I hope this post helps future brides in compiling their list of stores to visit while wedding shopping in Mumbai.
I’d like to think I’m a very modest person. I’ve never been brand conscious. I’ve never bought anything based on the brand name…except one time in India, a shop had a knock-off Abercrombie sweatshirt – the zipper broke in a day. And I bought my first Michael Kors purse (not the dinky small ones) with my own money and only as a pat on my back for completing pharmacy school. I was never someone who “dreamt” of wearing Sabyasachi for my wedding day like some other brides. I didn’t even know what Sabyasachi was until about 9 months before my wedding: Some acquaintances were writing “#sabyasachi” under someone’s pics and I just thought “what’s that?” So I looked into it and still thought nothing much of it except they were probably really expensive.
In April of 2017, I took about 2 weeks off from work to go to Mumbai, India and do all my wedding shopping. I don’t know what I was thinking but I thought if I selected my outfits in the first few days, I could have new pieces made and customized to my measurements within 2 weeks and they would be ready to take back to the USA with me. Sadly not true. Most boutiques said they’d take 30-60 days to make the outfit.
I went to a wide range of stores. I went to women selling dupe designer outfits out of their home. I went to random little shops and I went to big name designers. I gave everything a chance.
Here’s my take on my shopping experience at some of the more well-known stores I did visit:
Anita Dongre – The outfits are too casual for a bride. I was in and out within 5 minutes.
Should you check it out? Nah! Nothing looked bridal.
Archana Kocchar – She has a lot of nice things but our business transactions ended up being a mess in the end. It’s a long story but I did buy my mehndi outfit from here in the end. I don’t know why but if my chest is 33 inches around, why would you put C cups into the blouse…because they did that…
Should you check it out? Yup! But if you purchase something, make sure all the details are clear.
Aza – Aza carries outfits from a bunch of designers. They had some nice things but nothing worked out for me at least.
Should you check it out? Yes, it’s like a one stop shop.
Friendship – This just wasn’t what I was looking for but it’s very budget-friendly.
Should you check it out? This may be a good starting point so you can head in the right direction. It’s in Santacruz market and you’re bound to go there for something or the other anyway.
Gaurav Gupta – I had seen his work on instagram and thought this definitely is not for me. I didn’t like his signature shoulder molded designs and thought every dress would be like this – NOT TRUE. I walked into the shop and there were so many nice pieces! I really wanted to wear a sari gown for my reception so it would be a completely different look from my other two outfits which were most likely going to be lehengas. I fell in love with an outfit consisting of a white blouse and red flared skirt. I already knew I was wearing red for the wedding and so I didn’t want to wear red again for another event. We thought about changing the color but I didn’t want to customize it and end up with something I didn’t like. I’m clearly not much of a risk-taker. I tried on another dress that was dark blue and it basically had a peacock wrapped around my neck. It reminded me too much of Bjork at the 2001 Oscars (comparison below).
I then decided to try on a black sari gown (pictured below). I put in an order for this but when I got back to my masi’s apartment that evening she said “The bride cannot wear black! It’s bad luck.” I said “No no, its ok.” I then checked with my future mom-in-law to see if she held the same beliefs, and she did…so we changed the dress to dark blue like the peacock dress.
Should you check it out? Hell ya! They have a lot to offer and their customer service is amazing. I received my outfit and there were some issues. We video-chatted with their team and discussed the problems. I sent the dress back to India, they fixed it, and it worked out well. It was stressful because I contemplated going back to India just to fix it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to especially with only 4 weeks left til the wedding.
Jade by Monica & Karishma – On the hanger, nothing stood out to me here but I decided to try on a few things. I really liked one outfit (pictured below) and it was a contender for my wedding day but the work didn’t fill up the skirt and so it looked a bit bare. Another outfit was so heavy that it physically started to hurt my waist after 5 minutes. That was a no-go.
Should you check it out? Definitely. You might find a gem.
Sabyasachi – I never planned to even go here. I knew it would be too expensive but my family said to just have a look as the store itself is very nice. Maybe it’s because I’m from the USA but I wasn’t impressed with the decor. I think I’m not a very excitable or enthusiastic person overall. But tell me I’m going to Disney World and that’s a completely different story. Originally, I was looking for a mostly-white skirt with a red blouse but they didn’t have any. I tried on a few outfits and fell in love with one…BUT I didn’t fall in love with that price tag. My mom told me to just get it if I like it. I don’t know how she was so nonchalant about it. I thought maybe she was tired and just wanted to go home. The outfit also didn’t hurt my waist to carry. It was comfortable. Anyway, I decided to think about it because it’s expensive. I ended up going back either the next day or the day after that and sealing the deal because nothing else compared to that beautiful thing.
Should you check it out? Ya, but prepare to fall in love.
Seasons – Seasons in Santacruz was a bit overwhelming. Also, someone is bound to fall down those stairs (pictured below) badly one day. It’s just not safe! Look at those itty-bitty steps! DANGER!!!
Should you check it out? I would go here if you are a guest, but again, it’s in Santacruz market and you’re bound to be there for something or the other anyway.
Shyamal and Bhumika – I always admired these outfits on the runway but in stores I didn’t like much; they didn’t have much on display. I tried on two outfits (similar to the one pictured below) but the work was just too busy. Also, the skirt had two pieces to it: one layer of can-can and one layer of skirt that goes on top. At other shops, I found that the can-can and skirt were all one piece. I didn’t like this back then, but looking back now, it’s smart because if you take the can-can out, you now have a skirt you can wear to another party that isn’t your wedding.
Should you check it out? Maybe, but it can get gaudy.
Tamanna Punjabi Kapoor – I liked two outfits here for my mehndi but they weren’t as colorful as I wanted. My mom did get her own wedding day outfit from here and I loved it.
Should you check it out? The selection was pretty small and my mom did have a few issues with them taking the wrong measurements so your call.
Tarun Tahiliani – When we walked in, we weren’t even greeted. Maybe they just looked at me and thought “This hobo isn’t buying anything from here.” I found an outfit I liked and asked to try it on. They handed it to me off the rack and pointed to the fitting room. Now, this is uncommon in these shops because bridal outfits are physically heavy and you will need help getting them on. At the fitting room, no one was even there to unlock a room for me to try on the dress. We waited until someone came by. This was frustrating as some of these items are priced higher than Sabyasachi. Once in the fitting room….I could barely get the skirt off the hanger because of the sheer weight of it. When I had the skirt on, I called my bhabhi in because I needed help. It was pretty but too heavy and completely overpriced.
Should you check it out? Ehhhh nah I’d pass on this one.
Price? $$$$-$$$$$ (Too much)
AFTER ALL THAT these were my final outfits *sigh of relief* :