I am not sure if you know, but last week, I FINALLY PURCHASED MY WEDDING LEHENGA! Woohhhooo….yayyy, one major work of the wedding done ! Pheww…I spent months looking for the perfect outfit for my big day. From attending wedding exhibitions, seeing Lehenga prices where I have counted zeros at the end, to going by myself after lectures to different stores – being told to bring family along – having my (old) dream lehenga stolen at Seasons and much more…I have seen it all.
And while all this has not made me some kind of an expert in Bridal Lehenga selection, it has definitely made me a little wiser. In the war of finding your dream lehenga, nobody is really your friend – definitely not the stranger next to you who has come with her own agenda, or the salesman – who wants to sell you the costliest piece at the costliest price…or your friend for that matter whose taste wouldn’t match with yours and all you are left with is more and more confusion.
The only friend you have is YOU !
Ohhh, and also your mother 🙂 to a large-large extent. [Never forget to include her, its her dream too]
After all, you are going to wear it…its your day, your aspirations attached to that exquisite piece of garment, your dreams of seeing that one look in your fiance’s eyes when you walk towards him…its all about that one moment…and no one in the world is good enough to tell you which outfit is going to give you that feeling…
So given all this pressure, I thought let me help you break down the problem at hand. If you are sure of what you want before you enter any store, it just makes life that much simple. Neither would you get frustrated easily for not finding everything you want in that one outfit nor would you waste time at a store looking through 100s of options pointlessly.
FYI, I made all sorts of these mistakes while looking for my Bridal Lehenga…I don’t want you going through the same. I have cried thinking I will not find anything in the price – the kind I am looking for. I might have to settle for a Banarasi Saree – which I love, but a Lehenga is a lehenga, isn’t it…
So, let me ask you…what is your Lehenga priority?
Ideally take 15-20 mins, sit down and think this through on your own…This is how I prioritized mine…in the order of most important – to least important…So here goes…
#1 I want FULL FLARED !!! You?
I knew this from Day 1. No matter what, even if I have to sit in a plain skirt for that matter, I want gher in my outfit…I want to twirl around…that little princess feeling…I want to feel like a princess that day, sorry….so I need it…anyhow ! No compromises there.
Now given my budget, under 30k…this was a next to impossible task. At least here in Mumbai from what I have seen the normal kalis one gets in this budget is no more than 12-14…its practically figure hugging – those fish cut kinds…why -> because your budget is not accommodating…rubbish !
I saw many Lehengas which were pretty enough but somewhere I was missing the flared part – and no matter how gorgeous the outfit looked, I knew somewhere inside me I was compromising. So I waited and waited…and when I finally selected my outfit…I just fell in love with it…the minute I wore it…I just knew it….24 kalis !! It was absolutely dream like…I won’t lie…I love it…can’t stop smiling types 🙂
Please don’t settle for anything…wait it out…there will be something better in store…you need to have this happy feeling…only then its worth it !
#2 Bridal Lehenga in Budget ONLY
No denying this. There are a plenty of Bridal Lehengas out there. Plus, if you have a high budget, then easily you can find your Lehenga even on the first day. Instead it may just be a tad more difficult given that there are so much of options in prettiness…I personally feel its a harder choice if you have a budget above 40k. You have a world of options…so good luck 🙂
I wanted to stay under the 30k range for multiple reasons…I understand its once in a lifetime…but I see it as its once only…3 hours…max 5…for that I cannot just spend up xyz amount…never to be able to wear it again…I know you might find that a bit strange..but I just couldn’t get myself to spend more.
I would suggest finalize a budget before stepping out to see the Lehengas. If you’re not strong minded, definitely your budget will go higher…and you might just regret it later. So be absolutely sure about what you wish to spend on your Lehenga.
In most cases, whenever I visited some stores and said my budget in maximum 30k, those smarty salesman started showing lehengas from 33k onwards. “Thoda idhar-udhar toh hota hi hai na“…..NO ! 30 means 30 including all stitching, extra additions every little thing. In 30, I want my Lehenga to be ready to be worn – without any significant or insignificant plus and minuses.
Don’t budge from your target…all the salesman are hoping you do. They get higher commission for higher purchases…don’t give them that joy at your expense !
#3 I chose Pita. What do you want?
So, for me I did not really have much of an opinion here other than the fact that I hated the stone (diamond) work on satin net…I just found it a little cheapo looking…don’t know why…and somehow 75% of the Lehengas in my budget were of this kind. I was losing my mind. But what to do…
I think zardozi looks really rich…specially like on velvet…the stolen Seasons Lehenga was complete zardozi work with mirrors and it gave a very royal rich look. But anyhow, no more crying about that.
