A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party – Taals

Hello again, welcome back to my Bengali Bride series. We’ve talked about so much already, but trust me, we are just getting started. Make sure you check out my previous engagement post if you haven’t already, where I talk to you about our engagement party/cinipaan outfits. Today I wanted to talk to about the Taals, which is loosely translated as platters. During the cinipaan, it is custom for the groom’s side and bride’s side to exchange taals, which is in essence platters of edible goodies to be shared amongst family, friends and relatives. It does get a teensy bit competitive (what doesn’t when I am involved) and each side tries to unofficially beat the other sides creations and create even more extravagant taals. I may have gotten a little carried away with the competitive spirit.

Both myself and my now husband come from huge families, which makes this process even more special as everyone gets involved and gets into the creative mood. All my family gathered at my house the night before the cinipaan/engagement party to finish off all the taals and I believe the same happened at my in-laws house. Like my family, my in-laws stuck to a colour theme (yellow) and created lots of yummy taals for us. There was a tradition paan (chewing leaf/betel leaf) taal, a tradition uncut fruit taal, lots of sweet ones (which I may or may not have taken ownership of) and even the now popular Ferrero horse and carriage taal. There was also lots of misti/mitai (Indian desserts) which is also a tradition to exchange. You will notice there is a LOT of sweet treats, but that is because the engagement is know as ‘cinipaan’ and cini stands for sugar.

As I received these at the end of the engagement party day, I was too exhausted to remember to take clear pictures of them all, I wish I had now so I could share them with you as there was around 23 taals. But don’t worry, I took lots of pictures of our creations. Too many to share with you all in one day. Keep an eye out on my Instagram (@makeupatoz) because I’ll probably flood my feed with all the creations.

Now let me show you what my family and friends cooked up, and myself of course. You’ve seen a few sneak peeks already, but what we created looked like a sea of taals. We made so many! We stopped counting once we got to about 43. I had a list of taals that were being created, colour co-ordinated to who was creating what, and I carried out the taal making process like it was a military exercise. Shout out to my best friend Yasmin, who done so many taals and carried them out perfectly. That girls creative skills are second to none, how lucky am I to have her as my right hand.

I love little details, which you will probably learn about me as we get closer to the wedding. Of course I had to add little personal touches whenever I could. So I got the ribbons we used, personalised with both his and my name, I got differing sizes of stickers personalised with our names and of course I got everything I could possibly get for taal decorating in purple which was our theme colour. I got bows, tags, tissue paper, ribbon, all decked in purple. I asked all my family to bring their unwrapped taals to me so I could personally make sure they get wrapped properly – I was a teensy bit of a control freak, okay maybe a lotta bit. But I don’t regret it one bit because I loved the finished product.

Let me show you some of my favourite taals. The flying doves taal was a concept I came up with as I was tired of seeing the Ferrero horse and carriage taal everywhere. My best friend came up with the idea of alleviating the doves to make it even better, and I genuinely haven’t seen anything like it anywhere – that is a hard feat as we Bengali’s make a lot of taals. It was definitely my favourite, I just love how Yasmin finished it off with the little gems.

We had 4 trees which again are quite traditional, but with a little twist. The Ferrero Roche one, with gems to make it extra wow. The marshmallow tree which I insisted we stuck love hearts on to make it a little different, thanks so much to Yasmin’s nephew and nieces for patiently sticking those on. A gold and purple chocolate ball tree. And my little cousins made a Rolo and Space Saucer (sweets) sunflower tree which I thought was adorable.

We made quite a few Time Out taals, as that is my husband’s favourite chocolate. I love this rose swirl mini tree my cousins made out of his favourite sweets as well, which are fizzy strawberry strips. Guys, there were just so so many things we created, like this sugar taaj mahal and personalised cookies taal. I can’t even begin to list them all, so I will try to put them on my Instagram in case you are interested.

The traditional uncut fruit taal. traditionally you give uncut fruits for the engagement and cut fruit taals on the mehndi. 

My mum who is a wizz in the kitchen made lots of Bengali taals as well, such as the patishapta one which is essentially sweetened coconut wrapped in a pancake, so fragile but perfectly carried off with edible roses and leaves. She also made an edible sweet clock which my best friend helped decorate with mehndi design. I’ll say again, there were so many this post would carry on for days if I tried to fit it all in so make sure you check out my Instagram @makeupatoz for more of the taals.

Chocolate covered apples that I made with little designs on them.

Sweet treats made by my sister

 We played a little trick on my fiance/now husband, we downplayed how many we made so he had no idea what to expect. His family bought their taals over at the start of the Engagement party, and we were scheduled to bring them to his house after. We said to him, ‘oh wow you bought so many’, which they did, ‘how could we ever beat that’. ‘You’ve shown us up’. He got a little happy and was saying things like ‘you know we did, we beat you’, and ‘don’t worry it’s fine we don’t mind that you made less’ – he meant that genuinely. Little did he know what to expect, I think he was in shock when my family flooded his house with our creations. We both loved what was gifted to both of our families. At the end of the day, it was all made out of love and it feels nice to gift my future family pretty things and receive the same love back.

Okay guys, I think I have seriously gone on for a little while now, I hope you liked today’s post and haven’t left it thinking this girl is absolutely crazy. I’ll be sharing little details from our Cinipaan/Engagement party in the next post so keep your eyes peeled for that. Speak soon, Tanzina x

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