Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bridal Trends 2008

As the wedding season opens with a bang in India, would be Brides and their friends & family are going berserk putting together the best trousseau/ wardrobe and other essential items together. In this Blog, I bring forward a few tips and trends for putting together your wardrobe and other essentials for the upcoming season as well as life ahead.


Let’s start with the trends in-terms of your wardrobe. For all you Fashionistas wondering what colors to choose from, here are a few tips. The Hot colors this season are jewel tones and metallic colors like Gold, Silver, Copper, Bronze, Emerald Green, Tanzanite Blue etc. Pastel shades continue to be popular as well. Apart from these, people are opting for unusual combinations like honey brown with onion pink, coffee with copper sulphate blue, grape green with wine / burgundy, carrot pink with chocolate brown, purple with parrot green etc. Brocades, hand woven Benarasi georgettes, georgettes, chiffons, soft nets and textured or plain velvet are the most demanded fabrics this season.


When it comes to jewelry, fusion of the traditional with modernity is ‘The-in-Thing’. For example, the age-old bagdi is been given a new look by use of diamonds; Baaju also is coming in some very modern designs. Polki- meena, Thewa and Jaddau continue to be popular. Sleek diamond jewelry is very much in demand and hyderabadi jadaai polki sets are very popular this season.




For home furnishing and accessories, silverware and silver artifacts are really in. You must also consider buying a few laakh/Laac items like mirrors, laakh photo frames, laakh table pieces etc.

This season, ‘The minimalist look’ is completely out and ‘The Opulent look’ is ‘The Look’ for interiors. If you have the affordability, then having a piece from around the globe is a must. So, you can put that Persian rug and use that Burmese Buddha statue as a corner piece and add the Indian silver artifacts, Pakistani onyx table pieces, the glass items from Florence and those beautiful cut glass chandeliers from Belgium all at the same time in your living room. Jute furnishings are very hot! Silks as usual still stay popular for drapes and bedspreads, colors like Gold, white, beige are very in.


When it comes to crockery, silverware and bone china still rules-the-roost. The terracotta earthenware is also becoming very popular for serving Indian cuisine. Steel with matt finish and cast iron utensils remain popular for daily usage. Melamine is not recommended. Use steel or porcelain instead.


I hope, with all the above details shopping will be a easier and less cumbersome experience! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and happy shopping!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Festival of Lights: Celebrate Diwali in Traditional Indian Style in an Erstwhile Palace, Jaipur



Nights of tireless grace and intense colors are round the corner. Preparations and enthusiasm have reached a point of no return and it is keeping these festivities in mind that for the first time ever- an erstwhile 18th Century Palace opens its gates, for a select few to enjoy an evening of ‘Diwali celebration’, in Royal Splendor.

Diwali is the biggest and the grandest festival of India. It’s the festival of lights, firecrackers, joy and good food! It is with this festive spirit in Mind that ‘The Festival of Lights’ is being held in Jaipur. The event is being sold by a select group of travel agents and the passes queries can be also sent to: anuroopa@theroyalshaadi.com. Only 150 passes available.

Event Format:

1. Arrival

2. Guests get down near main Palace entrance

3.Guests will be given a A ROYAL WELCOME, which will include 2 Elephants and live folk musicians giving a welcome performance

4.Men in rajasthani costumes garland the guests.

5.Guests are offered Buttermilk/Jaljeera as a welcome drink in The Palace Promenade .

6.Followed by a Traditional Lakshmi –Ganesh Pooja. Pandit will perform chants and conduct the pooja. Pooja prasaad (traditional indian Sweets will be served)

7.This is followed by a 60 minutes Folk Performance at a Village themed courtyard .

8.Followed by a Round of firecrackers. All guests will be given sparkles (Phuljhari), Anaar, Etc to enjoy diwali

9.Finally Elaborate Dinner will be served at the Palace lawns. Dinner includes sumptuous, lip smacking- rajasthani and continental food

Event Date: 25th Oct 2008

Venue: 18th Century Palace, Moti Doongri, Jaipur

Timings: 7:00 PM Onwards

For queries mail: anuroopa@theroyalshaadi.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mementoes for Wedding Guests:

















This is a must element for all hosting a Royal Rajasthani wedding. A little something must be gifted to all your guests as a token of appreciation for their presence! This is something you cannot ignore post that magnificent wedding.

