For most maharani brides-to-be, wedding planning begins with the shopping. Heck, I started planning well and truly before I even met my husband!
The wedding shopping aspect is fun, but also an arduous task that requires time, effort and money. Also, if you’re hosting multiple occasions, this means multiple outfits and just to add to the pressure, you need to choose standout designs that can fit any occasion.
Insert dream designer bridal lehenga.
As brides, our main sources of inspiration these days are Instagram and Pinterest. This entails spending endless hours, scrolling through pages of gorgeous lehenga designs and yet you’re still just as confused as you were at the beginning!
Now, the bridal fashion market has evolved and is growing rapidly by the day which in turn makes it incredibly tough to find the perfect bridal lehenga (we’ll save the bridal sari options for another post). India’s top luxury designers churn out loads of collections year by year and whilst it’s all fair and well to bookmark all of them on your wish list, there are a few key points to consider. Style and colour for one and then the choice of fabric.
Questions to ask yourself are:
- Will the style and colour reflect you?
- Will it make you feel comfortable?
- Are you opting for a short or long choli blouse and with or without sleeves?
- What sort of dupatta will you choose – single or double dupatta?
- Is the lehenga going to be a mermaid cut or long and flowy?
- Are you the traditional red lehenga bride of would you like to mix it up? This season we are seeing softer and muted colour tones filter through designer’s ensembles. Think whites and golds and ultra-feminine pinks. Did someone say dusty rose?
- How about the type of fabric? What fabrics have been used to create your lehenga design? Are there embellishments or embroidery work? More importantly, are you after a heavy, traditional look or contemporary light-weight ensemble?
- Do you want to be able to wear it again?
- What’s your budget?
So, what kind of lehenga is for you? And who are our go-to bridal designers for your big day?
Always ahead of the curve, Payal Singhal’s offbeat silhouettes are fresh, contemporary and playful. The sophisticated maharani can expect edgy designs with a modern, international feel in a selection of soft textures, neutral hues and subtle prints and embroidery patterns. More than anything though, we love how flattering and light-weight the cuts are, whilst still maintaining Indian design sensibilities.
For the destination bride, Singhal’s lehenga’s are practical and oh so wearable!
Featuring an array of bespoke crop tops, capes, jackets, jumpsuits and gorgeous churidaar-skirt sets, it’s no wonder brides are falling for her bridal wear.
Anushree Reddy’s lehenga outfits are so identifiable with brides-to-be from all over the world. Her flowy, flowery, vintage designs are super popular for several reasons. Put simply, they are fun, vibrant and some would even go as far to say, timeless.
She has certainly carved a niche for herself within the wedding market. Her signature Hyderabadi zardozi embellishments and Victorian floral prints are popular amongst brides who are looking for something comfortable and pretty to wear for their pre-wedding functions. We’re thinking sangeet or mehndi night. Bridesmaids and sisters of the bride/groom are also often seen sporting Anushree Reddy lehengas during the wedding season.
So we are moving slightly upwards of the budget scale and toward the more alternative style.
Now here’s an emerging designer who caters for the offbeat bride. Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango – known more for his minimalist chanderi and benarasi silk saris and comfortable blouse pieces, Garg has more recently captured the attention of young brides who not only have an appreciation for bespoke bridal wear, but also for quality hand-woven craft techniques.
The beauty of his garments lies in the craftsmanship, without relying on heavy embellishments or ornamental attachments.
In the last few years we have seen Bollywood celebs sport Raw Mango designs at weddings and functions all across India.
For the ‘dare to be different’ maharani type, from the north or south, we highly recommend Raw Mango’s light-weight garments.
One of our favourite contemporary bridal designers of today has to be Anamika Khanna.
Pioneer of the modern day draped sari (check out our exclusive chat with the designer at last year’s Aashni + Co. Wedding Show), Anamika’s design aesthetics are very much in tune with the style-savvy bride who isn’t afraid to experiment whilst still maintaining her traditional roots. She respects heritage and tradition and that is quite evident in her well-cut, handcrafted creations.
Her bridal lehenga ensembles comprise of intricate lace-work, hand painted motifs and come in an array of beautiful muted colours.
Yes, it’s an investment, but think of it as something timeless. Ensembles that can be worn over and over again and will never grow old.. Sigh.
