Finding the Right Lehenga for the Right Bride
With wedding season right around the corner, every bride is on the lookout for her perfect lehenga to mark her special day. Lehenga is known differently in different parts of India where it also takes the name ghagra choli in the north and paavadai (long skirt) in the south. Typical lehenga is a long ankle-length skirt worn with a blouse. Optionally also worn with a choli (dupatta) to cover or to elegantly show off the back and midriff. The lehengas are embroidered with beautiful designs, stitched with mirrors, kundans and gota patti at the bottom to add to its aesthetics.
History Behind Women Wearing Lehenga for Weddings
The long history of India and its blend of cultures have seen various lehenga worn not only for weddings but also as part of daily life. Dating back to the Mughal era, lehenga was donned not just by the royals but even by the women in rural India. There is no one fixed time when lehengas became popular in history. Over the years, the style, design and method of wearing a lehenga have considerably changed with the fast-paced modernisation. This has given a chance for Indian designers to boom and flourish in an Industry that is sought after globally.
Types of Bridal Lehengas
The influx of westernisation into Indian culture has paved the way for designers to experiment with different styles of lehengas. While the most common being a flared or A-line lehenga, mermaid-cut, panelled, double flared, saharara, straight cut, anarkali and trail are the modern lehengas preferred by some brides who wish to depart from traditionality. Based on your body type, choose the right fit to make your D-day memorable.
How to Choose the Right Lehenga for Your Wedding?
The Indian fashion industry offers a minefield of choices with a mind boggling variety of textiles and designs. The red silk lehenga with gold embroidery has been the go-to traditional lehenga, however, designers now give you an option of chiffon, georgette, velvet, tissue, net or even crepe lehengas to choose from. While choosing the right lehenga to keep in mind to check the quality, value, design, latest trend, and most importantly your body type and complexion to match the lehenga style. For those with thin body type, choose something that adds to the volume. For those with plus size body, choose a straight cut to highlight your curves.
Complexion plays a key role in selecting lehengas. Ensure your lehenga brings out your complexion. Choosing the right colour can be tricky given that it needs to match your style and also match the tone of the wedding setup. With everyone’s eye on you as the bride, you do not want to be in an uncomfortable lehenga for long hours.
Here is a comprehensive list of different styles of lehengas and different designers to choose from to give you the perfect regal look on your wedding day.
Authentic Red Bridal Lehenga
Different communities in India celebrate their weddings differently, but one common factor that unites them all is the red colour lehenga worn by the brides. Red is a colour of tradition, ensures the looks of a queen and highlights the bride’s beauty. Here is a list of the most favoured red lehenga styles to pick from for your special day.
Traditional Red and Gold
Red, the symbol of the rising sun and the symbol of a new way of life, is favoured amongst brides as the ideal wedding colour. Associated with love and passion, red with gold embroidery is the classic wedding look for any bride. Donned with gold and diamond Kundan jewellery, this will make you look vivid and regal on your special day. Red with gold lehenga is ideal no matter what your complexion is. Get inspired by the looks Deepika Padukone, Bipasha Basu and Sonam Kapoor wore on their special day while designing your perfect lehenga.
Priyanka Chopra broke the internet with her full red lehenga for her wedding with Nick Jonas. Following Piggy Chop’s wedding, brides from all over India are experimenting with a full red lehenga set in different tones. Add zardozi, velvet or netted shades of red as your choli or blouse to keep up with the trend of 2019. Pair your full red lehenga set with traditional Mughal inspired jewellery to recreate Priyanka’s look. If you are open to bold combinations, you can also pair your lehenga with contrasting coloured jewellery to pop out your complexion and beauty.
Red and Floral
While it is the dream of every bride to look like a queen on her wedding day, a modern bridal lehenga design adapted with a combination of classical red and a blend of contemporary floral patterns will give you an elegant, regal and chic look. Embrace the power of floral patterns and red with matching antique jewellery set to look straight out of a painting. Draw inspiration, yet again, from Deepika Padukone’s look at the IIFA awards where she donned a red with ivory floral patterns or her look for her wedding party in Mumbai.
Pastel is Your Flavour?
While red lehenga is traditional, 2019 saw a boom in non-conventional styles of lehenga with pastel colours and floral patterns. If you wish to choose a look that is out of the box, here is a list of elegant bridal lehenga designs to get inspired from.
Peach and shades of pink is a favourite amongst brides who choose the not so traditional bridal lehenga. Re-create Anusha Sharma, Meera Kapoor or Neha Dhupia’s wedding look with peach shade lehenga adorned with floral patterns or embroidery work to feel like a modern-day Indian Queen. Pair it with gold jewellery for the ideal look.
Across the Pastel Palette
Brides with colourful personalities often like to show it in their lehenga style. Your lehenga set need not be a uniform colour if you are confident enough to pull off a combination of pastel colours. Experiment with a pastel blue and green blouse with pink lehenga or combinations of gold, pink and green to suit your persona. Get inspired by the lehenga worn by TV star Hunar Hale to create your perfect bridal lehenga.
