Gown or Sari?

Ordeal of a Bride caught between tradition and modernity!

For the new age women who reflect confidence and independence, these qualities are even more evident when it comes to planning their wedding. Gone are the days when the bride and groom were only expected to be present on the wedding day and every other aspect of wedding planning was taken care of by the family. The bride and groom these days have their involvement in choosing everything from wedding venue to decor to photographers. The increasing numbers of couples opting for photographers who specialise in candid photography rather than the age old group shots vouch for this.

Tittu  Joseph (257)

For the modern day bride who is well travelled and aware of fashion trends, it comes as no surprise if she chooses to wear a gown on her special day. With the growing influence of TV and internet, it should not come as a surprise that there are a lot more grooms who wish to see their bride in a pretty gown. This change in mindset spans across ages. Ask any five year old what she will wear on her wedding day, and without blinking an eye she’ll say white gown. When parents these days gift so many Barbies to their little dolls, this reply from a five year old should be nothing surprising.

Despite how independent girls these days are, and though the choice of dress a bride wishes to wear for her wedding is personal, our Indian families still have the final say in what a bride wears for her wedding. It then becomes a conflict between tradition and modernity when the bride (and most often the groom too) is unable to convince the parents and in-laws to let her choose her dream dress for her wedding. A child’s wedding is a matter of great pride for the parents, but what our parents often tend to overlook is that on the wedding day, the most important people are the bride and groom and it is their special day; their only chance to have things their way.
Bringing us up, all our parents have taught us to embrace modernity and change with times. This is quite evident in the way we dress even on a daily basis. Saris and even salwars these days are being reserved for special occasions. This change is not just limited to girls; even boys these days are more comfortable in their jeans and shorts rather than the traditional mundu. But when it comes to marriage, in most cases it is the same parents who taught us to embrace modernity who forces us to stick to tradition. And their reason for it… you can wear a gown only once.

You can wear your wedding gown only once….this is the first and foremost inhibition against wearing a gown. How about a wedding sari? How many of the brides have used their wedding saris costing as much, if not more than a wedding gown after their wedding? In most cases the only time a wedding sari comes out the closet is on the occasion of baptism of your first born. The notion that a wedding gown can never be used again is a fallacy. Imagine the joy of a mother who makes the baptism dress for her child out of her wedding gown. The same holds for the first communion dress of your daughter. Yes! Your wedding gown can be converted into a family heirloom with little effort.

Tittu  Joseph (260)

Yet another way of using your wedding gown is to dye it into the colour of your choice and make it a party dress which can be worn again and again. Wedding gowns with big trains can also be shortened to a length more suited for regular use. There are even certain styles of gowns that come in two pieces with a detachable skirt which can be converted into a short party dress with zero effort. For brides who do not want to go through the trouble of finding a professional dyer to dye the gown, it is best to choose champagne or blush coloured gowns which can be used again without giving the look of a wedding gown. For a creative bride who wants to reuse her gown, options are unlimited. The standard excuse of one time use is quite lame. After all so many of us girls have more than one dress in our closet which we haven’t worn even once. Why then restrict yourself on your wedding day with this single use excuse.


I have seen many cases of parents half-heartedly giving into the bride’s wish of wearing a gown and accompanying her on her gown shopping, only to jump at the first chance to emotionally arm-twist her back into wearing a sari. What a bride wears on her wedding should be her personal choice and preference, only then will the bride look radiant inside out. As parents who have stood by your daughter’s smallest of wishes, why would you want to force her into wearing a sari when her personal choice is to wear a gown? Wedding day is a bride’s special day, the day she should look and feel special. If she feels more special in a gown, why stop her? She’s only wanting to live the Barbie doll dream she has been weaving since the day you got her her first doll. And this is her only chance to do so.

At any Indian wedding, most of the female guests wear a sari. If a bride too wears one, what is the difference between the bride and all the other women? As Indians, sari is special to all of us, but there is also no dearth of occasions to wear one. Wearing a wedding gown though, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Do not let your daughter miss her chance, only to regret it later. To all the families reluctant on letting daughters and daughters-in-law wear gown on her wedding day, it is her day; let her decide what she will feel happy and radiant in.