Pardon the title, I couldn't resist a sari-related pun. It's just too easy.
I attended a Sikh wedding ceremony on Saturday which gave me the excuse to try something new - purchase and learn how to put on a sari!
I headed up to Devon Avenue, a street in the northern neighborhoods of Chicago that contains an area known as "Little India." Authentic restaurants, businesses and clothing stores that take you to another lifestyle for a few blocks. After checking out a few reviews on yelp.com (a goto resource when you aren't sure where to go and who to give your business to), I entered India Sari Palace and asked for help in finding something to wear to the upcoming ceremony.
They helped me pick out a sari and also gave me a crash course in how to wear it. The purchase included a petticoat skirt to wear underneath, the long sari fabric and the blouse. I purchased a ready-made blouse as I thought this would be easier than having the tailor make one from scratch from the material that you could have also purchased, however, I failed to realize how much smaller I am than the "one-size-might-fit" top I bought. The recommended tailor, whose shop was just down the street, took one look at me and one look at the blouse and started laughing. Before I could say anything else, he measured me quickly and took a pair of scissors to the blouse - so much fabric had to go I basically was starting from scratch anyways!
Once I got it home, and having instantly forgotten how the shopkeepers showed me how to put on the sari, I took to youtube to show me the way. I watched a few helpful videos and found a good illustration of the process. A few tries later I was pretty sure I had it down. Of course, the result was gold glittery sparkles all over the place and two cats who thought their new game was "chase the fabric Lydia is pulling around the room."
The trick is in the pleats that you tuck into your underskirt - so that is how you get yards of fabric to a manageable size! Here's a video to get you started.
Morning of the wedding and I got it down in two attempts. Add to the outfit some dangly earrings and bangles I already owned and voila -
The wedding was for Bob's co-worker, it was wonderful to be able to experience the ceremony and learn a little bit about the Sikh customs. I especially liked the tradition of the meeting of the families and exchange of gifts. The bride and groom's fathers meet in the middle and shake hands, then the mothers, the grandfathers and so on. Although I was not quite sure what happens if one side does not have the same representation. Perhaps you can put in a pinch hitter?
We then headed upstairs to the ceremony as the vows and hymns are recited and the bride is introduced. From http://www.searchsikhism.com/marriage.html: