How to make a nappy tower

Do you have a baby shower coming up and can’t think of an apt gift? Or maybe you’re looking to gift a friend who has recently had a baby? Well why not add an epic touch to your gift by incorporating it in a nappy tower!

 What you need:

  • Baby nappies (the number depends on how many layers you would like)
  • Basket/cake base (to stand the nappy tower on)
  • cellophane
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • pull bow/organza bow

Method

1. Make the base layer by putting a gift in the centre (toiletries in this case) and stand the nappies around it. The base layer should be wider so you will need to use quite a few. Hold these in place with ribbon and fasten tight. Its much easier to do this with two people.

nappy tower

2. For the second layer, add another gift in the centre (toiletries for the mum in this case) and surround it with nappies that have been rolled together so this layer is not as tall as the base layer. Tie together with ribbon.

nappy tower

3. You could add a third layer but ensure it is not as wide so the layers are ascending. Or you could put a toy/teddy on the top. Put the completed layers in a basket or on a cake base. You could add additional gifts such as clothes perched on the layers. Wrap it all in cellophane. Complete the look with a pull bow.

nappy tower

And voila!

nappy tower

For gift-wrapping services, please get in touch with the Epic Events team.

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Love affair with flowers

When you think of weddings you can’t help but think about flowers – centrepieces, buttonholes, confetti – and if you’re Indian – flower garlands!

In India, fresh flowers arcarnations flower garlande plentiful and relatively cheap so houses are often adorned with marigolds and carnations that also give a fresh scent in the festive home.

 

In the UK, roses are often used for buttonholes and flower garlands but consider this:

 

 

  1. Roses don’t last very long
  2. They are delicate flowers so don’t work well when the temperature peaks
  3. More importantly – carnations are a much cheaper and versatile option!


red rose buttonhole
rose and peacock buttonhole

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Epic fact – origin of wedding favours

Today we consider wedding favours as a cute memoir guests can take home as a sweet reminder of the wedding, but do you know how they came about?

His and Her's wedding favoursWedding favours date back to almost 400 years ago in Western Europe. During the medieval period, guests were given confectionery. Sugar was considered a sign of prestige because it was so expensive at the time.

These sugar-coated treats, or even sugar cubes, were gifted in “bonbonnieres”.

As sugar became more affordable, the tradition was adopted by people of all social backgrounds.

In Italy, five sugar-coated almonds were often given to symbolise wealth, health, fertility, longevity and happiness.

Today, wedding couples have become more creative with their choice of favours but what remains is that they’re always pleasing to those with a sweet tooth!

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The most expensive weddings EVER!

I often come across people (mainly parents!) who are astounded at the cost of weddings. It’s fast becoming fashionable to add grandeur to wedding days with lavish venues, entertainment and trimmings. But do you know how much was spent on the most expensive wedding ever?

Here are the top three blinging weddings of all time:

#3 – Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Midlleton's weddingHe is second in line to the British throne, and she is daughter of a commoners who became a millionaire!

We enjoyed a national bank holiday to celebrate a royal wedding that cost an estimated £22.57 million in 2011!

Around £21.24 million of this went on security, which was a bill footed by the taxpayer. The Royals and Middletons paid for the rest, including over £53,000 on a wedding cake for 1,900 guests!

#2 – Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia

Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia weddingHe is an i-banker and owner of Swordfish Investments. She is the daughter of Indian billionaire steel magnate, Lashmi Mittal. Their wedding cost a whopping £40 million in 2005, which is the equivalent to £43.8 million today.

Their guests received silver invites, plane tickets, stay in a five-star hotel, luxury gift bags packed with jewels and a live performance by Kylie Minogue in a French 16th century chateau over five days of festivities! Now that’s a guest list I wish I was on!

#1 – Prince Charles and Lady Diana

Prince Charles and Lady Diana weddingBelieve it or not, the most expensive wedding recorded in history was three decades ago. He was (and is still waiting…) first in line to the throne. She was a pre-school teacher who stole the heart of the nation.

In 1981, their big day had a price tag of £32 million, which is the equivalent to £73 million today!

The couple caught the attention of 750 million people worldwide and two million spectators in the UK. They set the precedence for magnificent wedding cakes with a massive 14-foot main cake, a duplicate just-in-case cake, and 27 extra wedding cakes! I take a wild guess and suppose the Royals have a sweet tooth?!

