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Ambika Jain

Ambika got married on 18th December, 2009 at the Manor, a luxury boutique hotel in Friends Colony, Delhi. Friends described the intimate function as one of the most charming wedding functions. And everyone couldn't stop admiring Ambika's simple yet stunning look.

We all want to look Perfect!
We’ve all been there. Dreaming of a Knight in Shining Armor, Prince Charming, Hugh Grant from Four Weddings and a Funeral all rolled into one-- sweeping us off our feet to live happily ever after! This is the one moment where you are the star. The star in your very own Bollywood production with your name up in lights! And of course you want to look Perfect. I too wanted the same.

I wanted to wear my mother’s Wedding saree
I knew exactly what I wanted but still there were moments where I had butterflies in my stomach and doubts if I could transform the vision in my head into a reality. I knew the starting point was traditional, glitter and stone free, lightweight and comfortable. Being also the sentimental sort I thought I could get away with wearing my mother’s wedding sari, which was woven specially for her and is absolutely gorgeous. But after putting it on I realized my petite 5’1” frame was completely dwarfed by the six yards of fabric.

I could identify with Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna and Ritu Kumar
Thus began the search for the perfect outfit for the wedding. I went to all the usual suspects in Delhi- the designer stores selling bridal wear! Since we had less than 3 months to figure out venue, clothes, jewellery, guest list etc I didn’t have time to custom order anything. I also had a budget in mind, which did not include buying a very expensive bridal lehenga, which would, hide in my closet ever after. Round 1 was nothing except an eye opener into the world of bridal wear. I could identify with Sabyasaachi, Anamika Khanna and Ritu Kumar but pretty much nothing else. For my frame though all of the above would have to be custom ordered for which they needed more than 3 months and in terms of price running well into 5 zero’s which I didn’t want to part with.

A beautiful old brocade odhni
While going through my mom’s closet one day I found a beautiful old brocade odhni in hues of reds and greens. On the reverse it had the most amazing ikat in purple and green. I knew at once this had to be a part of whatever outfit I wore on the wedding day itself. I decided to do the rounds of store once more and carried the odhni with me.

Ritu Kumar Lehenga
On one of the visits to Ritu Kumar my sister-in-law pulled out a simple red silk lehenga with dull gold ‘ari’ embroidery on it. It was so light that you could have worn it as a skirt with a shirt. I tried it on and draped my vintage odhni and voila the entire outfit turned into a gorgeous wedding outfit. I knew this was the one. The exquisite net dupatta and the purple blouse all gave it an elegant look. I also realized that the entire outfit was so me. I love wearing red, it was traditional, gorgeous yet simple and understated. And it was called ‘Parampara’ (which means Tradition in Hindi). In the meantime I did have a panicked moment when we decided to move the wedding from an early evening to a day wedding. I had already bought the lehenga and was having doubts about wearing bright red in the morning!! But once I tried the lehenga on with the jewelry I calmed down and realized it was something that could be worn for an evening or a day function.

Kundan jewellery
To complement the clothes I picked out old kundan jewelry from my mother’s collection. Since I have a long neck I wore a choker style necklace with ruby with emerald beads. I wore the tikka she wore for her wedding and 20 gold bangles with exquisite meena kari (enameling), again handed down generations. I decided last minute not to wear a nath since it covered most of my face and since my nose is not pierced I found it very painful.

Makeup by Gopika Pillai
I wanted a natural look with almost no makeup on my face. My biggest worry was my skin, which is not very clear and has acne scars. I did not want my face to look like a kabuki dancer hidden under layers of foundation. Plus since it was a day wedding I wanted to make sure that the makeup wouldn’t change color or run in the sunlight. I also wanted to have a comfort factor with the makeup artist and be sure she was open to my suggestions. I was lucky when I found Gopika Pillai. I liked her immediately. Gopika had quite a challenge—she was working on an older bride who wanted a very natural look yet wanted to look bright. I realized then both looked beautiful but I needed to go with what was ‘Me’. I wear very little make up everyday so I didn’t want to be completely unrecognizable on d-day!

Beautiful Big round Bindi
The wedding day turned out to be sunny and gorgeous and I reached Gopika’s at 8.30 and things started to fall into place. I wanted a loose bun with roses in my hair. I also didn’t want the weight of the world on my head with a lot of false hair and pins sticking into my skull. I opted not to go with extensions. The make up turned out really subtle and beautiful but I felt something was missing. I had brought along the bindi’s I thought would go with the entire look but nothing seemed to work. Gopika pulled out a beautiful big round bindi and I knew that was IT. I looked like a Bride and I was ready to face the music!

After almost three months of planning we managed to pull off a beautiful wedding thanks to all our friends and family. In fact I have strangers who write in to me after seeing our pictures and have asked me to style their clothes and jewelry for their wedding. The ultimate compliment, thanks to which I’ve started writing on Bridal style, and offering my services as a Bridal Stylist!

Ambika Jain, a Delhi-based Lifestyle and Retail consultant, also offers Bridal Styling services. To get in touch with her call 098-116-98076 or email ambika.jain@gmail.com

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