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Not just looking your best, but feeling your best!

As well as being a pioneering Choreographer, Kashmira is a well-known Ethnicwear Stylist and Designer who has gained her training and experience by working in the Indian and UK Film and TV Industries and also by talking and listening to ‘real’ brides.

We are thrilled to have Kashmira’s expertise on our site and here she shares some advice normally reserved for personal Bride and Groom consultations.

Your wedding day is something you may have dreamed of and visualised many many times over. And naturally you want to look your absolute best.

But having that wow! factor doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing comfort and parting with inordinate amounts of cash.

Here are a few things to think about to not only look great, but feel great on your big day too. And these pointers are applicable not only to the wedding couple but if you are a wedding guest as well!”

1. Be practical

This is the most important advice I can give to any bride and groom. And I use 'practical’ in three ways

COMFORT - This is THE most important thing to consider when choosing your outfit(s). Your outfits must be comfortable. If you are not comfortable you will not enjoy yourself. Comfort comes from the:

  • Type of outfit: Are you comfortable in the ‘type’ of outfit you have chosen?
    Brides - if you have never worn (for example) a sari before, I would not advise wearing one for the first time for one of your main occasions.

    If it is imperative that you wear a sari for your occasion, then definitely practice wearing one prior to when your events start. And make sure that whoever dresses you is proficient in putting on and securing that type of outfit.

    Grooms - same goes for you. If you have never worn, for example, a dhoti before, and wish to wear one for your event then practice wearing one beforehand.

  • Length
    Also think about what you will be doing during the course of the events. Will you be taking phere? Will you be dancing?

    If so, does your outfit allow you to move freely? I’ve seen countless brides whose skirts are so long that they struggle on the dancefloor or while taking their phere. I’ve also seen brides who opt for trains on their wedding lehngas - and while they look pretty, no doubt, they cause obvious difficulties for them during their pheres and for their partners who have to follow them during some of the pheres.

  • Weight
    Think about the weight of your outfits and whether you will be able to carry that all day? While brides and grooms want ‘heavy-looking’ outfits, if they are heavy in actual weight as well, they become difficult to move in and can make them feel very tired on what is already a very tiring day.

  • Embellishments
    Many brides and grooms like a bit of ‘bling’ on their outfits, but when choosing embroidery or embellishments, make sure they are well lined on the inside and edges of your clothes. Stones and threadwork can pinch the skin - making outfits very uncomfortable and often causing scratches and marks on the skin.

  • Accessories
    Dupattas, fashion pagdis, fashion swords, etc are all desirable ways to accessorize outfits but can be cumbersome if you are not used to wearing or holding them and can also add additional layers that can make you feel hot and uncomfortable.

    Think about how you can wear your dupatta(s) so that they do not get in the way, fall, drag on the floor or get entangled. For grooms wearing a Saffa or Pagdi for the first time, again, practice beforehand so you get used to the feel and height

BUDGET and REUSABILITY - These next to ways to be practical go hand-in-hand

Often our eyes become bigger than our wallets when wedding-planning and I’ve spoken to so many brides and grooms who have wished they hadn’t spent as much on their outfits and/or hadn’t bought outfits that they can’t reuse again.

Think of your budget when choosing or designing your wedding outfits and also think about whether you wish to be able to use your outfits again.

Looking like a bride or groom does not necessarily mean having to spend £1000s, nor does it mean having to have outfits that are fully encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
Also be wary of spending of money on intricate embroidery which, in fact, may not even be visible at a distance.

I recently styled a bride who’s core bridal outfit was only £250! We then added to the look with accessories and additional dupattas to give the outfit a heavier look. She looked absolutely stunning and definitely looked like a bride…but now she can wear her core lehnga again to another wedding or event without the additional dupattas and not look overdressed and she can also use all the different accessories with other outfits to create several different looks.

2. Do your suits suit you?

Colours, patterns, fabrics are all things that need to be considered when choosing your outfits.

  • Style: Again, style comes into play and is a crucial element. Some people just simply don’t suit lehngas (it’s true!!)

