Punjabi Wedding Songs for the Clueless: Boliyan Book

The wedding sangeet and mendhi party–*sigh* two of my favourite pre-wedding events. I love the candour and relaxed atmosphere that oftentimes contrast to the formal wedding reception setting. I especially love it when the aunties sit down cross legged on the floor in their fancy suits and saris, break out the dholki, and start singing their hearts out. Boliyan–aka Punjabi folk songs–are an expected component of any pre-wedding event. It’s when the boliyan start that I know a wedding is around the corner.

However, it’s also when the boliyan start that I realize how little I actually know!! Most of the aunties (and my cousins who grew up in India) know the songs by heart. I, on the other hand, a Canadian born and raised Punjabi girl with a mom and close aunts who do not sing and who never sung boliyan around me,  am often clueless. There are a couple songs for which I know the chorus or other songs for which I can pick up the lyrics as I go along. But, there are a lot of times when I miss the joke in the song or the emotional lyrics that lament the imminent loss of a beloved daughter. It’s during these times I’ll have a mix of emotions: excitement and happiness (cuz I love a good party), but also disappointment and a little shame. *If only I could sing along*

To my delight, it appears my prayers may have been answered. I was recently contacted by Ameet, who informed me about Boliyan Book. Boliyan Book, which was launched a few months ago, is a wedding song book that provides information and guidelines on where and when to sing traditional Punjabi wedding songs. What’s super cool about the book is that the lyrics are written in English phonetics, so even an illiterate Punjabi like me could sing along! It contains lyrics to songs for different occasions, including the karmai, chunni, maiyan, suhag, and more.

Inside of the Boliyan Book, showing the lyrics in English phonetics

I haven’t been able to get my hands on one yet, but based on the website descriptions and pictures, it seems like a very useful resource–not to mention an amazing way for us not-so-fluent Punjabis to take part in and sustain a centuries-old tradition and to feel fully part of the occasion.

For more info and to purchase a book, check out the site! They even have an app! How awesome!

If anyone has seen or used this book recently, please share your experience with me! I’d love to hear about its utility!

Happy singing!



Bridalicious Fundamentals 2011

I had a great afternoon at Bridalicious today! It was wonderful meeting a couple fellow bloggers, some amazingly creative and friendly vendors and, more importantly, reconnecting with the wonderful people who helped make my wedding day incredibly memorable. Thank you to Arora Wedding & Event Planning, CTC West, Amplified Soul, G+H Photography, and The Perfect Setting for putting together another informative session.

I promise to post a more detailed description of the afternoon, but thought I’d post some pics from today’s event in the meantime. A caution about the pics: the lighting was beautiful in the venue, but not the greatest for taking pics…and I wouldn’t even label myself an amateur photographer…I just borrowed J’s camera and took some pics of things that look pretty!



Inspiration Board: BWB Colours of the Rainbow–Turquoise

Last month, Noureen from Mybrownweddings contacted a range of South Asian wedding bloggers and proposed we join forces as the BrownWeddingBloggers (BWB). She had the great idea that each blogger create inspirtation boards based on a specific colour as our first joint venture. It was a great way to connect this small community of bloggers!

I chose turquoise for my inspiration board. It’s one of my favourite colours. I love that it is bright and bold, but can also be softened with the right touches. My inspiration board below takes the softer approach, with spring and summer weddings around the corner. Enjoy!

Photo credits (Clockwise, starting from top left): Charmi Creations, Eddie Ross, Charmi Creations, Martha Stewart Weddings, Blossom Box, Embellished by Tiffany

I also still do love turquoise with bold colour combinations, like red for example:

Photo credit: from Pink Rock Events by Adrena Photography

Photo credit: from Pink Rock Events by Adrena Photography

Make sure to check out other inspirations boards on these wonderful blogs over the next few days:


Bridalicious is Back

Bridalicious is the brain child of up and coming Toronto South Asian wedding vendors whose aim is to empower today’s brides. They view their roles as advocates, and they aim to inform and educate brides about current trends and techniques by providing interactive and intimate workshops throughout the year.

Their next workshop, Bridalicious Fundamentals, will take place on Sunday, April 17, 2011.  The workshop aims to help brides walk away with clarity, innovative ideas, and customization options in Beauty, Fashion, Photography, Decor, and Planning.

I attended the first Bridalicious Fundmentals last year, and I found  it really enjoyable and informative–I definitely walked away with ideas that I incorporated into my wedding. It was also pretty awesome that the food was delish, the venue was decorated elegantly, and there was absolutely no pretension.

