How the North-East wears wedding masks

From quirky hashtags to embroidery that matches the wedding dress, here’s how brides are taking the pandemic trend to another level

When Aakrita Gogoi and Rohan Choudhury decided to get married despite the pandemic, they wanted to add that bit of quirk to their wedding. “I plan to place orders of masks specifically for my bridesmaids with our wedding hashtag #AaRoh,” says the bride-to-be.

While Aakrita herself and Rohan will wear silk masks, she thought it was okay for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to wear variously coloured-masks of velvet because, “The latter, being machine-washable, is easier on the pocket with a difference of around ₹400 per mask (silk ones cost about ₹1,000) and therefore more feasible to order in a greater quantity. Besides, silk masks would surely make the bride and groom stand out!”

Priyanka Das, designer at the Guwahati-based Jyoti & Kashmiri, who recently received a similar order for the first time, says, “Customers are now asking for varied customisations with a special touch for the couple’s near and dear ones. For instance, one mask says Dulhe ka Bhai.

In May this year, wedding masks became a segment in Northeast India when a video of an Assamese bride wearing a dainty off-white silk mask with gold embroidery and dangling glass beads received much attention online, garnering 1.3 million views within 20 hours on TikTok.

Guwahati-based Nandini Borkakati who made the mask says, “The bride specifically asked for a paat-silk mask to go along with her mekhela sador,” the traditional white and gold wedding attire in Assam.

The material used for making wedding masks varies according to the specific wedding attire of the Northeastern states. So while paat masks are popular for the Assamese bride and groom, neighbouring Meghalaya witnesses a greater demand for cotton masks.

Abigail Kaizun, owner of the Shillong-based Kaizun Couture says, “Keeping protection and design both in mind, we use three layers of cotton along with a topmost layer of tulle for embellishments.” White and ivory-coloured masks are favoured here too, to match the wedding gown. “We have versatile designs for the bride to choose from, in lace, pearl, and crystal beading in tandem with the detail of the attire,” adds Abigail.

Most local boutiques now provide their brides and grooms with such masks as an add-on to their wedding attire. A few customers choose to also focus on the safety of the entire wedding party amidst a pandemic. “I have recently received a bulk order of 200 masks in varied colours with a standard design for the entire guest list,” says Nandini.

With a vaccine still months away, most believe masks will continue to be a staple even at weddings. “Masks are here to stay till at least for the first few months of 2021,” she says, judging by orders already received. “More creative, quirky masks are in order!” adds Priyanka.


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