A Bengali Bride: The Pre Engagement Vlog

Hi loves, you’d think the Bengali Bride series is one I’ve forgotten but you might be glad to know that I haven’t. First year if marriage is full of events and ups and downs, and I guess I haven’t been committed to my blog as much. It’s okay, I let myself off, because I don’t want to miss living in the moment. However now, over a year later I finally have a vlog up on my YouTube channel of the pre engagement/pre cinipaan activites and I wanted you to check it out.

I’m not going to go on about the Cinipaan and what we got up to, there’s lots of detailed blog posts on that which you can have a read of here:

A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party

A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party – Outfits

A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party – Taals

Even though it was so hectic, and despite not being able to catch everything on camera amidst the chaos, it was still one of the most amazing moments of my life. Watching everything play out on a video, it makes me crave making taals and being in a wedding house all over again – I can’t wait till my cousi/sister/brother get married and our home is once again turned into a party venue. It was epic.

Make sure you check out the vlog, though my blog posts are detailed, it’s so different watching things happen right in front of you. I really hope you enjoy it as it is a slice of my life that I am sharing, so it feels a little precious to me.

You can watch the video [here]

I really hope you enjoy/enjoyed watching my Pre Engagement Vlog and I would love your feedback on it. I have a few more videos I need to work on, especially the actual vlog from my cinipaan day. Make sure you comment, like, subscribe and all those lovely things as it really does motivate me to be more active on these sites.

Speak soon, Tanzina x


A Bengali Bride: My Best Friend’s Engagement

Hi loves, long time no speak on this little series. I haven’t forgotten about it, and I hope to continue on it soon, but today I have an installment that isn’t quite related to my own wedding. Today, I wanted to share the experience of my best friend’s engagement, as it went so well and so beautifully, that I was sure it would interest and inspire some of you.

Let’s start by saying my best friend is pretty much wonder woman, she is so good at crafts and just organised, on point and a god send during my wedding. There was no question about whether her big day was going to be a success or not, it just was. She created so many beautiful taals herself, created beautiful favours herself and just thought out every little detail. I was just there to make sure her plans were carried out just how she imagined it, and I am proud to say I think I delivered on that front. One thing about Asian weddings, as a bride you need a right hand woman/women and I was lucky enough to have her as one of mine. There was no way she was going to get married with me repaying the favour.

I didn’t do many taal creations, she only tasked me with a few as she is the taal expert and needed little help from anyone. I created personalised cookies, cheated and bought a cupcake bouquet, created an apple taal, made a strawberry laces rose bouquet and got my sister to make a cake pop taal and my mum to make a patishapta one (sweet pancakes stuffed with coconut). That might sound like a lot to some of you, but on my engagement she made double that. And she made ones that require a lot lot more effort and time.

Let me put things into perspective, this is what Yasmin made just by herself:

  • Cute little betel nut jars
  • A Lindor tree
  • The sweetest little paan taal with a traditonal Bangladeshi house
  • An edible sugar cube Taj Mahal
  • A Ferroro Roche cone
  • A Malteaser’s candy tree
  • A Lollipop candy tree
  • A Munchie candy tree
  • A Marhsmallow candy tree
  • Bombay Mix cone platter
  • A personalised chocolate tiered mock cake

Like I said, pretty much wonder woman. On the day itself, I would say everyone was pretty relaxed. I got ready at home and went over and found Yasmin getting her hair done. Her makeup was done by Art of Liza, and although I won’t show you Yasmin’s face, take my word when I say she looked so amazing. I quickly did Yasmin’s sister in law’s makeup and headed over to the venue to make sure everything was in hand and all the taals were being displayed properly. Yasmin wanted the event to be really intimate, so decided against having photographers and videographers as they can detract from the intimacy. However I couldn’t help but snap away on my camera (with her permission) and be the designated photographer for the day along with her brother in law. I think that although unintentional, was such a great idea, it gives the photographs themselves a special meaning and helped capture so many candid shots.

We had a little dessert table at the cinipaan, and I loved how it turned out. I know you did too from your response on Instagram! It was a combination of Yasmin and my vision, and I am so impressed with how it turned out. It’s not too elaborate but sometimes the simpler things look better don’t you think? It did help that Yasmin chose a beautiful cake for the table with matching cupcakes (at my insistence). We both have some props like cake stands, sweets cars, and I recently picked up some beautiful trays solely because I knew they’d look fabulous at her event. As I was setting up the table, I actually accidentally dropped a cupcake! Luckily we had spares and Yasmin didn’t mind at all. I’m so glad that I was able to carry out her vision, she made it so easy for me.

Now for favours. Yasmin wanted something that was special, not something that just gets used and thrown away after a day. So she decided to make a CD with some beautiful verses from the Quran for her guests. Keyword here? Make – this bride is all about the DIY life. She burned each CD and pretty much designed the packaging for it herself. I did some quick work on Photoshop with her ideas and ta-da we had a personalised cover for her CD cases that was in line with her theme. She also had single white roses bought in with tag, which she placed on top of each CD. It looked beautiful.

