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Every bride-to-be comes with her own customised to-do list but one task that's important to all is that of buying the dream bridal lehenga. Let's face it - bridal shopping is not easy, especially when you have the entire wedding to plan alongside. This is why we recommend starting early, researching well and finding an outfit that defines 'you' as a bride. Your bridal outfit directly affects many other important decisions around your wedding like the stage décor, your jewellerymakeup and of course, your groom’s outfit! Refer to our simple shopping guide before you hit the markets and make buying your bridal lehenga fun and not stressful.

1. Make a To-Buy list

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Be clear on what all you need to buy. Is it just the lehenga or other trousseau items as well? Are you looking for the accessories like latkans, bangles and jewellery as well? We suggest that you head out primarily to buy the lehenga and latkans. If, on course, you find other items that you happen to like a little too much, only then buy them, else stay focused.

2. Define your budget

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We know that you are ready to invest in your lehenga but do have an estimate of how much. Break it down to have a bracket for your lehenga, jewellery, other accessories and shoes. And then use your research to shortlist stores and studios that fit your wedding budget. That way, you won't have the heartbreaking experience of leaving a lehenga you loved, just because it doesn't fit into your financial bracket. Decide on a minimum and maximum price and visit shops that will get your great lehengas within that price range. The result will be a wedding lehenga you love and won’t regret the rest of your life. 

3. Things to remember

Research well and find your bridal style

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Step one towards buying your dream wedding lehenga requires research. Spend time browsing websites and Instagram to shortlist outfits and styles that appeal to you.  Attend bridal exhibitions because they expose you to designers outside of your city and help widen your perspective on brands and designer wedding lehengas. All of this research will help you figure what colour, silhouette, fabric and style works for you, giving you some much-needed confidence in the process ahead. 

Say yes to colour

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India’s top bridal designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anita Dongre and Manish Malhotra love experimenting with colours and so should you. Your friend may have looked stunning in red but that doesn’t mean you have to be a red bride too. Your wedding outfit should reflect your personality and if your favourite colour is blue, then don’t let anyone keep you from wearing a lehenga in that colour. Take inspiration from our offbeat brides and pick a colour that suits your personal bridal style.

Plan a different look for every function

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The big fat Indian wedding gives every bride the chance to experiment and create a balanced trousseau set. With that in mind, remember to plan a different look for all your wedding functions. Try an Indo-Western outfit for your mehendi, a classy bridal gown for your cocktail/ reception, and a traditional lehenga for the wedding. Keep this in mind when you start bridal trousseau shopping and you’ll come back with outfits that you love. 

Don't forget the external factors

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Your wedding date directly impacts your bridal lehenga, in terms of fabrics, colours and even silhouettes. You can’t wear a velvet lehenga during a summer wedding nor can you wear a chiffon saree for a winter haldi. Keep these external factors in mind to ensure complete comfort on the day of your wedding.

Save funds and time for accessory shopping

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Many brides end up neglecting their jewellery, shoes and hair accessories while choosing their bridal lehenga. Make sure you devote some time shortlisting accessories like the bridal chura, kalire and most importantly, your bridal footwear. Turn to Instagram to discover independent jewellery designers and unconventional shoe brands before finalizing your entire look.

Now that you are fully equipped to go for your bridal lehenga shopping, do bear in mind that you won’t necessarily find the lehenga of your dreams in the first visit itself. Don’t get disheartened by that. Instead, after getting a fair idea of the markets, decide if smaller items of your wedding shopping can be bought from nearby cities to cut down the costs. Remember to shop smart and listen to your gut to know if you’ve found the one. Tell us how your experience of lehenga shopping was. Share your wisdom with other soon-to-be brides in the comments below.