Bengali bride, resplendent in red
The Indian bride is a lucky lady for she has myriad styles to choose from. Every region in India, right down to every community, has a special way in which they style their brides. While many brides choose to embrace the diversity of the country in their attire, many of them also choose to go the absolute traditional way. Come take a look at the traditional Bengali bride.
Bridal saree: The Bengali bridal saree has traditionally been a deep red color with a heavy gold border. The saree usually sports intricate threadwork depicting peacocks and temple designs. The most popular choice is the Banarasi silk saree, but today’s brides also opt for Kanjeevaram silks. Colours, though predominantly from the red family, include maroons and pinks these days.
As with most attire, the Bengali bridal saree has evolved with time. The work of designer Sabysachi Mukherji has revolutionised the way brides step out for their big day. Colours have evolved to include creams, greens and purples—all rich colours and all designed to bring out the beauty of the bride. Bridal sarees today are also embellished with precious stones and have little accessories added on, such as jackets and stylised key bunches.
Bridal jewellery: Of course, just as for any bride, bridal jewellery is an integral part of Bengali wedding preparations. The paati haar, traditional among the more affluent Bengali families, is a heavy choker with intricate designs. Over the years, the intricacy of these designs has been toned down to make this chain more comfortable to wear. The jhumkas, or chandelier earrings, are a part of wedding attire as well. The nath, a large, circular nose ring that is delicately designed graces the nose of a bride. The larger the size of the nath, the more affluent the family is believed to be. The tikli or maang tika is also common.
A unique piece of Bengali wedding jewellery is the tairaa or the mukuts (tiaras) that are worn. These are usually white, but today come in precious metals or studded with stones. The kaan, which in Bengali and Hindi means ‘ear’, is a piece of jewellery that is literally shaped like the ear and ends with a jhumka.
Muslim brides wear the taabiz or taaga around the arm in addition to all the jewellery that is common to the Bengali bride.
Ivory jewellery is traditionally gifted to the bride and you will find a lot of brooches, bangles, bracelets and necklaces in the bride’s trousseau. Among other jewellery that is picked are the Chooris—made of gold and silver, the Mantasha, a bangle studded with stones and pure pearls, the Ratanchur, a jewellery inspired from the Mughal era, and also a specially crafted Payal.
Over time, Bengali bridal jewellery has evolved to include many influences, both Indian and international. Designers create specialised bridal looks each season, which go on to become trends. But in the end, the traditional Bengali bride always steps out as an enigmatic beauty.