"I feel if you aren’t wearing red then you don’t look like a bride"
Every Asian girl imagines wearing a picture-perfect red lehenga, embellished with gold throughout, complimenting her red lips and bejewelled nath for her wedding day.
But with more designers now adding a Western twist, does the traditional red wedding dress still have the same importance?
Traditionally, red symbolises love, passion and prosperity. For astrology enthusiasts, it also reflects the colour of Mars, the planet in charge of love and marriage.
Red lipstick and red bindis were for married women only, the reddish brown of mehndi enhanced the beauty of the colour red. Asian women were believed to look ever-glowing and passionate in red, when embarking on this new, auspicious event in their life.
In the modern era, we are beginning to see red a little less, and incorporating other colours in the spectrum. Even on bridal websites and in bridal magazines, there are more options for different colours.
There are various selections for intertwining greens and blues with red, or even totally different colours, such as purple. The options for red have lessened, making people turn to other colours for alternative choices.
Growing up in more than one world, Brit Asians may battle between a white dress or red sari. Western influences have shown women to wear white saris and lehengas on their big day, even if it is for the registry or reception.
Pink was also a very common option; being so close to red, it still had a similar effect but was something different to see.
Recently, more regal colours have come into fashion. Deep blues with gold embroidery have become more common and you can see why. It is still breathtaking in every sense and you would look no less of a bride by wearing darker colours.
Another very royal looking trend, is gold and rose-gold. It is a very popular choice as it is not as bold as our red tradition, but still captivates the eye.
A dress that is majority gold has a slight advantage over darker colours, as it still enables you to wear red choora and lipstick, without heavily clashing.
Sabyasachi’s collection boasts this current trend, especially for fusion weddings.
Pastel colours incorporated with gold are also a new trend coming into 2016’s top bridal wear. It enables you to show off a little colour that Asian weddings are famous for.
So, why is red becoming less popular for brides?
“In comparison to all the options out there, red can look a little too much. If it isn’t done right, it can look tacky or just forced. Not everyone suits such a bold colour,” says Sim.
Maya disagrees however: “I think red not only stands out beautifully but it’s also what I have also pictured myself in, as that is what I have seen growing up.”
“I think your wedding day is the only day you can get away with wearing red. You can’t really wear it to another event without looking like a bride and someone will pass a ‘do you think it’s your wedding day’ joke at you.”
“So you may as well opt for it as it’s the one day you can get away with it,” Maya explains.
The tradition is still strong, with a lot of people still opting for red. All the new options, however, are making the choice a difficult one for brides-to-be.
“There are really nice bridal saris other than red out there but I feel if you aren’t wearing red then you don’t look like a bride. The sister of the bride maybe, but definitely not like a true bride,” says Meena.
Designers are constantly competing to bring out new, innovative designs so it is no surprise that they opt for new ideas.
Floral patterns and pastel colours have also made a debut into this year’s wedding trends. The beauty of floral patterns is that it showcases something different, whilst still incorporating red.
“You want to look different on your big day and I think choosing something different will make people remember you. You can still look like an Asian bride without wearing all red,” explains Marium.
Wearing red has been the tradition and maybe people, especially those under western influence, want something different. You can still incorporate red into the outfit and definitely with make-up and mehndi.
With less red options out there and an alternative range of colours offering mesmerising lehengas and saris, it begs us to acknowledge that love has no singular colour at all.