Help needed to re-create a 1980s South Asian Wedding

Published Friday 6 April 2018 at 15:20

A renowned theatre producer and artist is calling out to communities in Blackburn and Darwen to help contribute to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’ as part of the National Festival of Making.

Dawinder Bansal is also calling on women to attend this year’s National Festival of Making in their wedding dresses!

The idea is to gather the traditional, family and community making skills that made food, clothing, decoration and more for a typical 80s celebration. Photos and keepsakes of 1980s weddings are also being sought by the renowned artist.

The vibrant celebration of South Asian marriage culture is planned just a week before the nation gathers for the Royal Wedding, as part of The National Festival of Making, returning to Blackburn 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 the acclaimed theatre producer and artist.

Planned as part of the innovative arts project The Art In Manufacturing, Dawinder  aims to cross cultural traditions, time and family generations to recreate the making of a 1980s South Asian wedding in Blackburn town centre.

She is inviting home-based artisans and the small businesses that can provide the unforgettable sensations that she remembers from the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi weddings she witnessed during her youth.

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 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 by emailing:

Elena Gifford, Co-Director of The National Festival of Making and Curator of Art in Manufacturing, added: “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 National Festival of Making, returns for a second year to ‘the UK’s home of manufacturing’, Blackburn, which is a FREE to attend, two-day festival for all to enjoy.

Last year over 30,000 visitors flooded the town, 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 and sign up to the mailing list. News and opportunities will also be posted on social media at:




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