What Mahj Did… Hooray for Henna!

On Saturday just gone, Martin caught me doing a celebratory jig, complete with song in our dining room. When I say ‘celebratory jig’, what I actually mean is me jumping/shuffling around like a bit of a loon. And when I say ‘complete with song’, what I actually mean is some high-pitched squealing. And from this high-pitched squealing, the only words Martin could decipher were “Birmingham”, “The One” and “its ready”!

Yes ladies (and gents), The One is officially ready. Le eeek! But more on that later…

These past two weeks have been quite productive on the wedding front. Not only is The One waiting for me, but a venue has also been booked for my henna party. Hooray.

When Martin and I got engaged, I was adamant that out of all the ceremonies, celebrations and merriment we could have, I had to have a henna party (otherwise known as a mehndi). I really truly think this has always been my favourite part of past family weddings that I have attended. They are always so much fun and other than the obvious henna-painting-on-hands that goes on, there is a really sweet ceremonial aspect (purely cultural as opposed to religious) where the bride is blessed to have a long and prosperous marriage.

*Image credits: With thanks to Alison Groves Photography.

Plus I get to have henna painted on my hands (both sides) and feet. Now I love henna. I really really do. I think it looks so amazing, the more intricate the better. Whenever it is Eid and I can, I always have some put on my hands. Even though when it starts to wear off, it fades and looks a bit grubby like you haven’t washed your hands properly, I still love it! I love the smell. I love how when it dries, your hand gets really stiff and then it starts to flake off a bit and you catch a glimpse of the colour underneath. And even better, I love it so much when the morning after you have it put on, the henna has stained so darkly, you don’t think it will ever come off.

*Image credits: With thanks to Mark Osborne Photography.

One of the myths involved with henna is that the darker the colour the henna turns out, the more your husband-to-be will love you! That is the reason why, even after its application the henna is kept on overnight to get a deeper, darker color on the palms. Traditionally, after her marriage, the bride is not supposed to do any household work till the henna fades out completely. Now that is something I could get on board with!

*Image Credits: SnapzPhotography

I’m not a fan of the new henna designs that are happening, with glitter and diamantes and bits and bobs stuck all over your hands and arms. No siree, I am old school. Just plain old henna for me thanks. So I’ll be going retro all the way! I like to wind my Mum up sometimes and tell her that I am going to have it going all the way up my arms, like sleeves or something and then all up my legs to my knees! Thinking about this now, I reckon I would look a bit of a plonker, lying on the beach on my honeymoon with henna “sleeves” and “socks”. Heh!

A restaurant has been booked for my henna-fest for the Wednesday before our wedding. I should probably mention at this point that my mehndi will be ladies only. Men can also be invited, but my Mum and I decided to do this just for the ladies as we can have more fun that way! Martin has decided that he will be doing manly things whilst the mehndi is happening – like eating steak and drinking beer!

*Image Credits: SnapzPhotography

For the mehndi I will be wearing something called a khara duputta. The simplest way to describe it is trousers with a long shirt over the top and wrapped over my shoulders and around me is a really long shawl thingy. Bet I have really painted a picture for you guys haven’t I?!

What I am wearing is pretty old-school and traditional, khara duputta’s don’t tend to be worn a lot anymore. I am pretty sure I am right in saying that it’s the traditional bridal wear of a region in India called Hyderbad, where my mum’s family originates from. Many brides tend to wear something a bit simpler for their mehndi’s but I think my Mum got a bit over-excited and when she insisted I wear one, I just went with it and thought “awesome, another amazing outfit to wear”. I am easily swayed.

Image Credits: Fotowala, India.

Mine is currently being made for me in Pakistan and alls that I can tell you about it is that it is magenta and emerald green. Sounds like something from Oz to me!

So yeap, like the utter nerd I am, after getting home from booking the restaurant, I took great delight in crossing off “sort mehndi” from my list!

And I believe this brings us full circle back to The One. Could someone please explain to me where the time has gone since May when I ordered it? Where have I been? What have I been doing? I think seeing it for the first time and knowing that that version of it is mine and not a stock version will make the 22nd July 2011 seem even closer. And even more real. God I hope it fits. And that I still love it. I’m super nervous, nauseous and excited about it all at the same time!

I have made an appointment to go and try it on and collect it on the 5th December. So by the time you guys will be reading this, I will be t-minus 3 days….eeeeeep!

Your henna-loving real bride

Mahj xoxo

Author: Becky Sappor
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.

22 thoughts on “What Mahj Did… Hooray for Henna!

