I should have written this post on Lehenga Update like long long back, but anyhow better late than never. Right? I got engaged on 8th March 2015 and from the very next day the first thing hovering in my head was Lehenga! I think for a girl, that’s the most-most important bit to the wedding. Everything else comes after. Husbands included [Don’t deny it 😛 ]
Just so you know, I have NEVER worn a lehenga before…well, not the actual heavy-heavy lehenga types. So naturally I have never shopped for one either. After a few weeks I started getting panic attacks –
Where to go look for ‘the’ lehenga? What should be the budget? Aren’t bridal lehengas supposed to be like really expensive? What color should I go for? Do I get 1 lehenga or 2 lehengas? If I don’t opt for Designer Wear – would I be screwed?
With all these questions in my head, I made a plan to start with whichever stores I know of. Then came the wedding exhibitions, friends gazzilion advices, and that’s how it all started. Its been like 3-4 months now, and I haven’t really picked my Lehenga yet, but I am definitely much smarter about what I can find and where.
I visited some Lehenga stores in Delhi and a lot of stores in Mumbai, and this is what has been my experience…
Initially in the first two months of my engagement, everything was one big confusion ball. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that Delhi was like ‘the place’ for out of the world budget Lehengas – especially Chandni Chowk. I was like, “Lehenga toh Chandni Chowk se hi lena hai” -> full Kareena Kapoor nautanki style.
To the extent that I actually planned a trip to Delhi just to shop at Chandni Chowk. I went over the weekend met my fiance there and spent time with my in-laws and planned a whole day out at Chandni Chowk.
First Mistake: I was in full mind to pick up my Lehenga – at first go itself. Never ever do that.
Second Mistake: I negotiated in the Mumbai style – I had a set budget in mind and I simply told the store walas that budget itself. Budget = 25k-30k. Grave mistake! Now I didn’t know that Chandni Chowk negotiation comes down by almost 40-50%. So initially all I got to see was absolute random stuff.
Note: If your budget is like 30-40k, then ask them to show something in 80-90k. Something will always work out eventually.
Third Mistake: Did not take the information of directions to the store. There are so many Chhabbra 555. 555 is like all over the place. Which one is ‘the one’?!! Parantha waali galli is nothing short of Diagon Alley. 😕 How is anyone supposed to find anything in there.
I wish I had read theDelhiBride’s post earlier. Would have helped a ton ! Ok, now to the stores I visited:
#1 Chhabra 555 (1):
Which one? The one next to Gurudwara at the start of Chandni Chowk. I think it was the one bang opposite the Haldiram store. This is the first store I got into. Super duper excited!
Salesman: (In the most tharki look) – Kya chahiye madam, bridal lehengas dikhaaoun?
Me: Yes, please.
Salesman: Kaunsi celebrity ki chahiye? 😐 Alia Bhatt Lehenga? Woh jo Manish Malhotra waala. Abhi toh pehena tha usne. Sab aaj kal wohi style maang rahe hain. Hum sabko bataate hain Alia pe accha lag raha hai toh aap pe bhi accha lagega iski koi guarantee nahi denge hum!
Me: [What the hell is he even trying to say]. Mujhe full work antique type full-flared mein lehenga dikhaayiye. Alia wala nahi !
This is what my first ever Lehenga shopping experience was like 😀 . I then did the mistake of telling him my actual budget. He showed some heavy stone work, like really blingy blingy stuff on those satin net lehengas. Really bad stuff. After some time, I just told him chuck the budget and to show me some good pieces.
I still got the same kinds. Bling-bling. Nothing too subtle. But then Delhi doesn’t do subtle. So next store…
#2 Meena Bazaar
It was right next to Chhabbra 555. There were hardly any Bridal Lehengas here. Instead my mum-in-law ended up buying a kurti set from the store. Good collection of sarees though.
#3 Paranthe waali gali Store 1
Sorry guys. I don’t recall the actual store name. If I find out will update it here surely. So a problem I encountered in Chandni Chowk is whether or not the store has the type of stuff you’re asking for, they will make sure that they drag you inside. Make you take off your chappals, juttas walk one floor, sometimes two floors up just for you to find out that there is nothing ! Super scamming !
I just found one Lehenga – it had like 25-30 kalis !!! No kidding. The price was like 23k. That’s like less than a 1000 bucks per kali. The gher was just outstanding. Full embroidery work. The piece was gorgeous. The only problem. It was pink and grey ! 🙄 Why god – WHYYYY !!!!
#4 The iconic – Om Prakash Jawahar Lal
I really had to search for this one. So I knew this place is like really expensive, but I wanted to check it out nonetheless. They really do have some beautiful lehengas. Absolutely stunning pieces. If you come to this store, you’re definitely going to have a tough time choosing from the zillion options available.
