?
Engagement/Aashirwad: I wore a lehnga that I bought from CTC Delhi. It was a day function so I wanted something girly and fun. I went all across Delhi – from DLF Emporio to Chandni Chowk but there was nothing that really clicked then at last I zeroed on a very voluminous lehnga that had three layers on the bottom in turquoise/emerald combination. I wore diamond and emerald jewellery with it.
Wedding: I always wanted to wear Sabyasachi for my wedding, so I didn’t even look for any sari elsewhere and went straight to the Carma boutique in Delhi. I wanted a traditional red sari as I don’t think Indian brides look better in any other colour on their wedding day. It was love at first sight with a green silk organza sari with trademark Sabyasachi border and golden thread work on the body. As I wanted to wear red, they readily agreed to custom made my sari, similar to the green one, with a matching dupatta. When I saw the final version, I thought its my dream outfit, couldn’t have been better! To complete my traditional look, I wore gold temple jewellery.
Bashi-biye: Its a bengali function, performed the next morning of the wedding. I wore a Sabyasachi sari for this function too. It was a fuschia pink saree with pearl work all over and a purple blouse. As soon as I tried it in store I knew this was perfect for the occasion. To offset the pink and pearl work on the sari, I chose to wear a kundan jewellery set.
Reception: For a contemporary look, I wore a two-piece golden gown with a little bit of red in it. I wanted a massive train on the back so that it gives the typical bridal look but I couldn’t find anything that I remotely liked anywhere in Delhi or Kolkata, so after much research and effort, I found a boutique in London who custom made it exactly the way I wanted.
How long did it take you to find your lehenga/ saree. How did you know “this is it!!!” Any tips to brides looking for outfits?
I think the mistake that most brides do is to pay all their attention to outfits and pick the jewellery at the last minute without much thought put into it. I would suggest that you should have an idea of the overall look that you want for each function and from there build onto it. For example, whenever you try an outfit, think about what kind of jewellery/makeup/shoes can you wear with it to achieve the desired look.
If you’re anything like me, obsessed about vintage jewellery, try wearing something old from your mother or grandmother’s wardrobe to bring the old world charm. I wore my mother’s wedding jewellery for my haldi ceremony. Its a traditional choker and chand-bali gold set. Needless to say, my mom was very touched. So go check out your mom’s jewellery box, you might find some hidden treasure!
I would also suggest to visit wedding fairs/exhibitions while you’re in the planning phase. I visited an Asian wedding fair in London and met a lady named Deeshs, who makes the most beautiful kalirey I have ever seen. As soon as I saw her display, I knew I had to buy this. Following a consultation session, she made me a pair of kalirey, matching to my outfit, with dried red roses, Swarovski crystals, and kundan. Thanks to the wedding fair, I had the most beautiful pair of kalirey in the whole wide world!
Which function was the most fun ?
Unexpectedly it rained on the reception evening and it was panic all over! Though I was a bit hesitant to go out in rain as it would ruin my gown and makeup, I thought it could be a great opportunity to make our evening even more special, not just for us but also for our guests. I took off my sandals, held him by his hand and we jumped on the open lawn amid heavy rain. Sensing the mood, the DJ played monsoon wedding songs and soon many guests joined us too. So we finished our wedding celebrations with a bang as the reception was fun-filled with lots of dance and masti.
Who was your makeup artist and photographer ?
MUA: For all the functions in Assam, I hired Manisha Kotak from Kolkata. She made sure I look different on each function and was very friendly and easy to be around with. For my reception in Delhi, my MUA was Michelle Montes. I wanted non-bridal makeup for this and she was perfect in creating the look I wanted.
Photographer: Tarun Chawla was our reception photographer in Delhi. He clicked some awesome pictures when we were busy dancing in rain. For all other functions in Assam, we hired Kuntal Gupta from Kolkata.
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