There’s nothing we love more than a good wedding tradition, and the Indian culture knows how to do them right! Among one of the rituals in their three-day (sometimes more!) wedding celebration is the Mehndi party, a ceremony held before the wedding in which henna designs are applied to the bride’s hands and feet—as well as the hands and feet of her closest female family and friends, who share their secrets for a happy and fruitful marriage throughout the party. It’s the ultimate girl’s night!
To create henna, an artist applies paste in delicate designs on the hands. After drying, it flakes off, leaving the skin stained with the design. The longer the paste stays on, the darker the stain becomes. It’s said the depth of the color of the bride’s henna—and the longer it lasts—indicates just how much the groom will love her!
Traditionally, the most intricate henna patterns are applied to the bride to set her apart from everyone else. It can feature anything from lace patterns and nature-inspired elements to the groom’s name (which he has to locate) and depictions of animals and Hindu gods, as well as symbolic designs that signify blessings, luck, joy, and love.
But there’s more to henna than its beauty. Its natural herbal medicine remedies are supposed to cool the nerve endings of the body, helping relieve the bride of stress before her big day—all the more reason to carry on with the Mehndi party.
Its herbal properties don’t prevent us from gazing at the stunning intricacies of a good henna pattern, though. We’ve rounded up 10 that we just can’t take our eyes off of.
We love how bride Lula paired the deep hues of her henna (especially down on her fingertips) with the striking gold jewelry and nude nails.
Bride Sarah hid the Chinese double-happiness character in her palm. She even set up a henna artist in her wedding’s lounge area where guests could get henna as well.
“Before the wedding, we had a Mehndi [henna] party," says bride Sarada. "The wedding party and my close relatives came together, and we had our hands and feet adorned with traditional designs."
Bride Saba’s hands weren’t the only things to flaunt beautiful henna that looks like lacework—her invitation suite also included henna-inspired details.
Bride Sonia received her henna during a traditional Mendhi party with 40 female family members and friends. The red design matches her saree with gold detailing.
This bride’s henna is so intricate, it depicts her and her groom! We love how this design tells a love story.
This henna boasts a mandala and lace fingertips for a more unique look.
Bride Stuti got glammed up for her ceremony, complete with extravagant jewelry and henna that complemented her red and gold Indian garb.
Both brides had each other’s names hidden in their henna. Now, that’s what we call romance!
Bride Seema’s henna mirrors the delicate gold design on her opulent brocade.