Summer in the UK is synonymous with vibrant energy and, in recent years, a popular trend has been taking the British Indian community by storm – summer weddings that blend the best of both cultures. With a mix of British elegance and Indian traditions, these weddings celebrate love, family, and cultural diversity.
Blending of traditions
Today, more and more couples are choosing to tie the knot during the warmer months, embracing the outdoor venues, colourful decor, and festive vibes that the season brings. Traditional Indian rituals like the Mehndi ceremony are often held in open-air venues with bright, colourful decor and live music. British touches such as English roses and vintage-inspired decorations are also incorporated, creating a unique blend of East meets West.
A newly married London-based couple, Sanjay & Anjali, said: "We wanted our wedding to reflect our diverse backgrounds and celebrate the best of both worlds.
"We loved the idea of having our wedding in a picturesque garden venue. It perfectly blended our Indian heritage and British surroundings, and our guests loved the festive atmosphere."
From historic mansions with lush lawns to trendy rooftop terraces with city skyline views, diaspora couples are opting for venues that provide a picturesque backdrop for their special day. Marquees draped with colourful fabrics, fairy lights, and floral arrangements create a magical atmosphere for the celebrations.
An experienced weddings and event planner Priti Raichura informed: "Many couples are returning to the 80s and 90s for a retro-theme wedding this summer while maintaining the traditional element. Zaffa dancers, Dabke dancers, saxophone with the dhol and live Punjabi singers are back in the trend."
Manny Singh, Owner of The National Asian Wedding Show (TNAWS), said that people are moving away from traditional curries and elaborate dining in wedding banquets.
"More and more people are leaning towards finger foods, lighter refreshments like Canapé etc," he said.
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Summer Wedding Fashion
Fashion designer Roshni Mukherjee of Myosutra informed the most sought-after trend for brides this season is a relaxed modern look featuring bold colours, fusion wear and minimalistic styles.
"Following the Bollywood celebrity wedding trends, the pastel tones replaced the traditional reds and pinks. British Indian brides are experimenting with more imaginative and unique colours like mustard, bronze and blue. The modern bridal chart also includes neon greens, powder blues and ochres," she said.
Singh of TNAWS shared a similar thought: "Everything in the Wedding industry is influenced by what happens in the Bollywood industry. Light embroidery and pastel shades are in vogue now in wedding fashion."
However, Mukherjee's experiment with neon green Banarasi weaves with rangkat palla has been a major hit with some of her summer brides.
"I love the Bengali Aatpoure saree draping (as in the film 'Devdas'). Accessorise this with bustier cut blouses and interchangeable ensembles to create a modern look. Every attire should convey a story," she said.
Mukherjee considers the 'Fascinators and Saree' look might make a comeback from the Ascot grounds to the wedding reception this summer.
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Is the cost-of-living crisis hitting the Wedding market?
But all glamour and romanticism aside, the big question right now is how the wedding market is doing amid the rising cost of living.
"I think the South Asian wedding industry is a recession-proof business. Everybody is saving for that one big day when it comes to the wedding. I've not seen recessions impact the industry.
"Yes, the number of invitees might have decreased slightly. But the cost per head couples spend on invitees still seems high. Even destination weddings are also on the rise," Singh shared his expert inputs.
However, destination wedding expert Raichura has a different take.
"A lot of couples now are cutting down on the duration of their wedding events. The cost of living has changed the mindset of couples wanting fewer events. Some would forsake entertainment; others would cut down on décor or choose buffet stations instead of sit-down meals to keep the cost low," Raichura shares.
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Whether to go lite on pocket or the environment, upcycling heirloom clothes is always a great idea, thinks designer Roshni Mukherjee. A strong advocate of sustainable fashion, Mukherjee suggests that upcycling heirloom saree or jewellery should be a part of all weddings now.
"Mother's old-fashioned wedding sarees can be upcycled into a long skirt, jacket or men's Jawahar Coat or Nehru Jacket for pre-wedding functions," she advised.
On a more innovative note, many couples this year are embracing technologies like e-invites, drone video footage, live streaming, and robots serving at the reception party are not uncommon, Raichura informed.
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With all these going, perhaps AI-powered weddings will soon make for a pocket-friendly ultra-glam British Indian wedding. Until then, Summer weddings are best enjoyed amid the bountiful nature and lots of love in the air!