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 or mail us at

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- ).

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 (

In the east, one can opt for a monastery wedding in ladakh ( or chose to do it amidst the greenery & waterfalls of shillong ( 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.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Traditional Indian Wedding: Dispelling myths & Tips on How to Budget a traditional Indian Wedding:

You have popped ‘The Question’ & the answer was “Yes, I will!” Now you are planning a wedding and the question is what kind of wedding to have? If you are the kinds, who like colors, rituals, traditions & flamboyance then the Indian wedding, is the perfect way to celebrate the biggest occasion of your life.

If you still have apprehensions and are wondering that Indian weddings are rudimentary and boring then you really, need to check your facts twice. The Big Fat Indian wedding has changed dramatically. From an elaborate traditional affair that involved the family and community for days at a stretch, it is now as much a celebration of beauty & romance and an occasion for friends/family to get together and have a great time. I have noticed that earlier Indian weddings were about the best five star hotels, a heavy designer lehenga ( & chunky jewellery with elaborate invites. Today, all this has been fine-tuned to a different level and the ceremonies have a modern twist. The functions now include more fun, and are events that are more social. In fact, off late even the guests get all the pampering with shopping expeditions, Folk performances, desert safaris and cruises, as part of the wedding entertainment.

To add to the twist, dance choreographers are either coming in for on-stage performances or training the family members for a dance night (sangeet). Community and regional origins are no longer a parameter for hosting a wedding function. Thanks to the ellaborate portrayals in Indian cinema, you can enjoy every aspect of the marriage in a unique way.

Ok, so you are sold on the Indian wedding. However, are wondering what is a Traditional Indian wedding and how big a hole it will burn in your wallet? Let us start with what Tradition Indian (Hindu) wedding must are. Commonly a traditional Indian wedding is a three-day affair with a host of events.

  1. The ceremony starts with offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.
  2. This is followed by The Tilak, (the sacred mark on forehead) ceremony. Following the Tilak is the Mehendi Ceremony. Tilak & mehendi are hosted on a single day mostly.
  3. The next function is the Sangeet: This is a entertainment evening where family members and Artistes perform to music ranging from Bollywood to folk.
  4. The next function is the wedding ceremony.
  5. Last but not the least is a Reception dinner.

(You can read more about The Traditional Indian wedding on my soon to be launched website:

Hence, at the least one needs 3 to 4 days to host a truly enjoyable & memorable traditional Indian wedding.

How to budget a traditional Indian wedding:

1. Keep in mind that you are talking about 3 days of fun & frolic hence the budget must be planned day wise & function wise

2. The first thing to be decided is the number of guests per day + No. of rooms+ No. of meals per day per guest (Meals apart from the ceremony meals) + Transportation & ceremony venue/venues

3. One of the foremost in your budgeting is setting up an amount for The Bridal trousseau/groom’s attire & Jewelry/accessories for bride and/or groom ; invitations & announcements, Music, photography & videography, gifts for relatives

4. Next comes the budgeting for ceremony lunches & dinners

5. Please put aside a separate budget for Flowers/ décor/lighting

6. If you are not cutting corners then set aside a good amount of money for entertainment & wow elements!

7. Last but not the least don’t forget your wedding consultant fee!

For a common man, the great Indian wedding is an enticing dream world. Every girl’s heart nurtures the dream of marrying off amidst pomp and flamboyance. The ostentation and hype that an exotic designer wedding enjoys doesn’t come without a cost. Yes the grand-traditional Indian weddings come at the cost of your fortune, if you are not Midas or a treasure owner. Briefly, a great Indian traditional wedding for 200 guests will not cost you less than $ 150000!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

All about a great Royal Palace wedding:

Imagine a wedding amidst architectural marvels built centuries ago. Imagine celebrating the biggest occasion of your life inside splendid structures from the past that stand strong even today. Taking your vows in scenic settings that exhibit magnificent charm and exuberance could be quite a thing.

Let me describe a typical Indian Royal Palace wedding to all you to be married couples. A typical Indian Royal Palace wedding starts with the Baraat ( Its not a regular Baraat that we are talking about. The Groom sits in an elaborately decorated elephant and following him are friends and family in a Royal Procession. The procession is a very elaborate display and in order for you to understand it better, below is a brief description of the various items in the procession.

