• Ajay Manaktala

Best Indian Bridal Designers 2020 | Wedding Fashion

Updated: Jun 28

Mehendi, Sangeet, Ceremony or Reception designers, we got you covered.

Indian bridal fashion can be an intimidating experience. 


There are:

  • hundreds of designers,

  • various Bollywood favorites,

  • celebrity models and endorsements

  • uneducated consumers who are psychological prey for merchants

  • fabrics, latest styles and trends to know (minimal, traditional, elegant) that can change overnight

  • some of the highest costs in bridal across any wedding industry

  • and even Instagram handles dedicated to calling out copycats in the Indian fashion industry.


Mumbai and Delhi have some of the top fashion designers in India, and other cities are also dominating the international bridal market.


It may even make sense for an NRI bride or groom to simply pay extra to buy their outfit in Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, Singapore or New York given the lead times and travel to secure a designer saree by Manish Malhotra or whoever.


Combine that with the stress of planning your big fat Indian wedding, social media, Instagram and Pinterest...what’s a dulhan to do?


I decided to simplify it for you.

 

Who are the most popular Indian fashion designers? The best Indian bridal designers for weddings in 2020 are:

  1. Anita Dongre

  2. Sabyasachi

  3. Manish Malhotra

  4. Gaurav Gupta

  5. Ridhi Mehra

  6. Jinashili

  7. Anamika Khanna

  8. Amit Aggarwal

  9. Suneet Varma

  10. Tarun Tahiliani

  11. Arpita Mehta

  12. Shantanu Nikhil

  13. Falguni shane peacock

  14. Abujani sandeep Khosla

  15. Rohit Bal

Every Indian fashion brand has their own unique style and flare for looks they’re known for, and each has high end collections and mid-range collections. 


Some are massive with locations in any major city, some are strictly on Instagram and custom order only.  Shopping in India for wedding outfits can also be it's own adventure!


Which one is the Sabya?

Some are bridal designers for women, some do both men and women, and some say they do wedding designs yet have just ten percent for the men. 


They’re so many tips and tricks for looking unique and gorgeous during your big day (HINT: more money doesn’t mean you’ll look better) that I’ve decided to explain all the factors that make each designer stand out. 


Remember: Just because a designer is expensive does not mean they’re better! Do a blind test with your friends (e.g. send them images without designer names on them) and see which ones they like! You’d be surprised how your mind biases your senses based on supermodels, photoshop, makeup and Instagram likes!

What To Wear to an Indian Wedding?


If you’re an Indian bride from Delhi or Bangalore or Mumbai, chances are you already know about anarkalis, kurtas, lehengas, sherwanis, jodhpuris and all of the usual Indian wedding clothes.  


We have a full guide on what to wear to an Indian wedding for first time guests, including your Mehendi and Sangeet with reference outfits in all ranges.  


We also have a full guide on how much Sabyasachi Outfits cost in dollars. 


However, if for example you’re an NRI bride or not familiar due to background with Indian tailoring and textiles, go ahead and also get up to speed reading that and come back here.  


Paresh Lamba is not in our list (only men) but great for Bangalore grooms who do tuxedos.

It’s very important you’re up to speed and the basics of Indian fashion so when you do go into these shops you aren’t intimidated and get caught up and make a costly mistake!


You know how when you’re buying a car the dealer might sneakily ask you about a $1200 sound system at the end, and because you’re caught up in the moment you’ll say yes? Then you’ll get home and realize you just wasted that money because it was totally not required and also super overpriced?  


Indian luxury designers are known for doing the same thing! So get educated! 


Amazon USA Kurta outfit for a Mehendi for a guy who's 5'8 and 165-175 pounds

Amazon USA Sangeet Outfit for a guy 5'8 who is also 165-175 pounds.