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A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – wedding day (part 3)

So the religious ceremony is complete. Many couples also have their registry marriage at the temple or on the same day as the Chunni. In this part of a Guide to Punjabi weddings, it’s time to eat!

Reception

Traditionally, the bride’s family will provide the groom’s family with the wedding dinner. This is because the wedding was performed in the hometown or village of the bride, thus the groom’s family are, in effect, the guests.

Historically, dinner would be served in the gurdwara, where no alcohol or meat is permitted. Or the bride’s family would erect a tent near their home to feed the congregation.

white backdropBut in the modern world, parties are the rage. The bigger, bolder and grander; the better – or so is the perception of many families. Some wedding couples opt for unique features to their reception, such as dance groups or musicians, children’s entertainment (such as jumping castles, caricature artists, clowns).

Soul Sounds DJsContact us to find out other ways to ensure your wedding creates lasting impressions, such as with this elegant backdrops.

The venue and catering is often considered the responsibility of the bride’s family. The DJ and any other entertainment is usually for the groom’s family to arrange. However, sharing cost and arrangement of wedding receptions is fast becoming a trend now.
Sagan

For those families who stick to a traditional wedding, where the lunch is served at the temple; sagan (blessing) is given to the newlywed couple straight after the Anand Karaj. Otherwise, it is given at the reception venue. This involves guests taking it in turns to bless the couple by giving money.

Brides and grooms – remember to stay equipped with a handkerchief-sized fabric (ideally red, which is considered auspicious) for you to collect your money during the sagan ceremony!

Roti sagan

As mentioned earlier, the bride’s family provide food to the wedding congregation. As a sign of respect, this is brought to the groom’s father first and then fed to the newlyweds.

Ladies milni

Some families opt to do the ladies milni during the wedding reception because all the relatives are already gathered. Otherwise, they leave it until the following day.

Don’t forget the haar (garlands) and thoothiyan (semi-coconuts filled with dry fruit), which both sides exchange.

Wedding favours

The parents will give a wedding favour in the form of something sweet, such as Indian sweets or chocolates, to the guests. Traditionally, ladoo were given but overtime people tend to exchange chocolates or biscuits instead.

Dholi

After the reception, close relatives and friends from both families will gather at the bride’s paternal home for the dholi, which is when the bride departs to her new home. The groom’s mother doesn’t go.

The bride and groom are sat together in a larger room in the house. The bride’s parents usually give a gift to both of them, such as watches. Then they stand and rice is held in a bowl in front of the bride. She scoops handfuls of it and throws it behind her and in each corner of the room.

This symbolises her declaration that she is leaving her paternal home and taking nothing with her. The couple are then walked to the car and each relative takes it in turns to bid farewell.

As the groom’s car departs, the bride’s brothers will push it for dholia little distance. Traditionally, the bride would be carried in a palanquin, which her brothers would carry to the groom’s house.

As the wedding car departs, the groom’s father throws money (usually small change) ahead of the car. In India, this money is picked up by poor children who are excited and happy at the prospect of getting money. Their happiness is considered to bring good luck and well wishes on the newlyweds.

Paani vaar

dholiWhen they arrive to the groom’s house, the groom’s mother is waiting to greet her daughter-in-law and son. She stands in the doorway with a garvi (small pot or glass) full of half water, half milk. She blesses the couple before they enter by holding the garvi around their heads and trying to drink it. The groom will playfully try to stop his mother from drinking it. On the seventh attempt, he lets her drink it. The mother pours a little oil on either side of the door.

This mischievousness symbolises the happiness in the wedding house at the arrival of a new family member. The paani vaar is also a means of blessing the couple and removing any evil eye before they enter the home together.

They are then sat together in the house and told to share a glass of milk. This is because sharing food or drink is considered to enhance love in a relationship!

The groom’s mother will welcome her daughter-in-law with a gift, which is often jewellery that is passed down in the family. Then, many families will celebrate further by partying into the early hours of the night!

