Post # 1
I am debating what to do about wedding shopping. I would like to hear your experiences if you ended up looking around NYC/NJ (or anywhere else in the US) versus going to India (with respect to pricing and range of styles). Mainly what I need is the wedding outfit (panetar) and a lehenga choli for the reception. I’m in Houston and really they don’t have the style I’m looking for (modern patterns/designs).
As my wedding is in November of 2013, I am afraid that getting something custom made might not be possible in my timeline.
If I go to India, it will be on my own and I have no local family to go with me. Plus I will need to take at least 2 weeks off.
But I’m afraid that if I go to NYC/NJ, it will be a similar selection to what is in Houston.
Any advice or experiences to share?
Post # 3
My husband’s cousin got married right before us and his wife is Indian American like me and not able to go back to India. She got a gorgeous lehenga from Om the Origin in Edison. It was a backless mermaid style dress, very modern. If you buy here assume that the modern/good quality designs will cost above $1000-$1500 for a lehenga (realistically into the $2000s and $3000s) and above $500 for a saree (sarees are cheaper). In terms of timeline…their wedding was at the beginning of December and I believe that she had ordered when I met her in late September or early October.
My parents went to India and bought gorgeous elaborate net sarees from the wedding bazaar wholesale area in Mumbai for a total of $500-both my wedding saree and reception sarees were much more elaborate than hers and a quarter of the cost. Unfortunately the a-holes in Edison (Alankar tailors) *ruined* the saree blouses for both. Very poor quality sewing-I managed to salvage the wedding saree blouse (very poor, including threads hanging off, uneven stictching and obviously uneven cutting to the material) but they made the reception saree blouse for someone 50 pounds heavier than me and there was no way to re-purpose it. This was two weeks before my wedding. I then ordered a lehenga style blouse from Om the Origin to match to the reception saree to be delivered in India (Goa) for my wedding on February 1st. They told me they’d be able to do it because they make their pieces bespoke at a place in India itself so there would be no problem delivering it India where my wedding was going to be held in Goa. When I told my parents this they were like “hmmmmm, you had better buy a dress in India as soon as you land.”
In fact, what they predicted came to pass and my blouse was nowhere to be found in India and they attempted to deliver it to the address the week after my wedding. We disputed the charges (above $300 just for a blouse). I bought an absolutely gorgeous empire blue mermaid style lehenga with a strapless blouse in Mumbai at Suvidha as soon as I landed (cost slightly above $500). It’s only because of my parents’ suspicion that I had something ready to go for my reception dress.
So the lesson is a) yes you can get a good dress but it will be EXTREMELY expensive (esp. the designer brands like Sabyaschi) and b) order it well in advance. I think you are pretty safe but you shouldn’t delay if you are going to fly up here. You can look up the Yelp reviews on Om the Origin-other people have had the same issues but I don’t know of any other stores that let you pick out the colours the way they do. I didn’t even have that option in India though bear in mind that I had to buy right off the rack (excellent choice level there, though). It may very well be that buying a $2500 lehenga is still cheaper than flying to India, though.
On the positive side, I ran down there and bought a simpler mermaid style lehenga for my engagement ceremony for close to $400 but it doesn’t compare in quality to the stuff my parents bought for me in India.
You can look up pictures of my wedding dresses-I put pics of them in a recap post. My saree is still my favourite. My parents knocked it out of the park for all the clohthes and it still pains me that the tailors cut the fabric at a 45 degree angle and it had to be recut and rehemmed to make it not look uneven across my back. Idiots. In the future I will be going to an American seamstress. My lehenga was also gorgeous but SO HEAVY and sometimes I feel like I may have looked like an American flag…LOL.
Post # 4
Thanks for the great advice! I loved your outfits that you posted. When you went to Mumbai for that lehenga, what was the turn around time for you to pick it up? And can you recommend any other stores in Mumbai that I should visit?
Post # 5
I landed late Friday night in Mumbai with my husband-we stayed the night in Andheri at his friends’ home. My parents had got there earlier in the week and all our relatives are in Mahim and Dadar (I am Marathi), so my husband and his friend drove me down there by 10 am because the shops all opened at 10:30 am. My parents told me that they had asked around to all our stylish cousins and everyone had recommended Suvidha in Dadar because it would be less time to drive there and they had a very good selection in stock. However, I believe the “wedding district” is officially in Santa Cruz or Juhu or something…I don’t remember the name of the wholesale shop my parents bought from but they only sold sarees and material for the lehenga that you had to get stitched elsewhere. Which reminds me that I have a beautiful cream and plum material they bought there that I absolutely refused to hand over to anyone in the US after the disaster that was my saree blouses.
Here is a list of stores in Mumbai:
My sister’s wedding dresses were purchased from Aishwarya Design Studio and Seasons India. I’ve heard that Aishwarya has significantly climbed in price (though let’s be real, will probably still be cheaper than in the US) and that Seasons has declined in selection. My husband’s friends also mentioned a store by the name of Bawree when I asked them for tips after I landed. Both of them had gotten their clothes from Suvidha and Seasons, though.
Post # 6
By the way, I really do recommend Om the Origin in Edison, in spite of the fact that they are expensive and apparently have at least a few people for whom they messed up the order-my cousin’s wife had absolutely no problem with them. You should do the math on whether or not the flights to India will be worth it in terms of the savings on the dress. Om the Origin literally handed me a book of threads/fabrics and colours and they let you choose whatever colour you want and I believe even mix and match the skirt style to the choli style. This is completely unlike any other store as otherwise you have to buy the top associated with the lehenga etc.
I really really wanted empire blue and no sleeves, but even when I got to Suvidha there was only *one* empire blue lehenga in the whole bridal section…and as much as I loved it, I could have done without the maroon accents to my dress, and I would have preferred strapless but OF COURSE they never have any off the rack strapless cholis in India. I remember them pulling out baby pink after baby blue and I was like “no no no, no pastel baby colours, I want jewel tones.” They always have hot pink, but since my sister was wearing her reception lehenga in hot pink to our reception, I wanted to stay in the blues.
Oh, and by the way, the turnaround time on my alterations was a few hours. I bought the dress by 11 am, went back for the first try on at 2 pm, had them re-do it a bit again and picked it up by 4 pm. Flew out to Goa that night at 8 pm. Their in house tailors did a good job.