Go for a pista green lehenga with gota patti or gold embroidery for a rich regal look. Alternatively, light green with pink blouse or choli is also a preferred bridal look of 2019. Green lehengas are a breath of fresh air amongst red, blue and yellow lehengas. It gives you a timeless look and will never go out of style if you wish to reuse your lehenga for other occasions post your wedding day. Pair it with contrasting pearl or emerald and diamond jewellery to look straight of Jodha Akbar movie.
Budget - Mid Range Bridal Lehengas
Bridal lehengas are not cheap. They require hours of human labour to create the perfect look for the perfect bride. However, majority Indians do not live in wealth. It is a dream to wear an expensive bridal lehenga with heavy design and work, however, there are multiple budget-friendly bridal lehengas stores and designers to save your day while ensuring no compromise on your wallets. Here is a list of budget-friendly stores to pick up your ideal bridal lehenga.
With multiple stores across India and an online e-commerce platform, Manyavaar is here to give you a range of wedding lehenga solutions. Visit their store to give the right measurements and fit the lehenga properly or you can order online with free shipping across India. Price starting from Rs.11,999, the bridal lehengas go up to Rs.39,999. Manyavaar is ideal for a family wedding shopping as they offer men, kids and women’s apparels. Brides-to-be, you can choose from a range of red, pastel or floral lehengas with embroidery or zari work. If this doesn’t sell it, you might want to watch Anushka’s Manyavaar commercials to seal the deal.
Are you from Delhi but unable to find the right budget lehenga? While Delhi boasts of luxury and fashion brands, finding the right budget lehenga can be quite the task. Head to Ricco India in Hauz Khas to choose from a range of modern, contemporary and colourful lehengas. At Ricco, you can shop for your wedding and sangeet given the wide range of collections they have to offer. Ricco’s Banarasi brocade red lehenga is the most sought after starting at Rs.39,000. Head to Hauz Khas to assemble your entire wedding ensemble in one go.
Located in Mumbai, Roopkala is a 60-year-old wedding apparel joint that is perfect for pocket-friendly bridal lehengas. With a host of colours like pink, blue, orange, yellow, gold, white, and red, Roopkala offers you lehengas of different styles and designs. Choose from fabric options like silk, raw silk, brocade, velvet, georgette, crepe and bandhani starting from Rs.11,000 going up to Rs.1,00,000.
House of Indya
House of Indya is not your typical wedding shopping platform. If you are planning a simple, elegant and a small scale wedding, Indya might be your ideal one-stop-shop for wedding clothes. Either visit their store or look online for your suitable wedding wear. Keep in mind, Indya is not your traditional wedding store as they do not sell traditional bridal lehengas. If you are looking for something off-beat yet budget-friendly, head to Indya to mix and match their long skirts with blouses and cholis to create your ideal bridal look. Prices starting from Rs.1,000 to Rs.4,000 for an elegant floral or pastel skirt.
Luxury Bridal Wear
Unlike budget lehenga shopping, with luxury designers, you can get custom made lehengas designed specifically for you, making it one of a kind. If you have been saving for the right designer wear or you simply have the budget to spend lakhs on a bridal lehenga, here is a list of India’s top luxury bridal designers who are sought after globally. From their red carpet appearances to foreign brides, these designers have made a name and are here to stay.
A pioneer in establishing fashion boutiques, Ritu Kumar offers you modern-traditional ethnic clothes. An Indian fashion icon who has previously styled Princess Diana along with many Hollywood and Bollywood stars sells a wide range of bridal lehengas and sarees. This Delhi based designer is known for her selection of natural fabrics with traditional weaving style. With starting price of Rs.50,000, Ritu Kumar’s bridal lehengas can go up to Rs.5,00,000. With about 14 outlets around the country, make a pit stop at a store or visit their website to know about the collection.
Sabyasachi Mukherji, a Bengali designer has gotten international recognition with his unique, western yet modern traditional wear. He’s been a household name with A-list stars like Anushka Sharma, Asin Thottumkal, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Amrita Puri, Soha Ali Khan and Vidya Balan wearing his lehengas for their wedding day. Visit one of the outlets or get in touch on call/email (given on their website based on location) to get your tailor-made lehenga. Make sure to reach out a few months in advance as Sabya’s lehengas take a lot of manpower and man-hours to create the perfect lehenga. Bridal lehengas starting from Rs.1,00,000 goes up to Rs.25,00,000 with intricate design work.
Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla
The designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are known for their contemporary wedding wear with an infusion of traditional craftsmanship. 30 years of ruling the bridal wear industry, Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla’s work is widely lauded globally. In the movie Devdas, Sanjay Leela Bhansali predominantly showcased some of Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla’s best work. A price range between Rs.2,00,000 - Rs.5,00,000, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla create self-designed, unique bridal lehengas to make you stand out like a queen. With stores across Mumbai, Delhi and Goa, you can pick up your perfect lehenga from the outlet or visit Carma Online Shop to purchase their lehengas online.
Being the Bride-to-be
It is your special day and you have all the right to look like a queen. Make sure you find out your body shape and pick a lehenga type that suits your body type. Pick a fabric that you're comfortable in and try on your lehenga at least once to see if you fit. A confident bride is a pretty bride!