When your NRI relatives come for wedding shopping in Bangalore

It is a truth universally known that NRIs who need to shop for a wedding usually come to India. We each have our own list of products, shops and people.  This one is mine.  Bangalore folks: if your NRI relative asks for wedding shopping suggestions, just send them this article.

Disclosure: I have no conflict of interest in recommending the below vendors. I have used some of them and have disclosed this as such.  This is not a comprehensive list by any means.

Wedding shopping for South Indians used to be mostly sarees, except these days most brides want lehengas and dresses.  Raw Mango has a store here in a lovely old bungalow.  It is worth visiting.  Right across the street is Good Earth, where my kids buy bedspreads to take to college.  For sarees, here are the shops I would recommend.

Vimor: I love going to Vimor because Pavithra Muddaya champions weavers and doesn’t mess with traditional handwoven designs.  I attended a Christian wedding recently, where the bride wore a stunning bespoke Vimor saree. If you want something like this, you need to email Pavithra in advance and give her time to get a bespoke saree done. [email protected]

House of Angadi: This is another beloved Bangalore brand that made waves when Deepika Padukone wore a saree from them for her wedding.  I take TamBrahm brides to their Jayanagar outlet for the traditional nine-yards.  Currently run by Radharaman, who shows his label Alamelu at Printemps Paris, visit their newest House of Angadi for a dedicated trousseau section.

Vijayalakshmi Silks: Another hoary Bangalore brand with heavy silks of the kind I like.  The only problem is that this brand too has moved into the floral and vine patterns borrowed from Benaras, perhaps to please the large North Indian population in Bangalore.  Then again, Angadi does this too.  If you want traditional old fashioned Kanchipurams, you really have to search.

Prasiddhi, Nalli, Varamahalakshmi Silks, and Taneira are other shops where you can look for silk sarees.  Disclosure: I did some content work for Taneira, but through this work, I know that they have a handloom network and big ambitions for becoming a Pan-Indian presence much like their jewellery arm, Tanishq.  This helps when you want to return or exchange sarees.

ffolio: This was Bangalore’s first multi-brand fashion store.  Yasho Shroff has a good eye for that balance between timeless and trendy. She stocks subtle and lovely Sangeet and Mehendi clothes—for both men and women.  Crafted yet practical, the designers she stocks have wide appeal and will work both for Indian weddings and cocktail wear.

Commercial Street is a must-visit for wedding shopping as is Jayanagar 4th block.  I don’t know Jayanagar as well, so my recommendations are all from “Comm Street” which I visit often.  Liberty Silks is a good place to start if you want relatively inexpensive lehengas.  Mysore Saree Udyog used to be a small store but now has floors of fabric that Bangaloreans love to buy.  They also have heavy lehengas, as does Koskii across the street.

For men, Mahanta or Manyavar have the full set—kurta, headwear, footwear.  Some of their kurtas are too “jaal” or shiny, but they are good for emergencies. Go to Ramraj Cotton for half-sleeved white-shirts to wear over traditional silk dhotis (veshtis) for men. If you want to stitch men’s kurtas go to Manoranjan fabrics for lovely chikankari and other fabrics.  You can buy yards of these fabrics and get it stitched by the tailors in Commercial Street.  I have a network of tailors I use but if you ask in the stores, they will recommend tailors.

For wedding card invitations, I have used Templetree run by Sonali Maniar and have been happy.  Friends suggest going to Sultanpet and walking the streets for rows of stationary shops which can make wedding invitations.  One friend has used Kamal Paper Corporation—look it up, it is in Sulthanpete—for her daughter’s wedding invitations.

Jewellery is a tough one because it depends on if you like gemstones or not.  Valanda is a jewellery studio owned by Chitra Pathi who is an old Bangalorean.  Find her on Instagram. Gujjadi Swarna jewellers is an old jewellery brand.  Lots of folks walk on Dickenson Road where every Kerala jeweller has a showroom. If you want to get your old jewellery valued, I recommend Tanishq (disclosure: I did some content work for them).  They have a machine which will weigh your gold and also tell you what percentage of gold is present in each piece.  I recently did this and was shocked to find that the bangles I inherited from my grandmother had only 75% gold in them while the more recent pieces I acquired had over 90% gold—which means purer.  CKC has showrooms in central Bangalore and they are a brand where my Bangalore-based aunt buys all her jewellery—even though the family is now feuding.  Ganjam is a brand I respect because Mr. Umesh Ganjam has a sensibility that is unique.

Wedding decorations are another area where Bangalore excels.  Just walk down Avenue Road or Jayanagar 4th block market for “seer” items which are decorative and placed on the dais.  You can find “sakkarai bommai” or sugar made edible colourful dolls, designed cobre or coconut copras and other fantastic objects

Aayana Dance company is Bangalore-based and specializes in wedding dances.  They do specific choreographies for walking the bride and groom in, and also perform for guests.  Find them in Instagram and watch their show-reels to see if their style works for you.

Like I said, this is a start.  I have asked several Bangalore friends for their recommendations and if I manage to compile more “helpful wedding shopping hints,” I will share them here in the future.

Shoba Narayan

Shoba Narayan is Bangalore-based award-winning author. She is also a freelance contributor who writes about art, food, fashion and travel for a number of publications.

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