New Resources for the Christian Community in Bombay

Bombay Brides

 

If you are a bride about to get married in Mumbai, you probably understand the need for a website that will tell you where to look for the perfect gown and the right venue, among other things. Bombay Brides shares the stories of the beautiful Christian brides who have planned their wedding or plan to celebrate their wedding in Mumbai.

Brides from every Christian community – East Indian, Mangalorean, Protestant, Anglo Indian, Goan, etc. and from every part of Mumbai – Vasai, Thane, Mumbai proper, Vashi, South Bombay are featured on Bombay Brides. As well, there is a section dedicated to curating the wedding photos from the old days and another towards interviewing wedding vendors like photographers, flower artists, etc.

Have a look at the beautiful Bombay Brides blog I created to know how you can be a Bombay Bride or a bridal vendor.

Bombay East Indian Books

A long time ago, I had written about two books very pertinent to the East Indian community of Mumbai – Trace and the Salsette Vasai East Indian Cook Book I. Due to public demand, these books ran out of print very quickly.

This year, September saw the republication of the second part to the Late Dorothy Rodrigues’ cook book as well as Trace by the Late Teddie Rodrigues. More information on purchasing both these books can be found on the website I created under the moniker Bombay East Indian Books with help from Teddie and Dorothy’s daughter, Cassia who is married to my cousin brother.

Do visit the website to know more about this remarkable East Indian couple from Vile Parle and their contribution to documenting the East Indian way of life and cuisine.

A Handy Little Wedding Cake Guide

When you book a venue for your wedding in Bombay, it tends to be a parcel of most essential wedding requirements – the decorator, caterer, sound and light, wedding car, etc. As well as for the economically worried, this service by the venue providers is excellent for those who don’t want to spend much time fretting over the nitty-gritty. There are of course options for different budgets – usually ranging from platinum to silver packages.

The caterers who are included in this contract system also provide the bridal couple with the wedding cake, and it is usually complimentary. The cake you end up with is in direct relation to the catering package you select. If you aren’t pleased with what you see, you can always opt to buy (or make) your own wedding cake.

Sample these cakes – most of them taken from the wedding albums of East Indian couples I know.

Concept - Silel, Cake artist - Lindsey (~9820293430~)

Concept - mine (flowers from Crawford Market & topper by Shawn Lewis), Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Trudy, Bombay (~+912226770649, +919833417776~)

Concept and cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept - Ashley & Aster, Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Aren’t they beautiful! Do send me pictures of your wedding cakes, I would love to put them up out here.

One of the limitations most cake bakers I know face when crafting a wedding cake in Bombay is the lack of decent food colouring. You get the standard red, blue, green and yellow and any daring colours can only be attempted via the mix-and-match method. Even then, the colour you end up with is a watered down shade of the one you need.

For instance, for my own wedding cake, I had an entirely different style of cake in mind and plum purple was my choice of colour for the layer of icing as it would have totally swinged our theme. I had to reverse the combination though and make do with (artificial) plum purple flowers that I plucked out of a bouquet I purchased at Crawford Market. Regardless, I was told people had a good time sticking them all in the cake while decorating it, so it turned out fun in the end *grin*

For my sister’s wedding we are better prepared and I am going to do my darndest to arm Aunty Glenny with bold food colouring like the ones I saw on Baking Pleasures.

If you would like to go the cupcake way (like the second cake from Project Wedding), there are many cupcake bakers cropping up in good old Bombay these days. A very hunger-inducing glance through some Brown Paper Bag archives led me to these lovely folks:

~ SOS Cupcakes – for whimsy cupcakes

~ Dolce – for Luxe cupcakes

~ Recipe Mobile – for cupcakes and cheesecakes

~ Cake it Away – for creative cupcakes

And then again, there are professional bakers who specialize in wedding cakes like:

~ Joyce Fernandes – +912226423613 / +912226436805 / +919820139370

~ Desireé Cake Studio Р+912226454962 / +912226458998

~ Tart Cakes – they are not as dodgy as they sound (not unless you want them to) and they even make cupcakes

~ The Baking Tray

And if you happen to be a groom or bride who wants to go that extra mile for the aisle, try out something as novel as a cake baking class that allows you to take home the fruit of your labour. Reema Prasanna’s Bake You! not only provides you with an expert one-on-one baking session, but you also get to use her kitchen and equipment. For a couple that would like to make their wedding extra memorable (and have some time on their hands), I can’t think of a better way to do so than indulge in an activity like this!

So there you have it, my handy little guide to the best websites, spots and people to hit for a wedding cake in Mumbai and even in Vasai. Let me know if you know of any interesting ones. You could shoot me a mail at haellii at hotmail.co.uk or simply comment on this post.

In Need of a Wedding Gown?

The other day, I received a comment from Joyce – a bride-to-be in Mangalore. She ties the knot in a few months and is hunting high and low for Christian bridal gowns in Mangalore. If any of you people reading this are from Mangalore and know how to help her out, it would be highly appreciated.

An update: Buttercup, a reader, has kindly contributed a website that should be of help to brides looking for a bridal gown tailor in Mangalore. Visit Concetta Bridals to view the beautiful gowns up there.

