Walthamstow Wedding

Walthamstow Wedding

How amazing is this photo? I was walking Ella in Epping Forest, wandered past a copse of trees and saw – this! The wedding photo to end all wedding photos.

Long-term readers will know that I have no shame. I scurried over and asked permission to snap away on my iPhone then meekly begged to share the photos on my sewing blog. ‘My readers will love it,’ I pleaded. Yes, I used you as emotional blackmail.

I didn’t want to impose myself any more than I already had, which means I know nothing about the cultural details behind these wedding outfits. Can you help? Will you enlighten me? I’m desperate to know more.

This is what I love about living in East London – the diversity. It’s not all jellied eels, you know. (Though if you want to know more about jellied eels, read this blog post from one of the most venerated London blogs around. The story has a Walthamstow link. And there’s a photo of Joan Rivers. What more could you ask for?)

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33 Responses to Walthamstow Wedding

  1. Lucym808 says:

    Wonderful! For starters: do you know if they were Muslim or Sikh? If Sikh I have a teeny tiny insight as my husband is Sikh (albeit it utterly lapsed, if such a thing exists). The clothes will be from India, bought by the groom’s mother. Women are married in red, but I don’t know why. Black at a wedding is considered bad luck but I don’t know whether white signifies anything. All the bride’s bling will be from the groom’s mother.

    If the couple are Muslim I’m afraid I can’t enlighten you, but know people who could if you really wanted to know! What a fabulous sight to come across in Epping Forest though. The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me there was falling off my bike!

  2. Monica says:

    Please feel free to always use us as emotional blackmail. This picture itself was completely worth it!

  3. Indian weddings are the most amazing parties. I had the opportunity to not only attend one but get completely dress to character

  4. No insight, but how stunning! And what a magical sight to just randomly bump into on a walk.

  5. Sabs says:

    Lovely photo! Did you ask their names – that way it would be easier to figure out the religion. I would guess maybe Muslim as it looks like the bride has long sleeves added to the top which would be considered more modest…however, I wore short sleeves at my wedding!! It’s traditional to wear red but not set in stone. I was adamant that I WASN’T going to wear red – until I fell in love with a deep red dress! (See mg blog for photos)

    The dress is called a lengha, usually a skirt and top, heavily embroidered. Gold is a must! The tradition states that the groom’s family gives the bride the jewellery she wears on her wedding day. Also they would normally pay for her outfit too. I didn’t stick to this as my in laws are white (sorry, Caucasian if I’m being pc) so I wore the jewellery that my mum wore on her wedding day and payed for my own dress AND for my husband’s! Oh yeah, that’s called a kurta (difficult to explain how that’s pronounced – sort of kurrrrd-ta with rolling r)

    Hope that helps! Ask if you want to know any more!

  6. What a stunning photo! The grandeur of the outfits and the contrast of the background reminds me of the famous Gainsborough painting, Mr and Mrs Andrews: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/thomas-gainsborough-mr-and-mrs-andrews
    I can’t imagine how long it must have taken the makers to add on all that decoration. I assume much of it must be hand stitched? Couture perhaps? Makes me regret my plain old ivory wedding dress.

  7. sew2pro says:

    I think it’s a Bangladeshi wedding. A lovely photo, thanks for nosing in and sharing 🙂

  8. I love walking Little One in Epping Forest but I have never seen such a wonderful sight, thanks for sharing the photo and being cheeky enough to ask for it in the first place.

  9. Whoa you shot that on the iphone? it’s a great photo! Now…can we talk about jellied eels?!? When did you first eat them? Do you eat them regularly? sorry for these silly unBritish questions 😉
    I will still read you blog even if you say you eat them for breakfast!

  10. Fi says:

    Now that is an EPIC wedding dress! Beautiful.

  11. Becky says:

    If you blow it up a bit, you notice her henna tatoos on her hands, and what’ with his sword? Surely these 2 details would narrow it down? Also, I know that her nose ring is not unusual in an Indian wedding, but is it religion-specific?

  12. Philipppa says:

    This couple look so fine! Regal really. I am in awe of the work that has clearly gone into these outfits. Btw, is that a sword the groom is carrying?

  13. lisa g says:

    no insight here, but the outfits are stunning! thanks for nosing in and snapping a pic!

  14. sewmanju says:

    Did you know that traditionally the grooms initials would be hidden somewhere amongst the intricate henna design on the brides hands and it was considered part of foreplay on the wedding night for the groom to search for them? Blush…

  15. sewsable says:

    That is absolutely stunning!

  16. Stephanie says:

    Gorgeous photo. And how amazing is the fabric. We are lucky here in Australia too with our diverse culture as well. I wonderful isn’t it?

  17. Jo says:

    I loved reading that post on Tubby Isaacs, so interesting! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. cristina says:

    I don´t think they are muslims…I would go for India or Pakistan. The noserings and the sword make me think of Rajhastan. I´ve been to India twice, one of them in a wedding in Calcuta. I wore a beautiful sari I keep with passion. It´s gorgeus!