It’s rare to find helpful advice in a relaxed and stylish setting–without any pressure to “buy”–and so I highly recommend checking out Bridalicious in April. Send an email to brides@imbridalicious.com. And if you go, you might see me–LBB’s got a media invite! yeeeaah!

If you’re still not sure, here are some pics from previous Bridalicious events to entice you!



Top Wedding Venues in the GTA

Richha Arora, from Arora Weddings & Events (and my fairy wedding planner) has been planning weddings for a few years and has planned in her share of wedding venues. She recently put together a Top Ten list of GTA venues fit for a South Asian wedding, based on venue ambiance AND customer service, and she has kindly shared it with me to share with all of my lovely readers! The following venues are no particular order.

The reviews are below–remember, they are Richha’s reviews!

Are there any venues you think should be on the list and aren’t?


Royal York Ballroom

We love this venue because it has so much charm. A beautiful hotel lobby with an age old clock marks a great spot for pictures, without even having to leave your venue. Charming event spaces (each one different), can really add a lot to your event without doing much. A great venue for those with a lot of out of town guests visiting Toronto for the first time!


Perfect for those looking for a modern contemporary venue. With amazing lighting and unique balconies, much is possible. They also boast an amazing menu that features unique stations including, a late night stone oven pizza station, this venue is a one stop shop!


One of my personal favorites the LG has 4 beautiful ballrooms to cater to any size event, each with its own charm. A beautiful courtyard that centers the venue is perfect for an outdoor ceremony. Set on the beautiful Toronto Lakeshore the CNE grounds are an excellent spot to go for bridal party or couple pictures!


Fuschia and Purple theme; image from Kumari Photo & Design

For a gem in the suburbs look no further. A beautiful ballroom, hotel connected, complimentary parking..who could ask for more? With a spectacular lighting system that can transform even the simplest decor into something magnificent, this ones a winner!


Hands down the best service you will get in the GTA – period. Beautiful ballrooms, amazing executive chefs who can cook up anything you desire…in a class of its own. There isn’t too much we can say about this venue, because the name says it all!


When it comes to banquet halls this one we definitely enjoy! With the ability to cater to large events, but at the same time carrying a great ambiance this venue is ideal. With grand foyers and unique atriums where you can place creative displays and stations the possibilities are endless. A great sound and lighting system never hurt either!


One of the most romantic places to hold your ceremony this homely estate offers a unique restaurant atmosphere along with a breathtaking outdoor patio and lawns – literally at the edge of the water. Perfect for an intimate wedding or pre-wedding event!


One of the best golf courses in the GTA, no backdrop is needed in this beautiful space that has floor to ceiling windows. With a perfectly covered patio your cocktail hour will be like no other, as it backs on to greens and lovely pond. This is a definite must see for weddings/events up to 200 guests!


With grand foyers, large picture windows and a unique Library room this event space is one of our favorite. The staff trained by hospitalities finest definitely bend over backwards for our clients. For those who want to make a statement from start to finish Bellvue Manor is the place to be!


This boutique venue provides the perfect level of intimacy needed for a small or large event. By holding only 1 event at a time in its main ballroom space the staff can dedicate everything they have to the one client. As a by PeterandPauls property you can expect nothing but the best!



Pictures are from the respective venues’ websites. I created a draft of this post a few weeks ago, and the links to the websites were originally in the captions of the pictures, but they no longer worked, so I erased them. If you see a photo that is not accurately sourced, please let me know and I will either take the picture of the page or update it accordingly. Thanks.

Exciting wedding events!

David’s Bridal is opening in Toronto! They are having a grand opening special (unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to Vera Wang’s White collection, but hey, at least we’ve got Vera Wang’s White collection in Toronto!)

Zedd’s Boutique has stocked its new collection! Great bridal and party wear at reasonable prices and with excellent customer service! Zedd’s is located in Mississauga. Contact Rita to set up an appointment: 905-755-0755. Note, the website is not updated, so don’t base your decisions on the website. Go in person!

The  Spring Wedding Show at the Drake Hotel is back! Yeehaw! I might check it out again, even thought I’m already married! Mark your calendars!

April 30, 2011. The Drake Hotel. 1150 Queen Street West. Toronto. Image from Theweddingco.com

Check out my review of last year’s show here.

If you decide to check out any of the above, please share!