Today’s post is special one, it’s the first real wedding to be featured and just so happens to be the first day of my own nuptials, my Mehndi party.
To give you a little bit of context we had a four-day wedding. While this might seem a bit excessive most Hindu weddings last at least a couple of days, I’ve known some to go on for a week! The Mehndi (pronounced meh-hen-dee) is a fun event and is kind of like an Indian Hen do. The brides hands and feet are decorated with henna, and her family and friends eat drink and dance with her to celebrate the upcoming wedding, of course they can get henna patterns too. FYI, henna is the plant used to make the paste, the intricate designs drawn with it are called mehndi. The photos are so lovely and hopefully you’ll get a feel of just how fun the whole night was.
Photography by Alexandra Sara Photography
Mehndi party particulars
The Mehndi happened two days before our wedding day because we had a few ceremonies in the lead up to the big day, plus it takes a day or two for the colour of the henna to develop. There’s an old wives’ tale that says the colour of the henna reflects how much your husband will love you. Supposedly the deeper the colour the deeper his love… Lucky for Dan mine got super dark!
I was quite particular about the type of mehndi I wanted. Unlike the more fashionable Arabic floral designs, traditional Indian patterns I like are finer and a lot more detailed, they almost look like lace gloves. A friend put me in touch with Dina (you can see more of her work on Facebook and Instagram) who is an incredible artist. After seeing her work, I knew I wanted Dina to create my wedding mehndi. We spoke and I sent her images of the sort of thing I wanted. In the end I created a whole Pinterest board. It’s become a tradition for the grooms name or initials to be hidden in the brides mehndi, if you look closely you’ll see Dan’s name in mine.
The sari I wore for my Mehndi is one of my favourite and the first one I bought. The colours are so vibrant and I felt beautiful wearing it. You can read about my trip to India to buy all my wedding saris here.
Morrocan themed decor
We had a marquee put up in the garden for the whole wedding weekend for all the events before and after the actual wedding. I couldn’t really imagine what it would look like, but The Big Marquee Company did an amazing job, even working round our and making a feature of our flowerbed! Once it was decorated it was incredible! My mum had collected lanterns and my Nan had made 50 cushion covers to transform the space. I suppose we were going for a kind of bright Moroccan theme. Everyone commented on how beautiful it was and it didn’t feel like we were in a back garden in London at all!
It all started to feel very real
We assumed there was going to be a little bit of hesitation from both families at first. After all it was bound to be a bit of a culture shock for Dan’s family, and apart from our parents’ no one had met before. But the whole night was really relaxed and everyone got over the initial weird shyness really quickly. We had a friend of the family cater the event, she made the most amazing Mauritian street food for us and because I my hands were a bit tied up I had to be fed by my mum! While waiting for my mehndi to dry I remember looking around the room watching everyone chatting and laughing, it was lovely. Being the first proper wedding event the Mehndi party was so exciting. After 18 months of planning it all started to feel very real and I was so happy. My big cheesy grin in all the photos say it all really!
Getting the party started
The real party starters were the Bollywood dancers from Anita’s Dance Factory my sister organised as a surprise. They performed a couple of routines and even taught us some dance moves. It set the mood for the whole weekend and instigated the first of many dance-offs that took place! My family are from Mauritius so we had everyone dancing to traditional Sega music and of course some 90’s cheese, like Saturday Night got played. It was hilarious teaching the slightly older generation the routine, but by the end we were all pretty good!
My favourite moment
While the Mehndi party can be for both the bride and groom, some grooms choose to have a bit of henna applied, I kept mine as a ladies night. The guys, from both Dan’s side and mine went to the pub. It was the first time lots of them had met so we thought it would be a nice way for them to relax and get to know each other. I remember getting a bit emotional looking around the whole room. This thing we’d planned for what felt like forever was actually happening and everyone was there for us. It was so lovely and a little overwhelming too!
The Mehndi on Saturday was the last time I would see Dan before we got married on Monday and by chance the last single girl kiss was caught on camera. It’s one of my favourites looking back at the whole weekend. I love all the photos from the Mehndi party and am in awe how the amazingly talented Alexandra Sara captured just how fun and colourful the whole night really was. I just wish we could go back and do it all again!