weddings of india

Traditional sari inspirations for your pre-wedding ceremonies

Weddings in India are seldom a single day affair. Most often than not, the festivities continue for days, sometimes weeks. With the multitude of functions that precede the D-day— haldi, mehndi, sangeet and cocktail, to name a few, it’s only natural that you will need an array of ensembles to complete your wedding trousseau. Nothing better than the quintessential six yards to work your way gracefully through each occasion!

In case you are on edge about how to pull off the traditional sari look for a series of pre-wedding festivities, no matter your own or your best friends’, we have got you covered. From the magnificent Paithani sari to the subtle Kasavu drape, read through the list of coveted six yards that could be incorporated perfectly into the pre-wedding festivities.

Paithani Saris

A traditional Maharashtrian bride wearing a Paithani Sari

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Primarily made in the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, these beautiful hand woven offerings are exquisitely intricate, having been made from a very fine form of silk. Unsurprisingly, these elegant saris are renowned as bridal wear in conventional Maharashtrian settings. Amalgamating the richness of silk and the luster of zari, Paithani saris give a gold tone, along with prominent motifs inspired from all things nature. Be it your own pre-wedding function or one that you happen to be attending, a Paithani sari is bound to make heads turn. On the accessories front, team it with a layered gold necklace or go the subtle route by pairing your sari with ornate gold earrings, like Shraddha Kapoor.

Banarasi Sarees   

Deriving its name from the city of Banaras, now popularly known as Varanasi, the Banarasi saris are looked upon as the epitome of luxury and elegance. The intricately woven motifs and traditional booties derived from natural elements make it a beautiful sight. Opt for a dark green Banarasi sari for the much awaited Mehndi ceremony; a conventional red for the preceding pujas, or a light blue version with placement motifs for an afternoon of Sangeet. If you wish for your sari to be center stage, we suggest teaming it with Kundan choker necklace and matching earrings like Deepika Padukone.

Kanjeevaram Saris

The Kanjeevaram Sari is Indian textile at its luxurious best


Made in the Kanchipuram region in Tamil Nadu, Kanjeevaram saris barely need an introduction. Numerous mythological legends narrate how Sage Markandeya, the weaver for the Gods, made the first Kanjeevaram from a yarn derived from a lotus flower. The Kanjeevaram saris interest buyers from across the country, if not the world, with this traditional outfit forming a bride’s main attire in many states in South India. Some of the popular motifs one would find in these extensively made saris are those inspired by naturethink birds, animals, fruits and the sun and the moon, along with temple figurines, imagery inspired by mythological scenes, checks, stripes and floral booties. Accessorize your outfit with inspiration from Bollywood. Style your Kanjeevaram with traditional South-Indian jewelry like Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone. Or go for a retro chick vibe like Priyanka Chopra, with a strappy blouse and fresh roses in the hair, for a morning devoted to the Mehndi festivities.

Kasavu Saris

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If you happen to lean towards an understated outfit that looks striking nonetheless, there is nothing better than the Kasavu sari to get things going. The hand-woven off-white six yards feature a gold border that is mostly simple, making this ensemble from ‘God’s Own Country’ a staple in a bridal party in Kerala. Since the outfit inclines towards subtlety, you can style it with a plethora of ornaments to elevate your look. Layered gold necklaces with temple motifs, ornate chokers, bangles and more can be paired with the Kasavu sari for a more than perfect pre-wedding look. This look featured in the Bollywood movie Aisha, where Sonam Kapoor and her friends wore Kasavu saris for a wedding scene.

If you happen to lean towards an understated outfit that looks striking nonetheless, there is nothing better than the Kasavu sari to get things going. The hand-woven off-white six yards feature a gold border that is mostly simple, making this ensemble from ‘God’s Own Country’ a staple in a bridal party in Kerala. Since the outfit inclines towards subtlety, you can style it with a plethora of ornaments to elevate your look. Layered gold necklaces with temple motifs, ornate chokers, bangles and more can be paired with the Kasavu sari for a more than perfect pre-wedding look. This look featured in the Bollywood movie Aisha, where Sonam Kapoor and her friends wore Kasavu saris for a wedding scene.