Rajasthan offers you many choices within your budgets to choose a souvenir that your guests will love and cherish forever. Before I go on to mentioning a few options, it is necessary to understand Rajasthani Art.


Rajasthan perhaps more than any other state in India, is a shopper's paradise. Centuries old skills in the traditional crafts continue to produce some of the most exciting wares on stone, clay, leather, wood, lac, glass, brass, silver, gold and textiles, Art flourished in this region as far back as 2nd-1st centuries BC. History of Rajasthan reveals that the Kings and their nobles were patrons of art and craft and encouraged their artisans/ craftsmen in promoting their creativity.


Rajasthani art consists of various forms of paintings, jewellery, textile & prints (Bandhani, Block Printing, Embroidery, Appliqué), antiques, pottery, rugs/ carpets, wood carving, gesso work, leatherwear, metal craft, puppets and stone carving to name a few.


You can choose any of the above forms for a great wedding memento to be gifted to all your special guests.


Rajasthan paintings:

Rajsathan has many schools old painting having Their own districts styles, well known among them being Marwar, Mewar, Hadoti Kishangarh, Dhundhur and Alwar.

The Miniature Paintings of Rajasthan had flourished under princely patronage are still reproduced by descendants of the original craftsmen as they continue to produce miniature masterpieces, retaining their classic elegance. These are often made on hand made paper and mythological characters from Ramayana, Krishna Lila, Ragamala, and Geetgovinda are commonly used. Miniature paintings, portrait and courtly paintings, murals, cloth and furniture painting, mehndi or henna, domestic painting and mandana or the art of decorating houses are some of the famous forms of Rajasthani paintings.


Rajasthan Jewellery:

Bangles are a special attraction of Rajasthan. Lac bangles are believed to be worn as a sign of good omen and are available in many colours & designs. Glass bangles, made in great variety in Jaipur & Jodhpur, are perennially in demand and are available in most parts of the state.

Kundan and enamel jewellery has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. Kundan is the art of setting precious stones in gold. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champeve ( raised field ) technique. The designs are mostly exquisitely entwined flowers and birds and sometimes human and animal figures.

The thewa work of Pratapgarh is highly exquisite and popular, in this technique, designs are enamelled in gold on a glass base. The base used is generally green or red in colour.

Rajasthan is one of the largest centres in the world for the hand-cutting of gems. It is not unusual to find shops piled with onyx, cat`s eye, lapiz lazuli, carnelian, garnets, amethysts and topaz. Even precious stones like rubies, emeralds and diamonds are easily available. Semi-precious and precious stones at Jaipur are also carved into figurines and statues.


Rajasthan Textiles:

Heart-warming textiles, dyed in the bandhani or tie & dye style reign supreme in Rajasthan.Different methods are used to tie the fabric into small points producing different patterns like Lahariya, Mothda, Ekdali and Shskari. The best bandhani work comes from iikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwara are the other centers.

The women of Rajasthan have high skills in embroidering fabrics. Embroidery practiced in Bikaner is done by counting threads. The women of sikar and Jhunihunu specilize in making patterns of animals. Chain stitch is popular in A!war. Dancing figures, Flowers and peacocks are the favourite motifs. Women of Barmer use mirrors. Another famous art in textiles is that of appliqué. In appliqué, different pieces of cloth are patched together to make a multi coloured mosiac.. The exotic colours, shapes and pattern combinations against constrasting backgrounds is a specialty of rajasthani appliqué.

From home furnishing to high fashion cloth items- Rajasthan textiles (Prints and embroidered pieces) have a lot of gifting options to offer.


Rajasthan Antiques:

Antiques can be found in small shops in places all over Rajasthan, as well as in large handicraft stores, and are part of the landscape of the state.


Rajasthan Pottery

Blue Glazed Pottery famous in Jaipur was introduced to India by the Muslims and popularized by Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur. The pottery is made of ground quartz stone, fuller’s earth and sodium sulphate instead of the simple clay. Blue and white are the traditional colours used, more recently, yellow, pink and green are also being used. Most pieces are hand-painted with conventional floral patterns, figures of animals and scenes from the lives of the royal families. Terra-cotta pottery Molela, a village to the north of Udaipur specialises in making these images. Alwar produces paper thin pottery, Bikaner is famous for painted pottery, tinted with lac colours, while white and red clay articles with geometric designs come from Pokharan.


