The Anatomy of an Indian Bridal Trousseau
We’re excited to share an incredible behind-the-scenes look at the ceremonies, traditions, and jewelry of an Indian-Catholic Wedding, with Tania Kottoor. Tania gave us insight into the designing and planning process of her own wedding in Antigua, Guatemala. This feature includes a combination of Tania’s own writing and her responses to some of our interview questions, diving deeper into some of her choices, paired with stunning images from the ceremonies. We hope you enjoy Tania’s story.
Mylanchi Day, also know as Henna Night, is about the Beautification of the Bride.
The Bride’s first Mylanchi outfit features Moti jewelry with clusters of tiny ivory pearls riveted in plated gold. The staple Kerala jhumkas, maang-tika, bracelets, nose ring and anklets were hand-selected to complete the regal look.
All of the pieces for this look are from Mahira Jewels, except for the bangles, which were sourced from markets throughout Delhi.
Future Heirloom: Why is jewelry such a significant part of the wedding ceremonies?
Tania Kottoor: The jewelry that you buy your daughter for her wedding day goes to her and her future household. They’re investment pieces that turn into treasured family heirlooms.
Outfit 2 for Mylanchi Day shown above. Each gold-washed metal ear cuff has five dangling strings adorned with semi precious sapphire stones, as well as crystals at the end of each string. This was a custom piece by Mahira Jewels, detail shots are below.
FH: Could you give us some insight into your personal feelings about the jewelry? Why was it important to you to select what you did?
TK: For the first Mylanchi outfit, the clustering of the pearls was a very specific design from South India and it was very difficult to source in North India. It took me days and days to find exactly what I wanted, but I wanted to make sure my entire outfit evoked my South-Indian heritage. For the second Mylanchi outfit, it was more of a contemporary design to reflect my personal style. I like to play with feminine and androgynous silhouettes. The second outfit along with the ear cuffs reflected that juxtaposition.
Knanaya Catholic Ceremony
For the Knanaya Catholic Ceremony, the Bride wore natural Colombian emeralds in the form of drop earrings and a ring. Both were custom-designed in Brooklyn, NY at Emerald Gem Exchange with owner Siva Muthiah. The creation of these pieces took about six months. The Bride selected the stones from various sourced emeralds and approved the final mold before the ring was created.
For the ring, a 4.36 carat natural Colombian emerald cut emerald was set into a sculptural platinum band that curves around the emerald center stone, surrounded by VS diamond melee. The drop earrings worn by the Bride are natural emerald cut Colombian emeralds, 2.69 carat fused with 18K white gold and surrounded by VS diamonds.
FH: In South Asian culture, do brides typically seek out custom jewelry for the wedding, or were you looking to create more unique looks?
TK: Normally brides go to a jewelry store to try on jewelry and see what best suits them and their overall look. Since it’s such a huge expense, jewelry shopping is typically a family affair. At times, jewelry is gifted by the in-laws. Customization is an extension of someone’s personality and I wanted that to be shown through every aspect of the wedding. I took time to conceptualize and design mood boards and sketches of 75 outfits and 6 jewelry pieces. I truly believe bespoke services are the future.
Emerald is known as “The Royal Gem,” to the Maharajas (Kings) and Maharanis (Queens) of India, where jewels are an important part of the nation’s history. The Mughal Emperors who ruled India, meticulously carved Emerald stones for settings into rings, turban ornaments, heavy bib necklaces, and encrusted the handle of daggers. The Vedic scriptures of India associate the emerald with marriage and hope. Emerald is also the symbol of love and fidelity, as well as a powerful emotive symbol of status and power.
During the Knanaya Catholic Ceremony, Tania’s husband ties a Thaali, a pendant with a cross, a symbol of Christianity, on a gold medallion shaped like a heart, shown above and below.
TK: The cross on the Thaali is made with 21 minute buds. My mother-in-law bought it during her trip to Kerala, India. I requested white gold pendant with 21 diamonds. After the wedding, I added the Thaali to a very thin platinum chain for everyday wear.
The number 21 is the result of 3X7 = the trinity (the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit) + seven sacraments. The threads to tie the Thaali around my neck are taken from the “Manthrakodi (silk sari).” Seven pieces of threads are taken and they are folded into three. This signifies three persons of the trinity and seven sacraments. The husband ties the thaali on the neck of the bride. This kind of knot is known as male knot (Aankettu) symbolizing the stability of marriage. The Thaali is considered to be the most prestigious token of love offered to her by her husband during the ceremony.
Knanaya Catholic Reception
For the Reception, the Bride wore 22 karat yellow gold from ear to wrist. A carved “Rose” set which included a choker necklace, ear studs, and a bracelet. The set, seen below, was hand-crafted in Raipur, India by local artisans. These pieces took about three months to create, due to its intricacy.
FH: We know you followed the custom of “Something borrowed, something blue…” when selecting your jeweler. Tell us more!
TK: I followed the emerald route for my “Something New,” which consisted of emerald drop earrings plus a gold choker, studs and a bracelet. The “Something Blue,” would be the sapphire beaded ear cuffs. My “Something Borrowed” was my grandma’s marquise ruby ring, which was partnered with my mother’s wedding sari that I had repurposed into a strapless gown. This was so important to me, because it connected 3 generations of women in one look.
Shown below: “something borrowed,” a marquise ruby ring from the Bride’s grandmother.
Our sincere thanks to Tania Kottoor for sharing this stunning jewelry story with us and congrats on your nuptials! Please visit Tania’s website here.
Text, quotes, and images provided by Tania Kottoor, edited by Jackie Andrews.