Checklist

  • Book DJ
  • Arrange wedding cake
  • Knife to cut cake
  • Book venue
  • Venue decoration
  • Book catering
  • Book waiting staff
  • Consider entertainment – dancers? Singers? Musicians?
  • Wedding favours
  • Haar (garlands) for ladies milni
  • Thoothiyan for ladies milni
  • Handkerchief-sized fabric for bride and groom during sagan ceremony
  • Rice for doli ceremony
  • Gifts for newlyweds from bride’s family
  • Garvi
  • Oil

So that was a Guide to Punjabi Weddings. We hope you found it informative and interesting. Don’t forget to go through the checklists to make sure you’re prepared for each day. If you need help in planning, booking or renting anything for your wedding, don’t hesitate to contact Epic Events!

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A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – wedding day (part 2)

The Punjab is home to many faiths. So, a Punjabi marriage ceremony could take place in any number of religious or civil venues. This guide will take you through a Sikh marriage.

In the previous post, we went through the traditional customs conducted at the bride and grooms homes in the morning of the wedding day. Now, families from both sides will meet at the gurdwara (temple).

Milni and reception of barat

The barat (groom’s family) is received at the gurdwara by the bride’s family. At this point, the bride is kept separate until the main ceremony, to keep up the anticipation to see her.

Both families will congregate in a large area, usually outside the gurdwara for the milni (meeting). Before the actual milni begins, an ardaas (prayer) is carried out, which is auspicious to begin any happy occasion. The milni is a formal introduction of key relatives from each family.

The milni, or meeting, involves the priest to call the names of corresponding relations from each side, beginning with the eldest, which are the bride and groom’s grandfathers. They meet in the middle of the surrounding congregation, put a haar (garland) on each other, hug and pose for a photo! It’s become commonplace for each side to compete by trying to pick each other up when they hug as a playful gesture.

Then the barat are invited inside the gurdwara for breakfast. However, the bride’s sisters take this opportunity to tease their soon-to-be brother-in-law. The groom or his father have to try to put money (it could be as little as a penny!) into a glass of water held by the bride’s sisters. But they will resist and aim to get as much money as possible. They also tend to hold up a red ribbon, which the groom will cut to enter. As soon as money is placed in the glass, the bride’s family have to let the groom in. This is a relatively new custom that has been adopted.

Checklist

  • Garlands (for the milni)
  • Gifts – which the bride’s family bring to give to each relative who does a milni
  • Barfi (Indian sweets) – which is fed to the groom as he enters the gurdwara
  • Glass of water – for the bride’s sisters
  • Red ribbon and scissors

Anand Karaj (blissful union)

The Sikh marriage ceremony is the anand karaj, or blissful union. This takes place in the gurdwara darbar (main room). Relatives from both sides will pay their respects to the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) and take a seat in the darbar.

The boy will come in with a ramalla, which he offers to the Guru Granth Sahib as he bows down to pay respect. He then takes a seat with his sarwalla (best man) and close family. At this time, priests are reading shabd (hymns).

The bride’s sister will remove the kalgi (turban pin) and/or sehra, if he is wearing it. They will also remove the whole coconut that was placed in his palla that morning, and give this to the bride’s mother.

Just before the bride is brought into the darbar, the groom is told to sit in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. When the bride comes in, she is escorted by her brothers, which is symbolic because brothers are considered protectors in the Indian culture.

She will also offer a ramalla, bow down and sit next to the boy. Her close relatives, such as her sisters and sister-in-laws will set behind her for support. Likewise, the groom’s sisters or other close relatives will sit near him for support.

The bride’s father is prompted to do the kanyadaan, or palla rasam, which is symbolic of the father giving his daughter away. He will tie the palla, which the groom is wearing (as discussed in the previous post), to the bride’s wrist or she will hold it.

Traditionally, the bride’s brothers will then stand around the altar for the laavan (marriage hymns). Four laavan are conducted, which take the bride and groom through the stages of the journey that lead to a union with God and union of a husband and wife.  These are both teachings and vows that they take to seal their marriage union.

The gyaani will recite a hymn for each laav, after which the bride and groom will bow down, and start walking around the altar (where the Guru Granth Sahib is) with the groom leading. The palla is linking them both and as they take a journey around the altar, the bride’s brothers take it in turns to hold her and guide her around. This is symbolic of brothers being protectors but also practical to prevent a nervous bride from fainting.