Rajasthan Rugs/Dhurries and Carpets:

Available in a variety of sizes, the dhurrie is woven not only in Jaipur, but in villages all over the state. In places such as Bikaner and Jaisalmer, where the temperatures can dip alarmingly, woollen dhurries made of camel hair are very much in vogue. Carpets: Initially, huge carpets were specially woven for royal residences. Inspired by the Mughals, prisoners were employed at looms, a tradition that was continued from the past. Bikaner is still famous for its so-called jail carpets. Namdah:Another floor covering that has widespread use in Rajasthan is the namdah or felted rug. The namdah comes in mainly two fashions - embroidered and in applique work.


Furniture and wood carving:

Rajasthan excels in the art of making `antique furniture`. Doors and windows, wooden jharokhas, tables with cast iron jaalis, side-boards, chairs, benches, jhoolas or swings, and dressers are made to resemble the furniture that was in vogue in havelis a hundred years ago. While Jaipur is a popular centre, Jodhpur, in particular, is well known for its `old` furniture, and Ramgarh, in Shekhawati, has become a major centre for its manufacture. Shekhawati and Bikaner have been the traditional centres for woodwork. Jodhpur and Kishangarh are especially popular for painted wooden furniture. Shekhawati, Bikaner and Ramgarh specialise in making delicately carved wooden doors. Barmer craftsmen specialise in woodcarvings. Other pieces of furniture include the leather-embroidered chairs of Tilonia, and the carved-back, string-bottom chairs of Shekhawati. Marble tops for tables are also popular, and screens are available with both painted panels and brass embellishments.


Gesso work:

One of the finest crafts to emerge from Bikaner, the inner hide of the camel is used for the purpose. The hide is scraped till it is paper thin and transluscent. It is then moulded into various forms of lamp shades, hip flasks, perfume phials or vases. It is then painted over with fine gesso work using gold to lend richness to the otherwise bright reds and greens used in the work.


Leather wear:

The hides of dead animals have never been put to better use than in Rajasthan whether as juttees (the embroidered footwear), or as saddles, bags and pouches. It is even used as backs for chairs after it has been embroidered with woollen motifs. Jaipur and Jodhpur are the traditional centres for juties.


Metal crafts:

In later years the art of enamelling became merely decorative and, in Rajasthan, has been used for everything from tabletops to wall plates, flasks, and for crafting objets d`art. Brassware- enamelled, engraved and filigree cut work on silver are available in Rajasthan. Jaipur, Alwar and Jodhpur.


Puppets

Inexpensive souvenirs, they recall more easily than most other things when it comes to memories of a this state of chivalrous kings and beautiful queens.


Stone carving

From Dholpur to Barmer in the heart of the desert, the chisel of the stone mason is put to incredible use. From pink and red sandstone to marble, tamara and chlorite all are used to create panels of frescos for buildings, large statuary, planters, figures of gods (usually in marble and crafted almost entirely in Jaipur), and elephants and horses as garden sculpture, table pieces, jewellery boxes, etc.


Rajasthan with a treasure of history, picturesque architecture, magnificent art & culture and bewitching landscape is an unparalleled destination dream weddings!



For any wedding shopping assistance from Rajasthan feel free to mail us at dreams@theroyalshaadi.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jewellery of Rajasthan



Jewellery has always been an essential part of personal adornment in Rajasthan. Be it the various tribal women adorning chunky silver jewellery, or exclusive jewellery studded with precious stones worn by The Kings & Queens of the Rajputana; Jewelry has been an integral part of Rajasthan.Rajathani jewelry and gemstones have made a mark on the world map and no Royal Indian Wedding can ever be complete without jewelry. It is this reason that I decided to write about Rajasthani Jewelry.


Rajasthan excels manufacturing a wide range of ornaments using Emerald, Diamond, Pearls, polki, Garnet, etc made in Jaipur and Jodhpur. Jaipur is a famous export centre for precious and semi-precious gemstones and hence if you are planning to visit Rajasthan then shopping for exquisite jewellery is something you must not miss out on. Some of the popular forms of Rajasthani Jewelry include Kundan Work, Thewa art, Meenakari and Vermeil more recetly.


