The Bridal Bouquet
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Armed with a range of design solutions, leading Indian couturiers now eye a larger piece of the wedding market.
Earlier this year, when designer Meera Ali attended a client's wedding at a sprawling residence in Lutyens' Delhi, she was gripped by an excitement that she usually experiences just before a fashion show. "The lovely garden in the front served as the dining area, while the one in the back was the main wedding area. The marquee was swathed in colours of red, gold and white to match the bride's wedding outfit," she recalls. Her enthusiasm was not without reason, for she and her husband Muzaffar Ali had conceptualised the entire wedding. "We were initially approached to design the trousseau of the bride. We built such a strong rapport with the family that they wanted us to do the invitation cards, the décor and take charge of the wedding itself," she says.
In a country where weddings are big money-spinners, the designer couple's new role is expected. "A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and a family leaves no stone unturned to celebrate it with much grandeur. This translates into a lot of scope for luxury weddings," says couturier JJ Valaya, who recently launched JJ Valaya Luxury Weddings. This bespoke wedding service covers all ceremonies — pre and post-wedding celebrations, besides the main ceremony. Other big names who offer similar luxury bridal solutions include Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Tarun Tahiliani and Raghavendra Rathore.
"Based in Rajasthan, I enjoy a tremendous advantage, right from the logistics of hotel stay and travel to cultural aspects. My best memory is of a wedding in a haveli in Rajasthan, where my team and I were in charge of the complete conceptualisation and implementation," Rathore says. The abundance of such services notwithstanding, a custom-made experience — boasting of a sophisticated design aesthetic — is what the couturiers bring to the table. Be it nature, art or Indian history and heritage, they delve into a variety of subjects for inspiration. Tarun Tahiliani Design Studio, for one, comes up with a wedding theme after a series of consultations with the bride and the groom. "When we are doing the set design for the wedding, we are also commissioned to make clothes for the entire family. So we ensure that the colours chosen for the bride and groom stand out within the elaborate decor," explains Tahiliani, adding that he veers towards themes that are India inspired with a modern twist.