The downside: Really really REALLY expensive. The salesman the minute we got comfortable said nothing below 80k !!! Whatttttt !!!
What I hated about the store is the staff behavior. Refused to show anything! The place was crowded so there was no one attending to us for like 15 mins ! We were just admiring the pieces that were being shown to others. By now, I knew not to give out the actual budget right at the start. Finally when the salesman came, he simply said I will show above 80k ONLY. When I told him how about a little below say 50-60k – he simply said no and left us.
We had to leave.
Suffice to say terrible experience. They certainly have an air about them. Super superior attitude. I haven’t come across this anywhere…Well not true, read more…
#5 Chhabra 555 (2)
Now I don’t know where this was located exactly. They had a big first floor showroom types. Like decently big. I saw some real nice pieces here. May be this one was the original one. There was everything from designer rip-offs in gotta pati, full work, even subtle looks. I just loved their Lehengas. They were beautiful. Stunning colors – you could get in the shades of pink from peach to bright pink, oranges, gold (not the shiny eye hurting one – but the good one). I am sharing some of similar kinds I saw at the store…
Oh one thing. If you’re the kind who easily gives in to flattery, please please bring someone strong along with you. The salesman at this store were from a different world all together. Their level of flattering skills is unmatched to anything I have seen. There was a young bride draped in a beautiful lehenga who couldn’t hide her blushing at the mention of noor jahan, chaand zameen pe, aankhon ka taara all being used in the same line 😆
The salesman spoke in such ‘shudh’ hindi that I wanted to clap at the end of his performance. Although I did see that the aunties totally bought what he was blabbering 🙄 May be flattery does work !
I did step into some other stores as well while at Chandni Chowk, but they were not so prominent be it their designs, or tantrums or anything else for that matter. However, I did learn one thing.
DO NOT GO WITH THE INTENTION TO BUY YOUR WEDDING LEHENGA ON YOUR FIRST VISIT ! EVERRR !!!
The first four stores are in the same lane of Marine Lines. They are a must visit.
#1 Roop Kala
They have some real nice wedding collection. Loved it. If your budget is in the range of 50k upwards, then you will definitely find something here. I visited this store twice. Once during the fresh stock time and recently during their monsoon sale. You will find all kinds of lehengas, net with intricate stones, chumki work, raw silk, broacade, antique work, full flared…you name it – they have it !
I saw some gorgeous colors as well. My favourite was a peacock green blue lehenga. Absolutely stunning. The piece was at flat 50% of. An 80k Lehenga for 40k flat. But when you actually look at it for the real price, I didn’t find it worth 80k 🙁
Downside: Both the times (sale and non-sale) the budget remained the same. NO CHANGE. An average good lehenga still cost somewhere around 40k. Only if you went for the real high priced Lehengas, was there any significant discount available. Otherwise overall there was like 15-20% discount. Not really worth it. Why not buy from the fresh stock then?
The worst thing I experienced was the staff behavior during the sale period. The day I visited the store was a real rainy day. I went almost in more than ankle deep water to check out the Lehengas hoping I would get an idea given that they were boasting so much about their sale!
The place was crowded. Decently crowded. Once I got comfortable, a salesman came to attend to me and directly asked, “Are you expecting anyone else from your family to join in”? To which I simply said no, it’s just me for today. You won’t believe the salesman simply told me to come some other day with my folks. He simply refused to show anything ! To the extent – his excuses were like –
Aaj hamaara lehengas abhi tak tag nahi hua hai -> You come tomorrow with your family, they also need to see -> There is nothing really that we can show you now!
He had the audacity to tell me this when I could see there are multiple people looking at a zillion lehengas at the store. Roopkala, if you really cant deal with crowd coming in, then may be you shouldn’t have a sale !
#2 Roop Sangam
This store is like a twin of Roop Kala in many ways. Their price range for Lehengas is more or less same around 40-50k. Staff behavior also somewhat similar. Staff doesn’t want to ‘waste’ time in showing you pieces just for window shopping. If they sense that you are not in the mood for actual purchase, they give up. Very easily.
However, push them and you will see that they actually have some real gem of Lehengas in store with them. You will have to do a bit mehnat of pointing out the pieces yourself from the rack, coz they just don’t seem to understand what you are looking for at all. But otherwise, all in all they are a good store to visit for Lehengas.
#3 Roop Milan
I loved-loved this store. Like really loved it. Much less crowded than both Roop Kala and Roop Sangam, this store was so welcoming. They even had a fashion consultant around to help out with any questions and concerns. I spent a good 2-3 hours in the store. I loved the fact that they showed me all the pieces they had in the color combination I was looking for. The best part – in the same price range. An average good bridal lehenga started above 20k here.
