Zeenat Jaffer, an award-winning makeup artist and the founder of Z Haus Creative Lifestyle Consultancy that has several celebs on their client list, delves into the captivating world of bridal beauty, revealing insights on emerging trends, timeless styles, and essential skincare tips for brides-to-be

Zeenat’s journey into the realm of beauty began with a childhood fascination with makeup, evolving into a passion for empowering women through artistry.

"As a child I remember playing with my aunts’ make-up sets. As I grew older, I saw the confidence and power beauty could bring to women and I also fell in love with the artistry involved in make-up," she says.

Brides are opting for dewy make-up and moving away from heavy foundation, says Zeenat Jaffer Image Credit:

After formal education in Retail Marketing and Professional Makeup Application, she launched Z Haus in 2011. What started as a one-woman venture has blossomed into a thriving consultancy, renowned for its work with corporate brands, celebrities, and prestigious events.

"It really feels like a true creative outlet for me, and the fact that it allows me to make others feel empowered and confident is the cherry on top," says the master make up artiste.

Her firm’s portfolio includes corporate, celebs, destination weddings, award shows and runways. Z Haus is a 5-time award winner in the the make up and business industry having partnered in over 250 events including the Times of India Awards, GR8 Women awards, ARY Awards, Filmfare 2021 and 2022, Masala Awards and Dabangg reloaded tour of Dubai 2019.

She and her team have also provided makeup and hair styling to over 38 Bollywood movies in addition to makeup for over 70 plus music videos and concerts. Among some of the celebs she and her team have touched up make up for include Neha Kakkar, Honey Singh, Guru Randhawa, Badshah, Toni Kakkar, and Kanika Kapoor.

Excerpts from an interview:

What are some of the big trends in bridal hairstyle, make-up, and nail art?

The bridal look is now shifting towards “soft glam” emphasising precision and technique. A glowy blush, matte T-zone and fluffy lashes flatter everyone and is perfect for the modern bride who wants to look ethereal yet still feel like herself.

Nail art is really having a moment and the inspiration for bridal nails is endless. For the trendy bride, chrome nails are all the rage. For a more timeless look, you can never go wrong with a classic french nail. There are a lot of fun bridal variations trending now, like the mother-of-pearl tip. A trending bridal hairstyle that I love is the sleek up-do. It’s elegant and allows the focus to remain on the bride’s outfit and really complements soft glam makeup. Another option is soft waves that can look really romantic.

Is there any trend you wish women did not follow?

Trends come and go so quickly that my only wish is women would really pay attention to what suits them, and what they actually enjoy, rather than focusing on fleeting trends that don’t work for every face.

One specific trend that I do think is great at the moment is that women are going for a softer, more natural foundation look. Many times skipping foundation completely and opting for just concealer. However I often see women still putting on heavy foundation that feels cakey and can age you. For those women who need a heavier coverage, I suggest to mix in their foundation shade with their moisturiser for a softer tinted moisturizer look that is both glowy and breathable in the summer heat.

How has social media and celebrity weddings impacted people’s choices?

Social media can be wonderful as a starting point for bridal inspiration. It can help a bride understand her own aesthetic and wishes.

Celebrity brides have also set new trends with minimal makeup looks, and in doing so, have influenced women globally to embrace their natural beauty and skin tone.

However, an excessive reliance on and influence of social media can also add unnecessary pressure on a bride. People can get caught up in comparisons. At these times it’s important to remember that social media is a highlight reel, and doesn’t tell the full story. Not all weddings need to be as grand and opulent as what we see online. Celebrity weddings can often include partnerships with and obligations to [certain companies] that are not usual for regular people.

Please share your list of dos and don’ts that a bride-to-be should follow for that glowing skin on her wedding day.

Do: Prep your skin. Skincare is everything for that lit-from-within glow. A glowy base is hard to achieve on dry, dehydrated skin. Plan your ‘bride to be’ skin routine months in advance. Consult a good dermatologist to customise a treatment plan if required and / or plan what can be incorporated into your routine to give you that glow! Don’t skip the sun block.

Do: Eat right! Everything that goes into you is what shows up on your skin! Incorporate superfoods and power juices, but only after ensuring they would not have any adverse effect on you. Make sure your nutritional requirements are met.

Don’t: Stress about the little things. Try to stay calm. Stress can affect your skin. Your wedding is a time to be enjoyed and savoured. Breathe, everything will be fine.

Overall, my advice to brides is to make the most of their big day and at Z Haus it’s always been our goal to make brides feel beautiful inside and out. Each bride is unique and our philosophy is to celebrate her true beauty, and we are honored to be with them as they enter this truly special chapter in their lives.

