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The Modern Bride

Here at Electric Karma, we believe in creating the perfect fusion of East and West, traditional and contemporary, old and new. More recently, many of our brides have chosen to forgo many of the traditional styles, embrace the fusion of two different cultures, and incorporate these ideas into their wedding day.  Over the years, we have worked with a large range of brides: from customary to classic to contemporary. Previously, we discussed the traditional bride.  This week, we asked our staff what makes up our EK Modern Bride. 

Unlike with the more traditional brides, the modern take has been to incorporate a wide variety of colors showcased in recent fashions.  For instance, instead of using the traditional rich shades of reds, brides sometimes lean towards pinks, peaches, and fuchsias for their wedding dress colors, which can be paired up with modern jewelry styles. Some brides even adopt the westernized culture of wearing a white wedding dress with hints of red and gold in the embroidery to balance out the best of both worlds.

As well, many of our brides who choose the Modern Bridal look like to mix their dresses with something considered in today’s culture as “Indo-Western Gowns.” These types of American-styled gowns are typically worn during a non-Indian or fusion wedding reception. One design making waves in the Bridal Wear market is the sari gown:  a long gown with gorgeous embroidered draping on one arm to create the soft, elegant flow of a sari.

On the concept of the modern bride: “Modern styles are always fun and exciting to work with. Recently, we have had so many wonderful opportunities to create such spectacular weddings for our more contemporary brides!” says Therese Cole Hubbs, Creative Director of Electric Karma.

For more ideas on contemporary Fashion styles, check out our EK Fashion Vendors on the Electric Karma website!

http://www.electric-karma.com/index.php/f2

The Modern Bride

Melton Photo Studio

The Modern Bride 2

Michael Ramos Photographer 

The Modern Bride 3

Kumari Photo

The Modern Bride 4

Biyani Photography

The One Where The Shoes Disappear

Fun and games have always been a crucial part of the typical Indian wedding. For centuries, Indians around the world have partaken in traditional celebrations of many forms, with plenty of regional varieties of festivities from Karnataka to Mumbai to Calcutta.

These traditions are fascinating because they create a perfect balance of light and entertaining reverly for the wedding couple, the families, and the guests. Electric Karma believes in sustaining the same cultural customs with our brides and grooms: our goal is to bring about the same cheer and joy to wedding ceremonies that generations of Indians have engaged in. One of the prevailing customs that continues to come up at almost every wedding across India is the stealing of the shoes game, also called ‘Joota Chupai’.

During the ceremony, the groom must remove his shoes to enter the Gurudwara or Mandap where the rituals and prayers take place. When this happens, the Bride’s sisters and cousins will steal the groom’s shoes and hide them.  Though the Groom tries to keep an eye out for his shoes, he makes sure that his wedding party will search for the shoes if they are stolen.  In order to retrieve his shoes, the Groom must try to find where they are hidden – or risk bargaining with his Bride’s sisters to give him his shoes back.

Sometimes, the games continue with activities like tug-of-war made of a dupatta (scarf) between the Bride and Groom’s wedding parties.  For the most part, the exchange of shoes results in the Bride’s family negotiating gifts and money out of the Groom.  This is also symbolic of acceptance by the Groom toward his sisters-in-law, promising to take care of them as a part of his new family. 

“It is always exciting to see our families enjoy the thrill of hiding the shoes and the excitement that takes place after when the shoes must be found.  It is a wonderful icebreaker between both sides of the family to enjoy the fun and games in the moment, as well as the joy and laughter for years to follow!” says Therese Cole Hubbs, founder and Creative Director of Electric Karma.

Shoes 1

Shoes 2

Shoes 3

Shoes 4

EK’s Secrets to Beautiful Skin!

Bollywood, India’s famous film industry, has had a big influence on Indian communities around the world.  Beautiful actresses grace the screen with their stunning skin and lustrous hair as they flawlessly move with poise in countless Bollywood films. Actresses, however, are known to take time to pamper, care, and treat their bodies with daily routines and skin treatments. Beauty routines are probably one of the most repetitive rituals in the lives of many Indian girls who grow up in a traditional Indian family. At an early age, we watch our moms, aunts, friends, and sisters age gracefully as they apply hints of makeup to enhance their features to another level. It is only when we begin the routine ourselves that we realize the extra work they put into cleansing their faces and bodies every day, in order to achieve that beautiful glowing skin underneath.

Even though so many of us grew up outside of India, we have not forgotten our roots when it comes to the special Indian skin remedies that remain in our family traditions. Generations of women before us used the same treatments that we use to create a flawless look, and these treatments are passed on to younger girls in the family. Today, the Electric Karma staff has put together their favorite tips, tricks, and recipes to pass on to our EK family, so we can help our brides achieve flawless skin for their big day!

