A South-Asian Event Inspiration
I’ve probably said this a thousand times already: party planning has been encouraged by my parent’s love for entertainment, and their desire to host frequent shindigs. My parents loved any excuse to gather their families for a feast. Since 2007, I’ve been organizing a yearly potluck event for about a hundred people and counting, in celebration of Noboborsho. Noboborsho, aka Pohela Boishak, is Bengali New Year, celebrated by people of all ethnicities and religions. It’s a very festive, colorful, and eventful day, filled with lots of activities, food spreads, games, and much more. While growing up, I hadn’t celebrated this cultural event as much. I occasionally saw a glimpse of it, and read about it. Wanting to pay tribute to my parent’s love for entertainment, I planned and helped them host this festivity (at their home), embracing and maintaining their unique traditions and cultural identity. As I was planning a South-Asian Wedding and Events Inspiration photoshoot, I drew inspiration from Noboborsho and the culture of Bangladesh, to plan and create a culturally-infused and nature-inspired event.
Styling Inspiration: Bangladesh
It's also one of the largest textile exporters in the world. It plays a major role in the long history of the jute trade, and has some of the finest natural fibers in the world. You'll find variety of hand woven jute products and baskets available almost everywhere. Dala-kula, made of jute and adorned with decorative items and gifts, is a huge part of Bengali wedding rituals and gaye holud ceremony.
Nokshi kantha (quilt) is a traditional handcraft and Bengali art of stitching, which is centuries-old and still used to create embroidered quilts, shari, and various products. A jewelry box with "nokshi kantha" embroidery was used as a prop to style bangles, also known as "churi."
With rice being the main harvest of Bangladesh, both fish and rice are staples in cultural cuisine. It would be unheard of for Bengalis to go even one day without rice. During Pohela Boishak (Noboborsho), the customary food is “Panta Bhat” and the national fish, Elish. Panta Bhat is fresh rice soaked in fresh cool water and eaten with mashed veggies, potatoes, spices, and various fish dishes. Bhapa Pitha, steamed rice-cake filled with date molasses, is a popular pita, finger food, snack during this time.
Peanuts and puffed rice (muri), mixed with trail mix (chanachur) and various spices, is one of many daily roadside snacks usually served in paper-cones, and very prominent in festivals, fairs, and many joyful occasions. Fruit stations are found in every corner of the country. Such traditional snacks, props and details were used to infuse culture in the photoshoot.
The tropical elements, nautical touches, vibrant colors and greenery, all contributed to creating the sense of nature in the design. Bright colors represented the rich color of the south-asian festivity. Mix of blush and pink florals, along with the Pantone color of the year - greenery - created a festive and summer vibe with a hint of romance. The inclusion of hand-woven textures, culturally significant elements, waterlily - the national flower of Bangladesh, incorporated both nature and culture to the scene.
The culmination of a few amazing vendors brought the vision to life! Three floral centerpieces took charge in the center of the table, creating an almost cascading effect. The ivory stem candles, standing over votive holders and tucked in between the flowers, created a warm and inviting ambience perfect for any event.
For our setup, the existing barn table, paired with cross-back chairs in chestnut brought in a natural and earthy feel. A beautiful table setup, infused with a sense of personal style and culture, will definitely be unique and intriguing. In bringing the table together, we chose both contrasting and complementing colors. An ombre-chiffon-runner in blue-green and white colors, spread across the table and draped down to the ground.
The floral-shaped, white plates really stood out against the dark brown and textured rattan chargers. The pink-and-red twill chambray napkins not only complemented the colors of the florals, it also added a beautiful pop of color to the neutral place-settings. The handcrafted and beaded metallic napkin rings tied in all the gold touches around the decor, stationery, and silverware, adding that luxe effect. Who wouldn’t like drinking out of these clean and fancy textured glasses? We chose the tinted flute and goblet glassware. Add in some iced mango lassi or yogurt lassi to satiate your thirst in the summer heat - and Walla!
Keeping with the nature-inspired theme, real leaf place cards were tucked in with the beautiful napkin rings and colorful napkins. Overall, the white floral plates, the tinted glassware, rattan chargers, pink napkins, metallic rings, gold flatware/silverware, and bright florals, combined to bring the table together perfectly, for our much-desired, nature-inspired south-asian motif.
For dessert, I envisioned a two-tiered cake, designed with waterlily, buds and lily pads. I reached out to Voula, from Blue Lace Cake. She is one of the most creative artists I have ever met. She has skillfully merged her passion for baking and sculpting, to create art in the form of cake. Look at that beautiful creation! She fashioned a hand-painted watercolor ombre, with sugar lily pads, sugar waterlilies, and sugar buds. It doesn't just look pretty, but you can also eat these edible art work! The festive pop of color in the cake was the perfect complement to the south-asian inspired shoot. The shades of green and blue represented land and sky. I couldn’t have been happier!
Bangladesh has people of various ethnic groups and religion, and Noboborsho is an event where people of all types and cultures come together to celebrate the Bengali New Year. Our beautiful models were perfect in not only learning about the culture, but also representing it in ethnic attire. The models were styled in a simple and minimalistic South Asian wardrobe, including floral printed, embroidered, and appliqued sharee and kurta. Although a combination of red and white attires are traditional for Noboborsho, now a days it's a combination of many festive colors.
The hand-painted, custom stationery pieces and welcome sign were nature-inspired to complement the theme.
A thank you and welcome gift box, showcased festive and cultural pieces, matching the vibrant aesthetic of the event and South Asia.
This photoshoot is infused with inspiration for any south-asian events, such as gaye holud (turmeric day), bridal shower, weddings (biye), and various other cultural events. There's inspiration for product styling, dala-kula (basket) for ethnic processions, and so much more. We are thrilled to be able to share this inspiration, including lots of thoughtfully-curated details, with you! Enjoy and please leave us your feedback!
Vendor || Creative Team Information:
-Stationery Art|Product Styling and Photography
-Welcome Gift Box
-DIY: Mini Floral Bouquet & Props, Pinwheels and Paper Cones
Florist: centerpieces and flower supply
Party Rental LTD:
Chairs, Place Settings, Flatware, Glassware, and Rattan Chargers
Blue Lace Cakes:
Letters by Becca:
Beauty by Janice Thayer:
Make-up and hair
Bucceri Elite Agency: