In thinking about attending Elodie and Shubham’s wedding, the most important thing to Miwa and I, rightly or wrongly, were outfits! We had planned to go shopping on our first day in Delhi, before our travels around the country. We were kindly advised by Elodie that we could pick out our materials and get measured for our outfits, so they could be stitched and ready for us on our return to New Delhi for the wedding after our gallivanting. We were very chuffed with this.
As our departure dates crept ever closer, we started to do some research on where to shop. Youtube was (as always) an excellent resource, and Desigirl traveller became our main guide through the city of New Delhi on where best to shop. We found, the ultimate bridal wear destination to be Chandi Chowk, but to our horror, this famous market was closed on the day we intended to shop – Sunday. To add insult to injury, rumours of Lehengas taking 15 – 20 days to stitch began emerging from online research and friends on the ground. It was at this point, that we started freaking out.
We hit our respective panic stations, I started trying to find a spot in my packed schedule that I could get to East London to see if I could get an outfit on this side. Whilst Miwa started exploring options online to see if she could get something delivered to her in Japan, or at one of our hotels in India prior to the wedding. Desperate measures were considered. I repeat, we were freaking out.
Ultimately though, after many frantic voice notes back and forth, we concluded, we were in this together. We would get there and shop together. Whatever would be, would be; and that was it. We travelled with that in mind, and my goodness I am so glad that we did, because within 7ish hours, we had everything we needed. Jewellery, two sarees and a Lehenga each. We got it all in Lajpat Nagar and not at a price that broke the bank either. We were very happy.
We hopped an Uber from The Claridges to Lajpat Nagar – Uber being our trusted transport throughout the trip. We fortunately had the chance to meet up with some of Elodie’s friends that night before and have dinner together. They had told us about their experience shopping, and that they’d found all they needed in one shop. We hoped we could be as fruitful!
Lajpat Nagar – which we only sampled a segment of – was bright, colourful and full of life. Everything you could ever want to buy, you could find on sale here. Sarees, Lehengas, plants, shoes, dishcloths, dupattas, appliances, food. You name it, someone’s selling it.
The ethnic wear shops were typically long and narrow. When you entered, you’d either need to go up or down a flight of stairs to see the lehengas/sarees. Of all the stores we went to, we primarily had to descend. Whenever we did, there were enough men to make a two boybands sitting cross legged on plush benches looking back at us.
The walls behind them, and surrounding us all, were shelves, stacked high with bright patterned material. As soon as we were offered a seat by one boyband member, the rodeo began. Fabric of all colours being unravelled and laid out in front of us for for us to pick from. We’d ask for yellow, and be shown blue and green. Ask for green, you’ll be met with purple and red. Don’t see anything that tickles your fancy and try to leave, and you’ll be buried in more material. Before long, the reams of fabric piled on top of each other, becoming a sea of glittery chaos that we felt like we were drowning in.
After repeating this process in a few different shops, we became much more decisive on what it was we liked and didn’t like. A head-clearing lunch break at Sagar Ratna later, we returned to the market full of steam, and ready to close the deal!
When we got back to The Claridges, many many hours later, we laid out our loots, and had our first try ons!
We both declared that our favourite shop of the day had to be Sangam’s due to its beautiful bright interior and wonderfully friendly knowledgeable staff. We spent the least amount of time in this store, as when we asked for a colour we were presented with that colour, instead of shown a hundred others. The staff member that attended to us, I feel like might have even been a bit psychic, as he found us both our dream sarees on the first try. I asked for a mustard yellow, and he brought three over. He suggested one to try first, and that was the one for me. For Miwa, quite similar, she had a few more options to choose from, but one of the first she had tried on ended up being the one. 5 stars for Sangam’s!
A very close second store favourite for me was Roop Mandir. The staff were all very friendly, and let us wait there for about an hour towards the end of the day as I awaited my Lehenga. This rest-bite was much needed once our feet couldn’t take it anymore.
So, if you are in the area and needing to do some shopping, I say head to these stores first!
Whilst we were quite exhausted by the day’s end, we were delighted to have sorted all our wedding shopping in one day. All of that pre-holiday worry had been for nothing. But hey, everything’s clearer in hindsight isn’t it?