Sejal Sehmi discovers the delights of the Asian Bridal Show...even though she’s not a bride
‘So which one of you is the bride?’, my aunt and I look at each other, as we stand in one of many exquisite bridal outfit showrooms at the Asiana Bridal Show held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London, and sensing the anticipation on the showroom owner’s face, I had to quietly admit, ‘Oh we’re just looking around.’
Aghast that neither of us were the bride-to-be’s, his expression clearly indicated what he was thinking …”You don’t just look around at a bridal show, you immerse in it..!”, as he ushered us closer to the exit and thrust a mini catalogue of his remaining collection, should we wish to “look around” in the actual store.
In almost every clothes showroom we tried to squeeze our way into, we were swimming in an ocean of silks and colours and delicate designs; from the bride and groom to the bridesmaids and toddlers, there was an attire for every wedding participant.
Yet, as we moved from floor to floor, it was becoming apparent how the shift from the traditional Indian wedding “requirements” has evolved into a demand for a specular event across all entities. Marquee and table designs were cleverly visible at every corner of a room and entertainment options for the Big Day went beyond just a good DJ and lighting; there were now saxophone players playing your favourite Bollywood songs! Any requests?
The cake rage is a phenomenon today at ANY occasion, and the catering showrooms at Asiana’s Bridal Show ensured their displays of wedding cakes and desserts were nothing short of magnificent; cakes designed as velvet cushions, multi-tier cupcakes, and even chocolate and pistachio macaroons as part of a multi dessert dish ensured no guest would leave hungry.
Alongside the complex menu options, new creations to “upscale” the traditional rituals has also become quite popular and one such example is the designer ladoo boxes! Yes, that’s a right, a handmade intricately designed gift box for a maximum eight delicious Indian sweets specifically for the bride or groom’s family, and the box also has a multi-purpose in the form of a jewellery box! Each box was £35 – ‘and that’s only a special offer on today!’, said the young salesgirl quite eagerly.
I swiftly put the box down, meekly smiled and walked away as it started to dawn on me how lavish and decadent each and every element of a wedding day could be and particularly as a mere observer, it was fascinating watching young women and men hustling in and out of the maze of the showrooms, ensuring no stall had been missed off their checklist, clutching on to as many catalogues, freebies and goodies as they could to later indulge through!
Love is what weddings essentially are a celebration of and this was the backdrop in written in bold letters at the back of the stage as my favourite part of the evening commenced – the catwalk show. As my eyes subtly skimmed across the audience, it was refreshing to see a complete mix of couples, friends and family as well as supporters of many of these extremely young and talented designers.
Indian haute couture was the obvious theme of the evening as both male and female models fashioned a unique combination of tradition embroiled with colours on the opposite side of the spectrum of reds and whites and daring designs; and tailoring that accentuated the figures of the petites and the curvy-licious! Amen!
Amongst the grandeur of the event, it was certainly apparent that however conventional or exclusive these catwalk creations were, the female models were certainly leading the way as they strutted down this make believe aisle alongside their grooms (gorgeous may I add!). Coyness in a bride was replaced with confidence, elegance and attitude without crossing the line to arrogance - reflecting many of today’s headstrong south Asian women. Walking out that evening of what felt like a movie set, I couldn’t help but smile as I realised that the Indian wedding is certainly coming of age!
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