” Where do I start from?! Where can I find a budget friendly lehenga? Who sells the best jewellery designs? Is there anyone out there who can help with outfit customisation at a lower price?…”
If you are one of those brides who is on hunt for affordable shopping options, then this post is hopefully going to help you ease and find a way out! 😄
Well, If I say that I probably came to know about some of these small vendors without spending hours researching them online and offline, then I would be lying!
It was for my wedding, of course!
All the hustle to find the best possible options to bring my looks as close to my mood boards as possible, was far from easy!!!
Having gone through the entire process myself, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my tips with those who are currently as perplexed as I was when I decided to start shopping for my wedding 🙂
Before you start shopping, there are a couple of things which I would recommend every bride to do!
* Firstly, think about the theme of your wedding. Do you want it to be traditional or contemporary?
* Secondly, what are the events that you have, for your wedding?
* Thirdly, Once you have answers for these two, head to pin interest or instagram to look out for some inspiration and ideas.
Try to think of a couple of color palettes for each event (Have a Rough idea – you could probably switch if you like some other color in the store).
In case you want more planning tips before moving to shopping tips, then head to this article of mine – 10 Wedding Planning Tips for Any Indian Bride
I wanted my wedding outfit to be a traditional South Indian saree with a tinge of green, and red. With this basic idea, I started searching for possible combinations around these colors which would probably suit me (on pin interest and instagram). Well, I really liked the combination of a subtle antique gold saree with a touch of red. So, this made my job easy when I went hunting for my wedding saree.
My Mind just said `Just search for options in gold sarees and chuck the others`
Are you equally frustrated like I was, when you looked up the prices of every damn designer lehenga??
I understood that I would end up with a huge hole in my pocket if I went ahead and purchased one of those expensive lehengas! I am not the one who is going to spend 3-4 lakhs on one lehenga!
There are several markets and stores that I explored in different cities to find the best possible and economical option!
(I am sure that COVID would make travelling to different cities difficult!)
Here are some of my top recommendations:
1. Kala Shree Regalia – Chandni Chowk (Mid-High Range) : One of the best options with unique designs and good quality. They have limited but great collection.
They usually don’t encourage bargaining like other stores in Chandni Chowk but you can trust them for their price as they don’t mark it up, like others do. The maximum that I could get was just a 5% discount.
You can apparently call them up and shop on video calls too! (Isn’t that a relief for the non-Delhi folks?!)
Lehengas Range : ~Rs 12,000 – ~Rs 1,00,000
Do mention your range and preference before you start shopping there!
2. Mehar International – Chandni Chowk (Mid Range) : This is where I purchased both my sangeeth and reception lehengas. If you are looking for a good traditional lehenga with heavy work, then this is one place I would recommend you to visit. Do bargain to get the best price here (you can probably ask for ~30-40% lower price). Quality-wise, I would rate this as average.
I probably would prefer Kala Shree over Mehar with respect to the range of unique designs that Kalashree offers. However, Mehar has some good range of traditional color palette.
Lehengas Range : ~Rs 8,000 – ~Rs 70,000
3. Roop Couture – Chandni Chowk (Mid Range) : Many of you have been asking about my Mehendi Lehenga. This is where I got it from 🙂
They have really good options for haldi and mehendi color palettes (Pinks, Yellows and Green). Quality is good but the price is mostly non-negotiable (not more than 10% discount )
Lehengas Range : ~Rs 8,000 – ~Rs 50,000
4. Queens – Chadni Chowk (Luxury) : This is one of those expensive studios which has unique colors and designs but is slightly expensive. They offer a minimum discount depending on the price range of the lehengas you pick.
Lehengas Range : ~Rs 60,000 – ~Rs 2,00,000
Most of the places in Chandni Chowk sell first copies of the designers. The difference lies in the quality, depending on the store. In few stores like Kala Shree, you can even get your lehengas custom made if you want any designer lehenga to be replicated.
There are a couple of designers who seemed to be in the medium range and had interesting designs – Label Prerna Mehra (Mumbai) and Padma Nandivada (Has a range of traditional south indian lehangas/sarees)
Jai Gopal Market in Mumbai is one of the wholesale markets which has good options for bridesmaids in terms of lehengas and anarkalis. The market is not open for retail on usual days. Saturdays are the only days open for retail but I can guarantee that you would get it at extremely low price compared to retail stores outside.