Overall the actual event was a success. Timings were right, the food was so good. If we did it over again I don’t think I would have changed a single thing and I think she would agree. It was stress and drama free, exactly how it should be. Alhumdullilah for the blessings, and hopefully she has the same experience for the rest of her events.

After the event, I did a quick detour with Yasmin, her niece and her other friend. I took everyone to a park nearby and did an impromptu photo shoot. The lighting was right, and the background gave the pictures an even more magical touch. It’s funny how the best plans are the ones you didn’t really plan out. It just happened.

Now onto the most exciting parts, outfits! Let’s start with Yasmin’s beautiful outfit. Traditionally the groom side chose the bride’s outift and vice versa, although nowadays many brides and grooms choose their own. Yasmin opted for tradition, and her in-laws got it SO right. I love every single detail of her outfit, I wanted it for myself! The jewellery, the saree, the clutch bag, everything was paired so perfectly by her new family. She looked absolutely stunning.

For her family and friends, Yasmin chose a semi stitched long dress that was so floaty and elegant. This wasn’t too expensive, which is ideal for engagement events as you don’t want to blow your budget but you still want to look pretty nice. I love Yasmin’s taste, I pretty much can trust it blindly we have pretty similar tastes. She chose the outfit and I knew it would be a hit with me and it was. I am so glad that she chose something that can be worn again, sometimes you pick up Asian outfits and only wear them once. I can’t wait to wear this again. I’ll post a quick outfit post really soon with more pictures for you all.

I was so happy with how the day turned out and I know my best friend was too. The preparations and tasks felt like so much fun, and even Yasmin commented how she enjoyed the prep of my wedding more than the prep of hers. I think because you don’t have the stress on your head and it’s just so much nicer doing something for the pleasure of someone you love, rather than yourself. I wish I could re-live the day again.

I hope you liked being a fly on the wall at my best friend’s engagement. I know I have so many Asian readers so I hope this was insightful for you and also inspiring too. I’ll speak to you in a couple of days with my outfit details! Speak soon, Tanzina x

For more posts from the Bengali Bride series, be sure to check these out:

My Wedding Lipstick – Kylie Merry Lip Kit Review

Hi loves, today I wanted to do a review of a the liquid lipstick that I actually wore on my wedding day. As you have probably twigged from the title, I wore a Kylie Lip Kit for my big day in the shade Merry. So today I have decided to do a quick Kylie Merry Lip Kit review for you all, in case it is a shade that sparks your interest like it did mine.

I actually had no intention of wearing this product for my big day, I already had MAC Russian Red picked out to wear instead. However my lovely friend Safiyah from Safiyah Tasneem was doing my wedding makeup and had bought me this as part of her wedding gift to me. Once I had unwrapped it, I realised it was a perfect match with my wedding dress, so really it was a no brainer to wear this long lasting liquid lipstick for my makeup look.

Let’s quickly talk packaging, this lip kit comes in a pretty Christmas ornament package box. The shade Merry, was actually a part of the Christmas collection that Kylie bought out which is still surprisingly still available in the original packaging. Inside, you find the liquid lipstick, along with the lip liner. The lipstick comes with a silver lid and a silver dripping design which is a nice touch.

Now on to the colour itself, the liquid lipstick is a deep rich matte red, which still holds some vividness to it despite being a deep shade. The lip liner is half a shade lighter I find, but they both work really well together. Merry is a couple of shades deeper than Kylie’s Mary Jo K shade which is a gorgeous bold red.

The way I wore is was to apply the lip liner all over the lip, and then go over it with a thin coat of the liquid lipstick. Would you believe me if I told you, I did not reapply once through the entire course of the day?! It is quite a bold statement and if I hadn’t experienced it myself I would think I was lying but I genuinely did not reapply once. I was a massive ball of nerves and had this weird feeling on my wedding day, I couldn’t eat or drink anything really and I am sure that played a huge part in the lasting power, but regardless, I just extremely grateful I didn’t get any of that unattractive liquid lipstick peeling effect you sometimes can get, or flaking effect – each as unflattering as the other. I had my lipstick on for almost 10 hours with only a very slight fade on my lips – just ridiculously impressive.

Overall my Kylie Merry Lip Kit review is most definitely a positive one, this duo really impressed me and did not let me down on my wedding day. If you were shopping for a wedding lip product, I would definitely recommend trying out a Kylie lip kit to see if it works for you as well as it did for me. I definitely took a gamble on the day by switching up my lip choice so last minute, but it was a gamble that definitely paid off.

You can pick the Kylie Merry Lip Kit here for $30.

