Archive for ‘Thursday Thoughts’

January 23, 2015

A 1000 questions about your wedding, 1 answer to your wedding design : Devika Narain 

Sensory Overload. This is what I experience most days when I surf the web/open my email/ go shopping/attend a wedding. There is just too much going on everywhere! At least too much for me to handle. It doesn’t help that I am really bad at filtering out the excess stuff.When there is too much stimuli , you will probably find me sitting in a corner- eyes shut,ears covered ,gently rocking myself back in to some state of normalcy. Don’t believe me? Come shopping with me. You will know then.

Boy,am I glad that I got married three years ago (!!) and don’t have to go through the process of what shall I wear, who shall we call, what will the place look like, who will take our photos….. the list is endless my to-be brides. Yes, it is fun and the ‘process’ is what you will remember but I am happy that I am done with that. The number of blogs out there with an ‘A-Z’ listing of every possible kind of vendor you can think of is incredible! Where do you start looking for a good florist? More importantly, where (and HOW) do you stop?!

The question arises- are we spoilt for choice or are we spoiling our choice ?

Perhaps this is a reason why TUB (The Unreal Bride, guys! Get with the program.) never got down to making a vendors section. Too many people, too many choices, bad filtering system. And yeah, maybe we are picky.

Suddenly , amongst the chaos something comes to your attention! Something as simple as a photograph of a flower arrangement like you have never seen before, or the most unique mandap and you dig deeper and what do you find?Beauty! The person behind this beauty I speak of is Devika Narain . From stalking her pretty posts of different destinations-gold deserts, blue beaches, white mountains,  she transformed them in to table settings, tents, vases filled with lemons, and fairy lights everywhere!

The Unreal Bride really desperately requires a dose of gorgeousness and inspiration to start this year off so thank god for Devika !

What does Devika have to say? “I love all things happy and have found a way to corral my background in literature and an ability to put pretty things together into one big party of a business. I grew up inspired by whatever sparked my imagination – from Paris to Sabyasachi to a deep-rooted love of bold, bright colors and vintage flea market finds. With an enticing and recognizable aesthetic I now create beautiful, fun weddings and parties with lots of little details.’

If you are planning your wedding, look no further, block out the noise-start and stop your search right here because I have no doubt in my mind that Devika won’t take your dreams and make them in to the most gorgeous reality. I can prove it too! Here are  photos from some of the weddings she has designed.

ff_0112 ff_0113

Rose petals and fairy lights 

ff_0114 ff_0115 ff_0116 ff_0117

This mehendi in Jaisalmer is one of my favourites- so blue, big patterns and the most amazing attention to detail.My mehendi would have looked like this (if I had had one!) .


This is a wedding in a STADIUM. Ever seen a stadium look so good? 


All photos are property of Devika Narain. No stealing without permission, please. 

If you want to join me in stalking Devika, you can find her on her website , her blog, her instagram (definitely need to follow her here) and facebook.


Oh, and Happy New Year everyone! ❤

November 11, 2013

Festival of Lights

In light (pun intended?) of the fact that it was just Diwali, a thought occurred to me. Not a thought as much as a question maybe or I basically just started wondering about something!

Every Diwali, we bought candles, placed them wherever we could on the house- ledges, railings, gates, driveways and then around 7pm , we lit them .The house glowed in the magnificent radiance only candles have. Some years , the candles would last an hour and the others for four hours. The next day, we would scrape the melted wax off wherever we could and collected it in a pot which we eventually melted down to make one big candle! This was a ritual. And a super fun one at that too. That kind of defined Diwali for me. I am not a big fan of crackers or giving people presents (I don’t mind getting the presents though #justsaying) , think playing cards are a waste of time and money so this was pretty much the one thing I looked forward to each Diwali. It wasn’t just us that lit the candles and diyas, it was the entire neighbourhood twinkling away.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Then China happened. And the markets were flooded with all sorts of lights. Okay, that isn’t entirely fair because lights have been around for years at Indian Weddings. Still. Fairy lights , and those long tubey lights suddenly replaced the lovely candles. (Also it’s not like I hate fairy lights but just for this post, think candles are better!)Easier to install, longer lasting which possibly made it cheaper to have lights instead of candles? It basically nullified an entire tradition. You can sigh with me at this loss. *sigh*2013-07-18_0032.jpg

This year we lit some (really long lasting) candles and it reminded me of way back when and thats where this post is stemming from ,I suppose. One thought led to another. One Pinterest board to another and suddenly, I was staring at lots of pictures of lovely weddings where there were lots of candles being used and I thought, why don’t people use more candles at weddings?(Here is the Pinterest board that started it all- Probably because it is cumbersome and someone has to light them and take care of them but really,those are just excuses. You see so many  people doing nothing at weddings who have been employed to do something-why not delegate the duty to them?Or,light diyas which are close cousins to candles and are longer lasting and easier-ish to manage.NSR_0158 NSR_0160

Photos via The Unreal Bride

Or have clusters of them? That way you don’t have to walk the entire length and breadth of where the wedding is being held lighting candles . Which ,in the way today’s wedding are,would probably mean by the time you light the last candle, the first candle extinguished half an hour ago.

If you are having a small wedding ,then you really have no excuse. There are a gazillion things to play with lighting so just get your thinking cap on and do it!NSR_0159 SS_0079

Photos via The Unreal Bride

If you fall in to the category of super senti , want to make everything myself at the wedding or you know want to give away something homemade as favours , then why not let that thing be candles?