Kundankari - is the art of setting gems and stones (Diamonds, Ruby, Emerald etc) in gold and silver. This form was taught by the Mughals. One of the oldest forms of jewelry made and worn in India is the 24 carat pure gold Kundan jewelry. Mostly kundan work is combined with enameling meenakari. The real Polki - (Uncut Diamond) kundan jewelry that comes out has two equally beautifully surfaces meenakari at the back surface and kundankari in the front surface. Making it extremely beautiful and exorbitant on pockets. Polki Kundan jewelry with precious stones range from anywhere between INR 15,000- INR 10,000,000!


Meenakari - is a different kind of art of jewelry making and was introduced to Jaipur by the Mughals. It was brought to Jaipur by Raja Man Singh. it is the art of enameling gold and silver jewelry.



Kundankari and Meenakari are popular forms so I wouldn’t be telling you any more about these forms. Today, I am bringing to limelight a much lesser known yet exotic form of jewelery: Vermeil & Thewa Jewelery



Vermeil: Pronounced "vair-may", is sterling silver, which has been plated or rolled with gold. A thin layer of gold, usually 18kt or 22kt, is overlaid onto the silver surface. The Rajasthani vermeil jewelry has 92.4% pure silver and 2 microns or more of 18Kt /22Kt gold overlaid in different textures and finishes and is extremely popular form of jewelry in these times when saving our resources are primary.

The vermeil jewelry prince range starts at $40 i.e. INR 2000 and goes up to $200 i.e. INR 10000 approx. Vermeil is available in a variety of designs and a lot of precious and semi precious stones/ gems are used to ornate and enhance the pieces. Stones like ruby, emerald, pearl, coral, onyx, carnelian, fluoride, tanzanite and sapphires are used in almost all vermeil pieces. Vermeil jewellery has been used by brides to create a complete set of accessories to match trousseau for the D-day! Too many options can be done in vermeil. One can create sets containing- Earrings, bracelets, necklace, hair pins, brooches, hand bag buttons, shoe / slipper enhancements, anklets, armlets, tiaras, rings etc.


Theva Art (Thewa Art) is a very rare and a secret art of fine jewelry making which is passed to generations downwards with in the family, as such it has become a family tradition for the people called as "Rajsoni". These Rajsonis are the master artisans and they treat this art as their sacred profession and not merely as a source of livelihood.


Bold and fashionable, the Thewa Art Jewelery makes a dramatic fashion statement. Not long ago, thewa was a dying Rajasthani art form. However, this 350 years old technique is now wooing customers from all over the world.


In Thewa making, with precision and techniques the pieces of coloured glass are encased in gold plated silver. Then delicate designs are worked out on the glass pieces by carving intricate designs/ motifs on gold leaf. The motifs often depict details from Hindu mythology or Mughal courtly scenes and include floral patterns, historical scenes, the Krishna Leela, peacocks , elephants, deer, lions and other animals, winged fairies, scenes from battlefields, portraits of rulers, and the like.


Products made by the artisans include jewelry and ornament pieces, boxes, plates, photo frames, belts, perfume bottles and vases. Thewa art can be used to create a great wedding give away for all attendees. Unlike other gold jewelry the price of a thewa piece lies not in the intrinsic value of gold but the skill required to fashion an article. Unfortunately customers paying Rs 500 for a pair of earrings often question the price as well as the quantity of the gold used. However one needs to understand the price charged are for workmanship and not only metals and gems.


Some of the finest examples of the thewa art can be seen in museums in India and abroad. Presently, in India, the craft is witnessing a revival with thewa jewelry pieces being made available in urban markets, which are extremely stylish and beautifully designed . With only a small handful of hereditary artisans practicing Thewa art, this beautiful craft form needs this very welcome limelight.


Thewa art imbibes from the bygone era's heritage but its impulse lies in fulfilling the demands of today's woman, who believes in making dramatic statements in every way she dresses. B it jewellery or clothes she is always on the lookout for something different and Thewa meets that need very well.



This traditional jewellery has
an old world charm and is affordable at the same time. The red, green or blue glass below highlights the intricate gold work in the best possible manner. Made of multi coloured beads, precious and semi precious gems, stones and metals in diverse colours and designs, this unique jewellery heightens your distinct style. The hand made thewa jewellery ranging from INR 3000 to INR 200,000 has today fashioned into a `must have` jewellery and its uniqueness makes you really stand out.


