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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A Bengali Bride: The Engagement Party – Outfits

Hi loves, last time we spoke on the Bengali Bride series, I talked to you about our first meeting. A few months after that we had the official engagement witnessed by our families and friends, which is also known as the ‘Cinipaan’. Cinipaan means sugar (cini) and paan leaf (paan) which is a leaf that Bengali’s chew on. Why they call the engagement that, I have no idea, I need to ask my Mum when I remember. If I tried to cover the engagement party/cinipaan in one post, I would miss out so much detail as there are so many parts to it. Today I wanted to talk to you about our outfits.

A Bengali Bride

When I say I want to talk to you about our outfits, you’d think it would be just an outfit of the day, outfits we chose and bought for ourselves, including the beautiful bracelets we chose. Some of them are stunning, and if you wanted to, you can find stunning bracelets here that are similar to mine. However, if you do think that I get to choose my outift, you’d be wrong because you’re forgetting to add the Bengali tradition part in. My outfit was chosen and gifted to me by my future in laws, and his outfit were chosen and gifted by my family. I sent my other half lots of pictures of his outfit and made him choose it, but my outfit was chosen entirely by my future in laws – which was actually really scary as I don’t like relinquishing control over my look, but thankfully it all turned out okay in the end.

We chose a black and gold sherwani (Asian men’s suit) for my fiancé and my in-laws chose a cream and maroon saree for me, which was really pretty and flattering. If you think that we just handed each other’s outfits over in a nice gift bag, you’d be incorrect. It’s like every single act we have in the run to the wedding, is an event by itself. The clothes have to be presented beautifully, and be visually pleasing.

My in-laws gave me a full outfit, so the saree, matching jewellery, matching shoes and a clutch bag to go with it all. Their presentation of the outfit was really pretty, it came in a huge hamper, with the scarf of the saree adorning the handle. The pictures will speak for themselves, they put it together really beautifully. The jewellery was placed on top of the saree, so it was on display. They paired the jewellery really nicely, and although I had another set already picked out for my cinipaan day, I ended up wearing this set in the end as it looked really pretty with the saree. I also add a choker necklace of my own which I thought really complimented the saree.

For our presentation of my fiancé’s outfit, I got a little DIY about it. I really wanted a black and gold theme running through the presentation with a hint of purple, as purple was the theme of the everything for the cinipaan. I’ve actually vlogged the whole preparation of my engagement party – so please bug me and remind me and force me to upload it for you so you can see all of this in real life. But basically, I spray painted two boxes in black and gold, and placed his outfit in one box and his shoes in another. As girls tend to wear more things, such as bags and jewellery, I couldn’t really gift my fiancé any more items for his outfit. So we got a beautiful large black and gold hat style box, and filled it up with pampering goodies for him to prep himself with. I think I bought lots of items from Bodyshop, and also one of his favourite perfumes. I also practised calligraphy writing so I could write ‘To help you look pretty’ really nicely as a tag for the hamper. I’ll be honest guys, I was so impressed I managed to write it out like that. Of course we then wrapped it all up in cellophane, ready for it to be dropped off to his house.

I loved our outfits together, although they were both completely different colours, they complimented each other so much. I loved the process of getting his outfit and gift together, and waiting for his reaction when he received it. He liked the gift box presentation so much he didn’t want to open it, I had to force him to so he could see all the little gifts inside. I hope you enjoy the shots of our outfit as much as I do, I had a mini photo shoot before the event so we could capture some personal memories before we shared the day with everyone. I’m so glad I did that, and I hope I get time to do the same on the wedding day too. In next post, I’ll talk you guys through the cinipaan ‘taals’. Get ready to see a LOT of food related gifts!

Speak soon, Tanzina x

A Bengali Bride: Our First Meeting

Hi loves, if you missed my last Bengali Bride post, you may not know that I have decided to share a little more of my life with you and blog about my wedding process and what it is like being a Bengali bride. I’ve been wanting to share the details of what I’ve been up to the past year, and I am so excited that I finally have been able to collate all these snippets with you. Now if you are a little curious like me, make sure you read on and find out our first meeting.

A Bengali Bride

The process of a traditional-ish Bengali wedding is so different compared to a traditional western wedding. We have a lot of family involvement as family is the centre of all our values. So a wedding without heavy family involvement is almost unheard of. Almost all the decisions are made with the family from both sides, which can at times be overwhelming and at other times, great help. Today I wanted to show you snippets of ‘our first meeting’. Sounds a little bizarre right? You might be thinking does she mean their first date? But no, I’m talking about the first meeting where my family and my fiancé’s family meet for the first time and meet us for the first time. They discuss making the engagement official, get acquainted with each other’s families, eat food and exchange gifts. It can be quite nerve-wracking as it was the first time me and my now-fiancé met each other’s families. For X amount of years we only had to impress each other!

A Bengali Bride

Traditionally, the bride to be (me in this case) would dress in a saree or Asian outfit, with a scarf lightly over their heads as a sign of respect. You’d wear quite simple makeup, as the groom’s family should be seeing you looking like yourself. You could do what you like really, as it is just traditional and not a necessity but I decided to go all out with the traditions and wore a saree and simplified my makeup. I’ll tell you now, I felt like I looked horrible. Gone were my defined eyes, and defined cheek bones. My highlighter was most definitely not on fleek. I went very light with the makeup, and added some semi lashes (Eylure Fleur Loves – they’re amazing) for some subtle oomph to my lashes. I kept adding more red lipstick and reducing it as I didn’t want to go too bold. As a girl who can rock MAC Ruby Woo as a daily lipstick, the toned down red was painful! I didn’t even feel like taking selfie’s and didn’t feel my absolute best BUT as my family and friend’s assured me I looked nice, so I trusted their judgment (even if I disagreed).

