It's hard finding your perfect wedding outfit. We've found that often South Asian grooms get left behind when it comes to wedding shopping. While, yes, the Desi bride is traditionally the showstopper, recently, grooms have started to (something about how they sparkler on their own or something). Why not try to level the playing field with your trendy outfits as a groom? We've partnered with Punjabi-American NYC-based designer Harleen Kaur to provide tips and answer some of the most commonly asked questions to help you find your dream outfits.
"For 2021 bridal fashion trends, I am definitely feeling yellows, even more-so than before, especially for mehendi and pithi/haldi ceremonies this year. I love the idea of adding bright pops of color to the sherwani or lehenga through the embroidery or details, or even just in the dupatta. Finally, I am also loving monochromatic wedding day looks—shades of green or red all within one outfit for both the bride and the groom."
Harleen Kaur, a contemporary and indowestern designer, recommends that Desi grooms should reflect on their style. "Do you like traditional Indian, do you like something more Western or do you want a touch of both? This decision will help you narrow down styles and fabrics. From there, you can land on a color. I personally love a more Indowestern groom in bold colors! If you’re not a fan of loud colors, opt for a neutral base fabric with hints or portions of the fabric in a bolder color. While you want to stand out as the groom across your sangeet, wedding, and other events, you also want to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. The biggest mistake I see grooms make is wearing something that someone else chose for them even though they don’t like it. You don’t want to put yourself in that position - being uncomfortable or upset the whole night because of what you're wearing. It’s your day so you should feel confident in whatever you choose!"
Sherwani: The sherwani was traditionally worn in India and its surrounding regions. Today, it is the most popular choice for grooms looking for a wedding outfit, especially for North Indian or Punjabi weddings. Given its regal and rich look, the sherwani is equivalent to the sari. It is made up of a long shirt, called a kurta and comes with matching pants, called churidar. Sherwanis are often heavily embellished with embroidery, mirrors, beads, and crystals and can come in a variety of fabrics, including velvet.
Dhoti kurta is a very traditional outfit that includes 15 feet of unstitched cloth wrapped around your waist with a long kurta on top. Dhotis are often common in South Indian weddings.
Jodhpuri suit, AKA a Bandhgala suit is essentially an Indian formal suit. The outfit combines a shorter bandhgala ("closed neck") jacket with dress-pant like pants. Jodhpuris have become more common as an outfit for a reception or pre-wedding event, such as a sangeet, a night of merriment akin to a pre-reception.
Yes, opposites attract, but not when it comes to the desi dulhan and dulha’s outfits.
While it is not necessary to find the perfectly matching outfits, finding a balance is important. Going overboard with the same print as your significant other, for example, may actually be too much. One way to make sure your outfits look cohesive together is by working with the same designer, but that's not the only way. We will walk you through a couple of alternatives.
As a couple, start with a color palette in mind, and let that be your guide. Often couples will pick an ivory or light pastel and run with it across both of their outfits. Using the same color allows for the Desi groom to get creative on unique embroidery or even a different print while matching your dulhan/dulha-to-be. At their wedding in Dallas, our founder, Arjita, and Vedang wanted coordinating outfits but had a different embroidery in mind. Arjita ended up with a mint green lehenga from Studio D in Dallas, while Vedang wore a matching mint green sherwani from Manyawar in Lucknow. PC: Nida Rehman
Find a complementary color to your bride's lehenga or saree and color coordinate to accent your outfit, either in the embroidery or as a stole, dupatta or even pocket square. Look at the gorgeous Natasha and Chinmay below. Chinmay chose an ivory sherwani, weaving in Natasha's lavender into his safaa and stole. We also have Upasana and Sandeep below --Sandeep wore a royal Sabyasachi sherwani and added in the rich maroon velvet from Upasana's lehenga into his stole. PC: KS Creative Photography, Bella Lumi
Mix and match prints. You'd be surprised at how fun of a look you can get by splashing the same prints as her lehenga or saree into your sherwani, dhoti kurta or even kurta pajama for a festive event like the sangeet or garba. You can go bold with the prints by adding elements of the print into just your kurta of even your Nehru jacket. Below is one of Harleen Kaur's gorgeous matching designs for a reception. Vedang, wanted to match Arjita's saree for their pre-wedding destination photoshoot in Jaipur, so he opted for a simple kurta with a bolder, matching jacket in the same print as the saree. PC: Memoirs Photography
Make sure to ask your significant other for a fabric swatch, so you can find either a matching or complementary color. Often the designer or boutique can cut a small piece of fabric from her saree or lehenga blouse fabric, so you can find either the same or complementary colors to match without seeing her outfit until your big day!
When you're putting together an outfit, think beyond just the clothes. Thoughtfully planned out jewelry can truly elevate coordinated ensembles. How? Well, it's as simple as saying yes to a sherwani button that matches your bride's stud earrings, or a kalgi inspired by the pendant of your significant other's necklace. You can even match a brooch to your chosen earrings. PC: MnM Photography
As a South Asian bride and groom, with the million outfits changes from the haldi to the garba or sangeet to the wedding and reception, the process of finding multiple dream outfits can feel both exciting and intimidating. Today, Harleen Kaur shares her guidance on how to navigate your wedding shopping experience.
Get your outfits as far in advance as possible. Factories and mills all over the world are in uncharted territory with the pandemic. Giving yourself an even larger buffer in terms of time is advisable in case there are closures or delays wherever your lehenga or sherwani is being produced. Your lehenga or sherwani may actually have fabric, stonework, embroidery, and labor from different cities, resulting in a long supply chain. We, at Harleen Kaur, produce locally in NYC so we have some buffer with our multiple factories and seamstresses who are able to work from home. Based on conversations with recent couples, The Desi Bride recommends selecting your bridal lehengas and sarees at least 3-6 months ahead of your wedding and for grooms, picking your sherwanis at least 2-4 months in advance. Some couples plan for 6-8 months to ensure they get their exact customization, fabric, and embroidery wants. The overall theme here is to pick out your desi wedding lehenga choli and grooms wear well in advance of your wedding!
Wedding clothes first; let the details come later. If you’re getting married, I always suggest working on your outfits first and then moving to the outfits for the wedding party and family along with decor. Having selected your outfits will make your wedding designs feel more cohesive.
Couples who pick outfits together, slay together! I love when we have brides and grooms come in to shop for their outfits together. Shopping together leads to a more complementary look. Whether it’s a matching garba choli and dhoti kurta or a modern lehenga and sherwani, we work through the custom designs together.
When in doubt, ask about bridal customization. Even when you shop online, you can always ask the designer about customization if you don’t like an exact outfit. For example, if you love an outfit but prefer longer sleeves or a differently shaped kurta or blouse, just call or email to see if it’s possible! While we have plenty of people who order directly off Harleen Kaur, I love to work directly with brides and grooms to create their custom bridal outfits. I learn about their personal style, budget and what's most important to provide them with appropriate wedding outfit options. We also pride ourselves in custom and couture for the couples that truly want something unique, or even a special outfit for the parents of the couple, siblings, and bridesmaids or groomsmen!
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Harleen Kaur is a NYC based Punjabi American designer, combining modern Western culture and traditional Indian silhouettes. She offers a distinct new take on South Asian clothing by blending different styles that are perfect for the modern South Asian man or woman looking for something unique. Her range of carefully designed outfits are perfect for an intimate Indian affair to a couple's lavish Punjabi wedding.
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