  • Colours:We all have colours that naturally suit us - due to our skin tones and colours that may make us look ‘washed out’. If you are not aware of which colours to choose and which to avoid, then there are ways to get an understanding of this, through consultations with stlists and industry experts etc. And this may be particularly important if you wish your outfits to be in line with your decor.

    Once you know which colour palettes to use, choose colours that will help you stand out as a bride rather thank making you blend into the background. Although, this doesn’t necessarily mean neon colours, sometimes even muted tones can look stunning if worn in the right way!

  • Fabric: Think about which fabrics will suit you, look good and also be comfortable. Not everyone can carry off bodycon dresses or fitted mermaid looks, and then again not everyone can carry off large can-cans and large flares. For the grooms - again not everyone can carry off a dhoti and not everyone can carry off a churidar. Know your figure, know the way your body moves when you walk, sit, dance and choose fabrics that will be an extension of you. Also think about how quickly fabrics crease as you want to look as good towards the end of the day as you do when you first step out of your dressing room.

  • Patterns:It is a known fact that horizontal stripes can make you look wider and vertical stripes can make you look taller and slimmer. So think about this - particularly for brides who may be choosing skirts with multiple panels etc. Also think of prints and embroidery. Do you have a figure that suits smaller or more spaced out patterns, or larger or ‘busy’ patterns?

    Embellishments also fall into this consideration - can you carry off heavily embellished outfits, or are you suited to fabrics with no embellishments at all but that can still look ‘rich’. We have a misconception that bridal looks mean we have to have our outfits covered in stones and sequins. But sometimes a rich fabric with zari work can look ‘richer’ and more elegant than an outfit encrusted in diamonds. This depends on the outfit but also depends on the individual, their figure, and even personality comes into play

  • Accessories: When choosing accessories, not only should you be comfortable wearing them - they should also suit you. For example, for grooms, if you are choosing a saffa or pagdi, choose one that suits the size of your head, the size of your forehead and the shape of your face. For Brides, particularly for facial accessories - think about whether you better suit a matha-patti or just a simple maang-tikka. Whether you suit a large nose ring, or a simple nose pin. Would your figure benefit from a waist belt? The list goes on!

    Also think about how your accessories work with your outfit. It sounds obvious but again I’ve seen choices made where an extremely heavy necklace has just blended in when worn on top of a heavily studded blouse, which felt like a waste. Or where a ‘contrasting’ coloured necklace was worn, but actually just clashed or jarred. Contrasts work, but only in certain ways. Similarly, different necklines suit different styles of jewellery and different embroideries and materials work well with different types of jewellery - for example, some suit pearls, others suit kundan. Etc!

    There are countless ways in which accessories can make or break your outfit.

3. Variety

If you are having multiple events, think about having different ‘looks’ for each one.

Different looks can come from wearing completely different styles for each event - like wearing a sari for one, a lehnga for another and a a patyala for another. Grooms - you may wish to consider a churidar and kurta for one, a sherwani for another and maybe even chinos and a blazer for one of the more casual events.

The type of event, or any ‘themes’ you have may help decide what type of outfit to go for.

Variety can also come from Fabrics. If you do wish to stick to the same style for all your events, then you can add variety through colour and through fabrics, embroidery, laces and embellishments to give completely differing looks.

"This is by no way exhaustive - there are many many other things to consider when choosing your outfits - including fitting, cultural and religious connotations, themes, overall style, how quickly you need to get ready, who is helping you get ready, any possible alterations, your decor, etc etc.

Once you know which events you are having, I would thoroughly recommend having a style consultation before even starting to look for your outfits and accessories.

Choose someone with an understanding of fabrics, embroidery, ornamentation, someone who is willing to take into consideration all the different elements of your events including your décor, themes, jewellery etc and not just look at your outfits in isolation. And most importantly, find someone who is willing to take the time to understand ‘you’.

Wishing you all the very best!”

Kashmira Sunni
Director KASHAK Ltd
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