1.  Besan & Yogurt Face Mask: Add 2 teaspoons of gram flour (also called Besan in India), 3 teaspoons of plain yogurt, and a few pinches of turmeric powder. A few drops of rose water can also be added to help balance the skin’s pH levels. Mix all of the ingredients to form a thick paste.  Spread over the face and let it dry for 20 minutes until dry. Wash off the mask with lukewarm water.  The gram flour will instantly brighten skin while yogurt will heavily nourish and soften the skin.

2. Oatmeal & Rose Water Mask: Grind red lentils, almonds (vitamin E from the nuts acts as a rich moisturizer to skin), and rice to a powder. Add mixture to a few spoons of oatmeal and rose water. Apply to the face and allow it to dry for 15 minutes.  Scrub off the mask with warm water. The exfoliation of the powder helps remove dead skin cells while the oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory components removes redness from the face. 

3. Haldi Mask: Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, a few teaspoons of milk, a couple of drops of almond oil, and 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour or gram flour if available. Apply as a mask and wash off when dry.  The antiseptic components in turmeric battles rosacea, acne, and any hyperpigmentation or scarring.

4. Coconut Oil and Sugar Body Scrub: Mix coconut oil, sugar, and 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender oil is great to add in due to the calming effects it has on skin inflammation or eczema. Mix ingredients and use as a body exfoliator during a shower. The roughness of sugar will remove old skin cells and the oils will moisturize and protect the fresh soft skin underneath.

These masks can be used once a week, beginning just a few months prior to to the wedding to adjust your skin to the treatments. At the very least however, simply make sure you are treating your skin hygienically: thoroughly clean makeup brushes to eliminate bacteria, cleanse and moisturize, and lead a generally healthy life. A hygienic routine is more than enough to maintain that beautiful skin for years to come!

 

AABrides

Big Fat Indian Wedding: A Crash Course on Planning a South Asian Wedding

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President and Creative Director of Electric Karma, Therese Cole-Hubbs, is speaking at the Event Solutions Catersource 2015 in Las Vegas this week. On Monday, her topic is "Big Fat Indian Wedding: A Crash Course on Planning a South Asian Wedding". The description reads as follows:

"The hottest trend in special events is the growing multi-million dollar industry of South Asian weddings. Attendees will learn the ins and outs of these grand affairs, from terminology to cultural nuances and everything in between. Learn from an expert in the field who has been working with this market for more than 30 years and find out what you need to know to meet the demands of this specialized and discerning clientele.

Therese has kindly shared with us a special Indian Wedding Packet. You can find it here!

Family Style Flair

“The power of food is really spiritual. It not only brings the whole family together on the same table, but also brings the whole world together,” says Vikas Khanna, a New York-based Indian chef who has won awards for his cooking. Known for his mastery of food, culture, and tradition in various cuisines, Mr. Khanna understands the inherent comfort food brings, and how it can bind families together in celebration. 

At our weddings, we at Electric Karma work to provide a variety of classy atmospheres for the couple and their guests to enjoy eating. Food stations, cuisine fusions, and assorted styles of serving are only a few areas of expertise. Many of our couples choose to pick a plated or buffet style when it comes to serving food, but a growing trend with our weddings has become the option of  “Family Style” dinners.

Rather than dealing with the long lines of a buffet or the expense of individual plated dinners, family style provides guests with the option to have food served to the table on Lazy Susans: rotating tables to assist in serving food. Many of our decorators are also on board with creating a gorgeous table for the wedding without taking away from the fun of eating family style.

So, what are the pros and cons of a family style dinner? To start, family dinners give the formal feel of various dishes served in a beautiful table setting, but it is not served as a traditional plated meal. There are two options available: full family service and partial. Our EK staff recommends partial service to accommodate vegetarians and non-vegetarians by providing three plated items and five bowls of various dishes at the table. The rotating tabletop of dishes becomes the centerpiece of the table, and our decorators work with us throughout the wedding process to create stunning acrylic Lazy Susans or beautiful centerpieces in the middle of round top tables to keep up with the gorgeous décor.  Also, families are able to bond and form memories at the table without having to constantly get up for more food.  The venue, however, is where the real expense can lie.  To avoid dishes clinking together or guests cramped at their table, larger linens and tables may work better for this specific style of food presentation. As a result, a larger venue may be needed to accommodate for the larger tables. Pricing can be impacted on the different styles of food whether it is plated, buffet, or Family Style.

According to Electric Karma Founder and Creative Director Therese Cole-Hubbs, “Each wedding has its own unique style to it. We keep in mind the budget, the vision, each special desire of the bride and groom, and make it happen.  Family style dinners works well for many of our couples to achieve the formal look while avoiding the lines and wait while still keeping to the spectacular aspect of the event.”

Electric Karma partners with some amazing and renowned caterers, who toil endlessly to bring that “pizazz!” to our weddings while catering to the preferences of the couple. 