Archana Kochhar: Creative by design

Apart from being stunning, it is important to me that my designs are comfortable too, says Archana Kochhar Image Credit:

One of India’s top fashion designers, Archana Kochhar does not know how to rest on her laurels. She talks of taking her Indian roots and global footprint and how philantropy is at the core of her work

Archana needs little introduction. An Indian fashion designer with global style sensibilities, Archana has showcased her collections on national and international runways, including at events such as Lakme Fashion Week, India Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.

Most recently she was chosen as the Official Fashion Designer for the 71st Miss World Festival, which returned to India after 28 years. "It has been such a wonderful journey and I have so much to be grateful for," says the reputed designer.

"Designing for the 112 Miss World contestants and spreading the message about Ahimsa Silk and the Make in India campaign in 112 countries has been beautiful."

Since she started her journey some 25 years ago, Archana has slowly but surely carved a niche for herself. Her creations have been eliciting wows not only in India but also in UK, UAE, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and USA. She has worked closely with the tribal weavers from Jharkhand on the “Ahimsa silk” fabric, which is produced without killing a single silkworm.

An educationist, avid writer, and goodwill ambassador for “Smile Foundation”, a charity organization supporting the cause of the girl child, Archana firmly believes in sharing her fashion platform with various philanthropic projects.

So, what are some of the major fashion trends she foresees in the upcoming wedding season?

"The upcoming wedding season will see an increase in demand for ivory lehengas and pearl work embroidery as the urban bride searches for something elegant, classic and graceful," she says.

Excerpts from an interview:

Tell us about your latest bridal collection – inspiration behind it, colour palette, silhouette, embellishments, embroidery etc.

My latest bridal collection pays homage to the timeless grace of Indian weaves and the different adaptations of these silhouettes. The collection uses hand woven brocade weaves from Varanasi, handicraft mirror work embroidery from the Kachchh district of Gujarat, hand loom Jamdani fabric from Bengal and the tie dye Bandhani technique from Gujarat.

When you started out, you were one of first ones to create Indo-western designs, now it has become a norm. How do you ensure you continue to stand out?

I focus on ensuring that my designs are easy to wear and flattering for my clients while always reinventing the wheel with different combinations of silhouettes and embroideries.

While Bollywood was a major influence on fashion earlier, it is social media now that is defining trends. In such a scenario, how are designers like yourself trying to establish their own identity without having to worry about public opinion and the POVs of influencers?

I have been in the business of fashion for the last 30 years and have established my niche and identity through this journey. Social media and the boom of influencers have done magic for fashion and for my label as well. I have been lucky to collaborate and work closely with some of the top influencers of our country and there is so much to learn from their journeys. It is also amazing to see the hold there have on their audience and the benefits of each collaboration with them.

You recently designed for the Miss World competition that took place in Mumbai. Tell us more about the experience.

I was chosen as the Official Fashion Designer for the event. The response we have got has been incredible but above all, interacting with the Miss World contestants who were the winners of their own country crowns and learning about their experiences was the best part! By the end of the competition, they all felt like family.

How do you think this kind of global exposure is helping the Indian fashion industry?

The global exposure is helping spread the message of Indian craftsmanship and Indian design all over the world. The respect and the recognition of Indian fashion and Indian fashion labels has increased exponentially globally.

What are your top five tips for a bride-to-be who is planning her wedding wardrobe?

1. Do lots of research: It is important to expose yourself to several options so you open your mind to find your perfect fit

2. Try on different silhouettes and different shades: It is vital to try on the pieces so you can see how it will look on you.

3. Wear something comfortable: make sure you seek comfort because comfort breeds confidence and a confident bride is a happy one.

4. Incorporate a family heirloom in your look: Whether this is your family jewellery, your mother’s wedding dupatta, or your grandmother’s bangles. Having something personal, adds a different enhanced layer to your entire look.

5. On a similar note, incorporate something from your marriage union into you look: Whether that’s a date on your dupatta, or the song to your’s and your partner’s favorite song secretly inscribed in the border - just something to make it more personal and more you.

Making a wedding more colourful and floral

Arpan Flowers collage FOR WEB
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The list of Arpan Flowers’ achievements is truly impressive:

Managing floral decors for more than 160 weddings. Supporting 900+ events with floral services.

Over a decade’s experience in the events industry. Five awards that underscore professionalism.

Sunita Anchan says simple floral garlands are on trend

Founded by Sunita Anchan, who has over 15 years of event-industry experience, Arpan Flowers has over the years built a rock solid reputation for delivering stunning floral arrangements that elevate any occasion.