A Bengali Bride
A Bengali Bride

Luckily my in-laws to be were very sweet and my fiancé’s nieces kept calling me pretty and telling me I looked like a princess, which did heaps for my confidence. Both myself and my fiancé were uncharacteristically shy and reserved in front of the families. I captured it all on a personal vlog so the memories last forever. He of course bounced back to his usual confident and jokey self once the elders left us alone to talk with my siblings and cousins. I too stopped feeling shy and returned to my usual talkative self. The day was a success, and it’ll always remain as one of my treasured memories.

A Bengali Bride

There is so much to say and cover, I don’t think I could do the concept of a Bengali bride justice, but I hope it has provided a little bit of insight into the wedding process. I feel like I left so much out but I’ll cover a few other things, like our engagement and details like my wedding dress in the coming weeks. I’ll also try to cover the emotions that come with the wedding planning, as it isn’t always how you imagine. I hope you liked the pictures! They’re so personal to me, I wasn’t going to share them initially but since I’ve been doing this for coming up to five years, it’s nice to share a little bit of me on here. One bit of advice to would be brides: capture everything. Take 100’s of pictures, film what you can, vlog if you’re able, and just capture every detail. Don’t just rely on your professional pictures. You’ll hopefully look back on it all with your grand children one day.

Let me know if you’d like me to continue the Bengali bride mini series, and if you have any questions pop them below and I’ll get back to you. You can ask any question you like, I won’t mind. My work colleagues find the whole process so fascinating, they can’t believe that was the first time we ever met each other’s families and it was so formal, so don’t worry if you’re equally as baffled! Speak soon, Tanzina x

p.s – you can find a sneak peek at my engagement here.

A Bengali Bride: How It All Started

Hi guys, today’s post is a little different and a lot more personal than I ever expected myself being on this blog. But it has been bugging me how I haven’t been blogging as much due to getting ready for my wedding, so I had a little light bulb moment and thought why don’t I blog about the things I’m going through and the processes of a Bengali wedding? So I thought I’d do a little Bengali Bride series, and just show little snippets of my wedding process for those interested.


Warning: this process may sound really bizarre and not like the traditional western wedding process.

Okay so when I say ‘How it All Began’, you’d usually think that means boy met girl, fell in love, proposed and then got married. That’s not how it begins with a Bengali wedding. Depending on whether you have an arranged marriage (introduced to each other by a third party usually family), or love marriage (you found each other), you then decide whether marriage is on the cards. Myself and my fiancé were of the latter, and I think we discussed marriage in the first week. That might sound a little crazy, but it just made sense at the time.

I’ll skip the honeymoon stage and all the memories, it feels so weird speaking so openly about even this topic, I’m finding it hard to even discuss this let alone all the romance and lovey stages. Maybe one day I’ll speak about it all with you. But I wanted to talk more about my wedding process, what it’s like to be a Bengali bride and how it all began.

So once we knew we were ready, mentally and financially, to commit to a marriage we both approached our families separately, letting them know we were ready to settle down. Both families were so excited, my Dad was getting concerned at the age of 24, I was getting past my sell by date! Before the proposal, before the engagement, traditionally the groom’s family would approach the bride’s family asking for her hand in marriage for their son. By this point we had both swapped CV’s, a document listing our profession and education backgrounds, details of our families such as how many siblings, addresses in Bangladesh and much more. This is crucial in Bengali weddings, so both sides can see from the offset if the couples would be compatible. Both families swapped pictures of us, so I sent a couple of my pictures over and my fiancé did the same. You can see one of the pictures I used below.


We are both fortunate to be coming from loving families, whose happiness lies in our happiness so we had their full support and blessing (Al-ḥamdu lillāh – praise to God*). Once everyone had agreed that they were happy with our union, that’s when it all began. This is going back about a year, but I remember when a few of the menfolk from my fiancé’s family came to mine for the first time, with the ‘marriage talk’, in essence asking for my hand. They wouldn’t meet me at this point (more on that in the next post) but I peeked through the upstairs window as I watched them come inside my house. They conversed with the menfolk of my family, and were treated to a mini feast my mum whipped up. I eavesdropped by the door to their conversations, and sent texts to my other half with 5 minute updates. Wouldn’t you?! Just look at the ‘mini’ spread my mum made, I made the cupcakes as always.

bengali food
bengali food
bengali food

From then on, it started getting really real. It was out in the open, my fiancé’s name mentioned openly in my household, which I found so bizarre. Coming from a traditional Bengali family, we wouldn’t talk about things like relationships so it felt like a secret had been finally been told. I was very lucky to have the world’s most supportive parents, whose aim in life seemed to be to make sure I was happy. For some people in the Asian community, it isn’t as straightforward especially if their partner is of their own choosing but I would say nowadays the majority of parents have the same stance as mine. If my parents had not been happy, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the wedding, I just know I would never feel happy if I went against them. I would have stayed single and tried my very best to change their mind, but I would gotten married without their blessing. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Phew!

* when something good happens in my life I tend to say Al-ḥamdu lillāh,
which pretty much means thanks to God. Since this is quite a personal post,
I thought I wouldn’t hold back my personality and would speak to you like I would to a friend *

And that is how it started, my journey to becoming a Bengali bride. Through a flurry of CV’s, swapped pictures, nervous moments and a lot of hope, I started the journey to the next chapter of my life. Fast forward almost 12 months, I am engaged and due to be married in under 70 days (cue hyperventilation). We have a lot of catching up to do, but slowly but surely I plan to bring you up to date with all the details. Keep your eyes peeled for the next segment : The First Meeting.

Tanzina x