The following post is brought to you by our newest content partner, The Crimson Bride—an online discovery platform that simplifies the wedding planning process for the modern-day bride.
Firstly, congratulations on your engagement! After that proposal high, it will soon be time to start engagement party planning. Engagement parties are fun to organize and give you and your partner the opportunity to celebrate the engagement with friends and family, as well as have a small taste for wedding planning.
The first question is, as always, “Where do I start?” Keep calm, The Crimson Bride team has compiled a simple guide to get you started.
The first thing to agree on as a couple, and family, is the type of engagement party you wish to have. Will you be going for a casual or formal setup? Will it be a huge affair or a small intimate event?
Consider what the theme of the party will be. The best themes, we find, are ones that are personalized and reflect you as a couple or tell a story. For instance, matching the theme of the engagement party to the proposal is a great idea. If he proposed by the beach, consider a waterfront venue. Some other timeless party themes include vintage, garden and minimalistic.
Next, you will need to finalize the venue that helps bring your theme and style of the party to life. Locking in a venue will also help finalize the date for the party so you can get onto organizing invitations. Which venue you choose broadly depends on whether you are holding a sit down or cocktail style function and guest numbers, so writing up a guest list will help with venue hunting. Many couples choose to have a fun, cocktail style event for their engagement as their wedding celebrations are likely to be more formal sit-down functions. An engagement with a sit-down dinner with your closest family and friend at a nice restaurant is also a lovely idea. If you’re lucky enough to have space at home, a good old house party is always a hit!
While old school paper invites are always classy, there are some fun ways to be more environmentally friendly and move beyond the conventional Facebook invite. You could consider a personalized webpage that tells your story or even an online invite. The concept may sound foreign, but you don’t need any IT expertise to create something special and unique to you as a couple. It’s easy to put together your own invitations under the guidance of web-based applications such as Paperless Post and could be a life saver if you are short on time.
An engagement party is a perfect way to trial a photographer, hair and makeup artist, DJ, florist, or hiring company. We have quite a few listed in our Professionals Guide for you to browse. It’s a good idea to note costs, how long appointments take and how well they communicate.
4. The Outfit
Many Indian and South Asian brides who have grown up overseas have associated the image of a bride with the big white dress. Let’s be honest, there seems to exist an internal conflict between loving traditional dresses and wanting to wear a white dress. While most brides will go with traditional outfits for the wedding, the engagement party is a great time to live out your fantasies and perhaps wear a white dress.
If you decide on something traditional for the engagement, finding that perfect saree or lehenga can be difficult when you don’t live in India. If you’re not too impressed with the collection at your local Indian shop, then consider purchasing from online designers such as Summer Souk, By Elora or Walia Jones and of course Pernia’s Popup Shop and Exclusively.com who have a beautiful range for any budget. Be mindful of how long shipment can take and ensure your outfit is delivered well before the big day, so any alterations can be made.
For the gentlemen, finding a suit is a much easier task! We all think matching our partners is super cute, but you can do this in non-conventional ways—your dress doesn’t always have to match his tie. Consider matching indirectly through your theme or floral decorations.
5. Decor and Event Plan
The styling and décor all depend on your theme. The Crimson Bride, Instagram, and Pinterest are great resources for creative ideas on décor and fun activities to include as part of your event. It’s tempting to squeeze in all your ideas into one event, but remember to keep it simple and leave some ideas for your wedding events as well! Pick one or two feature décor ideas and activities for guests and let them stand out.
Engagement parties are also a great opportunity to let your DIY creativity flow. Don’t be afraid to purchase décor items from Ebay or Etsy for your engagement, especially if you think they could be re-used for your wedding. It’s not difficult to sell post-wedding either, as there is an endless flow of brides looking for items to buy!
During your planning, you also need to finalize a general event plan for the day to ensure things are running smoothly and on time. For the party setup and preparation, work backward from when the guests are supposed to arrive. Who will be setting up the décor, what time will the professionals need to arrive, how long do you need to allow for getting ready. During the event, think about how long to allow for the majority of the guests to arrive before you start serving food and have speeches. If you have activities for guests to get involved in (a photobooth, dance performances) when should they start?
Keep calm – it will all work out in the end. The truth is, event planning can be very stressful. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the finer details and become stressed all while forgetting why you are doing it all in the first place! Make sure you spend quality time with your family and your other half in the lead up to the big day to help keep you grounded.
This post was originally posted on The Crimson Bride and republished with permission. You can see the article, here.
The Crimson Bride is an online wedding platform for the style-savvy, modern South Asian bride. It’s full of real wedding features and helpful tools to help you discover and choose the right wedding professionals for your big day.
While growing up, the only complaint I had when wearing desi clothes was that the embroidery on the fabric would always end up scratching my skin. As beautiful and intricate the details were, putting on an embellished blouse meant wearing an inner or a comfortable t-shirt underneath. Fortunately now, many South Asian brands are changing the game; focusing not only on the quality and intricacy of the embroidery, but also on comfort and wearability of the blouse itself. One such small business is Khushey.
Khushey is a one-stop shop for “buttery soft” performance blouses that don’t compromise on comfort for fashion and pair just as well with any of your mom’s saris as they do with your newest lehenga. In an interview withBrown Girl Magazine, founder Neha Seelam talks more about what inspired her to launch Khushey and what the brand has to offer.