Continues Hubbs: “Many of our creative catering options are tied into this special type of family style dinners creating the best food and atmosphere for the ultimate Desi wedding!”

Check out Plated vs. Buffet Blog and many Creative Catering options at the Electric Karma website for more ideas for your wedding! It’s never too early!

kumari photo

Kumari Photo

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Biyani Photography

MnMFoto

MnM Foto

 

http://www.electric-karma.com

Buffet vs. Plated Wedding Food

In Electric Karma’s 28 years, we have found one constant truth about the wedding planning process: the food must be amazing! Our team has collaborated with caterers all across the country to find the perfect food, and we have mastered the ability to provide each of our weddings with a unique, satisfying catering experience. Between elegant cuisine, regional variation, and cultural fusion, we have got you covered. More than simple taste of the food, we like to think about the holistic food experience at our weddings. For instance, we often have to visit an age-old wedding planning question… plated or buffet?

Perhaps the most appealing thing about a plated style is the presumption of formality of the event. Something about being served individually in a formal table setting – and avoiding buffet lines – seems to appeal to many guests. Not to mention, a plated style also allows guests to focus on dinner conversation and at their table or around them while they wait for their food to be served.  When we do have a plated catering experience at our weddings however, we often find that the more dietary restrictions there are for the guests, the more difficult it becomes to provide different plated options. This is one tradeoff of the plated style – you must make sure that there are some options for guests with dietary constraints. Though pricier, plated food tends to provide a uniform, formal experience for guests.

In a buffet style setting, it becomes much more convenient for guests to move around and find various food options (which is great for guests with dietary restrictions). If guests are vegetarian, vegan, or non-veg, a buffet style can cater to those guests.  Also, buffet is much more budget-friendly. While a buffet style often lacks the formality of a plated style, it provides a flexible, cost-cutting option for weddings.

Electric Karma works with amazing caterers such as Narin's Bombay Brasserie from Houston or Moghul's Catering in New Jersey who often travels with the EK team to produce these incredible culinary delights. Whether our brides and grooms go with plated style or buffet style, we at Electric Karma are experts at coordinating the best catering experience for each couple. We provide our brides, grooms, and families with the style they prefer on their special day.  Other options we provide are our exciting Pizazz Stations. From kulfi stations to salad and chai walls to chocolate fountains, EK’s creative catering can bring the excitement to your incredible day! 

Check out more about our Pizazz Stations here:

http://www.electric-karma.com/index.php/cc2

 

Kumari Photo

Photo: Kumari Photography

 

Biyani 1

Photo: Biyani Photography

 

Biyani 2

Photo: Biyani Photography

 

Biyani 3

Photo: Biyani Photography

 

 

Simply Sindoor 

 

For the past 28 years, Electric Karma has had the opportunity to create every type of Indian wedding, from obscure cultural rituals to traditional North Indian Hindu ceremonies to fusion-styled receptions. One important ritual that has existed in weddings in some form for the past 5,000 years and continues to be a part of our own EK weddings is the ceremony of Sindoordana. This is one of the most common traditions, in which the bridegroom adorns the bride’s hair part with sindoor, or vermillion powder. 

In the broad tradition of Hinduism, the significance of the groom gracing a pinch of vermillion powder on the bride’s head is symbolic of acceptance of the bride as the groom’s wife for seven lives.  In some communities, the bride’s mother-in-law will apply the sindoor on the bride as a sign of welcoming the bride into the family.

Traditionally, sindoor is red vermillion made up of turmeric, lime, and herbal ingredients. The vibrant red color of sindoor symbolizes power, while the vermillion is a symbol of the female energy. In ancient times, many goddesses in Hindu tradition were also known to have worn sindoor in their hair as a way of protecting their husbands.  All over the world, it is said that wearing sindoor will bring the goddesses protection over their husbands.

While sindoor plays a clear role in traditional Hindu wedding customs, it also has medicinal effects, similar to many other herbal based products used during wedding rituals (such as Mehndi). Red vermillion powder is made up of turmeric and lime, two components that have antibacterial properties. Another element in sindoor is mercury.  Mercury acts as a stimulant to ease any stress or pain and keep the brain waves active. As well, mercury tends to control the body’s blood pressure. It is fascinating to examine the medicinal effects of powders steeped in Hindu customs, and it makes us wonder if there is an ancient connection between ritualism and pragmatism.

Today, many modern brides would be seen wearing this lining of red powder in their hair part even with their western clothing.  With changing times, many brides choose to forgo wearing sindoor altogether on their wedding day, and choose to instead adorn their heads with it only on auspicious holidays. The day after the wedding, it is traditionally suggested the bride wear sindoor on her head as a way of bringing prosperity, protection, and good health in the future for the bride and groom.

