Mar 8, 2010

Bridal Trousseau Shopping - Part I

Some time ago, we were speaking with our friend, Ridaa Mian, who's currently planning her wedding, and she seriously knows everything about everything related to wedding shopping in South Asia. So of course, we asked her to share some of her secrets with you! And here we are, starting a four part series all about bridal trousseau shopping. We wish we had known all this when planning....

image via verve magazine

After numerous attempts to get to Lahore for my bridal trousseau shopping, I reached the conclusion that I’d be able to prepare for my upcoming wedding (with a one-year timeline) without ever stepping foot in Pakistan. The last eleven months have proven that it is possible, with some inconveniences, and a great deal of patience. So you’re probably wondering how the heck I got things done? Here are three obvious steps I took:

1) Set my alarm clock for 4am (EST) and arrange conference calls with designers!

  • Pakistan is 10 hours ahead, which meant that reaching design houses in Lahore and Karachi would require me to stay up late or wake up early.
  • Most designers are open for a short window of time, usually between 11am – 2pm, but sometimes you’ll be able to catch someone before and after those hours. It’s worth the call!
  • By keeping an organized notebook with each designer's name, contact information and your personal agenda, I was able to get my orders in time. The more you know about what you want and how you want it made, the easier it’ll be. I recommend buying bridal magazines, logging the outfits you like, and tracking down the designers who made them in addition to learning about the various fabric and color choices.
  • Skype is a great way to speak internationally at a low cost and in a convenient way. Through my laptop I was able to speak to designers, while jotting down notes, handing off measurements and tracking orders and details. It allowed for longer conversations. In one instance, I even worked with a tailor shop in Lahore to compare measurements for my bridesmaids before they finished the tailoring!

2) Use E-mail

  • Designers will communicate over email, but may require initial phone call “introductions,” but not all. Some will send measurement charts requesting specific information and accept credit card payments through forms. Others will send photographs of high-resolution pictures to give you ideas and encourage your vision. In one instance, Bunto Kazmi sent me a variety of her photographs to guide me in bridal dress shopping. It helped immensely as she’s very high in demand and her ensembles are not advertised in the mainstream market. It gave me a better idea of what I was looking for.
  • Send a photograph of yourself and your height/weight information. The designer may never have an opportunity to meet you, but they’ll be able to better guide you knowing your body type, facial features and what suits your complexion.

3) Reach out to your local relatives or family friends, if that is an option.
  • Because my father was on a business trip to Lahore during all of this madness, I was fortunate enough to have his perspective and opinion at the local level. He was able to touch base with the designers where I placed orders and ensure the quality and delivery time.

Next up, we have some lessons Ridaa learned through this whole process!


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