Planning an Indian Wedding: Shopping for Sarees

Darla, Ben, our bride, Heena, and “the mommas” (Heena + Ronak’s mothers) spent the first 3 days of their adventure in India shopping for Heena’s wedding sarees and jewelry for the big day! Despite being on a tight schedule, the crew helped Heena find all seven of her outfits (no, that’s not a typo – she needs seven outfits for her wedding!). Before moving on to the next city, Heena wrote us about her shopping experience in Mumbai:Shopping for Indian wedding sarees

“My dress buying process has not been the typical dress buying process. Most brides will come to India to shop at least six months before the wedding for about a month. I, however, am shopping for my outfit 3 months before my wedding for less than two weeks. It was really difficult for me to find time to shop for the wedding with my school schedule. I didn’t want to miss out on this experience, even if it meant I had to be a little stressed and rushed. The actual shopping process has been pretty flawless overall. At times it can get overwhelming being in one store for hours, however overall it has been really exciting! I definitely had an idea of what I wanted to wear. I was really nervous that what I was envisioning would be difficult to find though because it was unlikely that there would be time have a dress custom made, with coming to India so close to the wedding. I knew I wanted my wedding dress to have floral print or embroidery on it. This isn’t something you typically find on Indian outfits, but luckily that is what ended up being in season!! It’s really starting to set in that Ronak and I are getting married! It’s been so much fun sharing this experience with Ben and Darla so far…I can’t wait to see what the coming week has in store for us!”

Indian wedding sarees

Indian wedding sarees design process

Heena has chosen a beautiful peach-colored dress along with SIX other outfits! The traditional Indian wedding saree is made from red, silk fabric. However, our bride has chosen to go a little more neutral with her color selection. In India, the color white represents mourning, so obviously white is not the color of choice for a wedding! Typically, Indian wedding sarees will be embellished with crystals and real 24-karat gold thread and combined with lavish gold jewelry, including necklaces, bangles, rings, and hairpieces! Wedding sarees can also be complimented with a mix of pink or gold, and the bride will change into a different colored dress for the reception! These gowns can cost just as much as a wedding dress in America, if not more, because of the intricacy and details involved in the handmade design process. Wishing for more shopping luck for Heena, Darla, Ben, and the entire family!

Indian wedding sarees

A sneak peek of Heena’s main wedding saree

Indian shopping experience

The best shopping buddy – doesn’t say much though! #PappusPassage #WhereInTheWorldIsPappu

A special thanks to Sammohi Design Studio for hosting us and letting us film the design and production process. They also helped Heena find her dream wedding dress!

Catch up on our Indian adventure through our Facebook vlogs and photos. As the culture shock wears off, the videos keep getting better and better! Darla even finds a McDonald’s on Day 4!

Wedding Planning 101: Saying Yes to the Dress

Lace wedding dress

My wedding dress…ah. I was never the girl who got caught day-dreaming about what I would wear on my wedding day, and I definitely didn’t scour Pinterest throughout the wee hours of the morning (which might sound odd to all of you who know I graduated with a degree in Apparel Merchandising). I was also in an interesting situation because at the time Corey proposed, I was interning at a wedding dress boutique in Knoxville – but was still never fully into the wedding dress thing like most brides. One morning, we had some down time at the shop, so we decided to play! I tried on maybe a total of six dresses. I only felt truly comfortable in one (something you should note: I am the most indecisive person alive, so this was a miracle that I only loved one). It was whimsical, flowy, and a unique kind of vintage (not to mention, customizable – two thumbs up). Days passed, and every time I would walk by “the” dress in the shop, I would spend a few extra seconds staring at it. However, I noticed another dress in the shop that girls kept trying on and looking FAB in, so I decided I would try too. And wow, I felt like a babe in it. It sparkled and hugged my curves all the right ways. If ‘Hollywood Glam’ had a picture beside it in the dictionary, it would be of this dress.

So I was stuck. Do I choose the dress that makes me feel like a stone cold fox or do I choose the dress that makes me feel exquisite and lovely?

I always look to the opinion of others for big decisions like this, and literally everyone told me the same thing: even though I couldn’t go wrong with the Hollywood Glam dress, the first dress I loved was simply more me. It perfectly complemented my personality and resembled what I wear on a daily basis. Plus there was never a time when I tried it on and thought, “Nah, maybe not.” So that’s the one I ordered and the moment it arrived – my dress, the dress I would wear standing in front of everyone, saying ‘I do’ to my best friend – I became a girl who would daydream about what I would wear on my wedding day. I fell in love…hard. Wearing something that made me feel so beautiful and graceful was a serious dream! I wish that experience on every single one of you because it’s something no one should miss!

Bride admiring wedding dress

Ben Finch Photography


I tried to wrap that up quickly so I could share just a few things with you:

• Go for the dress that fits your personality. If you’re a simple, Plain Jane kind of girl, don’t buy the top-to-bottom beaded ballgown if you’re not completely comfortable in it. You’re going to look great in most every dress you try on because they’re designed to be flattering and attractive. It’s about how you feel in the dress, not necessarily how you look (but of course, looking great definitely helps!).

• SO IMPORTANT: It’s okay if you don’t cry when you think you’ve found “the one!!” Television has kind of set that expectation up for brides, so it’s easy to think there’s something better out there if the tears aren’t flowing – which is so not true!

• If you’re indecisive like me, don’t shop at every single wedding boutique in the Southeast. That gives you way too many options, and chances are, it will take you twice as long to make a decision.

• When you’re first shopping, try on every style, even if you think you’re going to hate ballgown. Most of the time, girls end up walking out with the dress they said they’d never try on!

• Start shopping a year in advance and be prepared to buy AT LEAST 6 months before the wedding, but preferably 8 months before to ensure time for delivery and alterations. Girls don’t realize how long the wedding dress process takes!

• Take a few friends or family members with you, but not an entire entourage. Too many opinions get thrown around, and you risk your feelings getting hurt and/or not being able to make a clear decision.

• Most of the time, the dresses you’re re-pinning cost $6,000+ and it’s unrealistic to even find some them. So if your budget is $1,500, don’t expect to get the exact dress you’re showing your bridal consultant with all the same features. Definitely keep an open mind!

Since I’ve spent so much time at the bridal boutique, I’ve learned SO much about wedding dresses and the process, so please feel free to use me as a resource for questions and concerns!

P.S. A huge thank you to Lea-Ann Belter for my PERFECT wedding gown!!