I explored several stores in Hyderabad too, but all of them are extremely over-priced. The same lehenga could be purchased in Delhi at almost 30% of the quoted price. Origins is one good non-designer store that I visited but I still found it extremely expensive.
A Kanchivaram Saree in South Indian Weddings is an age-old tradition just like a Banarasi Saree in traditional north-indian weddings.
Although we initially thought of going to Kanchi in TamilNadu, we couldn’t find time to do that. Since Delhi and Mumbai are not the best places to find kanchivaram sarees, Hyderabad was the best option.
Here are some of my favourite stores to shop:
I explored all possible kanchivaram stores in Hyderabad before finalising my wedding saree.
1. Varamahalaxmi Silks (Mid-High Range) : This is where I could find best designs and colors as per my idea of traditional wedding. My wedding saree as well as my pre-wedding (pellikuthuru) event saree is from this store. Do try the saree on yourself and check how it looks under the store lights and in normal day light, before you finalise the saree.
Range : ~Rs 12,000 – ~Rs 2,00,000
2. Sri Sai Kanchi (Mid-High Range) : Second best option that I could find in Hyderabad with reasonable prices and designs.
Apart from these stores, the rest of my sarees are from a weaver from Kanchivaram who has been selling sarees to us since almost 15 years now. He has no social media presence. In case you need contact details, DM me on my Instagram.
Mandir Sarees, and Kanakatala are other good options.
Since I prefer mostly handloom sarees if not kanchivaram, I didn’t actually explore options for party saree collection. However, Kalashree store in chadni chowk had good options for party sarees.
I picked unique range of jewellery for my events- silver jewellery for my Haldi; kundans for Sangeeth and Reception; temple jewellery for my pre-wedding/pelli-kuthuru event; ruby and emerald polki set for my wedding.
With the soaring high prices of gold, it’s obvious that we are looking for the best possible artificial jewellery options which are also a best imitation of gold.
Artificial Gold Jewellery – Places to Shop
1. Tribe by Amrapali (Mumbai) – Best designs for both contemporary and traditional jewellery. Silver based pieces are worth the amount that you spend, considering the high quality, service and durability.
2. Suhani Pittie (Hyderabad) – This is my go-to place for fusion jewellery with a touch of traditional design. Mostly alloy based.
3. Sree Exotic Jewellers (Hyderabad/Chennai) – They manufacture any of the designs that you want to replicate and the base is purely silver with a gold coating. I prefer this store if I want to get something made from scratch rather than a readymade purchase. They usually sell traditional south indian jewellery.
4. Ms Pink Panther (Chennai) and Lotus Fine Jewellery (Hyderabad/Bangalore)- Other places where you can get custom made jewellery or buy traditional south indian artificial jewellery (pure silver based). The designs and craftsmanship is good but I found both of them much more expensive than Sree Exotic Jewellers.
1. Beauti Art Store Powai (Mumbai) – My go-to place for modern designs which has products catering to all kinds of budget
2. Suhana Art Jewellery (Delhi) – Another store which sells exquisite designs at reasonable prices. She is a very sweet person and can help you with customised designs as well, as per your choice. Got my mathapatti and anklets customised here, for my wedding along with my kundan set in reception.
Aanya Santacruz (Mumbai) and Kushal’s Jubliee Hills(Hyderabad) are few other good places.
Sri Fine Jewellery (Hyderabad) – One of the stores with basic jewellery at extremely reasonable prices.
Tarinika (Online) – Few pieces from their collection are really impressive.
The wholesale stores in Dariba Kalan street in Chadni Chowk (one tiny wholesale shop at the very end of street on the right side while going towards Masjid has some good artificial jewellery – My bad! I don’t recall the name of the store) have some of the best pieces at steal prices. However, most of these pieces have glossy gold finish rather than antique finish.
Since, I prefer antique, I couldn’t shop a lot from these stores.
Pure Gold Jewellery – Places to Shop
Mangatrai Punjagutta (Hyderabad) , Harini Fine Jewellery (Hyderabad), Padmavathi Jewellers (Hyderabad), Gajendra Jewellers (Hyderabad) and Shri Paramani Jewellers (Delhi) are some of my top favourites. Most of my wedding jewellery is from Hyderabad.
