I dream of bridal couture. The same way a Western bride lusts after Monique Lhullier and Vera Wang gowns, I lust after Nomi Ansari, Mehdi, & Karma. They are just amazing designers and I think you can do a lot with their colors and have really detail-oriented wedding with bright bold colors.
One would think that because Pakistani designer gowns are made overseas that they would cost significantly less than American bridal gowns–not so! The reason I did not get a designer original was two-fold. One, of course, it was just too costly. The designer’s whose dress I was inspired by starts at $5,000 for a dress; similar to the prices of dresses you see at Kleinfeld Bridal and other top boutiques here. So, what I did was I had my cousin take my design to a designer we work with in Karachi and they replicated the style but added elements that were more me. That’s the beauty of Pakistan. My wedding dress was entirely hand embroidered, used top of the line bridal fabric (silk banarsi I think, or jamavar, I can’t think of the name) and it was precisely what I wanted. It cost half of what most designers charge; still a pretty penny, BUT for the intricate handiwork and lush embroidery, I was in love.
My dress was a farshi gharara which is really two wide-legged pants that have pleats towards the bottom. This enables a more draped effect when the bride is seated. My skirt must have weighed close to 20 pounds and I had purchased suspenders to keep the skirt up, but I forgot them at home at the last minute. Luckily, I had no accidents since I had it taken in to a tailor a few days before the wedding to take in the waist! However, I highly recommend suspenders for too-heavy ghararas.
Oh the lengths women go to for their dream wedding gowns! A list of the top 25 most expensive stores in the US lists not one but two bridal stores. The Vera Wang Bridal House, and the Kleinfeld Bridal were ranked 22nd and 19th respectively on this list of the 25 most expensive shops in the US. And why not, when TLC’s popular show Say Yes to the Dress takes place at Kleinfeld and Vera Wang had dressed celebrity brides like Jessica Simpson, Ivanka Trump and most recently Kim Kardashian.
Some may skimp on $5,000 and up dresses by heading to more economical locations like David’s Bridal, which carries the Vera Wang White line, but I have another suggestion for you! One of my friends went to the Monique Lhullier sample sale in Los Angeles on July 10 and walked out with a $3,000 gown…. she paid just a little under $400 for the dress! To her, it was well worth lining up bright and early at 6am for.
If I could do it any other way, I would not have gone to David’s Bridal for my white wedding dress. It’s one of the decisions I regret the most since the customer service was extremely poor and the store was horrible to navigate through. Yes, I had my dream Pakistani gown, but, feeling like a princess two different days isn’t too much to ask for, is it? By the end of my trip, I felt compelled to get my dress only because I felt like I wouldn’t have time to go back and get another one. The dress was lovely, but not my style.