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The year 2016- when I decided to take the plunge and get married to my then boyfriend and now (and even better) husband! As soon as the news spread among my friends, all I started receiving were screenshots of beautifully adorned Sabyasachi brides. While many of them suggested that I walk to the store and buy one (um, who has the money?), a few told me rather excitedly to walk to a local bridal store and ‘score’ an identical design for myself at a much cheaper price.

After a round of refusal to do the same at my end and my mother’s constant convincing on the other, I did finally start visiting stores in Chandni Chowk to browse through a sea of lehengas- the ones I liked were beautiful and expectedly expensive, while the others were within budget but not something I could imagine myself walking in as a bride.

I went to every store and discussed a million changes in every outfit which fairly angered most owners, one of whom almost taunted me with a “You shouldn’t be looking at any bridal outfit. Are you even ready to be a bride?” Voila! There was the answer I knew all along but was too afraid as a bride to admit!

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A few frantic calls to the fiancé and there came a solution from him…To visit each store and not tell anyone about me being the bride. This was a perfect cost-saving solution and maybe, people would now show me something more offbeat to wear!

One fine morning, I decided to visit Shahpur Jat with my mother as I expected something a lot more eccentric from the market. I chanced upon the store ‘Monika Nidhii’ tucked away in a corner- with the majority of their pastel palette on display, I knew it HAD to be them!

Their outfits in soft-tones are what I identified with the most. As I moved along their line of non-bridal clothes, there it was… A muted gold lehenga with green thread work, a sleeveless blouse and dupatta in the same colour. No deep colour, heavy embellishments or sequins or the quintessential velvet or silk in the outfit. I walked out wearing it and my mum knew, looking at the size of my smile, how I am not going to leave the store without finalising this outfit.

Monika and Nidhi both sat down with us and sketched the dress out for me, all in accordance with the changes I wanted- orange thread-work instead of green, lace sleeves for the blouse, an additional veil with a border. Both of them were very patient and came up with different combinations for the veil till I found the exact shade I was satisfied with.

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Even though my outfit was not as traditional, I wanted it to look as bride-like as possible on D-day, which could happen with the help of the other elements in my look. Here’s how I worked my non-bridal outfit and made it feel like the best decision I had ever made. Tips for all you brides!

- Always the one to opt for neutral makeup on regular days, I made an exception by going for matte black smokey eyes and deep orange lips, for my face to look lit-up in photos and in reality, in contrast to the muted colours of my outfit.

- Many people do not realise this, but some metals look better with certain colours. If the dress you’re choosing is already embellished with beadwork, let that dictate the colours of your accessories. For example, my lehenga had gold beading, so I picked my necklace, earrings and kalire with a gold base, with emerald stones for a pop of colour.

- The back of my blouse had gorgeous pearl beading so, I specifically added a sheer orange veil to my look to maintain the sanctity of being a Punjabi bride.

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Biggest Tip: Although it's your special day, don't stray too far from your original style. If you rarely wear jewels, there's no need to drown yourself in them on the day of your wedding. The goal is to look like the best, most beautiful version of your regular self.

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"Picked a Non-Bridal Outfit From The Rack For My Wedding: Best Decision Ever!"

by Tanya Puri

"Picked a Non-Bridal Outfit From The Rack For My Wedding: Best Decision Ever!"