Where do we even begin with Manish. The name literally speaks for itself. A label that is synonymous with class and opulence, the Manish maharani is one who values tradition, culture and heritage.
Bollywood celebrities savour his designs and brides all over the world dream of someday wearing one of his signature, intricately hand-embroidered lehenga designs at their wedding.
However, do remember that a Manish Malhotra bride is expected to pay upwards of 2.5 lakhs for a lehenga. Here is a designer who is in a league of his own.
If it’s ‘old-world charm’ in rich hues you’re after, then this is the man for your dream wedding lehenga.
Anita bridal lehengas are all class. She has grown from strength to strength over the years with thanks to her signature gota-patti embroidery.
Full of fresh and contemporary vibes, Anita Dongre’s lehenga outfits come in various colours, textures and feature gorgeous feminine embroidery work which brides identify with. Nothing over the top or fussy, just easy-breezy lehenga-choli’s that are light and comfortable for any occasion.
Her latest collections even feature pockets which is ideal for your tissues, lippy, mobile or anything really! You can mix and match the choli’s with the lehenga’s as each piece is sold separately. Customise to your heart’s content.
The key to her designs are the details and comfort and this is why her lehenga’s are becoming increasingly popular within the destination wedding market.
Anju Modi is one of those veteran designers who you have to admire. Her luxury bridal couture has become increasingly popular ever since costume designing for Bollywood hits, “Ram Leela” and “Bajirao Mastani.” Like you, we were also enamoured by the fashion in both movies.
Modi’s finely crafted silhouettes are deeply rooted in tradition with intricate zari, beadwork, gota, stones and wool thread embroideries and layers upon layers of beautiful textures.
Known for her layered styles, these lehenga styles can definitely elevate your bridal look if you’re having a winter wedding.
Her creations are so versatile that they can be worn for any occasion and the best part is that there’s a colour combination for any bride!
Another favourite designer amongst the Bollywood fraternity is Neeta Lulla. The acclaimed designer was the name behind epic classics such as “Devdas” and “Jodha Akbar.”
She also recently caught the attention of many brides-to-be for designing all the outfits for daughter, Nishka’s wedding celebrations. Nishka’s ‘Radha Rani’ inspired lehenga was to die for, featuring vintage embroidery, Tanjore paintings on the panels of the lehenga, complemented with a striking heart shaped cut choli blouse.
Neeta’s bridal wear embodies beauty, romance and elegance. Her designs are a tribute to the ultimate maharani.
If you are after a classy, timeless lehenga for your dream wedding, Neeta is the designer for you.
Pioneer of haute couture and master of draping, designer, Tarun Tahiliani sets himself apart from other designers for a whole lot of reasons. Tarun was the first Indian designer to have showcased at Milan Fashion Week and he also co-founded India’s first multi-designer boutique’s, Ensemble.
A force to be reckoned with, Tarun’s structured silhouettes are enriched by traditional textiles and infused with modern design sensibilities. Beautifully crafted with loads of luxury. It’s no wonder why his wedding lehenga designs are a hit with many brides.
Brides who want to invest (and we say that quite literally) in something classic, exquisite and timeless, Tarun Tahiliani is the go-to designer.
Much like Tarun or Manish, Sabya is one of those celebrated designers who can easily make you look like a million bucks on your wedding day.
Over the past couple of years, brides from all across the globe are embracing Sabyasachi’s designs and often go to great lengths to book in a trip to visit his bespoke boutiques to pick up that one-off, custom made lehenga for their big day. We kid you not. He is the man of the moment and has taken Instagram by storm, launching epic wedding collections year after year.
Quite possibly one of the country’s leading couturiers, Sabya’s design style stems from the charm and vintage vibes of old-world Kolkata. Whilst the elements and textures that make up his lehenga designs are quite traditional, it’s the way in which they are structured that looks flattering on any body type.
No matter what your age is, shape or size, Sabyasachi is the designer for you.
There is little doubt that the lehenga choli is a popular ensemble for brides to wear at each of their wedding occasions and while there are multiple designer styles to choose from, the end decision comes from you. Whether it’s a Sabya, Manish or Anita Dongre creation, ask yourself the important questions and plan ahead if you need to budget for it.
Who are your favourite bridal designers? Let us know in the comments below.