As you know, I got married in May 2016. It's been five months and it feels like I've been married since years and I am not sure if it's a bad thing or a compliment to my other half, hah! Let's not tell him shall we?
If you're not sure what the words 'Henna' or 'Mehndi' mean, then here's a little overview for you. One of the numerous events that constitute an Indian wedding, a Henna or a Mehndi night is usually when the bride (and sometimes even the groom!) participate in a ritual of applying traditional body art to the hands and the feet. What initially is a forest green colour like paint, dries down to leave a reddish-orange stain for days or even weeks, symbolising the celebration. Application of henna aside, the rest of the night is about meeting and greeting relatives, feasting on artery clogging ethnic snacks and dancing to a mix of Bollywood and Vodafone big top 40 hits in 20 kilo, sequin embellished outfits like there's no tomorrow. You wish you would have come now, don't you?
I found google a bit too useless for the first time ever when trying to arrange the Mehndi party. From henna artists to venues, there was literally nothing useful on the www regarding it. So, below are a few of my recommendations to fellow bride-to-be's and their sisters, mothers and oh-so-caring boyfriends.
Summaya will make you look like you've just stepped out of an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. The lady knows her strobing well. #highlightonfleek
Suraiya and Shamalah for hair that looks like a cascading waterful. Think shabby chic. For a Mehndi/Henna ceremony, you want something that's romantic and ethereal and these two hair heroes will ensure you look like Princess Jasmine but better.
I can't believe I am actually recommending where to pick Asian outfits from. If you know me, I despise wearing anything ethnic and would rather pick boyfriend jeans over a sari. But, considering it was my Mehndi ceremony and I couldn't turn up in a white tee and denim, I had to shop desi. East Shopping Centre in green street, E7 is a one-stop destination. If you're lucky enough to have family buying you outfits a year in advance from Mumbai, I'd recommend Seasons in Santa Cruz, which is where our outfits are from in the pictures above.
Of course you'll also need someone to apply all that Henna to yourself and family. I can tell you from experience that it can go terribly wrong. Don't trust Henna Artists from google ads are my only words of caution. Go through the old school route of actually trusting family recommendations and word of mouth. Or, you can blindly trust Mubina, who we had come over at the Henna venue doing a wonderful job.
Also, if on the very last minute, by which I mean two days before the Henna party you think you need a DJ, the guys at Eternal Entertainments are extremely accommodating and talented. We had an absolute blast with them. They improvised and adapted with the mood of the crowd so well and had our demure friends and family sing and dance like teenagers on their very first unchaperoned holiday.
Askarii Events decorated our venue and doused it in shades of yellow, red and green, typically associated with Henna parties. As for the Photographer without whom everything would have looked drab, a round of applause for the eccentric perfectionist Slawa Walczak. If you're working around a tight budget, get yourself a smashing photographer and an amazing DJ and cut down on the rest.
You are most welcome