Chanderi Saris

The distinguished town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh is known throughout the country for a type of sari, with the same name that is hand woven in the area. Comprising silk or cotton, the Chanderi saris have been omnipresent since the Mughal period. The highlights include geometric patterns, floral motifs and traditional designs that are found in abundance on the sari. A bright Chanderi sari can be worn effortlessly to a pre-wedding festivity be it a Mehndi ceremony, a puja, or a Haldi function. The Chanderi sari has a simple, yet very luxurious look and is perfect for a look that represents understated opulence.

Muga Saris

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If you’re looking for something unique, then the Muga sari would be a great choice. Muga silk, which is used to craft this particular outfit, is a very fine variety of silk obtained from a silkworm of the same name. Interestingly, the silkworm is found exclusively in Assam, which makes the fibre obtained from it, one of the rarest in the world. Rich embroideries and natural motifs can be seen on a traditional Muga silk sari. This sari has recently become popular as it has been seen often worn by Priyanka Chopra, who is the brand ambassador for the state of Assam. Take a tip from her and style your Muga sari with a bold statement necklace made with intricate gold detailing.

Ikat Saris

Image source: natasha.luthra; https://www.instagram.com/p/Baijyn5A9VO/

Incorporating resist dyeing techniques, the renowned Ikat patterns are made by tying the yarns that constitute a sari and then dipping them in colour to give the desired pattern. Popular in numerous parts of the world—Africa, Japan, Latin America and India, to name a few—this technique gives way to striking, vibrant ensembles. A characteristic of Ikat textiles is that the geometric designs have a distinct blurriness. A densely made Ikat sari can be worn to your friend’s pre-wedding party or to one of the numerous pujas as it has a vibrant festive feel. Pochampally ikat silk saris are worn often by guests at Telugu weddings in Andhra Pradesh and styled with heavy gold jewellery.

Bandhani  Saris

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Bandh means to tie in Hindi and as the name suggests, Bandhani refers to an end product as well as a technique that relies on the tying intricate knots on the fabric before dyeing it. A popular tie and dye process, the earliest versions of which date back to the Indus Valley Civilization, Bandhani gives birth to beautiful saris, which have a sort of vibrant polka dot type finish. Since it’s a unique process completed by hand, no two saris are exactly the same, giving the wearer an original look. Wear it at a mehndi, and complete the look with traditional diamond jewellery like Nita Ambani to round off the traditional look perfectly. You could also put a modern twist to your Bandhani sari like Kajol and pair it with a stylish gold jacket and matching belt.

Patola Saris

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Patola saris are made in the town of Patan in Gujarat. Once worn only by women belonging to royal and aristocratic families, these saris are very expensive. Patola is a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk.  There are only three families in Patan that weave these highly prized saris and they teach this weaving technique only to the sons in the family. A single Patola sari can take six months to one year to complete because of the long process of dying each yarn separately before weaving them together. Geometric designs with folk motifs and flaming colors are characteristic features of Patola saris. These saris are like heirloom pieces and are meant to be passed on from mother to daughter. The Patola sari is a wonderful choice for any wedding function during the day as its vibrant colors and patterns give it a happy festive feel. You could style it in a traditional way with a zari blouse or get inspired by Shilpa Shetty who styled her Patola by draping it over a fitted red kurta churidar and matching belt. Complete the look with large statement earrings.

Chikankari Saris

Understated Elegance is the hallmark of a Chikankari sari

Image sourse: bridelanindia; https://www.instagram.com/p/-GGIBvsFby/?igshid=1c3it6ov9xpok

Chikankari originates from the city of Lucknow and is an ancient and popular Indian embroidery form. This style of embroidery is believed to be introduced by the Mughal queen Nur Jahan, who was the wife of Emperor Jahangir. The simple yet precise handwork on the garment, gives it a very subtle, classy feel that modern embroidery techniques lack. A Chikankari sari is an elegant, subtle and classy option to wear to a wedding ceremony or Mehndi. For understated elegance there is nothing better than a Chikankari sari styled with diamond and platinum jewellery.

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