Speak soon, Tanzina x

A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party

If you’ve been reading my Bengali Bride series, you would have seen me talk you through how it began, to the engagement preparations and now finally I have gotten to the Engagment party itself, also known as the cinipaan. Traditionally on this day, the menfolk of the bride’s and groom’s family meet and officially cement the engagement. They discuss wedding dates, dowry (mahr) and the practicalities of the wedding and also exchange taals and feast on food. As time has progressed, this formal occasion has evolved and become a bit of a party and a day to celebrate. I predict as time goes on, this will soon turn into a mini wedding, if it hasn’t already!One thing I have really wanted, was an intimate engagement party. It’s something my parents and family wanted as well, so it was nice that we were united when it came to deciding how big or small the cinipaan (engagement party) was going to be. I just wanted to be as intimate as possible, I come from a huge family and so does my other half so I knew if we started inviting lots of friends and relatives it would all spiral out of control and we would be throwing a party for 250+ guests. As I knew my wedding and mehndi was going to be extravagant, my family and I wanted something intimate and quite personal to us.

A chicken taal made by my Mum, for my husband and his friends to dig into.

The bride’s family host and foot the bill for the engagement party, and nowadays it is becoming more and more common for cinipaans to be hosted in halls and restaurants, which I think is also nice. I just knew that for me and my family, we wanted to keep it traditional and I also wanted my family heavily involved with the details which may not have happened should it have been hosted in a hall with outside caterers. So we agreed to host it at one of the family houses, which ended up being perfect. Luckily, my family are well rehearsed when it comes to throwing big parties, we own a marquee that easily seats around 80 people, and have a large banqueting style set up in the dining room, it just all came together perfectly. My family are in the food trade, and my dad is an amazing chef so he cooked up lots and lots of food which everyone still raves about.

Gorgeous chocolate tiered ‘cake’, made for me by my best friend as a surprise.

I set up a little dessert table for the guests to enjoy, this was a whole story by itself. As usual, I took all of the responsibility on myself and decided I was going to create everything. So the night before, at 1AM I start making the desserts. We were so busy making the taals, I didn’t get a chance to start earlier. Maybe the pressure got to me, but the cheesecake batch went horribly wrong and I ended up with a runny mess. No worries, I told myself, I’ll just go to the 24 hour Tesco at 3AM which is exactly what I did. Only as I turned up there did I realise it was Saturday night so Sunday morning, meaning the shops were all closed! So determined as I was, I woke up after 2.5 hours sleep on the day of the party, and at 6.30AM I was at the local shop picking up the ingredients and carrying on dessert making. I even completed piping the cupcakes after I had my saree, hair and makeup done. I got lucky again, and it all turned out okay in the end.

We didn’t do favours on tables at the cinipaan, but we did make up little boxes of pick and mix sweets for everyone as they came in. My Mum, sister and little cousins all helped me assemble the boxes and fill them and I think they slotted in perfectly with the purple theme of the day.

When it came to the cake cutting, we had two cakes, the one from my in-laws and one from my family. I loved how my in-laws matched my cake to my saree and I love how my cake had the tradition cinipaan details to it like the paan and betel nuts. We cut into both cakes, but ended up eating the fresh cream cake as I do love a good fresh cream slice. However it went so fast, that I didn’t even get a chance to keep a full slice to myself!

After everyone ate, we both posed together for pictures and cut the cake together. He also put my engagement ring on, however I didn’t exchange rings with him. Traditionally at Bengali engagement parties, the couple both exchange rings. The girl wears the engagement ring and then the groom wears his wedding band. After the engagement, the bride’s side sometimes take the wedding band back and then give it again on the wedding day. I just couldn’t get my head around that, or putting a separate band on my fiance. I only wanted to exchange wedding bands once, and that was on my wedding day, the guy is meant to put an engagement ring on the bride, not the other way round! I disagreed with the practice and decided not to do it regardless of any opinions.

I actually also fitted in a mini photoshoot with my then fiance before the actual party. Honestly, I was running around like a headless chicken that day, so I don’t know how I managed to fit that in. But I am so glad I did, and would highly recommend it to anyone who can fit in as you can capture private memories from the day which usually are really hard to get on the cinipaan day as the bride and groom are kept apart for most of the day (as they are not yet wed).

Me and my Daddy later on in the day

As you can probably tell, it was really eventful day but it was perfect. I really saw just how much my family did for me, from cooking to servicing to setting up the house. It was so lovely and heart warming. I was wondering recently that if I could do it again, would I do it at my family house? And the answer is definitely yes, because I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise fit in everything that I wanted for the day and I would’ve missed out on so many details that made the day special, such as relaxing with my girls upstairs as the party gets in full swing downstairs, or watching from the window upstairs as my husband walks into the house with all his family. It is a day I will cherish forever. I hope you have enjoyed this addition of A Bengali Bride, we will catch up again on the next one.

Tanzina x

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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