Laavan

The meaning behind each laav could be summarised as follows (however, some translation is down to interpretation so this is an estimated interpretation):

  • First laav emphasises duty to the family and the community
  • Second laav signifies the stage of yearning and love for each other
  • Third laav stresses the stage of detachment from the world
  • Fourth laav signifies the final stage of harmony and union in marriage when love between the couple blends into the love for God

The groom leading does not imply he is in control or any superior. Him leading is to symbolise his role as the carer and provider of his wife. Also, the bride and groom are equally distant from the Guru Granth Sahib this way by taking circular journeys around the altar.

After the bride and groom complete each laav, they take a seat and the gyaani recites the next hymn for the corresponding laav. After the fourth laav, a hymn is sung to mark the marital union. A final ardaas is performed by the gyaani with the entire congregation including the wedding couple.

This concludes the Sikh marriage.

This is the end of the formal wedding customs. The groom’s parents will then put a haar around the couple, give them money for blessing and feed them barfi. The bride’s parents will follow suit and place the whole coconut back in the groom’s palla. The rest of the congregation will take it in turn to give them sagan (money as blessing). Although, this is now usually done in the reception rather than the gurdwara.

Checklist

  • Ramalla – one for the bride and another for the groom
  • Barfi

Now that the couple are married, it’s party time! Find out what the next part of a Punjabi marriage involves with the Guide to Punjabi Weddings.

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A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – the wedding day (part 1)

Punjabi weddings are full of numerous ceremonies and formalities. So, I’ll be breaking the main day into three parts. This first part will take you through the morning of the wedding on both the bride’s and groom’s homes.

The bride’s house

Centuries ago, the bride would bathe on her wedding day morning with water that was

Indian water pot

fetched by her sisters from the local gurdwara well. The water was considered pure because it was from the gurdwara and during this historical time, houses were not equipped with water facilities.

Phulkari embroidery

The maternal uncle (mama) would carry the bride out of the bath once she is dressed, even if this is very brief. He would cover her head with the bridal scarf (dupatta), which was traditionally a phulkari design. This is the trademark embroidery of Punjab.

The groom’s house

Centuries ago, the groom’s pabhi (brother’s wife) would consider it an honour to fetch water from the local gurdwara on the morning of the wedding for the groom to bathe with. This tradition is still adopted by some communities in modern Punjab.

Once the groom has dressed he also carries a kirpan (sword), which he will keep hold of all day. This is to symbolise that he will protect his future wife throughout their marriage. This tradition grew from a practical necessity during the Mogul rule on India. At this time, brides were often kidnapped during wedding ceremonies. Grooms began to carry a sword to protect both their bride and honour.

Before the boy leaves his home for the gurdwara, where the marriage ceremony is conducted, there are several other customs remaining. He is assigned a sarwalla (best man) whose role it is to accompany the groom throughout the day and assist him where necessary. The sarwalla and groom are dressed with a haar (garland) each, which is considered auspicious. They are both fed ladoo (Indian sweets) by the groom’s parents. It is considered auspicious to give something sweet at happy occasions.

Coconut put in palla

The groom’s sisters will then drape the palla (wedding scarf) across his shoulders. This is a crucial element of the marriage ceremony in the gurdwara. Traditionally, the sisters would clutch hold of this as the boy leaves his home, and walk with him to the gurdwara, still holding on to the palla. The groom’s mother will place a whole coconut in his palla.

Surma

The penultimate ritual before leaving the groom’s home is for his pabhi(s) to put surma (kohl) in his eyes. Putting some black kohl on a person is an Indian custom thought to deter the evil eye. So, the pabhi applies surma to her brother-in-law’s eyes both as a compliment and also to ward off jealousy. She then feeds him ladoo (Indian sweet). The pabhi usually demands money from the groom’s parents for this.

And finally, the sisters will tie a sehra across the groom’s turban to cover his face. This is again to ward off the evil eye and maintain anticipation for the wedding guests to see the groom. In India, the sehra is a ritual still practiced. Elsewhere, this is a dwindling custom. Instead, most families opt to just apply a kalgi (turban pin), which was traditionally considered a majestic jewel worn on the turban.

Kalgi

Check list

  • Kirpan
  • 2 haar (garlands)
  • Surma (kohl)
  • Ladoo
  • Palla
  • Sehra
  • Whole coconut

Next time, find out what happens when the bride’s and groom’s families meet as we climax the wedding ceremony in a Guide to Punjabi Weddings.

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