So today Desi Brides I have a very long post about my Top Tips for India Wedding Shopping!
Ahhhh well it only feels like yesterday when I was in crazy, hectic India doing my own wedding shopping for my dream day – I can’t believe a whole year has past since then – time really has flown!
In my first blog post about shopping tips in India I wrote some tips on whilst you are shopping in India – you can find this beauty here – but since then I have been inundated with questions about my outfits and where I shopped etc and how I planned my time. So in this blog post I wanted to cover the whole shebang for you.
I was so fortunate and lucky that I was able to go to India for a month for my wedding shopping. I had quit my corporate marketing job 10 months before the wedding to focus on my planning and coordination business (yes I do planning and coordination shoot me a email on firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries) as well as plan my own wedding. Months before the wedding I had decided I didn’t want to get my wedding lehegha from Punjab. Don’t get me wrong Punjab is fantastic for shopping, but the brides I had seen at recent weddings had the same old same old – that red lehegha with gold embroidery. If anyone knows me well they know I don’t do ordinary and I’m definitely a outside the box type of person. In my heart of hearts I knew that Punjab wouldn’t offer me anything unique or special so I decided to go to Delhi for my wedding shopping. I had never been to Delhi and I had no clue where to shop but with a lot of research and my ever so helpful cousin Sonia in India I had a plan before I had left and I had contacted shops to find out what their opening times were and if I needed an appointment. I then came up with a hit list of the shops I would be going to whilst in Delhi.
First week in Punjab
A challenge of Delhi was to make sure that I had enough time with my in-laws to do my bury shopping. For those of you who aren’t Sikh this means that your in-laws gift you with outfits for the wedding, and I was lucky enough to pick mine! Therefore I got my Delhi trip out of the way before they arrived. We decided to book 4 nights in Delhi which we had limited time to find “the one”
We arrived in Delhi via the Shatabdi train – if your in first class it isn’t so bad and within 4-5 hours your in the heart of the metropolis which is crazy Delhi. We checked into our hotel and then hurried to the shops. Again I was very lucky because my aunty had friends in Delhi and we used one of their taxi firms to get around. I would highly recommend hiring a reputable and trustworthy taxi firm and avoid the metro like the plague. However remember in Delhi most shops don’t open till 10am/11am but set off early as traffic in Delhi is mental!
When I got to Delhi boy I wasn’t disappointed! The fashion and couture choice there is completely different to Punjab. Whilst I was in Punjab I kept telling all the shops that I was going to Delhi for my shopping and they all kept saying to me that I would find the same stuff in Punjab – I took no notice, but in the back of my head I was thinking what if its a wasted trip but hell no it wasn’t! It was unique and a breath of fresh air! I saw so many stunning outfits and because Delhi has a wholesale market it was actually cheaper than Punjab.
I found my wedding outfit on the second day in a gorgeous boutique tucked away in a bustling side street – as soon as I saw it we all knew it was the one. I will be covered how I found my wedding lehegha in another blog post but for now lets get onto the tips.
STICK TO A SMALL GROUP
I can’t emphasise this enough. Whilst I did my entire wedding shopping, there were only 4/5 of us going to the boutiques if not less. Bigger groups = more annoying opinions so cut the drama and only take your nearest and dearest.
SET A BUDGET
This is so so important and trust me its so easy to get carried away whilst you are in India. Set a overall budget before you go and work out what you want to spend on your wedding lehegha. As I said in my first blog post always always haggle because trust me those Indian bridal boutiques will want to rip you off just because you are a westerner!
MAKE A LIST
Before I left for India I had a full list for everything, a list for my outfits, a list for my wedding day, a list of all of my pre wed items such as the maiyan items as well things like ramals etc so make sure you have a detailed list. Also your wedding lehegha needs to be priority and it should be the first thing you focus your efforts on as soon as you arrive in India! The boutiques normally take 1 week upwards to customise and adjust your lehengha so you need to make sure you have enough time for your dream outfit!
DON’T SHOP IN PHAGWARA
My name for Phagwara is TT aka tourist trap! Don’t get me wrong if you adore Phagwara then that’s your choice but it has the same old crap and nothing unique about it. I got one outfit from Phagwara last year and majority of my shopping was done in Delhi, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. I got the most unique outfits and creative outfits from there. Think outside of Frontier in Phagwara.
DON’T LEAVE INDIA WITHOUT YOUR OUTFITS
Whatever you do don’t leave India without your outfits. All the boutiques will say to you oh don’t worry we will courier them over once you have left – don’t do it! I did this with my wedding cards and one outfits from Deepaks in Phagwara and I was waiting for over a month! Not only is it frustrating but you really don’t need the stress before your wedding – besides India boutiques aren’t renowned for their customer service.
THINK ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS
Before you leave the UK actually think about the mix of outfits you need. For example I knew I had a few weddings coming up this year so I chose a mix of heavy embroidered beautiful lehegha, anarkali’s and Punjabi suits as well as stunning sari’s – so think about outfits that you can get most use out of!
DON’T GET WEDDING CARDS FROM INDIA
OH MY GOD I cannot stress this enough! I made a MASSIVE mistake of getting my wedding cards from India and I was in tears when I got back to the UK as they arrived a month after we got back from India! By the time we had paid for the cards and shipping costs it would have been cheaper to have them done here – and even they were a little more expensive then it would have saved me a whole load of stress and drama! I’ll write about my dreadful experience in another blog post!
LOOK INTO COURIER COSTS
So basically what happend was some of my bridesmaids suits got left behind in India (yes I know epic fail on my part) and the shop in Phagwara (see Phagwara again) tried to courier over 5 suits – just the tops by the way so they were super light for something like £40!!! At first glance that doesn’t seem a lot but to me it didn’t sound quite right and it defintely didn’t sound right to my cousin in India so she got the rate from the official courier and they said it would be £7!!!! So the actual boutique were trying to rob us with the courier costs! So always always check.
Time is the most important thing when you are trying to do your shopping. It is defintely doable in 2-3 weeks but I went for a month and I still struggled and I was in the shops everyday – I am fussy though so you might be completely different and might be buying less outfits but I would have time to fully enjoy it with your mum/sisters and of course embrace it – it will be stressful but it really will be a once in a lifetime experience!
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