 

Kumari Photography

(Kumari Photography)

Tomas Ramos Photographters

(Tomas Romas Photographers)

Michael Ramos Photography

(Michael Ramos Photography)

Electric Karma Wishes You Happy Holidays!

 

 

The holiday season is always a beautiful time of year. As the winter snows begin, we at Electric Karma have turned our thoughts to what the holidays mean for us. As much as we are excited about family time, presents, warmth, and vacations, we love the idea of winter weddings! 

 

Typically, Indian weddings have occurred during the later months of the year (depending on some regional variation). One reason is social: family tends to be together during the colder seasons. Constant changes in weather makes it difficult to get married in spring or summer months in India. As a function of stable weather, the majority of weddings tend to revolve around the cooler holidays seasons. Perhaps this is the reason that the later months of the year are seen as auspicious.

 

It is all about timing. Timing is not only important for the date of the wedding, but also for each prayer or ritual. The Pandit Ji, or Indian priest, will choose an auspicious date for the couple after prayers and a few rituals have been done.  Based on the results the Pandit Ji will find by matching the astrological signs of the bride and groom, the couple can decide on which date they would like to be married.

 

It is important to note that many of these astrological rituals are based in social pragmatism. Many of our EK brides like the later months to get married based on their own cultural preferences. The combination of the social and the cultural in choosing wedding dates is a fascinating aspect of Indian marriages.

 

It's important to remember the context of Indian weddings this holiday season. We at EK hope you can enjoy the beauty of a traditional Indian wedding this winter.

 

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Photo: Melton Photo Studio

 

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Photo: Melton Photo Studio

 

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Photo: Melton Photo Studio

 

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Photo: Tomas Ramos Photography

 

 

 

The Classic Bride

 

Indian weddings have been showcased all across the world with their incredible arrangement of colors and various ceremonies. These beautiful Indian wedding are unique in that they vary from the most traditional to the most modern, especially when it comes to fashion!

 

In today's Indian fashion world, we see Saris, Salwar Kameez, and Lehengas in various colors around the globe. These days, many of our own EK brides and grooms opt for a gorgeous fusion of tradition and modern twist. Here at Electric Karma, our staff is more than willing to show you each piece necessary to achieve that gorgeous yet simple look that pays homage to the traditional Indian bride.

 

Let’s start with the basics: traditional bridal clothing consists of a simplistic Lehenga or Sari. Very often, the colors of the attire consist of bright reds to signify prosperity and fertility (as does Mehndi!). However, many brides today choose to wear deeper shades of red to achieve that traditional look with a new touch.  While beautiful Sikh brides will also wear Salwar Kameez suits in lighter shades of red, some even wear peach tones (prevalent in the Punjab region of India) on the day of their wedding.

 

If the right attire is key to becoming a classic Indian bride, then it is the right assortment of jewelry that completes the look. Traditional bridal attire fits better with ethnic jewelry rather than with heavy embroidery on the actual Lehenga or Sari. Many Electric Karma brides have chosen to “go ethnic”, which includes heavy gem-stones with a gold foil between each stone (also known as “kundan”), a gorgeous deep red Lehenga, and stunning natural makeup. Our EK team is on call with each of our brides to achieve that perfect style.

 

Want this look? ­­­Call us to find out where we go to get this beautiful bridal style!

Kumari Photo

 Photo: Kumari Photo & Design 

 

Melton 2

Photo: Melton Photo Studio

 

Sen Wedding

Photo: DC Stanley Photography

 

melton photo studio

Photo: Melton Photo Studio

 

 

Chan! Chan! Choora! 

 

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While Indian bridal ceremonies vary from region to region, brides across these diverse traditions are often presented with their choora or “wedding bangles” on the morning of the wedding ceremony. Some of India’s oldest traditions call for the bride’s maternal uncle to present the bride with choora. The set of 21 bangles traditionally focus on red and white colors, but many of our Electric Karma brides opt to wear choora with intricate designs and jewels for a more modern, elegant look.  Most of our EK brides follow the traditions of wearing the bangles for 40-365 consecutive days. Brides wear choora for this time period as a cultural norm to signal their status as a newly married woman. In this way, it is comparable to the wearing of sindoor or mangala sutra. This tradition is also believed to bless the couple with prosperity and fertility through a purification process; the bangles are soaked in rosewater, milk, and rose petals before being adorned on the bride’s arms.  

 

Here’s an interesting fact about choora: the bride’s eyes are closed when the bangles are placed on her and then covered with a handkerchief. She doesn’t see her wedding choora until she is fully dressed as a bride, right before the ceremony!

 

“We make sure those few moments before the ceremony are filled with love, emotion, and care for the bride before she makes her final step to the beginning of her life of marital bliss,” says Electric Karma Creative Director, Therese Hubbs. Informed by this mission, the Electric Karma team works to adapt the most ancient and significant traditions to the modern bride.

 

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ELectric Karma- Choora