If all goes well on the 21st of June, we could be seeing the return of the big fat Asian wedding. I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched because anything could change before then. But the hope is there; for those working in the industry and for couples who’ve had to postpone their wedding several times.
The wedding industry has had it tough throughout the pandemic. And that’s putting it mildly. 400,000 people work in the business in the UK, with the Asian wedding industry contributing around £5 billion pounds to the economy. That’s a third of the overall figure.Many independent businesses have struggled because let’s face it, Asian weddings are huge affairs, sometimes with 400-500 guests. How can a business survive by providing a service to only 15 or 30 guests?
Don’t get me wrong, health and safety comes first but so many people’s livelihoods have been affected severely, having lost an entire year’s earnings – and that’s continued into this year too.Now, as the industry tries to get back on its feet, I want to show my appreciation of the sheer talent in the Asian wedding business.
Last week, I was involved in a small collaboration with some businesses in the West Midlands. It’s an attempt to showcase their work and share a bit about them, as hardworking and trustworthy suppliers.
I contacted a few vendors via Instagram that I was excited to work with on this project.
Ravina Makeup Artist
I came across Ravina by chance while randomly scrolling. We have a couple of upcoming family weddings and I was searching for a makeup artist to glam me up because, well, who doesn’t like a bit of dressing up without the hassle of doing it yourself, especially as Asian weddings mean very early mornings.
Who has the energy or patience to work up a full face and elaborate hairstyle at that time of the day? Whenever we have a close family wedding, the first thing I do is book a reliable makeup artist.
I loved Ravina’s work, so I reached out with an enquiry to book her later in the year. Somehow we got talking about a collaboration of some sort and it just took off from there.
Ravina helped me to select an outfit for the day. I’d shortlisted a few Asian outfits that I haven’t yet worn because of the lack of events during the pandemic.
I love dressing up and particularly in my Asian attire, be it a lengha, saree or salwar kameez. On a shopping trip to Mumbai last year, I bought a fair few outfits that haven’t seen the light of day yet.
I was more inclined to opt for a floral outfit but as soon as Ravina saw the vibrant red sharara, her mind was made up!
A sharara is a pair of loose, wide-legged trousers mostly worn with straight top. There’s a thick band above the knees or on the thighs, where the cloth is ruched. This gives a nice flare down to the toes. The top has strings for straps that tie just behind the shoulder.
I didn’t look in the mirror once as Ravina did my makeup because I had complete faith in her. She wanted full-on glam to compliment the outfit and I can’t believe she finished off the whole look in an hour-and-a-half.
We spent the entire time talking about makeup products and skincare. You’d never guess we’d just met each other for the first time that day!
I’d asked my niece Manisha to assist because she has a great eye for makeup too and it was nice to have a second opinion. She was a huge support, taking behind-the-scenes pictures, filming content for Reels and helping to coordinate the project.Ravina decided to go for an extravagant updo to show off the deep neckline and jewellery. I’m more of a low up-do, messy bun kinda girl. At first, my hair looked absolutely huge but when the whole look came together, I understood the effect Ravina was striving for.
When Ravina and I were discussing working together, she suggested the need for a nice backdrop to bring the photos to life. I initially considered buying some material that we could hang ourselves but Ravina suggested reaching out to a local decor company.
That’s when the idea grew into a collaboration to showcase different suppliers in the region.
I reached out to Aurora Decor, as suggested by Ravina and within a couple of hours, they’d agreed to collaborate and we finalised the details. We selected the halo backdrop which is customisable.
We went with the ivory and green combination with a touch of red to make my outfit pop. The gold and white velvet 2-seater sofa, added an extra touch of luxury. The overall look was simple yet elegant.Aurora Decor provides effective backdrops, table centrepieces and various decorations to bring colour and vibrancy to your pre-wedding events and/or birthdays and other small gatherings.
Bindi Sandhu – Photographer
Ravina has worked with several photographers on bridal shoots and when scrolling through her page, I came across Bindi. He’s a published photographer and filmmaker, working in the luxury wedding and commercial industry.
I was wowed by his work and contacted him via Instagram. Once we’d agreed the collaboration, he was thoroughly professional and checked in a couple of times before the actual day.Once Ravina had completed my look, Bindi took control and directed the shoot. Sukh or Shalini usually photograph me for my content. With them, I know exactly how to pose because of the comfort level, which enables me to get the results I’m after. However, I’m no model and doing a shoot like this for the first time had me feeling nervous.
When I’m shooting comedy skits or doing dance videos, I’m bursting with confidence and never feel self-conscious. And that’s most likely because I’m in control and on my own. But in front of an audience, it was tough.Ravina and Manisha joked that I was being too stiff and needed to relax. I was totally out of my comfort zone. But Bindi was very calming and directed each pose, guiding me all the way.
The girls also helped me with various poses and after a while, I found a comfort level we could all work with. If I do anything like this in future, I’ll be a lot more comfortable now that the first one is under my belt.
The final supplier I collaborated with is Kaymarla Jewels. I have been following her business for a while and I love the handcrafted jewellery, the delicate patterns and vibrant colours.
Kay wanted to see my outfit so she could select the pieces that would work with the neckline. She also selected items that would work with my frame. I’ve never thought about that when buying Asian jewellery. If I see something I like, I buy it. But that’s why Kay is such an expert in her trade.We opted for a green and gold choker necklace with matching earrings and a maangtika, which is a head piece. On paper, you would question whether green would even work with red but it complimented the outfit so well.
I can not thank Ravina, Aurora, Kaymarla and Bindi enough for their professionalism and creativity. Each contributed to a successful day and I do hope you will check out their work and show them some support. And if you’re tying the knot soon, I’d definitely recommend their services.
I, for one, am looking forward to the return of the big fat Asian wedding. Who’s with me?