The heart-warming custom of decorating a would-be-bride’s palms and feet with intricate henna patterns may date back to ages, but it still holds a special significance. In fact, with time, it has become much sought-after – with most marriages hosting a separate Mehndi function, where women of the house get henna tattooos, drawn meticulously by expert Mehndi artists.
Although, most female friends and relatives of bride and groom get their hands imprinted with lovely Mehndi, it’s the stunning bridal Mehndi that takes the cake. Bridal Mehndi is ornate and unique. Bridal designs are detailed and complex – and extend till forearms (ending just below elbow) and calves.
We all know applying Mehndi is a tedious process – and it becomes way more time-consuming and long drawn, when it is for the bride. Some complicated Bridal Mehndi designs take 4-5 hours or more for application. And then, you have to wait till it lends the deepest, most intense color – which means another 6-8 hours!
Thus, it helps if you are prepared well for this – in advance. How? We have some tried and tested pointers, tips and Do’s and Don’ts that will help you not only get the most splendid henna color, but also enjoy to the hilt – this one-off experience!
When to apply?
As a bride, plan well and know specifically, when you will get your henna application done – down to the last detail. Even on the appointed day – specify an exact time, when you wish the process to start.
Preferably, keep it for earlier or even a day before than the actual Mehndi function. Getting henna applied, when everyone is having fun, circulating, eating and dancing is not only boring, but also hugely distracting (even for the artist) and time consuming. Peace and quiet will help!
Some people don’t prefer showing their Bridal Mehndi to prying eyes of every guest, so doing your Mehndi a night before – in optimum privacy – will help you on that account too.
Who will apply?
Of course, you will get the best possible person to get your Bridal Mehndi applied. But, would it help to test before? Maybe! Ask your mum or sister to be the guest – and test. Keep your Mehndi artists separate from everyone else’s – so as to avoid distraction, tiredness (artist is a human, after all) and God forbid – repetition.
From designs, areas that will be covered (some also get a baju-bandhs and back tattoos done), costs – discuss everything to absolute clarity – so there are no confusions and arguments later. A design (or mood) gone awry can’t be really mended!
Don’t just go and sit anywhere on the spur to get your mehndi applied. Designate a comfortable place and chair for the same. Even if it’s hot, don’t sit right under the AC, or even fan. Get some cushions for back support, newspapers, water (with straw) etc. Ask for help for arrangements; get them done in advance.
Get all your pre-wedding salon treatments done before mehndi. Don’t rush. Waxing, De-Tan, Manicure and Pedicure are a must – and must be done before the henna application. Apply a pale or transparent base coat to nails, so they don’t get henna color on them.
- Be rested and relaxed, when you start the process.
- The room you choose for the purpose should be comfortable, attuned to the season and well lit.
- Wear something loose and comfortable, and definitely not something that will come in the way. Knee-length capris and a mid-length, sleeveless kurta work the best. If it’s cold, wear a short-sleeved/ sleeveless front-open jacket or sweater.
- Finish your bathroom business, before the application starts. Same goes for eating etc.
- Nonetheless, keep someone around to help you with things like water and food.
Wash your hands and dry them well.
- Remove rings, bangles, toe rings, anklets and keep them away safely.
- Tie your hair neatly, even the fringe.
Sit comfortably, and ensure the comfort of the artists.
- Keep a bowl of sugar and lemon juice mixture ready with cotton balls – as this needs to be applied as soon as Mehndi starts to dry off.
- Keep your posture straight and relaxed, when you get henna applied. Don’t be too stiff.
- Ask for some stretching time – in between, during which you can move around, while artists can freshen up and have tea and snacks.
- Play some light music in the background, or watch something with headphones on, if you wish, but avoid too many people around, or loud, blaring music/ television.
- Applying balm or hovering your palms over heated cloves on a girdle or tawa, after you dust off dried mehndi are known to lend darker color to Mehndi. Try if you wish!
- Leave Mehndi for at least 8 hours – untouched by water.
Arrange for a place with an old bed sheet, newspapers etc. to lie down, after the application is over, as you invariably will be tired.
- Remove dried henna with the help of mustard oil (NOT water).
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Don’t argue or negotiate with artists – just before or during mehndi application.
- Do finalize all details and negotiations, beforehand.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal, right before your sit for Mehndi. Don’t go empty stomach either – even during the process.
- Ask someone to feed you a little, during those 5-6 hours you sit for Mehndi.
- Don’t apply cream or moisturizer on your hands and feet, right before the mehndi application.
- Your hands and feet should be freshly washed and dried well, instead. However, ensure that your hands and feet have been nicely treated to salon treatments beforehand.
- Don’t let water touch your hennaed palms, arms or feet/ legs for at least 8 hours after the application.
- Do try to catch a relaxing sleep, after the application is over. That is why it makes sense to get henna done in the night – before bedtime. Wear gloves and cotton socks, after you have removed dried henna with mustard oil to safeguard your hands and feet from water.
- Do appoint someone to take pictures of this important occasion. But, ensure the pictures are taken right till the end – or especially at the end – as that’s the prettiest part.
- However, don’t let pictures-taking become an obsession that takes over the actual ceremony of Mehndi application. If hiring a professional photographer – call them towards the end, so pictures of complete Mehndi can be clicked.
- Most importantly, try not to schedule a back to back function or ritual, right after Mehndi, as you would invariably be too exhausted.