The Wedding Dress

The dress may just be the best part of the wedding. Okay, that and the being married to the sweetest, kindest man in the world once it’s done.

I knew that there were a couple different directions I could go with the dress. As part of the east/west blend, I could do an Indian style dress in white. But I don’t really have any desire to wear white and red looks excellent on me. I can envision my wedding pictures with me in a deep red dress.

So, choice one was settled:

Choice two was style.

Did I want to do a red dress in a western style? Not at all. I love Indian clothes and find their styles elegant and graceful. There’s no part of me that has any interest in a western gown. They pretty much all look alike to me. White is boring!

The decision of what kind of Indian dress was more difficult. There’s things I love about all three of these styles. With suits alone there is a tremendous variety of looks and feels you can get from sweet and cute to dramatic and elegant.

I also feel very comfortable in saris and love the way they flow.

The thing that tipped me over the edge in favor of the lengha is that my mid section is one of my favorite parts of my body (or rather it has been in the past and will be again once I do some sit-ups)! I wanted the chance for it to look good. Yes, there will be a dupatta covering it (though maybe I’ll take that part off for the reception?), but with a sari, there are folds of cloth across the stomach and I’m already dumpy enough that I don’t think that will look as good on me.

So I went looking on websites for bridal lenghas. I knew I wanted:

  • heavy embroidary
  • significant amount of mid section showing
  • very flowy skirt
  • flattering cut to the choli

I found it surprisingly difficult to get all those things in one gown! I know that I could request a different neckline to the choli from the pictures on websites: that’s a part that’s easy to modify. However, I’d rather find one I already liked so I wouldn’t have to try to communicate a different vision.

Ideally I would have gone to India to get the gown.

Many Hindu brides take a trip to India to shop with their relatives and get several outfits for the wedding week. For me I could not afford a ticket to India at this time and all my vacation days from work for the year are completely spoken for already!

I settled on Cbazaar because I found a dress I really liked. And I got it for $517. Compared to western wedding dresses that’s amazing! (Have you seen Say Yes to the Dress? No one goes in there with a budget of less than $1,500. Jeez!)

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Plus, a dress like this can totally be worn again. I remember a mother wearing her wedding sari to her daughter’s arangetrum.

It came down to a decision between these two:

http://www.cbazaar.com/bridesmaid-and-family/lehenga-choli/ornate-raw-silk-maroon-lehenga-choli-p-ghky1020.html

http://www.cbazaar.com/brides/lehenga-choli/attractive-reddish-maroon-lehenga-choli-p-ghdhm6026.html

I decided the skirt on the first one looked like it would be too tight, though I liked the top a lot. So I placed my order for the second one. Bonus: I love the see-through dupatta.

One of the nice things that Cbazaar did was they allowed me to have a sample garment made. I’m not seeing that option on there now! Wonder if they changed it. What I did was I submitted my measurements and for $30-some I was sent a plain lengha in those measurements to check and make sure it would fit before the real outfit was stitched. That gave me a LOT more confidence about ordering over the Internet.

When the trial outfit came, I took it to my future mother-in-law’s house to try it on. I was very happy with the fit! So I told them to go ahead and stitch the real thing. They kept on telling me how it would take a few weeks, but since my wedding is still five months away, I wasn’t worried. They ended up getting it out to me extremely quickly!

Here’s a picture of me in the trial outfit:

Happily there is a drawstring waist, so if my weight changes, whether up or down, it should still fit me!

When the real dress came, I could not believe how beautiful it was. The picture on the website does not do it justice at all. Nor do mine :(

Here’s a video of me getting the dresses…

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About Ambaa Choate

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.


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