"I recognised that there was a gap in the market for budget-friendly fresh flower decor options, and hence Arpan was born to provide clients with high quality floral services without the premium price tag," says Sunita.

"We source the freshest flowers at the best prices allowing us to offer beautifully crafted centerpieces, bouquets and installations that are truly affordable."

Having been in the events industry for over a decade and a half, Sunita has a finger firmly monitoring the pulse of the latest trends when it comes to floral decorations at weddings.

"The wedding industry is abuzz with the latest trend heavily influenced by Bollywood and celebrity nuptials. Couples are gravitating towards bold colour schemes, minimalistic and modern designs, and unconventional floral decor," she says.

This new wave places a significant emphasis on event styling with up to 40 per cent of the total wedding budget allocated towards the venue and decor, she says. "Every couple planning their big day aspires to recreate the look and feel of Bollywood or celebrity weddings, from the bridal flower jewellery to the elegant wedding garlands."

Of course, the wedding day is not the only one when floral accessories can be used to highlight the event. Pre-wedding festivities like the haldi and the sangeet too have become integral parts of the celebrations. "The focus is now on fresh floral bridal accessories and simplistic lightweight wedding garlands that capture the essence of this captivating new trend," she says.

Sunita offers plenty of tips to those planning a wedding.

When it comes to your wedding, the key is to start as early as possible. This is to ensure that you have the best selection of venues, vendors and services to choose from. Starting early also ensures other key elements are in place to make your wedding day truly memorable, says Sunita.

"Early planning also allows you to enjoy the process without the stress of a tight timeline. You can savor each decision and explore options and create the wedding of your dreams."

As providers of floral designs at events, her team understands the importance of staying ahead of the evolving trends in the industry. "We at Arpan regularly partner with wedding and event planners, as well as influencers to share insights and gain a deeper understanding of the latest trend," she says. "Our team regularly attends floral workshops, bridal shows, industry events to gain knowledge which allows us to provide our clients with the most innovative and budget friendly decor options."

Arpan is also clear about being sustainable and goes to great lengths to find creative ways to repurpose flowers after events rather than disposing them.

"We send the leftover and unused flowers for composting or upcycle them into incense sticks, dhoops or keepsake items. This not only reduces landfill waste but also provides the family and guests with meaningful takeaways that remind them of the event," says Sunita.

Arpan Flowers can be contacted on 056 795 5480.

Drum up the fun

Walter’s unique take on Bollywood music has made him a favourite at Indian weddings Image Credit:

Fascinated by Bollywood music’s rhythmic nuances, Italian percussionist Walter Scalzone decided to give it his own spin about a decade ago. And it wasn’t long when he became a sought after artist at Indian weddings.

Excerpt from an interview:

Please tell us a bit about yourself – the musical instrument you play, how the idea to perform at weddings came about, and the initial challenges you faced.

I am a solo performer who uses a variety of percussion instruments to cater to four different vibes at Indian weddings, depending on the type of function the client hosts. I usually offer different acts for different functions. I performed at my first sangeet in 2015, and now know several Bollywood songs by heart, I just don’t know the meaning of the lyrics!

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With Bollywood and Punjabi music as well as DJs being most popular at Indian weddings, how do you establish your identity?

I differentiate myself with a very specific offering (4 types of percussion acts), which I can guarantee has a major impact on Indian weddings. One of these is the Wa(l)ter Drums, commonly known as liquid drumming, and copyrighted in the UAE.

Your favourite career memories?

Weddings in Bali are always special to me. I am just fascinated by that place… but generally I get carried away by the vibe and end up performing as if the wedding was mine. This is the secret of every successful performance.

What are some of the big trends you foresee in the live entertainment sector?

I foresee Indo tech music, a blend of Bollywood and Tech House music, to be extremely popular soon. I’m also observing wedding after-parties being dominated by this new trend.

While Ravisha Bhatia of Sugaholic might’ve baked celebration cakes for some extremely high-profile events, for Ravisha the events that are dearest to her are of clients who entrust her with all their milestone celebrations. From wedding cakes, to the birth of their kids and every birthday thereafter, she feels honoured to be a part of her clients many joys. In an interview, Ravisha talks of her humble beginnings in her kitchen to a thriving business that offers a wide variety of baked goods.

Creating sweet memories

When it comes to wedding cakes, couples are happy to experiment with flavours these days, says Ravisha Bhatia Image Credit:

Tell us about your journey as a baker.

