It used to be that the wedding card was always a shiny, golden rectangle with curly, red lettering inside and a smidgen of vermillion and turmeric on the envelope. Now, wedding card design is a small-scale industry. The choice of colours is unlimited, as is the range of paper – it could be anything from handmade to recycled.
Couples now spend quite a bit of time designing their cards, and are willing to spend a small fortune on them. Designers are all too happy to oblige. “The colours for this year are purple, green, magenta, orange and yellow,” says Sandhya Jhalani, designer and owner of Wrap Right. What clients want goes beyond designing the card; they want their cards to match the theme and colour of the wedding venue decor.
The basic requirement for most is solid-coloured cards with little metallic motifs and a readable font with a warm message. Add-ons depend on the budget: a box of sweets presented along with the card could contain mithai, dry fruits, Swiss chocolates or even cupcakes. Tastes have matured and people are no longer thrilled by the
staple gigantic ladoos in a red box. Sweet shop owners are tuned into the new preferences. “People want something new,” says Navjot Singh, director of Gopal Sweets, Punjab. “The last bridal season, it was more of sweets prepared only from dry fruits. Now, it’s more of baked, light-weight sweets, e.g. baklava (a flaky, layered pastry), dates with cashew fillings, almonds, chocolates… A new favourite is (sweets made of) marzipan, made with sugar and dry fruits.”
The wedding season now is huge for bespoke chocolate-makers, as a lot of young people want to move away from traditional, readymade fare. Flavours can be customised and chocolatiers are constantly striving to create new ones. Nuts and spices being among India’s top produce, they work best as fillers. “I plan to make chocolate ginger praline truffle and chocolate walnut fudge this wedding season,” says Vani Chohan of Blissful Delights.
Once you have chosen the card and the sweets, turn your attention to packaging. If it’s dry fruits, order tiny velvet or tissue drawstring bags (guthi) to wrap them in – it not only looks good but has a recycling value, too. Go quirky by choosing contrasting colours like lime green and fuchsia for the card and the bag and maintain the same motif on both. Use gota, tassels or sequins as detailing on the envelopes and baskets. “I like to work with satin, coloured stones, flowers and gold and silver embellishments on gift boxes,” says Anita Jain, owner of Wraps.
Amid all the creative activity, do remember what’s practical. Boxes for mithai must be layered with cellophane to retain freshness and avoid any stains. It’s advisable to have the inner surface of lightweight cardboard boxes covered with tissue or satin to ensure there’s no breakage of the sweets.
Cane baskets of exotic fruit could be wrapped in rich fabrics to match the theme of the function. Families are ready to hunt down the best of the imported lot from fruitmakets. The prettier the fruit, the better its chances of going into the hamper.
Unlike earlier days, where you would need to hire labour to wrap the fruit, popular fruitsellers keep gift wrapping material ready with them during the festive season and are quite professional with bridal basket packaging.
The use of fabrics such as net, brocade, raw silk, bandhini and leheriya – or a combination of these – allow you to make your invite as spectacular as possible. Additional trimmings of mirror work and baubles add to the glam. Naturally, the more extravagant the invite, the bigger the bill. “The costs can vary, but for a standard invite (card plus box), one should set a minimum budget of ` 500 per invite,” says Arti Mittal, trousseau packer, Occasions by Arti. Add to that the cost of whichever sweets you want to put inside the box and the invite could cost ` 1,000 apiece. Steep, yes, but then you only get married once.