  1. God I love this. I had no idea about traditions and I love learning about them.

    I remember having Henna as part of our R.E. lessons at school. Do you paint your own on the hand you can draw on or have your Mum or someone almost like a make-up artist?

  2. I LOVE mehndi, I almost had it on my hands and feet for the wedding, but noone on my Indian side really wears it so it wouldn’t have been that relevant. I always buy the cones when I see them, though it’s been a while – might have a look round town and see if I can find some to do my feet with! I cannot wait to see the khara dupatta, esp as my mum was born in Hyderabad. Also cannot wait to see your dress!! Eeeeeeek indeed!! xxxxxx

  3. Fantastic post. I work in a predominantly Bengali area and after Eid it’s such fun seeing the amazing henna patterns everyone has. Will you also have your photographer there too? Hope we get to see the photos of it.

  4. An absolutely fascinating post Mahj, great read. I really can’t wait to see pictures of your henna…and of course, the dress.

    Good luck on the 5th!


  5. Ah Mahj, that all sounds so amazing! I want to go to a mehndi party and wear a beautiful outfit – great choice with the colours! I’m loving learning all about the traditional side and esp the fact that we get to share the journey with you. Pretty please take pictures to show us. xxxx

  6. I love this, something about it has just…cheered me up! (Although in equal measures panicked me, as our wedding is the day after Mahj and I am no closer to finding The One. Dress that it is. Fiance is sorted.)

    Lovely post that just brims with excitement and happiness, thanks Mahj x

  7. I’m going to pick my dress up on the 7th so I know exactly how you feel. I’m utterly terrified that I’m going to hate it! Also it’s only taken 8weeks to arrive when they told me it would be 16!! Should I be scared ladies?! I’ve heard so many horror stories about samples (complete with fake tan marks) being sold as new as well as various other things that it’s made me really suspicious. Eeekk!!

  8. My henna party is taking place on the the Thursday before my wedding and I really don’t think it is until then the whole wedding will feel real!

    Your images have made me so excited (going to spend the rest of the day trawling the internet for more inspiration!).

    My mum used to tell me that the darker the henna the more your mother-in-law will love you! Lets see how that goes..


  9. Your henna party sounds amazing Mahj!! What a lovely way to celebrate with all your girlies.

    And a telephone call about ‘the one’ being ready this weekend, no wonder you’ve been jigging about in your living room!

    I can’t wait for more of your stories to unfold

    Mmmmm…..I must really get a dress sorted now too, my time is running out – yikes…stress time!


  10. This is such a great post and such an interesting read, I hope you have an amazing time – cant wait to see the pics of you all dressed up in your sparkles!!
    Rachie xo

  11. I love reading the real RMW bride posts! And like you, Mahj, I love henna, though rarely get a chance to wear it as I am a fair English lass! However, I went to my friend’s Mehndi night before her wedding earlier this year and it was fab – lots of jollity and beautiful intricate designs in henna.

    I hope you have just as much fun at yours, Mahj


  12. I loved reading this post! Please, please, please post some pictures of the Mehndi night along with your wedding report.

    Hope the one is as you remember at the weekend!

  13. Dear Henna Appreciation Society –

    As always ladies, your comments are making my day. Thanks so much and to answer a few questions….:

    Rebecca – I have managed to find a henna artist that lives in the Greater Manchester area. She’s really quite fantastic: https://www.mehndioccasions.com/

    Rachel – yeap, my lovely photographer shall be covering my mehndi and wedding. Yippeeeeee!

    Sarah – glad I could help 🙂 and The One will come along and smack you upside the head when you prob least expect it – or thats how it happened with me at any rate!

    Alex K – The One was due to ready Sept-Oct time so by mid-Nov I was having absolute kittens. Needless to say my fears were unfounded, except they were replaced with other terrified fears about it. Will send you positive vibes for the 7th chuck.

    Pria – Martin read your comment about henna and mother-in-laws and choked on his tea laughing!

    Mahj xoxo

    PS. Big Grateful Thanks to RMW’s lovely Rebecca who sorted out some of the above piccies for me. xx

  14. Oh – so lovely to see something different. The colours and the patterns have cheered up my rubbish snow bound day.

    I too love crossing things of my list – today it was ermmmmm nothing. Maybe tomorrow will be more productive!

  15. Mahj,

    My sister is getting married next year. I know, our poor parents. Her fella is Indian so they’re planning a fusion wedding. And she’d reeeeeally like to have a mehndi, too. Eek. I’m going to direct her to your entertaining and informative post!

  16. “darker the henna the more your mother in law will love you”

    is this an old wife’s tale ha ha ???

    won’t make any difference at all cause i love her to bits already and the dress will be magnificent because Mahj will be in it!!!

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