Apparently, Jaipur has some amazing designs in gold jewellery! I didn’t get time to visit Jaipur, so if you guys want to explore it, do try Jaipur.
Silver Jewellery – Places to Shop
Is there any better place than Jaipur to get silver jewellery?! An outright NO (according to me)
I reused some of the afghani pieces that I purchased in Jaipur’s Bapu Bazar long back, during my Haldi.
If you are looking for good silver jewellery options, these are some of my favourites – Gujarati Lane in Janpath Market (Delhi), Manjha, Tamara Prade, Niyathi By Seema Sindhu, and HPJewelz.
Apart from these, there is one tiny silver store in Santacruz West station road in Mumbai(there is only one in the entire lane – so it’s easy to locate), he has some of the most amazing silver pieces but you need to be creative enough to create your necklace or maangtikka or earrings by combining different pendants or chain options that he has. My haldi maangtikka is actually a pendant combined with a little chain 😄
There is another little silver store towards the end of Dariba Kalan street of Chadni Chowk which has fantastic pieces. Again, you need to keep your creative juices flowing to make a final piece out of the collection of small pendants he has. (There are only a couple of pure silver stores over there – so it’s easy to locate)
Floral Jewellery – Places to Shop
I am personally not a fan of floral jewellery and hence I didn’t use it during my wedding. I swapped it with silver afghani jewellery in my case 🙂
But in case, you are looking for some recommendations. Here you go :
Fooljadi (Mid-High Range) [ They have a different version of floral jewellery which is unique and impressive] , Floral Art by Srishti (Mid-High Range) and Pelli Poola Jada (all ranges)
Bangles and Latkans – Places to Shop
Apart from the gold or artificial bangles, I wanted to have thread bangles to match colors with my outfit instead of regular glass bangles.
Best and cheap places to find thread bangles – BegumBazar (Hyderabad), and Chadni Chowk by-lanes (Delhi)
Before you go for bangle shopping, either carry the sample cloth of your outfits with you for colors or keep a note of them. Also, ask the vendor to set the bangles for you as they have good knowledge of how to mix and match.
Even for latkans, stores near the parata wala galli near Chadni chowk (Delhi) have an extensive range of latkans (hangings for your blouses/lehangas) at extremely cheap prices.
In Hyderabad, BegumBazar is the best option.
Juttis are my usual go-to option for ethnic wear. Here are some of my recommendations for affordable juttis:
1. Coloba Causeway (Mumbai) – If some of you are not aware, Colaba causeway is a thrift shopping street in Mumbai. There are many small stores along the lane to shop juttis but my favourite is a shop named ‘Pioneer Footwear’ (It’s a very small shop in the same lane, opposite to Delhi Durbar). They sell some of the good quality and colorful juttis
Range : Rs 500- Rs 1,500
2. Linking Road – 33rd Street (Mumbai) – Right opposite KFC on Linking road, there is a road where you notice a couple of stores which sell leather juttis. They even change the color of jutti polish based on your request.
Range : Rs 400- Rs 1,000
I wanted to customise my footwear for my wedding as I wanted the most comfortable shoes so that I can stand for 3-4 hours during the event. After all the hunt, I found Aprajita Toor as the best option.
She is very accommodative and will get it customised as per your requirement – be it, the heel size, color, or the exact shape of the sole. I visited her warehouse to try it out and communicate my requirements. I picked antique silver as the color of my footwear so that I can reuse it for any other ethnic outfit later as well.
Range : Rs 3,000 – Rs 12,000
Also, for Sangeeth, I just picked good comfortable sneakers as I don’t prefer dancing on high heels!!
We didn’t have more than a couple of days to close my partner’s outfits and we couldn’t travel to any other city. So, most of the shopping is in Hyderabad.
Frankly, I would say that the options are way too limited.
Here are few of my recommendations:
1. Kora (Mid-High Range) : This is one of the most reasonable store, both in terms of quality and price!
Even though they have a very limited collection, it seemed to be hand-picked!
2. Portfolio (Mid – High Range) : They had good collection for Haldi and Mehendi with a subtle pop of color.
3. Origins (High Range) : Their designs are interesting and unique. However, I found them little too over-priced.
Juttis and other jewellery is sourced from Charminar.
I hope you find it useful 🙂
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