I stood by my closet looking at all the sarees I had accumulated over just two trips to India. This time, I was trying to think of which new saree to “release” for the wedding day. This year looks like a year of purples, mix and match saree and blouse combos, and ready-made blouses!
Not long ago, I splurged a little on a few hand-loom sarees after much ogling and drooling over some Instagram pictures. My argument for doing so – “I am finally picking out my own sarees!” Well, this is true to an extent. Right from the moment it was decided that I was going to wear my first ever saree for my high school farewell event, I was all about raiding closets – my mom’s, paati‘s, athai‘s and chithi‘s.
Then once family deemed me fit to wear sarees, they started gifting them to me. Once I was in the USA, there was calm and quiet and no saree shopping for three whole years. Then appa gifted me a few after my whining about not having my own saree collection. It was not until my wedding that I picked my own saree.
H and family kept me as involved as they could with the decision making process. They would send me pictures on WhatsApp, describe the material as best as they could and ask me for suggestions on which shop to go to. This was a lot, but it was still not the same as looking at a pile of sarees, and seeing that one saree for you stand out, putting your hands on the material, feeling it, fake-draping it on yourself, thinking about what blouse patterns you would get stitched, when you would inaugurate it, and….you get the idea?!
I made life tough for everyone involved in my wedding shopping. I know it, even when they don’t spell it out. I mean, the bride doesn’t want silk?! That’s totally unheard of, in a tambrahm wedding! To top it, I wanted to wait to meet the tailor in person to get my blouses stitched and patterns, chosen. The saree picked out had to fit the grandeur of the ceremonies, should catch everyone’s eyes, and come on, the bride has to look like the bride!
When H’s family asked me for my favorite color to get me an engagement day saree, “Black!” I responded. I knew then that black was completely off the table for all wedding related activities. So cool were H’s parents, that they picked out the very first wedding saree in black (chosen by husband dearest), and only requested that I don’t wear it for any of the wedding events. I was free to wear it for any other thala (first year) functions though. Thus, it became my thala-pongal release!
Coming back to the E-day saree, I was the simple bride dressed in a kora-cotton magenta saree. I love how the zari in the saree was all a non-shimmering thread work, and no one can go wrong with this color for any event! Some Indians think that showing a colorful India is stereotyping, but I am proud of the fact that our weddings are so colorful, we wear bold magentas, mango-yellows and peacock-blues with panache! The saree I was originally supposed to wear was a vibrant blue, that appa forgot to pack! ROFL! Way to start off with sambandis!
I used this opportunity to wear that silk cotton saree (in most cases cotton mixed with a little silk) for my vratham (the first prayers before the wedding ceremonies begin).I loved how H’s maami and paati chose this minimal zari saree cotton-silk, just for its color. I think this may be a good place to explain why I don’t prefer silk.
I knew all along where silk came from, I still wear silk if it belonged to my paati/ amma for the memories that the saree holds for me. I still sense their smell and picture them in my memory of them wearing it. When it came to getting sarees for myself though, it felt like an unnecessary killing of thousands of fetuses to drape this beautiful, and vibrantly dyed garment around myself. The more I started giving this thought, and researched alternatives, I did see loop holes to wear something close to a grand wedding saree. I could always compensate with the elegance, or the jatang-color.
My wedding trousseau still involved two heavy silk sarees, from H’s family. I am still touched by how best they tried to find other options for me, and made my ahimsa-silk nine yard wonder! After showing me several ahimsa silk sarees, and not being convinced themselves, with how it looked and with the color palettes (sad how few options there are), we settled for two silk sarees (one chosen by amma and one by H).
I got to pick two sarees for the wedding, all on my own! Oh how I enjoyed this sweet ordeal! In general, I decide on a whim- I just know it! You must have heard a lot girls talking about how the dress/ saree called out to them? They are not joking! And I knew it too, the moment I laid my eyes on the ahimsa-silk soft apple green /beige saree from Nalli. This saree needs a separate blog post on its own! The other saree was a silk cotton chosen for the oonjal/ kasi yatra. I had to battle for that one. I chose a kanakambara color (mild orange) and pista green saree, while everyone else loved a kili-pachchai (parrot green) with a brinjal colored border. The two sarees had similar patterns. Finally the father of the bride weighed in on the decision, and the orange one it was, after much speculations with both sarees held out to daylight out in the open, draped and compared on different mirrors and a few pallu inspections later!
The wedding trousseau is always close to a girl’s heart! I dream of days when my daughters, nieces and even my sisters will raid my very own saree collection, form memories with them, talk about how their mom/ aunt/ sister picked it out for her wedding, and maybe just maybe take a saree-fie with me? B-)