  1. The Groom’s Elephant: The elephant with the Groom heralds the official start of the Royal Procession.
  2. Pahalwan Ka Hathi : Elephant with the Royal Wrestler- It is symbolic of Hanuman (Monkey God-Chief of the Army of Lord Rama).
  3. Royal Band: Now comes the Royal Band.
  4. Top Gadi : The Royal Cannon with cart is carried by a pair of oxen.
  5. Decorated Elephants: There are two decorated elephants with exquisite cloth hangings.
  6. Camel with Jujurba (Camel Guns)
  7. Victoria Buggy : The horse driven Victoria.
  8. Decorated Camels : These camels are decorated with gorband (Jeweled Fixtures).
  9. Goda Sawar : Horses decorated with saddles, harnesses bids etc.
  10. Chob Dars : Silver staff bearers. These foot soldiers announce the Royal Message.
  11. Mahadol : Covered Palanquin with a single bar.
  12. Pinjas : Palanquin with a single bar with the seat having movable sliding doors.
  13. Palki : Palanquin with two parallel bars used with no veil.
  14. Rath (Roshan Chowki): Oxen driven carriage caring musicians.

Once the Baraat arrives the wedding venue, (A Palace/Fort) comes the Reception of Baraat. Exquisitely dressed women showering flowers and ittar ( receive all the guests. Post this, traditionally dressed men & women garland the guests and offer welcome drinks.

Men with burning torches line up the walkway, there are folk performers and exotic dancers wooing your guests all evening. To enhance the evening a full-blown laser show with fireworks is a common element. The Palaces are mostly decorated for weddings using flowers, drapes and lights and to enhance the look a lot of antique furniture and decorative items are used.

The highlight of Royal Palace weddings is the variety and number of dishes served and the way food is served by Royal service members. It is mostly a sit down dinner arrangement and food is served in silverware.

Do you still have second thoughts about choosing a Royal Palace Wedding?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Great Tips for your Bachelor’s party.

I realized off late I have been doing all the stories focusing on the brides wherein grooms have equal importance in the Wedding affaire. Hence, today I am writing a story focusing on the Grooms to be and what better subject to pick than ‘The Bachelor’s party’.

Just a few months back I attended a bachelor’s at The Steam- the lounge of Taj Rambagh Palace ( This was a glorious event. One of the prime reasons for the bash to be a great success, was the fact that the venue was great. This lounge bar on wheels is the finest watering hole in town. Its Mediterranean ambience is cozy and intimate despite being zesty with low-slung couches, snug seating and plenty of space to relax and unwind. Lesson number one for planning a bachelor’s party, do not compromise on the venue.

To add to the high spirits, there were exotic Russian & Arabian dancers. (Nothing cheap or vulgar but very elegant girls dancing to lilting music). However, I left early so I missed witnessing all the fun the boys must have had. Lesson number two: Enhancing the evening is necessary; entertainment must be added to all the spirits.

The snacks and the selection of drinks were excellent. The organizer made sure that there was something for every one. There were wines, beer, scotches, liqueurs, shots, irresistible mocktails & cocktails and snacks comprised of world cuisine: Lebanese, Mexican, Italian & of course Indian. Lesson number three: Plan well for the food & drinks. Make sure you know your guests well and keep their taste in mind.

Last but not the least; make sure that your wedding planner gets all licenses and permissions for hosting the event so you do not run into a legal fiasco. It is necessary to acquire a liquor license, music license, police permission and ensure the venue has measures to combat mishaps from fire or electricity and of course the friends who get drunk. Please clarify this part with your planner before finalizing an event.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bride to be? Pampering essentials

So, the D-Day date is out. You have sent the 'save the date' to all near & dear ones, finalized your wedding planner, started hunting your wedding trousseau & started looking for the wedding venue... You think you have done it all? All's under control? Not just yet, there is something you have totally missed out on. PAMPERING YOURSELF.

I advice all my would be Brides to focus a lot on this aspect. It is a must to groom & pamper yourself for atleast 3 months prior to your Big Day. Here are a few pampering essentials that no bride should ignore:

  1. Please ensure to take at least one spa treatment every month for 3 months before your special day. The treatments that are a must include:
  • Anti tanning packs (to ensure skin tone uniformity). You don't want the hands to be a shade darker than the face, nor the neck to be shades darker than your face.
  • Hair packs (To ensure your crowning glory is healthy)
  • Body massage (Must to keep up with all the pressure)
  • Facials (I highly recommend the pure sandalwood ayurvedic facial; the aroma relaxes and perks you up instantly)
  • Body scrubs ( ubtan as it is called in ayurveda is the best body scrub. Get this done every week for 3 months & you will swear by the end result)
2. It is very essential to take care of the waxing. Do not wax parts on the last week that you have never waxed before. Also do not wax too regularly. Ensure that you get a full growth before getting the final wax, not only will that leave you with a soft & smooth skin but also would be easier for your beautician to ward off undergrowth.