Amazon USA: Simple Ladies outfit for Mehendi

Amazon USA: Beautiful Outfit for Sangeet or Reception for Female Guests


Top Indian Fashion Designers for Bridal Attire


Here are 15 of our favorite (and some very famous) fashion designers from Mumbai and Bollywood, Delhi, Hong Kong, Calcutta and everywhere in between. 


REMEMBER: EACH DESIGNER IS GREAT AND NOBODY WILL KNOW "WHO YOU'RE WEARING" EXCEPT YOU!


1. Anita Dongre


Instagram


Every mall and major shopping area in India has an Anita Dongre showroom.  As a result, she’s moved beyond super high end designs to the mid-range market as well including frocks and gowns.  Her stuff is for upper middle class Indian brides who want something gorgeous but not crazy over the top.



A step above minimal and a few steps down from insanely royal and heavy, she’s a great choice depending on the lehenga or sari you choose. 


A fan of pastels (who isn’t?) and breezy outfits is one way to describe her lines.  They do have an elegant Jaipur line thats looking like all the Sabya rage these days as well. 


Great For: Wedding ceremonies and mehendis or just a nice cocktail function.  Also has many casual everyday wear options like jumpsuits dresses. 


Costs: Bridal Lehengas are between 70,000 INR (around $1,000 USD) up to 350,000 INR ($5,000) USD and their website says it takes about 8 weeks.  Although if you’re in NYC or nearby I’d suggest you just go to their shop there because who buys a $5,000 dress by mail? 


2. Sabyasachi


Instagram


When it comes to the epitome of luxurious high end weddings, Sabyasachi is the Vera Wang (or maybe higher?) of Indian bridal.  Extremely royal lehengas with palace vibes, one look at the classic Sabyasachi lehengas and gowns and you know it’s not going to be cheap.  

Sabysachi is easily the best wedding dress designer in India.


Wanna cry?

Famous clients include:

  • Kim Kardashian, 

  • Beyonce, 

  • Priyanka Chopra, 

  • Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh

  • the Ambanis

  • and pretty much any other famous multi-millionaire or billionaire seen at Indian weddings have rocked Sabyasachi dresses at one or all of their functions.  

Even the wedding dresses for men they have include hodhpuris, Sherwanis and some Kurtas which are all insanely priced. They look great, the models Sabyasachi chooses are impeccable (along with their photographers) but make sure you go visit a store and try it on properly.  


Almost everybody I know goes into a Sabya store in Mumbai or Delhi and gets caught up with the “urgency” even though everyday bride and grooms are coming in.  


No bride or grooms regret buying a Sabyasachi, but most agree if they bought something even at half the cost it would have been more than fine. You will look elegant and royal in almost any Indian wedding outfit since there is insane embroidery, jewelry, bridal hairstyles, makeup and a lot more that goes into your look. 


Here’s a hint...there is no busy season when you have bride and grooms coming in your showroom everyday, it’s just business as usual. 


We have a full guide on Sabyasachi prices.  However, he is one of the top designers in the world for Indian wedding outfits and the first name that comes to the world’s mind when they think “Indian fashion.”  



A typical Sabyasachi sari takes around three to four months to make.  So if you can easily afford it and have the time for a few India trips (Yes, you need to go there to see what you’re getting in real life), go ahead and pick one up! 


Great For: Your big fat wedding ceremony.  Also nice choices for Mehendi functions. Women’s line is much more exhaustive than mens. 


Costs: Bridal Lehengas are between 300,000 INR (for something in the lower to middle range) all the way up to 1400,000 INR.  That means $4500 for the basic Indian wedding dress they offer up to $15,000. And you’ll wear it once. 


3. Manish Malhotra


Manish Malhotra Instagram


While Sabyasachi wins in the royal princess bride department for ethnic Indian bridal wear, Manish Malhotra wins for Indian western wedding reception dresses.  If you want to look like Cinderella and have the ballroom gown, highest quality fabrics and pristine look for your special event, Manish Malhotra is your man.


