What we refer to as the ‘wedding season’ in India has just stretched on and onnn this year with brave brides and grooms setting dates not only through spring but well into summer. Since summer weddings are pretty unusual in this part of the world, when I received a few invitations myself, I started to wonder, how does one prepare for festivities in the heat? Whether you are the bride or groom or even a guest – preparation for such an event can be quite a challenge! And that’s how we come to dilemna number one –
1. What to wear.
As soon as I see an invitation to a wedding, first I check the dates to see if I can make it, if I can – I start to mentally peruse my wardrobe for options on what to wear. This system usually works very well and I pretty much instantly jot down selections on the cards themselves (sorry people!) so everything is in order the day of. So I pick up a card – mid May – Whaaattt?? Ok…velevet? No. Silk? No. No full sleeves, no high necks, no heavy embroidery… and thats about all most of us have when it comes to traditional Indian clothing options! I realize, I have absolutely nothing to wear. Even though I call myself a summer baby and despise winter – summer for me is spent in light loose cottons and I don’t own dressy versions of light loose cottons! Woman on a mission, I dug up lots of odds and ends from storage and have the following advice for you – pick breathable fabrics – that’s most important – chiffon, georgette, light silks and fine cottons. If you must embellish, do so lightly so as to not feel suffocated and to avoid blinding other guests. If you own a dupatta with light embroidery, you can easily match it with a plain or lightly embellished outfit or dress it up with jewellery. Airy sarees are another really good option and you can play around with various types of blouses and what not.
For instance, I found a couple of pieces of printed cotton so I’m going to do the whole print on print thing and maybe have a cool lehenga made out of all the pieces put together + a plain shirt+ plain dupatta with a little trim.
I also found my grandmothers finely embroidered dupatta in navy which I’m going to wear with a georgette chikkan shirt I have in off white and a navy georgette churidaar which I know is hiding somewhere in the house.
I also unearthed a blush pink chiffon salwar but I don’t know what to do with it and a lovely Italian lace gold dupatta where I’m presently drawing a blank but these are summer options people! They are lurking around just waiting to be discovered.
2. What to do with your hair.
Put it up!! Be prepared – there is going to be some sweat – so, no matter how lovely your blow dry or in my case my trusty curling iron – the heat and humidity are sure to zap your tresses of all its energy and leave a flat, crumpled mess atop your head. Can you just foresee the photos? The frizz attack and odd bumps and bends where there should be none? Yea, don’t go down that route.
If you are anything like Kismet, you’ll take inspiration from her and just cut it all off for the season (or forever, which seems to be the case with her!) – if you are anything like me and refuse even the occasional trim – Pinterest is the place for you my friend. Free up some time, type the word ‘updo’ in the search box and dive deep into the addictive process of pins leading to boards leading to websites leading to tutorials and so on. Experiment till you find something that suits you.
Braids and buns can be complicated and treacherous frenemies leaving you with tired arms and hands and unexpectedly falling apart without any notice. This is why it’s imperative that you find something, see if it suits you, practice till you get it right and then walk around with it (and do a little dance) to see how your hair behaves. If it’s behaving badly, you probably need more pins or some spray and mousse to hold the thing together.
If you don’t want to DIY and have it done by a professional instead; again, I’d recommend a trial or at the very least choose a photo they can work off of before you’re stuck with something unfortunate and don’t have the time to fix it. You don’t want to end up with idiotic looking artificial tight curls or a side parting pasted to your head with glue. Unless that’s your thing…in which case, change your thing!
3. What to put on your face.
Since minimal make up is classic, chic and on trend I would suggest, a light foundation or BB cream that lets your skin breathe – don’t try to go for matte – it’s not going to happen in this weather so it’s probably best to embrace the summer glow. For blush, use shades that enhance said glow like apricot, warm caramel-ey beige and soft pinks and peach. I’m currently enjoying Warm soul by M.A.C, Orgasm by Nars and a highlighter by Nars called Enchanted.
However, if it’s bold colour you want, you can pack a punch with bright pink or coral lips and leave everything else fairly natural. Don’t forget the sunscreen for day events!
For night, you can go the smokey eye nude lip route as long as the smoke doesn’t travel south through the course of the night!
Also, it’s probably a good idea to keep a little spray bottle of water in your bag so you can look refreshed at all times.
Decorational items that won’t kill you :-
- A paraandi or hair tassel for your hair – braid plus bling!
- A bindi. As unpleasant as this may be to envisage, a bindi might slip and slide off of a sweaty forehead so keep checking on it and make sure you carry the packet with you!
- Flowers for your hair! Probably best to use artificial ones since real flowers will wilt, you can use them to add some freshness and colour to your hairstyle.
- Blingy clips for the nighttime – I inherited a beautiful faux diamond clip from my grandmother and routinely pin brooches in my hair. You can scour the internet (Etsy is always a good idea) for bejewelled goodies to dress your hair up.
- Delicate jewellery that doesn’t weigh a couple of kgs and again, won’t blind the guests.
- I would say bangles but I feel really hot in them and I don’t know if thats just me or whether its a universal thing so – try it out! If it works for you it works!
4.What to eat.
If its your own wedding, you might want to avoid putting heavy Mughlai/North Indian or cream based continental food on the menu – incorporate salads, fruits, vegetables and preparations requiring as little oil as possible. If you are a guest, you have no choice buddy, you have to eat what they offer you but, you can avoid starvation or conversely, indigestion, by eating a light snack of vegetables or a salad or even a bowl of fruit before heading out. I can’t tell you to carry a little bag of fresh carrots with you in your clutch but some of you might want to and just haven’t thought of it yet, so thats an option I guess!
5.What to drink.
White wine, gin and tonic, vodka and anything clear – stay away from dark, heat generating liquors and red wine – I don’t know if this is a technical thing or a figment of my imagination but it works for me!
Anything with vodka or white rum usually tends to be a useless sugary concoction so my top three suggestions for mixers are –
- 1 part juice, three parts soda, lime
- soda/tonic water, lime and mint
- And of course diet coke but its unhealthy and what not so try not to make a habit out of it.
If its your wedding, ask the bartenders who will be serving there, to mix up some refreshing, cooling, alcoholic as well as non alcoholic beverages for you to sample beforehand. Maybe you can have a special cocktail at the wedding ( I like watermelon caprioskas!) to make things easier for your guests.
What to do
No matter how unattractive it may seem, slather on some Odomos and stay close to the kachhua chhaap or citronella – whatever is at hand to keep mosquitos at bay, you hardly want malaria or dengue as a favour from the wedding! (Brides, please note)
Have lots and lots of fun, summer or no summer! Embrace it and don’t forget to hydrate!