One of the most fun-filled functions of south asian wedding celebrations is the Mehndi or 'henna party' which usually takes place a couple of days before the wedding itself. In the Pakistani culture, this function is traditionally held separately by the girl's side and the boy's side, although nowadays many families choose to throw a combined party where the bride and groom can both enjoy and partake in the ceremony. The guests bring gifts of bangles, henna, fruit and sweets and during the event various celebratory customs are carried out. These can include:
- putting a dab of oil into the bride/ groom's hair
- applying a dot of henna to the palm of the bride/ groom's hand
- applying turmeric paste to the bride/grooms face
- feeding the bride/ groom sweets
To mark the excitement of the occasion people come dressed in stunning bright colours. The bride tends to dress simply in yellow or green and the groom wears a traditional shalwar kameez. The bride and groom's family playfully compete in a sing-song competition and there are often skits and dances to further tease and entertain the couple.
Having explained the above: summer 2013 was THE summer for weddings! With my best friend and brother-in-law's wedding only one week apart, I was determined to give my 100% to them both. Therefore, in preparation for Ahsan's (my lovely brother in law's) mehndi celebrations, it was only fair for me to do my part by transforming this ex-dining-room-now-table-tennis-slash-sitting room…
…. into A-FULL-ON-MEHNDI-PARTY-SHARTY ROOM… [translation]… a room suitable for the festivities to commence:
Now although the transformation of this room did take several hours of laborious lifting, reshuffling, pinning and draping, (not to mention 100 table tennis balls hitting me throughout as the men of the household continued to do what they did best), the end result was well worth it! Now I’m sure Ahsan wasn’t too fussed about the little details, but considering I wasn’t invited to my now-husband’s mehndi last year (although my spy cousin Sumaiya was kind enough to send me clips of the sing-off, which my side shamefully lost!) I was determined to make my presence known this year!!! I have uploaded some snapshots of the mehndi decor from this wonderfully memorable event to provide ideas about how to create a similar set up at home using all kinds of fabrics, materials and decorations to achieve a visually vibrant and colourful atmosphere. Not to mention, it provides the perfect backdrop for the photos!