He has some very glitzy fashion shows and is another Bollywood bridal favorite.  Designer suits by Manish Malhotra and the latsest kurts are also a favorite for the couples these days.



They also do very gorgeous wedding lehengas and saris but from what I’ve seen, if you can afford all the designers most brides end up with a Sabyasachi lehenga for their wedding and opt for Manish Malhotra dress at their wedding reception.  Usually big fat Indian weddings now have a western flare as well so we’re seeing wedding receptions be predominantly western and the Hindi/Muslim ceremonies be Indian fashion. 


Great For: Your wedding reception or a film award ceremony.  Wonderful shaadi options also that are a cut above minimal and less than gaudy for your wedding ceremony. 


Costs: Bridal Lehengas are between 200,000 INR ($3,000 USD) up to 1500,000 ($17,500) but the sky's the limit as you can customize and accessorize to your heart's content.  Typical turn around times are two to three months. 


See Also: Indian Wedding Cost USA


4. Gaurav Gupta


Instagram


Another Bollywood favorite that has some over the top Indo-western designs.  If you want to walk down the runway or a street in Colaba and get some eyeballs, here is your designer.  Also if you want something that is not traditional, Gaurav Gupta is perfect for it. Bollywood celebrities love the eccentric cuts and unusual combinations that a Gaurav Gupta evening gown is known for.


Part futuristic (like something out of Star Trek) and part elegant, Gaurav Gupta has a signature style and price point to match.  GQ Magazine loves him every year and if you’re a younger bride looking for something more sleek and experimental, go ahead and give his shop a visit. 



A premium designer that can literally make your fairytale wedding, well, a fairytale and looking like something out of Narnia or Lord of the Rings.


Great For: Your cocktail function, Sangeet or Wedding Reception.  I’d personally skip for my wedding dress. 


Costs: Bridal Lehengas are between 1,00,000 ($1500) and go up from there.  Men’s outfits will be around 50,000 INR and above. 


5. Ridhi Mehra


Instagram


Festive and flowy with an Instagram grid that has strong blends of red and beige is a good way to describe Rishi Mehra’s style. 



She is a great designer for festivals and special occasions such as: 

  • Karva Chauth, 

  • Diwali, 

  • Weddings, 

  • evening events, 

  • award ceremonies 

  • Jumpsuits for any occasions. 

Ridhi has a unique look that isn’t insanely OTT glamorous but still beautiful in its own right.  A beautiful blend of east meets west defines her style with her favorite tones being beige, pastels, greens and reds. 


On the men’s side there isn’t much in terms of variety but if you want something to match or complement the ladies look they have some decent pricing for the kurtas and lighter bundis (vests). 


Great For: Your cocktail function, Sangeet or Mehendi.  Also perfect for your sister’s wedding or close family friends. 


Costs: Various bridal options and cuts you can pick but starting at 80,000 INR ($1100) for something decent for a wedding up to 300,000 INR ($4500).  Jumpsuits from 25,000 INR ($400). Mens Kurtas start at 9000INR ($150 USD) up to 35,000 INR ($500 USD).


6. JinaShili by Shili


Instagram


This Hong Kong based designer specializes in custom made jumpsuits, pantsuits and Indo-western fusion wear that will guarantee to stir some compliments at whichever function you choose.  Easily one of the best Indian designers in Hong Kong.




A very androgenous runway look with half and half cuts that is sure to be noticable. They’re several made to order options available and the signature style appears to be chic/sophisticated with a knack for two tone color combinations. 


Asymmetrical cuts and high quality fabrics are also one of the key selling points we see bride and bridal party guests boasting about.  



Bollywood celebrities such as Jaqueline Fernandes, Daisy Shah and Mukti Mohan have recently sported some JinaShili evening gowns for award ceremonies and industry events. 

Brides and their families who prefer a simpler elegant look with trendy/chic/light vibes will be spoiled for choice and get outfits custom made to order. 



Jaqueline in JinaShili

Those who want a glamorous or gaudy or something a lot heavier would be better off with one of the Mumbai or Delhi designers. 