I have never been to Mangalore, and know less about how weddings proceed out there. When I think about the difficulty in finding the right accessory, fabric, decor, caterer, etc. over here in Vasai and even in Mumbai, I wonder what Christian brides and grooms who are looking for all these things and more go about it in other parts of India.

I wore a bespoke gown for my wedding

Sure, we have the internet these days for everything, but some of the best wedding vendors out there are unlisted in wedding directories and barely a small fraction have websites of their own. This is very sad, as it would be of tremendous help to Christian couples looking for quick, affordable and quality solutions to their wedding if all these wedding vendors were listed somewhere on the Indian interwebs.

Christian brides in India almost always go for a bespoke bridal gown. Not many prefer vintage or second-hand gowns as they are viewed as hand-me-downs. A pity, since lace and fabric back then were divine as were some of the styles.

If you would not mind a second-hand or vintage wedding gown, I would suggest you try a place like David & Company in Dhobi Talao at Marine Lines, Mumbai. I remember a dreamy concoction of flowing pink lace fading into white I once came across out there. I wowed to wear a gown like that for my own wedding but yes, I eventually went for a simple number.

If you don’t find what you are looking for there, you could always ask them to direct you to other retailers who stock second-hand gowns. Do take a quick stroll down Crawford Market before you try elsewhere and pay close attention to the shops that line the start of the lane. They stock ready-made gowns and if you are lucky, you may find a seamstress who will agree to stitch one for you in a short time.

From what I hear, Inspirations, the bridal and floral accessories boutique at Amboli in Andheri West is another place that has recently started stocking ready-made gowns. The quality maintained at Inspirations is fantastic and along with a gown, you will find yourself stocking up on button-hole flowers, tiaras, corsages and some exquisite wedding jewelry.

Silver Pages, a Christian wedding information directory dedicated to listings of wedding-related services is another brilliant resource you can consult. I am not sure about their website, but I have been told that you can obtain a copy at Snehalaya at Mahim West in Mumbai.

If a trip to Mumbai is impossible, I would suggest you ask any women’s group in your local parish for pointers on the best bridal gown tailor in your area. Never doubt the solid information to be found in a group of women I say!

Failing that, I list down some excellent dressmakers abroad that you can check out if there is no other solution but to order a wedding gown online. These are Indian pocket-friendly, and I know of a few brides who have been happy with their gowns:

David’s Bridal

Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses

Once Wed

Be wary of purchasing a wedding gown from websites that offer wholesale wedding gowns or discount gowns as returns/alterations/shipping etc. could turn out to be a painful process. Unless you know of anyone who has made use of the service, it would be inadvisable to get a wedding gown via them.

Got Hitched, Hooked and so very Married!

January the 9th came and went in such a blur that Mel & I are still periodically *ahem* pinching ourselves just to check our married status.

Emulating the centrepiece Shawn Lewis made us

Every one who attended the Pereira-Almeida wedding exclaimed over how smooth it went, how perfectly planned it seemed to be and how wonderful both the receptions turned out to be. Every time I hear exclamations like these, I mentally cross myself/touch wood/offer up an Hallelujah.

Why? Because a bride who has been planning her wedding a year in advance knows no respite from stress. Take it as a skewed ‘Confuscious Says’, but there’s the truth for you!

Take the nuptial mass for instance. It was to be a bilingual mass with a majority of the celebration in English and the rest in Marathi. Everything fell into place 20 minutes before I had to join Melroy at the church.

The last offering (a house of thermocol that we simply couldn’t obtain at the last minute) and the gospel readings and the people to do the various readings and the person to organize all of this (Val) were all minute decisions that had me nearly hyperventilating right until the offertory got over.

I even had Mel bemused by my slightly crazed expression during mass!

The nuptial mass went beautifully nonetheless and the choir exceeded my expectations, which is something.

Then came the wedding car fiasco. An open top jeepney was what Mel & I had decided for a wedding car. It was to arrive on the wedding morning all sparkling clean and polished black.

It arrived in the afternoon, all muddy and looking anything but impressive. The ever-dependable Rosalyn assisted by Gursimran and Joel managed to transform the backup car (a purple Honda Civic) into a gorgeous wedding car 10 minutes before Mel and I had to leave for the reception venue!

But I must stop with the nerve-wracking things that went on during those few days. Simply thinking about them is enough to make me break into a cold sweat.

What matters is our families were with us. What matters is friends who stood by us. What matters is the bonds that were strengthened. What matters is the love that enveloped both the wedding houses in a warm caccoon for those few days and thereafter.

What matters is Mel & I got hitched. Finally. With all our flaws and thorns and ups and downs and yucks nd aarrghs, marry we did. And how!

For all of you who made it for the wedding and made it a night to remember and savor forever, thank you!

For all of you who couldn’t make it for whatever reasons, we missed you tremendously!

For all of you who I missed inviting, I’m truly sorry and hopefully by the time the next big celebration comes our way, we shall be able to enjoy your company.

Thank you for being such fantastic friends!