I saw some beautiful pink orange full antique work Lehengas. There were multiple options in colors and fabrics. If you’re the kinds who is unsure of the type of Lehenga that will suit your look and body type, I suggest visit this store. Its definitely worth a visit.
#4 Queens Collection
I don’t honestly remember what I saw in this store for Lehengas. It was more or less similar to the stuff at Roop Kala and Roop Sangam. However, their silk sarees were really-really good. I am looking for a banarasi silk to wear for the vidhi, so had a look at those at this store. I saw some real nice pieces in the price range of 15k upwards. Worth buying I feel.
They had all possible color shades of silk sarees and in beautiful intricate full body work. I was almost about to buy one of the pieces 🙂
Ok. So Bawree has some real nice fusion type Lehengas. More on the modern designs and colors. There outfits play a lot with mix n match of contrasting shades. I wore a piece where it was a Laacha concept – Blue velvet top with bright almost florescent pink skirt. Looked gorgeous 😛
Here the average price of Bridal Lehengas start from 45k upwards. But you will definitely find some good pieces. All the Lehengas I saw here were the full flared kinds, properly done with the can-can and the blouse stitched. A big plus point.
A word of advice: Visit the Bawree Malad store. Their collection is way better than the one in Santacruz and R-City Mall Ghatkopar. The malad store is the original first store of Bawree. I found the staff as well as their collection excellent for the price.
I went to Aza just last month sometime during their sale period. Aza basically is a store which keeps all high end Designer Wear Lehengas. I thought sale time is the only time to target this store to see anything worth picking up. Firstly, they did not have much of their bridal Lehengas on sale. At most, there must be like 20-30 of them or so.
I saw some nice pieces of Manish Malhotra and of course Sabyasachi but even after discount, the pieces cost like 1-1.5L. So in case you’re planning on visiting this store, forget about any kind of budget 😛
#7 Aishwarya Studio
I visited their store in Irla, Vile Parle. They have some real nice Bridal Lehengas and fusion wear for Reception outfits. What I loved here was that you could get a very nice Sabyasachi kind of Lehenga for like 40-50k. I am talking, beautiful like fall in love at first sight types. The best part is they also do a lot of custom designs as well. Give them a good time frame, and they can customize a Lehenga entirely from scratch. They have a in house design team which makes all the Lehengas.
Are you a fan of fusion gowns for reception or sangeet look? If so, then this store is a must visit. They had stunning pieces in the price range of 25k upwards.
All the stores mentioned below are in the same lane of Santacruz near the station.
#8 Kalki Fashion
If you have a budget of 60k+, then Kalki is the store for you. Below that they show all random things which nobody will wear for their weddings. I saw beautiful coral, off white shade Lehengas. A little hatke but was gorgeous. They have some nice subtle looking pieces but they really charge you for that look of simplicity.
Friendship earlier used to keep Budgeted Lehengas. But this time when I visited the store, they said they only keep designer type Lehengas starting 70-80k upwards 🙄 I was not happy. I walked to their 3rd or 4th floor to just hear this. It was not fun!
They did have some good looking pieces but why pay so high when there are other stores where you can get it for much lesser. However, could be a good idea to check out their collections during the sale time.
This store really justifies its name. From outside you may just see the store name, but this place is huge. The best part about them is they have done sections as per your budget. So if you want a designer piece, they take you to an entirely different area on the floor vs. if you want in a particular budget. They had a really good collection. Very neatly displayed.
What I particularly liked about them was that I could see what more I could get if I increased my budget by say 10-15k. The difference was easy to judge seeing the pieces. I loved the store 🙂 Definitely a must visit.
There collection is not as exhaustive as the other stores but somehow I found some nice pieces in the range of 25k-35k. Like worth wearing. The skirt came completely stitched with the can-can and stitching of blouse was also at a reasonable rate.
They had some good options in the traditional look -> red & green combo. If you’re visiting this side, I suggest take out half hour to quickly browse through their collection. You may just find your pick here 🙂
I did an entire review of Seasons India. If you missed the post, you can read it here. I love Seasons. Like cross my heart love it. I don’t think I have found even one store where you have the blouses stitched in the best designer look possible. Really heavy blouses. Their outfits are absolutely stunning.
I am more or less set that I will buy my Lehenga from them only. I went a second time few weeks back and what I figured was sale of Seasons is not something one must wait for. On their sale days, they have a no alteration no trial policy. Just pick and leave. I don’t think Bridal Lehengas can be bought with that rule.
If your budget is 20k-30k you will find gorgeous pieces. If it is 30k-50k you will still find stunning pieces. If your budget is more than that, then you don’t have to go anywhere else. This store is the best I have seen so far !
Have you visited any other store that you have liked? Where did you pick your Wedding Lehenga from?