Great For: Mehendi and Sangeet functions, cocktail parties, award ceremonies, engagement parties. 


Costs: Each outfit is custom made to order however jump suits starting at $750 USD and bridal outfits between 1,50,000 to 3,00,000 INR. ($1500 to $4500).  Plus shipping from Hong Kong ($130).  


7. Anamika Khanna


Instagram


Sonakshi Sinha appears to be a favorite client based on Anamika Khanna’s latest instagram posts.  The new collection seems very tribal influenced.

  

If you like her AKOK collection and the recent barrage of magazine spreads with big Bollywood celebrities you’ll see why these high end outfits appear to be all the rage amongst India’s elite.  Unusual cuts, nice fabrics and beautiful patterns/capes all add to the allure of an original AK piece. 


Tribal, Funky, Chic, Elegant, Hipster, Ruffles and Fun can all be used to describe her style.  Something you could wear at a wedding event but also to coachella, an award show even a brunch mehendi.


Great For: Standing out from the crowd, mehendi and Sangeet functions, cocktail parties, award ceremonies, engagement parties, brunches and lunches, fashion show style vibes. 


Costs: Simpler everyday pieces Anamika Khanna pieces start at 25,000 INR with bridal looks going up to 3,00,000 INR. ($400 to $4500).  You can probably get an outfit that’s good value for money considering what you’ll get around the $1500 range (1lak INR).   




8. Amit Aggarwal


Instagram


The Oscars, the red carpet, and something out of Vogue Magazine 2048.  This is how I personally would describe Amit Aggarwal’s fancy futuristic looks that seem to blend Ghost in the Shell with Bollywood. 



If you’ve seen movies like the Fifth Element or Total Recall or Elysium, you could imagine the directors asking Amit to help with wardrobe. 


Some of the pieces are just gorgeous...others, as is the case with most luxury fashion...well...questionable. Greys, metallics, reds, silvers, sleek and sharp are all ways I personally describe his lines. 


Regardless, this Delhi based Designer is wowing the crowds and the runways (not to mention any Bollywood A Lister you can think of) and is a great choice for your big fat Indian wedding, at any event except probably the wedding itself. 



Amit Aggarwal is known for using modern textiles in ways that haven’t been done before.  If you want something experimental looking then this is great. If you want some silk and wool and royal style elegance you’re used to...then it may not be for you. 


Great For: Sangeet or Wedding Receptions and of course industry and media events. 


Costs: Between 20,000 INR ($300) for the basic evening outfits (good for sister or bride or close friends) up to 2,25,000 INR ($3300) for the higher end bridal range. 


9. Suneet Varma


Instagram


This MTV designer of the year made outfits for Monsoon Wedding, the film Kites with Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori and has another unique futuristic look. 


While his Instagram game isn’t as strong as the other designers, this Vasant Kunj Delhi based designer is funky and well known in the industry.  His fashion shows are everything you would expect from a big budget designer with sponsors like BMW and other big brands. 


Shiny, shimmering, elegant and funky are all good ways to describe his looks. 


Combine a nice Suneet Sharma anarkali, lehenga or two piece evening outfit with gorgeous Indian jewelry and bridal makeup and you have a solid, elegant look that will definitely make you stand out. 



The latest 2019 collection from India Couture Week is very whimsical, majestic and fairy tale like. 


Great For: Sangeet or Wedding Receptions and Weddings.


Costs: Suneet Varma outfits costs between $3,000 to $10,000 or 2,00,000 INR to 6,00,000 INR.


10. Tarun Tahiliani


Instagram


Tarun Tahiliani recently dressed up Tan France from the Netflix show Queer Eye and Priyanka Chopra whenever she wants.  


I’m sure he’s tired of the comparisons to Sabyasachi but it’s hard to not find similarities in their looks and also in their Instagram feeds, however they’re each talented and unique in their own ways and I like his looks more than many of the Sabyasachi outfits, especially when it comes to guys. 