  19. Jan says:

    This is definitely not muslim as my daughter married a muslim and has converted to Islam. Although she wore the red skirt and top heavily embroidered with gold and had henna drawn on her hands the rest of the outfit including the bride`s head dress are not muslim. I believe they might be sikh.

  20. 1107nikki says:

    Wow! Amazing colours. The fabrics are so rich. It almost puts a Christian wedding to shame. I’ve no idea where they’re from though, wish I could help.
    As for your jellied eels, cockles, etc you can keep them! My Nan and Dad loved them (Nan was a Cockney so I’ll let her off!)

  21. S says:

    What the guy is wearing falls under the general category of kurta-pajama- kurta being the top part of the outfit and the pajama the bottom. The pajama is a draw-string pant (or trousers for UK readers). The kurta is simply a long tunic top, with a button placket at front for 3 buttons, while you simply slip the whole thing over your head. You could have basic kurta-pajamas as home-wear or night-wear outfits, which would be a very plain, simple blue or white cotton, or it can be as elaborate as you want it to be for the occasion. In this case, the specific top he is wearing is a sherwaani. This is typically closer-fitted, collared, and fully buttoned up or hooked from the front. Lots of embroidery detail and sometimes even bead-work. As a wedding outfit, you’d try and match some of the colors on the embroidery or beads with the bride’s outfit, which is not too difficult since the bride will be wearing jewel-colors anyway. Black and white are both considered inauspicious colours for the bride- both being funeral colors. The only exceptions are white pajamas and white dhotis worn by men, because that is the traditional outfit for them. A dhoti is a 5m or 8meter length of cotton or silk, which is draped at the waist and tucked in (no pins or buttons or hooks anywhere) to form either a wrap-around skirt-like version or even something that looks like pajamas. (youtube has videos on how to wear a dhoti). Typical to wear a turban in North Indian weddings.Swords are also common among some communities (Kshatriyas and Sikhs)

    The woman is wearing what seems to be a ghaagra-choli aka lehengaa-choli, where the ghaagra/ lehenga is a full-length skirt and the choli is a close-fitted blouse. But looking closely at the picture, it seems to be a dress rather than a skirt-blose combination, so think it’s actually a sharaara, which is like an empress-dress, but usually involves wearing a long skirt or very wide-bottomed pajamas under it as well. Wedding dresses are typically red (in North India) as it is considered an auspicious colour, but it is usually any jewel-colour. I don’t think the sleeves have been separately added- the cuff design and the fabric all seem to match up. You wouldn’t normally find sleeveless wedding dresses anyway. It would take forever to do all that embroidery required. There does seem to be a lot of applique work involved with velvet. She seems to be wearing a turban-like head-gear, although that would be her own chose of hairstyle for the day. But North Indian brides would wear a dupatta, i.e. a veil, which matches the dress. If you try to buy a salwar-kameez fabric set, you’d get 3 pieces- one for the top i.e. kamees, one for the bottom i.e. the salwar aka pajama and one for the dupatta. You’d just have to do a fine roll-hem on two ends of the dupatta. With a salwar-kamees, you’d just wear the dupatta like a super-long scarf around the neck or over the shoulders, but as part of a wedding outfit, it is draped over the head.

    The dress seems to have bust darts, and although it gives the look of an empress-dress, you could easily make the dress by starting with a simple fitted dress, with bust darts, go with a shorter waist, add a full panelled skirt (this will be easier than making a circle skirt and need less fabric), ad a chiffon or georgette overlay or even a lace overlay, which is attached fully at the waist, but do not sew down the entire front seam, so it stays loose and open, as you can see that at the front hip-line, the overlay fabric opens up. It is possible to buy wedding dress appliques by the meter. Dress need only be as expensive as the material you buy.

    Gold is a must in weddings. Gold is traditionally considered to be ‘stree-dhan’ i.e. ‘woman’s wealth’. Traditionally, as women’s role was considered to be in the house, she did not have any income-earning potential, so she was given gold by her family, and some gold as a wedding gift by her in-laws, which was seen to belong to her, something that she could use in an extreme emergency. So, a man who used his wife’s jewellery to raise funds would have to be in a really deep financial trouble and his wife could refuse to lend him her jewellery to pawn or sell.

    Henna is also typical in North Indian (including Punjabi) weddings and is becoming more popular across the country. One of your other readers already mentioned the in-joke of writing the groom’s name or drawing a portrait of the couple with henna. The groom also wears a little henna, even if it is just a little colored-in circle of henna in the centre of his palm.

    That’s it from me for now, and now I’ll go back to lurking…

  22. gingermakes says:

    Wow, what stunning dress! Looks like a lovely day for a wedding!

  23. Joanne says:

    They look amazing! Well done for asking for a photo, I bet they were chuffed! I’ve only every come across mad mountain bikers and scary wildlife in Epping Forest, and thats on a good walk!

  24. Fantastic blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
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    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
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