Bouquet of The Week: Indian Wedding Florals, Reimagined
As part of our recurring Bouquet of The Week series, Garden Collage continues to present a weekly inspirational bouquet that incorporates intriguing new elements into the traditional practice of flower arranging. This week, Garden Collage Graphic Designer Eidia Moni styles a bouquet that draws on elements of Indian weddings both past and present.
“I have big dreams for your wedding day”– one of my mother’s favorite opening lines for a conversation. I entertain her plans, let her dream, and watch her eyes fill with an excitement regarding something that is many, many years in the distant future.
Understanding her obsession with this subject took many years of cultural exposure. Bengali, Indian, and Pakistani weddings are filled with pompous and elaborate festivities. They are also deeply-rooted in many traditions: my mother did not choose her own wedding sari, jewelry, nor her flower arrangements. The only truth she was certain of was the fact that she was getting married. All the planning was carried forth by her parents, and her older sisters chose all her bridal outfits. As for the floral arrangement, it was the usual: marigolds, roses, and jasmine. This was my mother’s experience in 1989.
As I listen to my mother speak about the different festivities she wants to have for each of her daughter’s weddings (somewhere far off in the horizon), I challenge her: I want to choose my own bridal outfits, jewelry, and floral arrangements. My counter arguments always include a bridal lehenga, straying away from the traditional sari, in either a fuchsia or even a midnight blue hue. The flowers too are different. In fact, all the elements are modified to a personal preference, adhering to the progression of trends. This does not always bode well with my mother. She still pictures a color spectrum of red, gold, white, and marigold.
“Most Indian brides in the present choose their own bridal attire, jewelry, and flowers. In the present day, personal preference is an undeniable freedom.”
Every year, in India, there is a bridal fashion week. All the leading designers showcase their creations in the traditional templates of either a sari or lehenga, but each pushes the boundaries with his or her choice of colors, embellishments, and embroideries. Each creation is a contrast to the traditional; the neck lines plunge a bit more, there are floral elements added to the menswear, or the colors are not always the traditional red, gold, white, or marigold.
As tribute to the transition of the traditional to the modern, this bouquet is inspired by Sabyasachi Mukerjee’s latest bridal collection for Spring/Summer 2016. When I think of Sabyasachi, I think of an artist who values the cultural roots of his native Calcutta, honoring the traditional white and red sari, and accentuating Indian beauty by constantly creating clothing reflecting his culture. The moment a designer of that caliber steps out of his comfort zone and begins to introduce color combinations such as teal with magenta– and embroidering beautiful open faced flowers onto the sherwanis of the groom– the brides of today know they have won the fashion battle against their traditional mothers.
In this bouquet, the soft pink dinner plate dahlia represents the pompous festivities involved in a wedding. It is a monumental day in one’s life, and this flower magnifies the significance. The smaller, deeper-hued dahlia represents the traditions: the foundations encapsulating the cultural rituals and customs upon which the celebrations extend their joys. I chose the alstroemerias for their simplicity, but also to allot importance to accept elements of change: most Indian brides in the present choose their own bridal attire, jewelry, and flowers. In the present day, personal preference is an undeniable freedom.
The blues of the hydrangea are emblematic of the two genders involved in a wedding. It is a balance of both the feminine and the masculine. A groom is allowed to have accents of fuchsia on his sherwaani, and the bride is allowed to have accents of teal on her lehenga or sari. As for the free-spirit roses, they are a nod towards the presence of the old, the constant, but the new as well. They are not the typical red, but a medley of the warm, beautiful pinks and oranges: mirroring the idea that old and new traditions can be merged to create unique and lasting memories.