If the Devil Wears Prada had an Indian male counterpart I feel like Tarun Tahilani could play the role because he has the demeanor, at least in his portraits of a cutthroat Fashion mogul. Personally I have no clue. 


Regardless, he is honestly of the best and most expensive Indian fashion designers in the world and for good measure.  If you easily have the budget (and again, you don’t need to, you might even look better in less expensive outfits)  feel free to shop at any of his stores in any major Indian city and feel like a king.  


Elegant, royal, earth and beige tones, palace, serene and elite are all ways to describe his style.  A dash of floral and tribal also appears in some of his newer looks. 

 

Great For: Big budget events where cost is not an issue (just like Sabyasachi) and your Mehendi, Wedding Ceremony, Bollywood events, and Sangeets.  


Costs: His bridal lehengas start at $9,000 USD and can go up to the price of a car at $20,000. (eg. 5 to 10 lakhs). 


11. Arpita Mehta


Instagram


Having a wedding in Goa or Thailand or even Mexico? Arpita Mehta is the Indian bridal fusion designer you’ve been waiting for.  One look at her collection that screams pastels, pinks, yellows and beach/colorful vibes and you instantly know the space she occupies. 


For the brides who are tired of constant pastels that all look the same this Indian designer is trendy yet traditional and keeps the familiar while also inventing something new.  


Enchanted forest sangeets and carnival type mehndi brides will love her outfits for their Mehendi or other outdoor functions. 



Ananya Pandey also turned a lot of heads modeling her latest looks as well and check out their ahirs and sharara in yellow or pink to see what suits you. 


Embroideries are not excessive and prices aren’t cheap, but competitive. 


Great for Mehendis and other outdoor functions, possibly Sangeet as well.  Also for sister of the bride. 


Costs: $2,000 to $6,000 (1.5 lakhs to 4 lakhs). 


12. Shantanu and Nikhil


Did someone ask for the military? SIR yes SIR! 


Shantanu Nikhil describe themselves as contemporary fashion but to the average banker or techie or office person like you and me, their style is elegant, fashionable, chic and very royal.  


One of these is Shantanu and the other is Half the price.

In fact it’s so royal you might confuse some of their outfits to be heavily military inspired. 


While they’re breaking out of that space with their latest collections, they’re one of the most expensive and trendy designers working in Bollywood today.  Heavy fabrics and drapes also make you feel like the price you way, down to the velvet or silk touch. 


A new showroom in the heart of Mumbai’s fashion area as well countless celebrity deals comes with a hefty price tag as well.  But the men who sport Shantanu are instantly recognizable with a dapper that only India can provide.   


Karan Johar and his best friend Kangana Ranaut (Hey, I joke too) just modeled for them. 


Great for pretty much any big fat Indian wedding event. 


Costs: Between 68,000 INR up to 5,00,000. ($1,000 USD for a basic piece up to $9,500 for something on your wedding day).   


13. Falguni Shane Peacock


Instagram


I don’t really know how to describe Falguni Shane Peacock.  


Is it black tie Indian bridal, without the black tie?  Every image in their catalogue looks like it’s from a magazine catalogue you’d see at a Hong Kong Duty Free shop.  


And I mean that in the luxurious designer sort of way. 


They’re elegant and sophisticated but not as Star Trek far fetched as some of the other futuristic designers. If you like these alternative looks but don’t want to go TOO OUT THERE then Falguni Shane Peacock is a wonderful choice.  


Aishwarya Rai just looks stunning in her recent photo shoot with them, I can’t stop looking!


Whimsical, luxurious, fairy tale, mysty, sparkly and sophisticated is how I’d describe lehengas and reception dresses from Falguni Shane Peacock. 


My only word of caution for all the brides reading and researching...remember, the images you see are INSANELY dolled up and photoshopped and glamorized.  Or better yet, look at the hashtags of brides on Insta who wore Falguna (and all the other designers) and see what real world imagery and video looks like! 


