It’s the day you’ve dreamed of – and whether you are in a suit or sarong, flowing gown or saree —  it is important that you look your best on your wedding day.  This week we set out to find how our choices of wedding attire have adapted to the evolving trends in the fashion [...]


Looking their best on their big day

Concluding our two-part article on modern day weddings, Sashini Rodrigo and Ruqyyaha Deane look at changing trends in traditional attire

Sophistication with old world charm:Bridal designs by iBride

It’s the day you’ve dreamed of – and whether you are in a suit or sarong, flowing gown or saree —  it is important that you look your best on your wedding day.  This week we set out to find how our choices of wedding attire have adapted to the evolving trends in the fashion industry.

Bridalwear designer Purnima Abeyratne who has been creating bridal looks for 19 years observes that many brides now go for a Modern Kandyan incorporating their own styles into the traditional outfit.

“When designing a bridal I give preference to the bride’s own requirements of what she likes, traditional, modern or something in-between, keeping in mind what will suit her the best. My goal is to have each bride shine on her special day,” she shares.

Influences from contemporary European fashion are seen in her designs as brides ask for plunging necklines, variations in sleeves, a longer and layered ‘pota’ instead of its customary three folds and floor length. Light, transparent fabrics such as lace, tulle, chiffon and net are now in vogue instead of the heavier brocades, handlooms and embroidered silks of yesteryear.

Kandyan brides are usually adorned with the mala hatha, nalal patiya, ira handa pendants for the hair and other traditional jewellery but today many opt for only the nalal patiya and the first three chains worn alongside modern jewellery.

Many brides also forego the elaborate updos to simply let their hair down or keep it in an elegant low chignon, pinned in place with a few clips, with flowers or crystal embellishments woven in.

Asanka de Mel took the humble sarong into something modern, cutting edge and contemporary with his ‘Lovi Ceylon’ brand and has now turned his sights on the Kandyan Nilame outfit worn by the groom.

Wanting to honour the Sri Lankan cultural identity on milestone days like a wedding, the Nilame is given a fresh, modern look, the 7 to 15-piece outfit simplified into three pieces: the Nilame Jacket, long sleeve shirt, and Nilame sarong (See Magazine cover).

“With our updated designs, I hope to spark excitement about our roots, to foster confidence about our island home, and help usher in our traditional clothing into modern times,” says Asanka.

Traditional elements such as handloom fabric are retained while also bringing in pockets, belts, and lining, which are “the things you need for a life in motion.”

At iBRIDE Bridal Lounge by Indi Yapa Abeywardena, designer Indi affirms that the most noticeable change in bridal wear would be moving from traditional Kandyan bridals to modern.

With the modern Kandyan, Sri Lankan weddings and bridal outfits are moving to a new level of sophistication without losing their old world charm, she feels.

Light fabrics in vogue: Bridal wear by Purnima Abeyratne

70 percent of her clientèle consists of brides having a destination weddings in Sri Lanka or Lankans from overseas coming back to get married here.  These brides who are more exposed to a wider fashion industry are not afraid to try new things; styled silhouettes, lace and fabrics. They are open to new ideas  and at iBRIDE, current global fashion trends, the latest French lace, Italian charmeuse silk to embroidered organza from India are incorporated to create the perfect bridal outfit.

“Our design style is something we like to keep fresh with each bride and do it as a team with the bride. At the end of the day, it’s the bride’s big day, and she needs to feel comfortable in what she wears, she needs to feel beautiful in the design, she has to fall in love with it,” shares Indi.

The shift is in bridal make-up too. Make-up artist Jeeshan Umar of Beauty Dosage tells us that modern make-up is “truly without rules, boundaries or guidelines.”

A recent trend has seen rose gold and burgundy tones on the eyes, the new ‘nude’ in make-up— as opposed to traditional looks that paired soft smokey eyes, winged liner, kohl on the lower lash line with either a mauve, deep maroon or nude lip.

Now, the bold eye looks are often enhanced with glitter and a complementary lip colour. The look is finished by a ‘bridal glow’ – a dewy skin finish that emulates a radiant glow from within.

For the ultimate bridal accessory, Director of Petals Hashantha Ariyarathna tell us that brides are now leaning towards simpler bouquets that are more innovative –very different from “the traditional teardrop tight bouquets.” The difference is based on the shape, look, colours and even different flowers used — a big change from the traditionally heavy, predominantly white flower bunches.

“The aspect of a bouquet solely depends on the outfit of the bride, so according to the outfit the bouquet can vary from minimalistic to extravagant.”

Whatever style or aesthetic you pick, the experts all agree the couple should aim to look their best without sacrificing their comfort and personal vision for their big day.



Bridal designs by iBride

Make-up by Jeeshan Umar, Beauty Dosage

Going trendy: Asanka de Mel (centre) with models in LOVI Ceylon wedding attire

Bridal designs by iBride


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