When my friend got married, she didn't want to go to the all-night strip joint and bar hopping scene. She had something different in mind. After traveling to India extensively, she had it in her mind that a Mehndi Party was more of what she had in mind. Having never been to a Mehndi Party, I didn't really know what to expect. I knew there would be Henna, but I knew nothing about it's importance or how darn fun it is!
Different regions of India celebrate it in their own ways with their own marriage customs. But now, it is been excepted into the American culture as a fun pre-wedding ritual. Typically, the bride gets together with her female friends and family right before she gets married. She gets adorned with henna tattoos all over her hands and feet, so she looks beautiful on her wedding day. In Indian culture, it is said that the darker the stain left behind, the deeper the love between the bride and the groom. In American society, many brides tend to have their Mehndi about a month prior so that the henna has worn off, but it's totally up to you.
Henna tattoos are all natural but not at all permanent. The henna only stains the outer layer of the skin, so it lasts 2-4 weeks.The chocolate-colored paste is applied with a cone (kind of like baker's use for decorating cakes) or with a thin stick. The designs are intricate and can take hours to apply. The bride has to sit and wait for the paste to dry and set, so if she needs anything, all her gal pals take care of her. Not only does the bride apply henna paste but also her family and friends. It's quite the party!
Make sure you hire a professional artist to work out the intricate details and beautiful designs. Traditional bridal patterns include peacocks and paisleys- symbolic of passion. You can also make your own traditions. Some brides have their husbands initials hidden in the designs, and the couple is not considered officially married until the groom finds them. It's also said that as long as the henna is on a woman's hands she doesn't have to do any wifely duties. Too bad it doesn't last longer!
Lastly, to keep the party fun, female members sing and dance to celebrate the occasion. The party should end with a dinner party for everyone.
Quick tips if your interested in having your own party: Contact your local tattoo parlor, spiritual bookstore, yoga studio or salon. Some receommendations are:
Phone: (786) 573-9309
Little Henna Girl
Phone: (305) 443-5322