Gota Patti is awesome too…but too much gota work can ruin the look. I saw a few Lehengas which were like head to toe filled with gota and it really killed it. Also, gota was like super popular like last to last year I think, so ideally you can see if you love-love the work, then go for it…otherwise there are other options available too 🙂
My lehenga is full Pita work. Honestly, I never preferred pita over gota patti or zardozi as such, but given everything else…I went ahead with my Lehenga. Pita work looks very sober and elegant. So, if you are those kinds…then you must definitely give this work a thought. No matter how filled up the Lehenga, it still looks stunning…
Then, lastly there is sequins…Now, sequins look really nice and I have seen too many options this season but they were mostly for fusion wear – in gowns and floor length anarkalis. If the sequins work suits your tastes, make sure you ask the salesman to show you those pieces only.
Then there is also the antique work (full lehenga covered with some machine work) <- I don’t know what that is called actually. Those look good too in some pieces where they haven’t gone overboard with the designs…
You also have other works like zari & resham embroidered Lehengas such as this gorgeous one by Anita Dongre…
Its important to know the work that appeals to you. That way you can drill down to shortlist your Lehenga!
#4 Know the fabric of your Lehenga – Raw Silk, Satin, Chiffon, Georgette, Net, Brocade, Jacquard etc…
I am in love with the Raw Silk fabric. I don’t why – but its everywhere these days, and thank heavens for that. Raw Silk has just the right amount of shine of its own and can be teamed up with practically any kind of work – from gota patti to zardozi and even pita.
I think even a Lehenga skirt with less work but having a raw silk background has a certain elegant look. So, my suggestion please do give this fabric a thought. Its definitely worth it ! I chose my Lehenga in a peach pink raw silk with full pita work. So I am very happy about it 🙂
Satin on the other hand is everywhere. Net always goes well with satin. But from what I have seen, satin always has those diamond stone work on the Lehenga. So do check out couple of pieces to get an idea of whether you love the fabric. Mostly in cases of satin, they put net over it to give some bounce to the fabric.
A fabric is going to make all the difference not just by look – by touch-feel, the way it falls once stitched. For eg, raw silk, brocade, jacquard stays pretty set but satin, chiffon and the likes have a very fluid like feeling. So if you are anything like me obsessed with gher, you might not get it in these fabrics.
Go for a brocade lehenga if you want a pheras-reception combined weddingy look. I think brocade work looks super rich and also gives a saree-lehenga feel to the outfit. Its one of those effortless – evergreen fabrics which will never go out of style. Although, I think they are definitely a little on the expensive side 🙁
In my 30k budget, I don’t remember seeing even one brocade work lehenga !
#5 Crazy specific about Lehenga Color? Well, don’t be…
Super important. But equally important is to have options – not just set your eyes on that one color…sorry, one shade. you are just going to make your life hellish if you narrow down your choices to just one or two. Drill down to some broad shade of colors to work with.
If you like pink…say pink…not fuchsia, carnation pink or unheard shades like thulian pink ! [Yes, I googled this one 😀 ]
More often, it so happens that may be you have something in mind..but when you go to any store you will realize that some other shade actually looks better on you. Its important that you be open to accepting those facts.
I for one had kept in mind anything between pink, orange and orange-red mix would do for me. In the end, my Lehenga turned out to be a peach pink – which looks orange under the lights. So I am again happy 🙂
I want you to be happy too !
#6 Stitched/ Unstitched, matters?
This is kind of a minor point if you ask me, but nevertheless important. Now, Lehengas blouses cost a bomb to give for stitching to any designer – like easily 3k upwards. Given you have a budget in mind, wouldn’t it then be better to see outfits which are already stitched and require minor alterations?
The advantage here is that you get to see the final product at first look. In most cases, stitched blouses require lots of additions to make it look more regal and opulent. When it comes to stitched blouses, they already take care of this aspect for you !
There were many stores which were showing un-stitched Lehengas as well meaning, one side open…or just the work part…all the can-can and stitching was remaining. In such cases, you can’t really tell how it would finally look when you wear it. Plus, then their store stitching charges range anything from like 3-4k to much higher as well in some cases.
My suggestion – Check out stores which give ready-made options first. Why should you do extra mehnat !
#7 Custom-Made from a Local Designer?
The most dreaded options for me. What is the guarantee that what you see is what you will get? I know there are many who have their local designers who do outstanding work – may be its ok for them. But its the Wedding Lehenga…how can one take chances? Its just too-too scary I feel.
- What if it doesn’t turn out as you had imagined? What will you do then?
- What if the color what you had perceived to look good on you, once all made doesn’t make you feel all that good? Then what?
- What if your vision and the designers vision have some sort of communication gap? Who takes care of all the post Lehenga made madness?
Is there anything else on your priority list? Would you prioritize these points in any other way for your Wedding Lehenga?