I am a big fan of thewa and myself have a large collection, in fact on my profile picture on this blog I am wearing a thewa neck piece and earrings. Bold and fashionable, range of sparkling Thewa Art Jewelery is a must have for every bride to be to achieve that look worth killing for.

For buying Thewa Jewelery from internationally certified jewelers, mail us on dreams@theroyalshaadi.com.

For any other wedding shopping assistance from Rajasthan feel free to visit us at www.theroyalshaadi.com



You can also visit: http://abgsvermeil.blogspot.com/ and http://www.thevoguejewels.blogspot.com/ for beautiful Rajasthani Jewellery designs and custom orders to create and buy jewellery of your choice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Theme Wedding: Wedding amidst golden sand dunes






Today I am writing about a very popular wedding concept: Weddings amidst the gorgeous sand dunes and what could be a better wedding venue than ‘The Vibrant Rajasthan’!


Jaiselmer is the most popular destination for a desert wedding. Being so popular, it’s indeed very commercial and expensive. I am going to take you through a relatively less known place that’s a much better option for planning the best ever desert wedding.


Khimsar: a fine tourist destination in Rajasthan, located on the route between Jodhpur and Bikaner at a distance of 92 kilometres from Jodhpur, 528 kilometres from Delhi, 330 kilometres from Jaipur and 302 kilometres from Jaisalmer. Exuding the rustic charm of Rajasthan, Khimsar is renowned for its fort. The Khimsar Fort nestles on the edge of the great Thar Desert in the heart of rural Rajasthan. There is no better destination for a dessert wedding than this ITC Welcom group heritage hotel (http://www.welcomheritagehotels.com/)




Sequence of a Grand Indian Desert Wedding:


Day 1

· Receiving guests at Jaipur Airport and transferring them to Air Conditioned coaches.

· 5 hours drive to Fort Khimsar

· Royal welcome on arrival: Tilak+ Garland+ Welcome drinks

· Check-in to rooms

· Leisure time for rest and relaxation

· All the guests assemble at the Roof Top Restaurant in the evening for the Mehendi Function. Here Henna artistes apply henna in intricate patterns to all the women guests including the Bride

· Following this is a Theme dinner with folk dances, DJ and Live Band



Day 2

· Buffet Breakfast served for all the guests as per pre decided menu

· The Bride and the Groom retires to the Spa for a pampering essentials session

· A sightseeing tour organized for the guests

· Buffet Lunch served for all the guests

· By the evening all guests are transported to the khimsar Sand dunes village for the Sangeet evening (The dancing evening: http://weddings.iloveindia.com/indian-weddings/pre-wedding-functions/sangeet.html )


The khimsar Sand dunes village is an exotic venue. Located at the centre of a water body, in an 8 km circumference, the seven dunes of 'Akla'. At the heart of this oasis of sixty acres, adjoining the lake, is the Khimsar Sand Dunes Village. This village is a mere 6 km away from the Khimsar Fort and is accessible by jeep, camel or horse, but once there, all that is evident to the naked eye is rolling sand dunes in every direction. The location of this remote and rural village, facing the water body, ensures total tranquility and peace with perhaps nothing but the sound of the sifting sands wafting on the desert winds, occasionally interrupted by the ducks, geese and wild birds that flock to the water body.

· The Sangeet event is followed by a sit down dinner, post which the guests are transported back to the Fort.




Day 3:

· Buffet Breakfast served for all the guests as per pre decided menu

· The day is at Leisure for guests. Unless asked by the guests, no prior events are pre planned for the morning. Generally the guest are taken for a village tour where one can shop for handmade stuff and observe local artisans creating various items from clothes to decorative souvenirs

· Followed by the tour is an elaborate sit down lunch

· The evening is when a traditional India wedding takes place.




For more on Indian weddings and planning a memorable desert wedding visit us on www.theroyalshaadi.com or write to us @ dreams@theroyalshaadi.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Music of Rajasthan



Music is one element without which no wedding is complete. Today, I am writing about the music of Rajasthan because without music Royal Weddings have no soul.

