Veda and Rajesh met in New York when they were just starting their careers. Their 2002 wedding took place in Goa, India, home to the bride’s grandfather, who was 100 at the time. Six months prior to the wedding, Veda, who grew up in Minnesota, and her mom Mangala made a trip to Mumbai—to meet her future in-laws, but also, to shop.
“We went to a well-known saree shop called Nalli, which is known for specialized fabrics that come from various areas of India,” Veda says. (Nalli now has stores across the U.S. and Canada as well.) They continued their shopping in Mumbai for traditional Goan gold jewelry and visited several other South Mumbai boutiques to buy traditional wedding wear for the bride's father and sister. “With Indian weddings, the celebrations last for multiple days. We had to shop for many outfits for each person!”
Today, Veda and her mom might have had an easier time finding beautiful sarees stateside. “Options in the states were so limited when I was getting married. Today many famous Indian designers have stores in the U.S.”
But then, she would have missed out on that special wedding planning trip with her mom. “My mom worked tirelessly to make sure I was happy with everything. She had been out of India longer than she was in India, but she worked so hard to adhere to the traditions. Her energy was infectious, which was so needed to entertain 600 guests!”
Here are some of the resources Veda suggests for special occasion sarees today, both U.S.-based and brands in India that ship internationally.
Based in Los Angeles, Kynah offers a traditional-meets-modern edit of ready-to-wear and made-to-order bridal and mother of the bride fashions from designers in India. Shop online, shop the L.A. boutique, or schedule a virtual appointment for one-on-one counsel.
The first Indian designer to showcase at Milan Fashion Week, the Tarun Tahiliani label is worn by celebrities, royals and style setters around the world. The glamorous assortment is extensive (men's too!), the silhouettes are sophisticated, the prices are steep, albeit broad, from under $400 to more than $5,000. Find both ready-to-wear and made to order.
A mission-driven brand based in India, Anita Dongre trains women in marginalized communities to produce some of its handmade garments. The collection offers a wide range of everyday and special occasion suits, sarees, lehenga sets, kaftans and more at a broad range of prices and styles.