As promised to a few people, here is what I have so far for the dresses of the wedding.
The first is for the mahendi, which is the party when we do the henna (mahendi in India) designs on the women of the wedding party. I’m very excited to do this. Traditionally one wears green, and I’m trying to go as traditional as possible. Not only is it making my in-laws happy, but if I’m going to have a wedding that isn’t my own culture I intend to respect the history of those traditions.
This is the dress, minus the long sleeves. I’m not sure how that will affect the design on the sleeves, but I believe it will just be a shorter version of this. The second image is the color that the dress will be.
As you can see, I’m going with a very pale green. The darker greens I usually see wouldn’t go with my skin tones, and I thought it would be nice to wear something light since my wedding dress will be quite bright. I’m also hoping to wear the dress to other Indian functions later, in the US.
This image below is the wedding dress. The second image is only an inspiration for the red color of the dress. My friend Cristina found it on this website, and it was the perfect color. I’d been having a hard time finding the right color to send to my sister-in-law, so thanks, Cristina!
The top of the dress is my design. I really wanted to wear a sari, but my father in-law doesn’t like saris, and it would have been inappropriate. He is, after all, giving the dresses to me and I am very grateful. (To answer a question I’ve been asked- This isn’t a Muslim thing; it’s personal opinion. Many Muslim Indian women wear saris.) The main things I really like about saris, like the sweeping front and the asymmetrical neckline, could be incorporated into the dress since it’s two pieces. So I’ve asked for this. I’m really happy with the way it looks in the sketch, and I hope it translates into real life as well. The bottom skirt will not be as ornate as the sketch. I don’t really want to have a dress that weighs so much that it makes it difficult to move around.
One thing I’ve had difficulty explaining is that there won’t actually be a ceremony at my wedding. Weird, right? The ceremony in Christianity is traditionally something to be shared with everyone. It’s a promise you make before the community and God, but in Islam, the nikkah (or wedding ceremony) is a promise you to make to God and God alone. Having family and friends there is nice, but not necessary or even traditional, as it is in Christianity. Only two Muslim male witnesses are required. So all we’ll do is party at the wedding- for three days. Not a bad deal!
The night after the reception, Baba’s best friend, Gavin, is hosting a party in our honor. While this isn’t a traditional part of the wedding, it is sort of functioning as a post-wedding sangeet. The sangeet is usually held the day before the mahendi, and it’s a party to kick-start the wedding that usually friends and those close in age to the bride and groom attend. Again, the party Gavin is hosting isn’t supposed to be a traditional sangeet, but it will serve the same purpose in the end- a time to let loose, and party with people our age.
I know that all the craziness that has gone into planning for this will be worth it. It hasn’t been easy for me to do this, living not only 8500 miles away from the wedding site, but also 1500 miles away from my husband, the groom. However, I know that the experience will be amazing in the end. I can’t wait to share the photos.