Traditional South Indian bridal outfits feature beautiful dresses, ornate jewellery and perfectly applied make-up. Naturally, the bride's hairstyle is an important part of the ensemble. South Indian women traditionally wear their hair very long and the traditional wedding hairstyle puts the bride's hair in a simple style and dresses it up with accessories like jewels and flowers.
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The Basic Hairstyle
The basis of a traditional South Indian hairstyle is a simple braid. Most brides want to achieve a long, thick braid, so sometimes even women with very long hair will add professional hair extensions to create a more impressive plait. The woman's hair is usually simply parted in the middle and woven from the middle of the back of her head into a single braid with no special curls or twists.
To dress up the bride's braid, flowers are woven into her hair to create an ornate style. Many brides hire professional hairstylists for their wedding day because the flower placement is an intricate process. Jasmine flowers and roses are commonly used and are intertwined heavily down the entire length of the braid. Flowers are often also added at the back of the bride's head around the base of the braid. Flowers are also sometimes arranged in strings to lay over the bride's shoulders.
Jewellery and Other Adornments
Traditionally, the bride's hair is further adorned with the addition of opulent jewellery. A fancy clasp is placed at the base of the braid to hold it in place. Most traditional brides wear a maang tika, which is a special piece of jewellery that is attached to the front of a woman's hair part and hangs down to rest on her forehead. A tassel is often also placed at the end of the bride's braid.
With all of the flowers woven into her thick braid, a South Indian bride's hair will feel very heavy on her wedding day. Unless the bride plans to sit still during her wedding reception, the braid and the flowers are usually unwound after the wedding ceremony. The bride will redo her hair in an up-do so that she can dance and socialise at the reception.
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