The color, vibrancy & grandeur of Rajasthan is never completely discovered until you immerse yourself in the music of this land of Royalty.



Influenced by erstwhile royalty, the music of Rajasthan follows a legacy that dates back to several centuries. The rich folklore and culture has added some more sparkles to its glory; making Rajasthani dance and music a treasured jewel in Indian culture. The traditional court dance and music performances are seen today on the cultural evenings like weddings and pre wedding celebrations, making alive the grandeur of an era bygone.



Rajasthani folk songs narrate the rich folklore and imperial heritage of the state that has been captivating the entire world for many centuries. Visitors coming to Rajasthan make it a point to attend at least one dance & music performance while exploring the deserts. Rajasthani music goes very well with ‘Heritage Royal Wedding Theme’. It adds to the imperial ambiance of Forts/ Palaces a certain degree of romance that no other form of sound can match!



Off late folk- fusion is getting very popular. I highly recommend the Band Rajasthan Roots. They use traditional instruments such as the Khamaicha, Nagara, Morchang, Khurtal, Bhapang, Dholak, Dhol, Tagari, and Algoza, and fuse these instruments with western instruments such as guitar, saxaphone, and western percussion. You can see and hear there music on You Tube: http://youtube.com/user/morchangstudios



Major Musical Instruments of Rajasthan:

Shehnai - Played on all auspicious occasions.
Ghoongharoo worn on foot - Aklets produce rhythmic sounds at each step of performer.
Dhol, Nagara - Flat barrel drum played during auspicious occasions.
Morchang - Wrought iron instrument, played by mouth.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All about Indian Bridal Trousseau:




India, rich in art and culture, has finest collection of traditional wear incorporated with marvelous embroidery. Most of the traditional wear comes with the work of gold and silver thread known as Zari. Whether it’s a bridal dress or a dress for attending a wedding, the dress such as lehenga choli incorporates heavy work all over using beads, kundan, zari, thread and sequins.


Zari is a golden thread and zardozi embroidery is the work done using gold thread, the sheer magic of creative design and agile fingers. Zardozi lehengas are among the most demanded outfit during any special occasion due to its heavily encrusted gold work which gives an exotic look to its wearer.


The lehenga, embedded with Zardozi embroidery, sworovski, beads, crystals, semi precious stones and envisaging the ensemble of lustrous metallic wire makes it the most popular choice for a bridal trousseau.


The Zardozi work was traditionally the silver wire coated/plated with beads, stones, gold and silk threads. Today many other forms are being used to create that Special dress for your biggest day! Popular forms like chikankari, dabka, pittan, Maal, resham work etc are being infused with modern forms like foil prints and age old weaves to create the most exotic trousseau of every girl’s dreams.


Lehenga is the traditional wear of Indian women since mughal time. Popular among royal people of olden days, lehngas come in many different styles. The lehenga made up of a comfortable fabric, can be worn on festivals or other celebrations. Lehangas are glamorous and elaborate. Rich fabrics such as silk, organza, jamewars and brocades are used lavishly by the timeless traditional motifs and contemporary patterns. The colours are bright in hues of reds, oranges, maroons, pink and golds.


Exceptionally feminine, lehengas are available in various sizes and are often custom made to suit individual needs. A lehanga is said to be the best bridal wear in day and evening time.


Rajasthan has some exceptional boutiques and stores to buy the best possible wedding trousseau. Some of the great stores located in the capital city of Jaipur are Rana’s, Zari, Sattava, Pratapsons, Utsav and a there are a handful of boutiques to get a great bargain. I especially recommend a great boutique- Krishnakriti. You can get a custom lehenga done starting at a price of $500 to $12500 and above. The price would vary depending on the fabric, work and material.



For shopping assistance and guidance on buying exotic bridal trousseau from Rajasthan, visit us at www.theroyalshaadi.com or mail us at dreams@theroyalshaadi.com

STYLE SHEET: Royal Palace Wedding



Here are a few things and visuals from one of the recent palace weddings I hosted. We chose Pink & Gold as the theme colors. Hence, the best venue was the City Palace Jaipur. The building is mostly pink and made our decorating job much easier and cost effective.


The first picture on the left is the alter (Mandap) created mostly using silk drapes, wood and flowers. The City palace Jaipur, is a spectacular building- Located in the capital of Rajasthan, the City Palace is an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthan and Mughal architecture. The vast palace complex occupies one seventh of the walled city of Jaipur. Originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs, additions have been made to the palace complex by many of his successors.


