For many South Asian brides, the wedding mehndi is absolutely essential. The word “mehndi” has three meanings. It is the name of the henna plant, the name of the artform of decorating the hands and feet, and the name of the event or party at which the designs are applied to the bride and her relatives and friends. The folklore that accompanies the henna varies from region to region. Some say that the darker the henna gets, the more the brides in-laws will love her. Other times, hiding the grooms name within the intricate designs provides for some flirty wedding nights. If the groom can’t find his name, he must give the bride a gift.
One thing is for sure, whether you opt for a simple white gown, or an extravagant lengha with all the trimmings, a beautiful henna design will complement both your skin tone and your outfit. And after all the festivities and fancy outfits, the mehndi remains a bit longer, perfect for barefoot walks on the beach with your honey, or as an elegant alternative to jewelry for a posh dinner out.
One issue with Destination weddings is finding a reputable mehndi artist. In countries like Mexico or the Dominican Republic, where henna is not part of the local culture, it can be especially hard. Not only do local artists use a toxic black substance to apply the designs (which does NOT complement all skin tones or outfits), but they also have little to no knowledge of traditional South Asian motifs. You may be wearing your wedding outfits for only a couple of hours at a time, but the mehndi will be with you for weeks. It’s crucial to either have it done professionally before you travel to your destination, or have an on-site professional that you trust.