3. Taking care of your hands and feet are equally important. Please make sure to take care of your nails so they do not chip/ break just before your special day. Regular manicures & pedicures are must. Do not forget to use your hand & foot cream religiously every night for at least 60 days prior to the wedding date.

4. Ensure to try the make up on with your beautician at least once (in case this is a first time beautician you are using)

5. Finalize your hairdo and do not forget to try it on much in advance.

Pampering yourself is very key and every bride to be should not compromise on this at any cost.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Avoiding Trousseau Malfunction:

The trousseau is an eternal part of a wedding. Talking about traditional Indian trousseau, the choices are many; elaborate Lehengas, Ghaghra choli, Heavily Embroidered sari, Sharara, salwaar kameez etc ( There were times when a bride could not go much beyond Reds for the D-day attire but today the choices are many. From pastels to traditional red tones, gold, silver or even whites, it is on to you to decide what you want.

The wedding attire must be chosen considering one’s body size and shape. The traditional wedding dress patterns have transcended to breathtaking blends, which are being preferred by the modern bride and groom. Heavily embroidered clothes, with crystal work and embellishments are being mostly preferred. Given the heaviness of this kind of clothing, it is very difficult to manage with them for hours at a stretch.

A bride may have the most elaborate designer trousseau, or the most eclectic jewelry but it may all prove futile if a dress malfunction takes place in public. Here are a few lessons that I learned and these may come in handy for brides when it comes to their bridal attire.

  • Rule number one: Try on your wedding dress and make sure it fits. One of my friends bought a beautiful lehenga. She tried it on at the store and the choli ( was not acting right. It was falling off the shoulders. She really wanted the attire and just figured that the store was ready to alter the choli and assumed and all would be fine. That is not what happened. While she was wearing her lehenga on the day of the sangeet, the Choli was tight and difficult to get into. Her wonderful Mom In law had to run all the way to the store to get it altered all over again. She is a saint! The Bride made it to the Sangeet, slightly late and very disturbed. Trying on your dress is crucial to prevent potential bridal attire malfunctions AHEAD of time!

  • Rule number two: Try on your shoes before you leave the store. So my other friend, who is well known for her shoes, had the most fabulous pair of shoes on. Well, my dear friend didn’t try on the shoes before she left the store. She had two left shoes. We were hysterical. She finally got married in her sister’s shoes. All the last minute chaos of shoe hunting could have been avoided with a bit of pre-planning. (Sorry girls, I am sure you will publish my next big guffaws.)

  • Rule number three: I know someone whose Sari opened slightly in the middle of Pheras. It was an extremely embarrassing moment and was very shocking for all guests. So all you lovely brides to be; tell your beautician to put pins on our Sari and ensure it does not come off.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Booking Venue for your destination wedding

With every passing year, Indian weddings are going BIG, FAT, GRAND & GLOBAL. If you are looking for a Royal Palace, Fort, Castle or Dessert wedding; then your search stops at Rajasthan: The Land of Kings, colors & palaces.

For a common person, the Royal Indian wedding is an enticing dream world. Every girl’s heart nurtures the dream of marrying off amidst pomp and flamboyance. The ostentation and hype that an exotic designer wedding enjoys does not come without a cost. Yes, grand Indian weddings come at the cost of your fortune.

Just a few weeks back, I was planning a wedding in Jaipur (the pink city) for the month of July. Summer weddings are not a common sight in Rajasthan and I tried explaining to both the groom & the bride’s family about the challenges they have to be prepared for. All said and done, they did not want to change the dates and we were planning a Royal Hindu wedding in the Pink city in Peak of OFF-SEASON! I was glad, for once planning would not be tough; owing to off-season, we would have wide choices to present to the client.

One of the foremost things in destination weddings is to freeze the venue for the functions and the rooms for stay. This was not a very big gathering; we needed to plan for 500 guests. Jaipur being a prime tourist destination has many options. But to my surprise, everything across Jaipur was full- even for July. Jaipur supposedly is full this year; mostly booked till January'09. After 7 days of research and hunting, we finally zeroed in on splitting the guests in 4 different heritage hotels for stay and for the 3 big functions zeroed in on Fort & a palace venues. Although its going to cost a fortune but we were lucky to get hands on these great locales.

So my suggestion to all you great people contemplating a Royal wedding in India is to plan and book all your venues at least 6 months in advance. Not only will that enable you to have more options to choose from but it will also be a much cheaper option than in case of last minute bookings.