My journey as a baker and cake artist began through my lifelong obsession with birthday celebrations and the cakes that are integral to the festivities. Initially, I honed my skills through experimentation and practice in my kitchen. I realised my potential to become a professional baker when family and friends consistently praised my creations. I later pursued various courses and workshops to enhance my knowledge and get a bit of formal education. Initially, my team consisted of just my sister and I, with a bit of help from mum.

However it’s grown since and our kitchen today consists of 35+ staff, who work on baking everything from cakes, cheesecakes, chunky cookies and brownies to macarons and cupcakes, as well as vegan desserts and, of course, custom cakes.

What have been some of yur major achievements?

Over the last 14 years, Sugaholic has been fortunate to be part of some extremely unique and high-profile events, which have left me and my team wondering every now and then on what just happened. There was for instance Dubai Metro’s 10-Year celebrations, for which Sugaholic baked the massive Dubai Metro Cake, showcased at the Dubai Mall Ice Rink. We have also been on Netflix’s Dubai Bling and Bravo’s Real Housewifes of Dubai.

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However, the most surreal experience probably was being flown out on military helicopters to deliver cakes to the Embassy in Afghanistan. I consider these to be among some of the landmark moments in our journey and which I hold close to my heart. I also believe participating and contributing towards our valued clients’ wedding celebrations and baby showers, as well as children’s 10th birthday celebrations to be truly special. The fact that customers trust us with critical tasks on their special day is extremely gratifying.

What are some popular trends in wedding cakes?

When it comes to wedding cakes, most popular designs often include elegant floral arrangements, intricate lace patterns, and minimalist chic styles. However, a lot of people also choose to have something that is abstract, modern, matching the wedding theme and sometimes even comical cakes. As for flavours, classics like vanilla, chocolate and red velvet remain timeless favourites, but couples are increasingly opting for unique combinations as well, such as lemon blueberry, salted caramel, and vanilla strawberry. Ultimately, the most popular designs and flavours for weddings are those that reflect the couple’s personal tastes and style preferences.

Catering quality

Prashant Joshi, Founder and Owner, Shri Maanji Chaat Bhandar Image Credit:

From a small shop selling chaat and snacks in Ajmer to being asked to cater for high-profile weddings of business tycoons and celebrities, Prashant Joshi, founder and owner of Shri Maanji Chaat Bhandar has come a long way. Talking of his journey and the secret of his success, Prashant says it is consistency and delvering quality.

Excerpts from an interview:

Please tell us about your journey.

I hail from Ajmer, Rajasthan, and started my food business in the city, in the Naya Bazar neighbourhood in 1991. The venture was successful, leading me to start another branch in Ajmer itself. Our food products, especially the variety of chaats we offer have been much appreciated by our valued customers, while our events catering business has been fortunate to enjoy the patronage of some extremely high-value customers including the likes of industrialists Mukesh Ambani, Arun Kirloskar and Cyrus Mistri and Rajasthan chief minister, Vasundhara Raje, as well as corporate clients such as RK Marble, Shree Cement and more.

What is the secret of your success?

I believe the success of our brand lies in the fact that customers are aware that we never compromise on our quality standards. We always use homemade spice mixes. This allows us to control and maintain uniformity in the taste profile of our dishes, while also enabling us to curate these same dishes to meet the requirements of a particular customer if required.

What are some of your most popular preparations at weddings?

There have been so many over the years, however some of the popular ones I can recall include the now famous Kadhi Kachori and Lachha Tikiya, as well as the different types of chaat including Paan Patta Chaat (betel leaf chaat), dry fruit chaat, Rajasthani Chaat, Tokri Chaat, Delhi Khomcha, and the Creamy Dahi Wada. We also prepare an entire range of paani puris (golgappe), using different types of fillings.

What, according to you are some of the biggest trends in the catering world?

One of the biggest things to come out last year was the knowledge that people want to know where their food comes from. Consumers are becoming more aware, educated and conscious about what they eat. Transparency, therefore is key to food service. Today, as a food business owner I believe it is imperative we take care to ensure our raw ingredients are fresh, and that our fare and how it is presented is not lacking in taste and innovativeness, ensuring the experience of savouring our food remains both exciting and memorable.

Please share one of your most memorable catering experiences.

It is possibly the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s daughter. The arrangements done by them were simply superb, and I was elated when Mukesh and his son Anant, and wedding guests including Sachin Tendulkar and other popular celebrity figures and VIP guests visited our stalls and partook of the Kadhi Kachori, they all loved it! Following this successful project, we were once again hired by the Ambanis for Anant’s pre-wedding ceremony, in Jamnagar, Gujarat.