Why did you want to start a brand that specializes in South Asian/Indo-Western blouses specifically?
I wanted to specialize in blouses because blouses are really the only part of Indo-Western clothing that I found a specific ‘problem’ with — one I thought I could solve. I absolutely love everything else about our clothing — with the variety of patterns/styles/cuts available, I feel that you can easily find the perfect piece out there.
But the part of South Asian clothing that my friends and I found to be a perpetual challenge was the blouse. They’re usually gorgeous, but by the end of the day you can’t wait to take them off. Also, it’s so hard to find a fit that looks seamless and beautiful — usually the chest, underarm or sleeve just wouldn’t fit the way you want it to with the heavy material and traditional tailoring.
I wanted to start off with basic colors but in shiny/formal-looking material that I could mix and match with all the different colors and styles of South Asian clothes that I already have in my wardrobe. The goal is that the blouses can be used multiple times with different outfits, are ideal for long nights of partying, and feel great against the skin.
What’s the story behind the brand’s name, Khushey?
The English word “cushy,” which means comfortable, actually originates from the Hindi word ‘khushi’ (happiness). I thought that the origin story was very sweet and resonated with the idea of comfort and happiness I had for my label. That’s how I chose the word Khushey — slightly adjusting the spelling so I could snag the right URL!
What is your number one priority when it comes to your blouses?
Formal wear that’s actually comfortable! I would love for women to be in the moment at their celebrations, and not feel constrained, itchy, or uncomfortable in their blouse.
South Asian women! Customers, from recent graduates all the way to stylish moms, have loved the product — especially moms since they typically value comfort and movability if they have to chase down kids at events!
How do you think Khushey allows South Asian women to embrace their love for South Asian fashion?
Over the last decade, I’ve seen women repurposing crop tops from Zara and H&M as sari blouses, and while I think that’s awesome and creative, I wanted to create an option for South Asian women where every detail was oriented around recreating the perfect sari/lehenga blouse. The shine is intended to be appropriate for formal wear, the cuts were inspired by some of my favorite blouses from when I was younger that wouldn’t have bra straps showing from underneath and were versatile for saris or lehengas, and the embroidery is intended to add a desi flair.
You’ve mentioned sustainability on your website. How are your blouses sustainable?
I plan to donate five percent of profits every year to a sustainable organization. Once I get enough interest from the public, I would like to fund new product lines that use eco-friendly materials that were prohibitively expensive for me to launch with. But I am eager to incorporate recycled spandex/nylon and metal into my pieces once I can afford to!
What sort of designs do you plan on incorporating into your label in the future?
I’ve thought of so many designs that I can build on. Starting with colors; I’d like to have all of the major colors available in my basic sleeveless blouse and then create a more modest version of that blouse with a variety of basic colors as well.
I’d also love to expand the patterns and embroidery options on the blouses. I hope to create seasonal collections that enable me to tap into the vast array of style/color inspirations that South Asian wear includes.
Khushey promises to offer comfort and style, all packaged into one performance blouse that you can reuse with a variety of desi outfits. Like Neha said, ditch your Zara crop top for a design that actually complements your desi look. Make sure to keep your eyes out for her latest designs!
The results are in — the Pantone Color for 2023 is here — and it looks like Viva Magenta will be ruling runways, the streets, and (even) your wardrobes.
Viva Magenta is a deep shade of red, and Pantone describes it:
Brave and fearless.
It’s meant to be celebratory, and joyous, and encourage experimentation. If you were thinking of toning it down a notch with your wardrobe in 2023, it’s time to think again. It can really be your time to shine in something bright and colorful!
Aprajit Toor, Arpita Mehta, and Rahul Khanna break it down for you — what to wear, how to pair, and everything in between. Their takes on the Pantone Color for 2023 are simple but they’ll help you make a bold statement anywhere you go!
Take a look at what they have to say.
Rahul Khanna of Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna:
Viva Magenta is a color that suits all skin tones. It’s a color for all occasions; women and men can both wear this color with [the] right styling. Cocktail saris, jumpsuits, and reception gowns are some great options for women whereas, for men, the color has started picking up a lot lately. Men have started experimenting with their looks and we as designers have more options for men as well. Recently, we made a custom-made silk velvet fit for Ranveer Singh in the same color. Apart from your everyday clothing, Viva Magenta is also going to be the ruling shade for the upcoming wedding season.
The best way to do Viva Magenta in your everyday wardrobe is to go top to bottom in [it]. Be it in co-ord sets or a kaftan or any comfortable outfit. It’s such a bold & beautiful color that it looks the best when it’s self on self rather than teaming it up or breaking it with another color.
Viva Magenta is a very powerful and empowering color that descends from the red family. It is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying shade [that] challenges boundaries. One can easily incorporate this color by picking a statement footwear, bag, or jewelry in Viva Magenta which can be paired with neutral or monotone colored outfits.
And there you have it — three ways you can easily take a vibrant hue and turn it into something you can wear every day. Take cues from these top designers on how to wear the Pantone Color of the year and get started! We’d love to see how you style Viva Magenta!
It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.
From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking
Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies. Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.
With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.
Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.
Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity. From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.
These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.