'Bigger is better' when it comes to South Asian weddings, bridal show organizers say

When it comes to South Asian weddings, event organizers say it’s all about the “wow factor.”

The 20th Suhaag South Asian bridal show will feature grand backdrops and vivid fabrics

Bright colours and bold prints will be showcased during two bridal fashion shows at Sunday's Suhaag Show at the Toronto Congress Centre. (Sanjay Agnihotri/Suhaag)

When it comes to South Asian weddings, event organizers say it's all about the "wow factor."

Hundreds of brides and grooms-to-be will walk down the aisles of the Toronto Congress Centre at 650 Dixon Rd. Sunday during the annual Suhaag Show — one of North America's largest and longest running South Asian bridal shows — in search of glitz and glam to make their nuptials more noteworthy. 

Organizer Sanjay Agnihotri said, for most couples, the motto is "the bigger the better."

"The glamour quotient has risen tenfold," he said. "People will see huge decor sets that fall as backdrops during receptions. It's almost movie set-like."

Event organizers say many South Asian couples want elaborate, large-scale backdrops built for their wedding ceremonies. (Sanjay Agnihotri/Suhaag)

'You have to go big'

Toronto event designer Manish Pancholi said ornate built structures have been in high demand the last few years, but he's now seeing a resurgence in natural elements in Indian weddings. "People are looking to bring the outside in," he said. "It's the whole 'hip barn' thing."   

Some of the weddings he plans through his company Dulhan Mandap — which means "bride's altar" in Hindi — have over 1,000 guests and he sees budgets ballooning alongside big ideas. 

"With that scale of audience, you have to go big," he said. "And bigger tends to be more expensive." 

Suhaag Show organizer Sanjay Agnihotri said bright colours and ornate jewellery are popular for both brides and grooms in South Asian cultures. (Sanjay Agnihotri/Suhaag )

At Sunday's show, models will parade the latest wedding couture from the subcontinent down the runway during two bridal fashion shows.

"You are literally going to see the best of the best and what to expect for 2017 in South Asian fashion," Agnihotri said. "Most designers have gone to Pakistan or India to handpick their selections."

He explained traditional gowns are very heavy, and designers are moving towards lighter fabrics. But classic bright colours, ornate jewels and intricate beadwork are still in style.

Guests at the 20th annual Suhaag Show can meet potential caterers, videographers, wedding planners, decorators and designers. (Sanjay Agnihotri/Suhaag )

Agnihotri sees people from all cultures attending the show, which is marking its 20th anniversary, who want to "up the oomph" of their weddings by incorporating the exotic colours, fabrics and decor of South Asian cultures.

"They want to see what they can use to make their own weddings that much more unique," he said.