The décor was done using rich fabrics (Silk, Georgettes, Brocade, Tissue) in Gold, Pink & Maroon. A lot of candles, flowers, incense sticks, traditional rajasthani furniture and antique props were used to enhance the look of the palace. There were over 40 folk performers and musicians for the evening entertainment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rajasthan a hit for celebrity weddings


Rajasthan, the land of kings, is the quintessential Indian state. Its walled cities, Forts & Palaces are a dramatic reminder of the rich cultural heritage & history of the region. One can choose from the fairy tale cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur & Jaisalmer. While exploring the lesser known palaces & forts of Bundi, Chittorgarh & Nimaj can be equally enchanting.

Its royal Rajasthan at its best for a fairy tale wedding! These medieval forts & palaces provide an ambiance that is difficult to match. From Rich & famous, Non Resident Indians, Politicians & Industrialists; everyone is flocking to Rajasthan for a celebration that capture colors & pageantry of its past. But not just the Indians alone, foreign tourists who come here are also captivated by the glamor & romance of Rajasthan. Many tourists celebrate their wedding anniversaries by organizing mock weddings, where they take their wedding vows again in traditional style.


Rajasthan has a lot to offer. There is color, music, beautiful dances and beautiful historic monuments. It is a complete package! its not just the venues, even the wedding processions are organized here in grand style- with elephants, horses, camels, oxens, buggies & even vintage cars thrown in.Apart from the main wedding ceremony, Rajasthan offers great & unique concepts for pre wedding festivities.


From Elizabeth Hurley to Raveena Tondon and the Chatwal wedding, Rajasthan is quite the favorite destination for crème Del crème weddings. Rajasthan's rich cultural heritage lends glamour and color to any wedding and is one of the most favorite destination for those looking for a truly royal wedding.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to find the Ring that gets her to say: “Yes, I will!”


You have been seeing each other for a while. Now you are at the stage where you feel this is the woman, with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. You have decided the time and place you are going to pop ‘The Question’. You have practiced your lines well.


Now the only dilemma you face is how to buy the ring that will make her scream, the ring that she will wear for the rest of her life, and the ring that will prove to the world that she belongs to you…


Most men get very anxious and confused when it comes to shopping for an engagement ring! So I thought, why not decrease the anxiety of all you men, planning to go down on the knees. This article aims at filling you in, on what you need to know to find the ring that will melt her heart.


1. Is it a good idea to surprise her or not?

You are the best judge of what your lady likes. If both of you have been openly talking about getting engaged, then it’s perfectly fine to go hunting for engagement rings together. Off late many contemporary couples are going ring shopping together once they have discussed the idea of getting engaged. When you are out shopping or you happen to be strolling in an area near a jewelry store, take a walk over to the store windows. Pay attention to what draws her. Are there certain stone shapes (round, pear, oval) that she’s drawn to? Does she like jewelry that is chunky looking, contemporary or sleek and modern? If you are having fun browsing, you might go into a shop and have her try on some rings. Make sure to note her ring size!


However, I am sure there are plenty of guys out there who feel that it’s the most romantic idea to make it a complete surprise. If you belong to this category then, you want to select a ring for her on your own and pop the question on bended knees. For all you romantic fellows it is necessary that you learn about your girlfriend’s jewelry preferences, too—but you will have to do so in a very hush-hush manner. You should start by paying attention to the jewelry that she wears. Does she prefer silver or gold? Vintage or contemporary? Another good way to learn about her tastes in rings by talking to her best friend or sister. Make sure that you make them swear to secrecy before you discuss too much.


Well, now you must be wondering how you would know her ring size. The best way is to ask people closest to her or take a wide guess or steal one of her rings from her jewelry box. While doing all this, please remember if the ring is smaller for her fingers, it can be made to increase. However, if it is bigger than her size than its very difficult to decrease the size.


2. Knowing clarity, color, cut & carat

Now that you know, if you want to surprise her or not, you know her jewelry choice & ring size, it’s time to learn a bit about diamonds and other stones so that you can make sure you buy the best possible.


