Women from the community are being asked to showcase their amazing wedding dresses as part of a major festival which takes place in Lancashire.

Just a week before the nation gathers for the Royal Wedding, a vibrant celebration of South Asian marriage culture is planned as part of The National Festival of Making which is returning to Lancashire from Sat 12 – Sun 13 May 2018.

The sights, sounds, tastes and colourful making traditions of a South Asian wedding are to be recreated for all to enjoy, by acclaimed theatre producer and artist, Dawinder Bansal.

To make it happen, Bansal is searching for home makers who can bring their traditional skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’ along with wedding photos, keepsakes and calls on women to turn up over the weekend in their wedding dresses.

Planned as part of the innovative arts project The Art In Manufacturing, and continuing themes developed in ‘Front Room Factories’, two hugely successful elements of the festival in 2017, Bansal aims to cross cultural traditions, time and family generations to recreate the making of a 1980s South Asian wedding in Blackburn town centre.

In search of authenticity and the participation of the Lancashire community, she is inviting the home-based artisans and the small businesses that can provide the unforgettable sensations that Bansal remembers from the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi weddings she witnessed during her youth.

In addition to making skills, Bansal invites women to go into the past, their wardrobes and attics to find their wedding dresses, asking them to come along to the festival dressed as they did on their big day.

Members of the community are also encouraged send in any photos of their own, or a friend or relative’s own 1980s wedding, as well as sharing any artefacts, keepsakes to add to the range of visuals bringing the colour and joy of a traditional, South Asian wedding to life.

Dawinder Bansal said: “As a young girl growing up in the 1980s, I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on TV. 

"In just a few weeks, the country will be getting excited about the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be creating ‘Making of a South Asian Wedding’ for The National Festival of Making leading up to a historic, national event. 

“Traditional South Asian weddings are a big deal and an important family occasion.

"Thirty years ago, heads of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families practiced and passed down distinct making skills during the build-up to the wedding, bringing family, friends and the local community together to plan and prepare everything for the ceremony.

"The homes of the bride and groom would be full of aunties, uncles, children and extended family - everyone played a role in the celebrations. 

“Such important crafts and skills live on in many families in spite of wedding services offering convenient and ‘ready-made’ alternatives, which is why I am setting this project in the 1980s, a time when people had more time for making and for each other.

"I want everyone who can still craft ceremonial wedding items and clothing by hand or make special curries and snacks, usually on an industrial scale for hundreds of wedding guests, to get in touch and join me in rediscovering such warm, family-focused and highly-skilled traditions.”

To get involved in ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’, home makers, small business owners and friends and family members of people with traditional making skills are asked to get in touch with info@festivalofmaking.co.uk

Elena Gifford, Co-Director of The National Festival of Making and Curator of Art in Manufacturing, said: “Dawinder’s proposal to recreate elements of a traditional, 1980s-set South Asian wedding captured our imaginations immediately and we’re looking forward to working with the communities of Lancashire to bring their skills in making clothes, decorations, gifts and traditional foods to wider public recognition.

"Resulting in a celebration to sit at the heart of The National Festival of Making, the retro theme is intended to provide a celebratory focal point for visitors and residents coming along for two days of making experiences in May.”

The FREE to attend, two-day festival flooded the town with visitors from far and wide in 2017, drawing curious beginners, experienced makers and inquisitive families into 48 hours of making inspiration and promises yet more moments of inspiration in its second year.

For updates about the festival programme and information on how to get involved visit www.festivalofmaking.co.uk