[Girl About Town] What to Wear: To an Indian Wedding

It’s not me sharing outfits today but Victoria. I saw her recent escapades on Facebook and just had to ask her to share her outfits, pulled together for what looked like a fabulous Indian wedding. Victoria is always glamorous and her four (yes, four!) outfits didn’t disappoint so I hope you enjoy looking and perhaps get some ideas for weddings you are attending this summer (or share some of your own outfits.)

I’ve been to a lot of weddings. 37 to be precise, not including our own, and I have four more over the next 12 months. I therefore have a lot of practise in putting together wedding outfits. Some of you that follow me on Instagram may have seen me in my wedding outfit planning efforts. I treat them in the same way I treat work projects – lots of preparation, diagrams and chat about the final product, but all thrown together in a panic in the last few moments, that often works out quite well, but is very different from the original plan. Shhh, don’t tell my boss!

I used to buy something new for each one – a new hat or dress, shoes or clutch… but then I totted up 12 invites in one year, some of them being two or three day events (so you know, you also need a special outfit for the big “night before” dinner and then something fancy-but-hangover-comfy for the morning/day after “survivors” gathering) and seeing as I’m neither a Kardashian nor a Middleton, it all got a bit much for my bank (in)balance and so I started recycling. I now have a pretty good suite of “occasion wear” from which I can mix and match future outfits.

So for 2014′s five weddings I sorted all my outfits out at the beginning of the year and knew exactly what I was going to wear…. and then I realised one was an Indian wedding and I had literally no clue where to start.

Thankfully the bride was on the ball, arranged a number of shopping trips for us less-clued up guests, provided a handy “what to wear, when” guide for the girls and boys for the various events and was kind enough to pick up little bits and pieces for us on her numerous trips to India.

So, here’s a run down of what I actually wore…

Civil Wedding (Friday afternoon)
For the Civil Wedding, the guideline was “British summer wedding” and having checked out the venue (One Marylebone) and spoken to the bride about her colour schemes (soft colours, white and pale pinks) at length I knew exactly what to wear.  I pulled out a dress (special edition Olivia Rubin/Dorothy Perkins collaboration), a white Whistles clutch, some H&M hair clips (as I couldn’t fit a hat in my overnight bag) and my old faithful pink Louboutins (my wedding shoes – still the comfiest heels I’ve worn in five years!) and a fussy H&M pale pink necklace. I had intended to wear some new baby blue ankle strap shoes from New Look, but it was far too hot and I didn’t fancy “ankle-muffin top”.

Sangeet/Mehndi party  Friday evening
For the celebrations on Friday evening the guidance for Indian clothing was a trouser suit/Salwaar Kameez/Anarkali or Lengha (a skirt and a top with a scarf) and for western clothing, something bright. On a shopping trip with the bride, I found a nice hot pink and rose gold anarkali (a long floaty dress/top, trousers and a long scarf) which I dressed up with a pair of neon blue pointed courts (super cheap but super comfy from Linzi), some large gold chandelier earrings, some hot pink and gold bangles (a gift from the bride) and a rose gold evening bag from Mulberry.

We were performing a dance to Jai Ho as a tribute to the bride and groom at the event, and as it was incredibly hot and sticky that day, it was a no brainer that my hair was glued up and off my face in a bouffy beehive. It may look fancy, but let me assure you it’s not, I got dressed in a corridor and my hair is held up with a ton of dry shampoo, a gallon of elnett and quite a lot of sweat. Gross! Sorry!
Saturday was a day of rest and recovery for me, not so for the bride who had another two outfits to rock!

Hindu Wedding  Sunday day
The guidelines for this included “any type of Indian clothing, most guests will be in a sari” or if I chose western clothing, to be respectful and make sure it wasn’t too short or revealing. I was worried that wearing Indian clothing might have seemed odd, or offensive, seeing as I’m not Indian, but the bride assured me it was a good idea and even lent me one of her saris – in a beautiful pistachio green, embroidered and embellished in gold. It consisted of a petticoat, a blouse and a long, loooong piece of material which you fold, wrap, gather, tuck and drape around your body.

Thankfully, the bride’s mother had pre-folded and sewed the pleats at the front, so when I arrived (in essentially my underwear at a posh five star hotel (The Grove)  it was only a case of wrapping, tucking and draping in the nearest toilet cubicle (which was thankfully rather plush, considering the venue). I found someone to pin everything in to place so I flashed no tummy (too soon in the year for that!) and to keep everything secure. I accessorised with big gold earrings, a sparkly hair band, more bangles from India (another gift from the bride) and some gold sandals I wore as a bridesmaid 7 years ago, from Faith, which are still going strong! I took along my trusty Lulu Guinness lips clutch for a pop of colour!

Reception  Sunday night
The instructions for the reception, the big finale, were “think black tie – go glam”… now those instructions I had no trouble with! I wore a bargain ASOS dress, that looks way more expensive that it was. I also have it in white, but I thought for the evening’s decor and theme, Art Deco London, the black would be better, as I last wore it at a Claridge’s Christmas party. You may have also seen it on the wonderful Rebecca as well. Great minds think alike and all that!

I accessorised with a box clutch (a fiver in an Oasis sale years ago, and until now, unused, due to its rather unuseful size!) pewter peep toe heels from the Ted Baker sale, also years old but dead comfy, some Swarovski earrings which were a 30th birthday present, a super-bling chunky bracelet – also a 30th birthday present – and again some bangles from India, given away as favours at the Sangeet/Mehndi party.

On Monday I wore pyjamas, lots of Sudocrem and Vaseline on all my sequin chafe and allergic flare ups from all the safety pins and soft, soft socks on my dance-weary feet.