Clarity refers to any small flaws found on the diamond; many diamonds will have minute scratches or air bubbles. The fewer flaws a diamond has, the greater its value. The color of the diamond will be graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow); in general, the more colorless the diamond is, the more valuable it is. Cut means the way the diamond was faceted to allow light to reflect from it. In a well cut diamond, light enters the diamond and reflects straight back to the viewer's eye. Cut is graded Ideal, Premium, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Generally, you should go for an Ideal to Very Good Diamond. Carat, refers to the size of the stone. Keep in mind that it truly is most important to know your girlfriend’s taste: some women feel that a large carat ring looks too flashy and would prefer a smaller ring.


That was about diamonds. If you are looking for an Emerald, make sure that the stone is green and does not have any black spots. As in case of Ruby, the darker it is- the better.


3. Choose a good store:

This is one of the most important steps in choosing the ring! Take opinions and don’t just go by publicity. Go to a jeweler you can trust. Going to one known to friends and family is a great idea. It’s important to make sure that the store is accredited. Before you buy, find out what the return policy is so that you can exchange the ring if necessary. You might want to take a friend along for buying the ring. Having a friend whose opinion you can trust with you, can make the whole experience much better.


4. Deciding how much to spend on the Ring:

Are you are feeling slightly rested? You should be, since you know what kind of ring your lady will love and you know more about diamonds. Well, now the biggest question on your mind is how much to spend on the ring. While you want to keep in mind that this is a very significant purchase—this is something that (you hope) she will wear every day for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, you need to be realistic about what you can spend. If your budget is tight go for semi precious stones set in silver. For medium budgets, plain gold or enameled gold rings are recommended. For those with a high budget, go for diamond set in platinum / gold. Most women prefer Diamond rings, hence if your budgets are low, go for a centerpiece with diamonds surrounding in smaller size. The centerpiece can be Ruby, pearl, turquoise etc.


A decent engagement ring today runs in the $3,500--$4,000 range, but there are ways to purchase one for less money.

Before buying a ring, talk to your mother or grandmother- there may be an heirloom ring available in your family. You can have an heirloom stone taken out of its original setting and redone; for example, if your ancestral ring came in a 22K gold setting and your girlfriend likes platinum, a good jeweler can remove the stone and redo it in platinum.


5. Planning with a time window:

Last but not the least; you must plan the buying with time in hand. Do not think that you can walk into a jewelry store and essentially come out with the ring the same day. You may not like what is available and may have to get one made to order. Do your shopping well in advance of your proposal date. Ask for a written contract (In case you are ordering) with the date that the ring will be ready for you to take home.


Ready to take that step?
All the best!!!

In years to come, you will remember the time and energy you put into finding the right ring…& how happy it made her when you popped the question.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Exotic Wedding Venues in India

India, The land of Gods and gurus, the land of palaces & Fortresses, the land of festivals & rituals, the land of ayurveda & yoga.

India- the enchanted continent has been casting spells & fascinating the world since time immemorial. India is known for its rich heritage and culture. The geographical variations, diverse communities, many faiths and practices help to make this country a wonderful combination of unity in diversity.


Off late, India has come to be one of the favorite tourist destinations for people across the globe. People from all around the world are contemplating hosting their weddings in India in the exotic & exclusive wedding venues.


India being a vast country, every region has some uniqueness and thereby has many exotic destinations to offer


In the Northern region you may choose Rajsthan. Here you have the glamorous and mystical palaces, dessert castles and swiss tents in sand dunes and wonderful Royal Weddings take place in these destinations. (The much hyped Liz Hurley wedding took place in Rajasthan- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Hurley#Wedding ).


In the western parts, you can opt for Goa, where the beach resorts and hotels offers the most exciting beach weddings.


Go to the Southern region – the land of spices, coffee, backwaters and ayurveda; and you can create magical weddings in the Backwaters or houseboats of Kerala, Places of Karnataka or temples of Tamilnadu (http://www.tamilnadutourism.org/).


In the east, one can opt for a monastery wedding in ladakh (http://www.ladakh-tourism.com/) or chose to do it amidst the greenery & waterfalls of shillong (http://shillong.com/). India has it all.


Planning a wedding in India is not as difficult as it may seem. With the growing wedding Industry and availability of highly skilled wedding specialists, your Indian wedding can be planned without a crease on your forehead.