At most weddings, friends and sisters/brothers of the bride and groom are among those people who get to have the most fun, as well as bring all the events together with engaging with the guests. One major aspect of having fun at such events, particularly for many girls, is going all out with dressing up, a chance we seldom get due to the requirement of being sober as adults! So the weddings in the close family or friend circle seems like the best time to bring out the glam and the loud and shiny at the same time, and sneakily or not so sneakily, twirl around mesmerised by our own flowing dresses. However, try not to steal the limelight from the bride or the groom by going overboard.
Overtime, the simplicity of weddings in the days when we just wore whatever the best we had are long gone, and not always lamentably. It is often quite adorable to see a small army of bridesmaids and groomsmen being the life of a party in coordinated outfits. It is more common to see elaborate planning in the dresses of the bridesmaids and their troupe.
But that being said, there are some things everyone has to keep in mind, a short list of which follows, along with some do nots, and a few dos, for you to get inspiration from this wedding season.
One does not have to dress any certain way to look chic, as it is all about appropriate styling and how you carry yourself. Some bridesmaids appear fully decked in heavy and statement pieces, beautiful taant saris, looking every part the bridesmaid, but can in no way be confused as the bride. Chunky but classy jewellery pieces, both in bronze and silver, are not traditional bridal-wear, and the flowers around the hair-buns only add an extra festive touch, when not clashing with the other elements.
For the Holud or Mehendi functions, a way to stand out with subtlety is to use various draping styles, along with understated jewellery and letting your lush hair loose, like the quintessential Bengali belle.
If you are blessed with a head full of long hair, an intricately woven braid, with or without flowers, might turn out to be your best accessory. The choice of colours can be your own, or on theme as decided by the bride and groom.
Delicate armbands or even temporary tattoos with henna and chandan look very chic, especially with the 'ek-pech' (single-drape) sari. So do the various unconventional jewellery items like lace, beads and shola (Indian cork). You can also experiment with the placement and folds of the 'kuchi' (central pleats). If you happen to be married, do not hesitate to bring out the treasured 'tikli', but then leave out the necklace perhaps, to keep the look balanced.
Unmarried women can also wear head and hair accessories, as long as these are age appropriate and not overshadowing the bride's own getup.
For the more formal occasions, when cottons are replaced by our silk and brocade favourites, be careful to pick colours which do not risk overwhelming the bride's own outfit. This does not mean you have to be dull or boring, as there is no dearth of classy and bright colours to choose from, in all shades from reds, blues, pinks to even earthy tones.
Katan and Benarasi happen to be all time favourites, and are available in hundreds of hues and styles. These can be paired with matching or contrast blouses, which is another area to express your creativity in.
The blouse's neckline, hem, back, sleeves, texture of the fabric and the colour itself are all open to experimentation, and can change the look of the same sari many times over!
As a good bridesmaid, you should be positive to the bride/groom's ideas about what you should wear, be an enthusiastic part of their vision for the celebrations, propose your own ideas and suggestions, and of course make time to accompany them for the endless shopping and planning trips if asked. However, you can still have oodles of fun in just dressing up, with good planning.