Go into the shops and take a pic with your iPhone to get a good understanding before your wedding comes and goes and you realize your decisions could have been different. 


Great for pretty much any big fat royal wedding event.  Super luxury, probably higher quality than some of the other more popular designers and you will stand out more as everybody gets tired of the same Sabya styles.   One of my favorites of the lesser known (outside of Fashion circle and Bollywood) Indian designers. 


Costs: Falguni Shane Peacock lehengas and Indian wedding reception outfits cost between 3 to 7 lakhs ($4500 USD to $11,000 USD)




14. Abujani Sandeep Khosla


Instagram


Remember Veere De Wedding? These guys dressed up all the ladies in that film!  


However, of all the other designers in this post it’s hard for me to narrow down their look.  


  • Is it colorful and quirky?

  • Is it royal and elegant? 

  • Is it all of the above? 

One thing is for sure though, they’re one of the top Indian designers and have Bollywood and the rest raving about their looks. Large shoulder pieces and flare/grandeur also coul be used to describe Abujani Sandeep Khosla. 


Another thing that's for sure, they love to experiment with color!  Looking at their Instagram you can see your eye being caught by various images that don’t go with the rest of the brand’s color palette. 


Taking a lesson from Pinterest marketing are we?


Paisley motifs puff sleeve embroidered blouses are also a signature look, but again, one of many!


Great for pretty much any Indian wedding event.  However, all that variety in range will come in less depth.  For example, you’ll find a dress for every occasion, but maybe just 3-4 dresses in each occasion.  It’s the paradox of choice in our modern society!


Cost: Abujani Sandeep Khosla outfits start at around 5,000 rupees for a basic anarkali up to 5,00,000 for a full on wedding lehenga. (Between $100 and $9500). 


Read Next: How Much Are Indian Weddings in America?

Read Next: Recommended Budget for a Groom Sherwani


Conclusion


Writing about bridal makeup or fashion or cholis and kurtas and pretty much anything in the Indian fashion space can be tricky because well, weddings are tricky!


Everybody has their own subjective opinions and you’re not paying for a commodity.  Some dresses may cost 1 Lakh JUST FOR THE FABRIC while others might insanely marked up. 


At the end of the day, all of these designers, and HUNDREDS of others across the world do amazing jobs and I personally find the smaller designers giving you WAY MORE VALUE for money.  You’ll get higher quality fabrics, unique looks (yet still gorgeous) and a lot of these bigger designers in fact copy from smaller designers. You don’t believe me? Check out the Diet Sabya Instagram handle and see for yourself. 


Regardless, if you can EASILY afford any of the folks on this list please do go with them and be a princess, you will not be disappointed and you will LOOK AND FEEL amazing. 



If however you’d rather buy a vehicle or put that money in your wedding guest’s food or entertainment or just find it silly to spend upwards of $15,000 on a dress you’ll wear for 4 hours, then yes, please mix and match what you want to do.  I personally think you get more value from a lot of these designers if you buy something you can wear again (e.g. not just for your Hindu wedding ceremony). 


Regardless, my number one piece of advice to NRI and Indian brides is to walk into these shops at least SIX MONTHS before your wedding and start to understand the market.  Feel the fabrics, compare your cell phone pic to the magazine pic, think long and hard about what you want. (They won’t let you take images in the store however). 


Nothing beats a blind test though so imply ask your friends or family which one is best (who are with you) without letting them know which one is most expensive and you will be surprised.  


Now don’t forget your hotel costs, jewelry, parents sarees and much more!  


Ajay Manaktala is an Indian wedding expert with over 20 years of experience planning, DJ'ing, organizing and consulting on Big Fat Indian weddings across the world. He is a most viewed Writer on Quora with over 100,000 reads on his answers. Every week brides ask him for help with their shaadi questions. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, mother and two kids.