I can’t publish photos of the bride without her permission, but rest assured, no matter what effort we put in, we paled in comparison to how stunningly breathtaking she was. Her outfits (designed bespoke to match each venue, theme and setting), accessories and make up had my jaw on the floor.

When she’s back from her well-deserved honeymoon, perhaps I’ll convince her to give you a sneaky peek.

How do you plan for wedding outfits? Or is it just me that’s this bonkers about planning?

Victoria x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

The Marriage of Mahj and Martin, Part 1

This afternoon I have a very special post to share with you and something slightly unusual for Florence Finds, a wedding. It’s not just any wedding though, it’s the wedding of Mahj and Martin, Mahj being one of the Rock My Wedding Real Brides. The Real Brides over at RMW were one of my favourite parts of it and one of the things I was most proud of. Getting to know them and helping them out where I could was fun, but the best part was seeing the final result. Completing the cycle with the final wedding posts was one of the things that I missed the most when my time there came to an end. Mahj became a good friend of mine during her time writing for RMW and her unwavering support of me and of Florence Finds has been phenomenal. I’m incredibly grateful for her loyalty and that she wanted to see her wedding report finished by me, and shared on Florence Finds.

Thank you so much Mahj and Martin, I hope I’ve done you both justice…:)

As I sit here to write this, I keep drifting off. Smiling slightly (and at times a little crazily) when remembering parts of the day. As I write this, I have been married for 6 months and 2 days. But in the words of Bo Selecta (!) maybe we need a little rewind?!

I was never just having a wedding day. Oh no. Not for Mr and Mrs Ansari’s youngest daughter. I had what affectionately came to be known as ‘Wedding Week’. Yeah, a whole week of celebrations. But in my defence, Mrs A was behind a lot of it and I wasn’t about to mess with her. Not on this.

My family started to arrive around a week before the wedding from all corners of the globe. It was really bloody lovely as I hadn’t seen some of them for years. I was so touched that they had made the effort to travel so far.

The Mehndi
Wednesday 20th July saw the dawn of my Mehndi (henna party). The day started early for my bridesmaids and I, as my henna artist, an unbelievably talented lady called Sabha, had me having henna put on at 9am. 9am people. And it took 5 hours in total to do my hands and feet. My lesson learnt is to not drink tea whilst having said henna put on as that could lead to awkwardness when needing to pee later on…oh gosh, have I just said pee on Florence Finds?!

My Mehndi was as I expected it to be as I hadn’t had a hand in it. Complete bedlam, disorganised and everyone yelling and bossing each other around. Sigh. Welcome to an Asian Wedding. But all that drama-rama aside, this was probably the point when everything started to feel very very real.

I’ve been to plenty of other bride-to-be’s Mehndis and enjoyed them. But to be having my own was 2 parts surreal,1 part nerve-wracking! I knew this day would come but was not prepared for everyone looking at me and asking lots of questions and being so genuinely interested and curious in how it all unfolds.

Really the hardest thing was walking into the room. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me and my face got hot and my skin started prickling and all I could think was “Jesus Mahj, there will be more people at the wedding!”

So at the Mehndi, everyone gets to together to wish the bride well for her married life. They tied flowers around my wrists and fed me sweets and dabbed henna onto my palms. You know, the usual!

Mine was a pretty informal do. After all the Mahj-blessing there was some time to have some photos taken and catch up with everyone. Then there was food and lots of it (seriously, my parents fed people for weeks on the leftovers!) and there may have been some dancing. Ok, there definitely was some dancing. I was supposed to be having a professional dancer coming but unfortunately got let down at the last minute.

Luckily I have some very hyperactive aunts who jammed their Bhangra CD’s in and away we went. Most surprisingly, I loved it! Jigging away to fast-paced Bhangra music isn’t normally how I get down (haha, i can’t believe I just said “how I get down”) but I really enjoyed myself!

Wedding
And so it dawned. I had managed to sleep the night before, though I’m guessing the few glasses of champagne had helped with that. I felt good. Excited, rested, nervous, giddy and a little sick that the day had finally arrived. And I was calm. Or so I’d thought. I’d done all I could in terms of planning and so now had come the time to enjoy the fruits of my labour…except I still tried to continue controlling the day later on and got the stern face from our wedding co-ordinator and my new husband and was told to relax and leave the staff to it. Oops.

My sharpest memories of the day come from the morning. The getting-ready-with-my-ladies part. It was a pretty relaxed affair (probably because Mrs A hadn’t turned up yet!) and it was whilst I was jumping up and down on the bed (as you do) that the hair and make-up dream team arrived, Michelle and Hayley. Shortly followed by our completely fantastic, we-love-him-so-much-we-could-squish-him photographer Andy Wardle.

I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with my bridesmaids that morning. As soon as I hit that aisle I barely saw them for the rest of the day.

I think I remember putting on my outfit quite early, like around 12pm (we were getting married at 2pm), Mrs A was dead against this but I ignored her. I was determined to spend as much time as humanly possible in that outfit. By this point my hair and make-up were done and I’d stopped panicking about my eyes “being too smokey” and me having too much make up on as Michelle had patiently explained to me that I would need it to last the day and also so I didn’t look washed out on the photos. She was right of course.

And sweet Jesus, dressed in my outfit, hair and make-up done, I felt beautiful. Like really really gorgeous. Knock your socks off schmoking. And so excited. I couldn’t wait for Martin to see me and for me to see him.

And I’ll bet you guys can’t wait to see her walking down the aisle either!

Come back tomorrow to see the second part in all its detailed glory – the paper pretty, the florals, the magnificent cake, but most of all the joy.

Love,
Rebecca
xo