For our Holud, I decided to stick to traditional. The saree is the national dress for Bangladeshi women, and as I had decided to wear lehengas on both my wedding and wedding reception, it was a perfectly fitting option for the holud.
For each of the major events, I focused on one or two gemstones or precious metals which formed the basis of my ensemble. For the engagement, it was pearls and polki, for the bridal shower, diamonds, for the wedding gold with a touch of ruby, and for the reception, sapphire and diamonds.
And for the Holud? It was pure gold. The Indian subcontinent and its people have had long love-affair with gold and for generations we have adorned ourselves with this precious metal to mark important milestones and celebrations. We not only use as jewellery, but have even incorporated it into the garments we wear by weaving them with gold, and gold coated pure mulberry silk threads. The region that is perhaps most renowned for this practice is Kachipuram in the South of India, which is where my saree was woven. Sarees are typically designed with various threads, embroideries, sequins, and, or stones, however, sarees such as the Kachipuram focus wholly on the weaving. Motifs or designs are woven into the saree and often are symbolic of nature, temples or deities. What made the saree I chose to wear special, was the entire absence of any motifs of designs. The saree was wholly constructed of gold zari and as a result contains a significant weightage of the precious metal. For this reason, to me, it has become more than a piece of garment, and is something which I would like to keep and possibly pass on to a loved one. For those interested in these sarees, it important to be careful with your purchases as replicas do exist. Kanchipuram sarees are patented and registered and will contain holograms indicating their authenticity.
Kachipuram saree available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd
The simplicity of the saree allowed us to be creative with the blouse. Although typically created with the intention of an exposed midriff and shorter sleeves, I wanted mine to be longer both in sleeve and body length. There is something I find quite elegant about full length blouses and since I was going to be performing I also thought that it would be the most comfortable option. The saree itself came with a border which contained a tiny sliver of green and so in keeping with our theme, my mom designed a green blouse with cut-work on the body which allowed the original gold Kachipuram blouse piece to show through. The body of the blouse was also decorated with embroidered green flowers and the ends of the sleeves were of the same material as the saree.
As for the veil, I did not want it to be a distraction, rather it was designed to be a complementary addition to the garment which brought together the saree and the blouse. We chose a glimmering net fabric for the base and surrounded it with an intricately embroided green border which reflected the cutwork in the blouse.
HAIR, MAKE-UP AND JEWELLERY
To complement the gold on my attire, I paired it with traditional gold jewellery. Floral jewellery, using artificial or fresh flowers is also a highly popular choice for holuds. Although I did not personally want to pair floral jewellery with my ensemble, I did want to incorporate flowers into my look and so I put flowers in my hair and attached strands of orchids and chrysanthemums from my brooch.
Like with all the other events, I did my own make-up. I wanted smooth and glowing skin for holud, which I tried to achieve with a combination of my favourite blushes and highlighters. The highlight of my look, however, were the eye and I brought attention to them with golden glitter lids and shades of deep bronze. The look was completed with a shade of mauve-pink on the lips, a shade which I find flattering on myself.
I also chose an interesting, traditional purse to pair with my look. What appealed to me was that it was of an unconventional shape, was constructed of metal, adorned with embellishments and that it really stood out against the smooth texture of my saree.
Kachipuram saree available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd
Achkan available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd
My mom and I put plenty of thought and time into designing Naveed’s achkan for the holud. It had to stand out, but it couldn’t be as extravagant as the sherwani he was wearing for the wedding. Panjabis or kurtas with a Nehru jacket were a popular choice but were not providing the uniqueness we sought. Naveed is also very picky with his colour and design choices and we knew that he preferred simplicity and elegance – so bold prints and designs, such as florals, were a no-go.
Whilst designing his attire, my mom and I were inspired by the moss green, and deep browns ever-present in nature and after having many conversations with Naveed we finally decided that it was to be an olive green achkan – a traditional knee length buttoned jacket. The achkan is a classic, and as we sought to be a little bit different from the norm, my mom designed a subdued dhoti style bottom or pyjama, which he paired with formal dark brown boots. The details were subtle but truly helped bring together his outfit with mine. Antique gold buttons on the cuff and on the body added the slightest touch of glimmer to go with my attire.
Kanchipuram saree and Achkan available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd
THE BRIDESMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN
As mentioned in my earlier posts about the wedding invitations (click here to see), the bride’s and groom’s family generally gift matching attires to their close friends and family, so instead of seeing bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed in matching attires you see the whole extended family and friends. Since Naveed and I have massive extended families and plenty of friends in Bangladesh, seeing everyone dressed in their matching ensembles on the night was a great sight.
We wanted different but complementary looks for both sides for our family. We gifted the women chunari sarees, with two distinct colours around the skirt and the body and achol (the part that drapes over the shoulder, called pallu in Hindi). The Holud is supposed to be a colourful event, but we had foregone the inclusion of multiple colours in our décor so that our guests could shine and bring colours in into the celebration with their attires.
For the men, we wanted simple but quality panjabis as many have specifications as to which colours and designs they are willing to wear. For the bride’s side, it was a muted gold, and the groom’s side, pine green, all made of quality silk.
Naveed and I also have a whole bunch of mutual friends and as such it would impossible to put them into the bride’s or groom’s side, so we decided to make things simple for ourselves. All our female friends wore the red and gold sarees, and all our male friends wore the green panjabi.
Sarees: Nabila Boutiques Ltd
As it is particularly difficult to dance in saree, we designed an additional attire for the female performers. Flowy chiffon skirts in shades of green were matched with a green top with a few embroidered magenta highlights and a magenta scarf or dupatta. The purpose of this outfit was to be comfortable and to bring together the colours associated with the bride’s side of the family, and the groom’s.
A big thank you has to be given to my mom, Shamima Nabi, who was the creative brains behind the looks and the designer of Naveed and my attires.
In my next post, I will be writing about our holud gifts or dalas. It’s an important element of the holud ceremony. and each family does is differently. Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll be showing you how our families decided to show their creative talents.