And since we were talking about China- how about ending the night with some Chinese Lanterns?


cl1Unfortunately , I was unable to find the source of these photos-pinterest has become a little unreliable like that. If you know the source, do let me know!

September 26, 2013

The Wedding Present Dilemma!

Your best friend is getting married. You need to think of a present. Something meaningful. Something unusual. Something no one  has ever thought of before! Possibly one of the hardest things to do. I don’t know about you guys, but buying birthday presents for friends is something I find to be very challenging. If I am going to give a present, it should mean something otherwise what’s the point? You can just imagine what happens when it’s time to decide on a wedding present! Many of my friends never got one (sorry guys! now you know why!) -I just never found the right thing.

There is loads of inspiration out there -like on Pinterest that should make life easier! Alas, we all are quite familiar with Pinterest fails  so unless we know for sure that we can do it- we are too scared to try it!

Some people are easy to buy presents for because they are certain kind of people, there is no need to second guess what they may/may not like.

They may be hipsters.



They might be coffee loving Via



They may be Breaking Bad kinda people.BBVia

Or the kinds who love all things pretty.heartsVia 

The ‘vintage’ people.TW1



They could just be regular people .


towelsSource unknown (If you know where this photo is from, let me know!)

In the end though, you just want some really really special to give! Last year, The Unreal Bride worked on a special present for one of our cousins wedding. The project was to make a cookbook with the family’s favourite recipes accompanied by some beautiful food photos. We have worked with food before and it’s fun but we really didn’t fathom the enormity of this project. Somehow though, we managed and the book looked fabulous. This post is an introduction to the wedding present project of the year – expect lots of food photos and maybe some recipes if you want! To give you an idea of what I am talking about- this photo shoot we did for Ketchup Bags  was around the time we were shooting for the cookbook!



What is the most creative present you have ever given anyone? Tell us! We would love to know!

May 19, 2013

How to survive the Indian summer…wedding!!


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.

What a beauty!


2. What to do with your hair. 

Oh my…


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.

There’s got to be a tutorial for this out there somewhere.. Or just call your friend with four hands! No seriously, there are others that are do-able, I promise!


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.

See? Like this! Easy peasy.


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!

Britney didn’t take a photo along…


3. What to put on your face.

Au naturel


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.

Warm soul by M.A.C


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!

Bright lips!


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!

Praandi style displayed in our Groom Hunting shoot! 

  •  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!

Doesn’t Gauri just look like summer?

Remember our Monsoon Bride shoot? 

  •  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.

OUCH! Walk away from that…


  • 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!

How cute are those?!


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.

Like this strawberry lemon sangria – Yum!


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!

xx A

September 1, 2011

Thursday Thoughts: The Magic of Music

I don’t think I really need to say this out loud because everyone probably feels the same way but I am going to say it anyway otherwise I don’t know how to start this post! What would life be without song and music? BLAND BLAND BLAND! I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have music that I could relate to, sing along with, dance and jump around to. Especially since sometimes when I listen to a particular song, I remember something which I had completely forgotten about. That’s the magic of music. Memories, happy times,sad times, love and fun! Aren’t we blessed to have music in our lives?

Considering how important music is,I am surprised that it is ignored a lot at weddings. In Indian weddings, we rely on our DJ’s to play the most hip and happening Bollywood songs but that could also mean music you absolutely detest being played at your wedding, or if you actually wanted Pink Floyd but you got Himesh Reshamiya instead! Happened to a bride I know recently- she wasn’t happy! I think even if you had one or two songs that are special to you played at your wedding – it could change everything. Then you wouldn’t mind even Daler Mehendi! My point being, include some of YOUR music choices into your wedding.There are so many ways to do it.

First dances have become increasingly popular these days in Indian weddings and is the perfect time to play your favourite tune. Your song as your first dance!

Photo by Kismet

We all know how popular choreographed weddings are at our weddings – another perfect opportunity to include one of your faves.


Another way, which is one of my favourites is to make a cd of all the songs special to the couple and to give everyone attending the wedding a copy! Makes for a perfect reminder of your day and everyone gets to enjoy some very carefully selected music, and of course very special.

Via Magpie Paper Works

Those are just a few ways of including your choice of music in your wedding but I have digressed completely from what I thought this post would be about. I asked a friend who is very knowledgeable about Hindi music for some of her all time favourite songs-love songs to be exact. I just feel strange writing that- favourite love songs.I don’t know why but I do. Anyway, this friend (who is going to be uber famous one day so I shan’t name her incase you bug me terribly just for her autograph or an introduction- unless you are a really cute boy then I will send her your number!) so yeah, this friend sent me such a loooong list of great songs- I don’t know if I can put them all into this one post but I will put a few so you can have a listen and enjoy this Thursday. Maybe I will make Sunday into song day !! So enjoy the music and make sure music plays a big(ger) part in your own wedding!

Here are some real oldies plus some not so oldies but  are pretty outdated now as well and they came out in the early 90’s. Makes me feel….old!!!

P.S. Whenever I listen to old hindi music , I feel like I should be sitting up in the hills somewhere with a hot cup of tea!mmmm

**Fresh Inspiration Every Thursday**

%d bloggers like this: