Having never been to India, the closest I can get to experiencing that amazing culture of colour, tradition and incredible food, is photographing a Mehndi celebration. Celebrated days before the wedding, it is often one of the most important pre-wedding rituals, especially for the bride, and represents the importance of the bond between a husband and wife. Henna looked amazing that night, in her gorgeous violet and teal punjabi bridal dress adorned in embroidery, crystals and beads! She confessed to me later that it weighed a ton – but it’s a small price to pay to look so beautiful!
There are many symbols at a Mehndi celebration, and they can be found everywhere – from the Mehndi on the bride’s hands and feet, to the details on this elaborate cake. Traditionally the flower and leaf designs symbolize fertility, while the peacock symbolize love.
This is the ritual of Aarti, where the bride’s mother welcomes the groom with a garland of flowers.
If you look closely, you can see Fabio’s name hidden in the intricate details of Henna’s Mehndi.
In the bridal ceremony, a certain number of married women who are closely related to the bride apply henna to her hands, and feed her sweets. This ritual is supposed to bring good luck and longevity to the bride’s married life. Similarly, on the groom’s side, Mehndi and oil is applied to his head and sweets are fed to the groom.
My favourite thing that happened that night was when the bridesmaids stole the groom’s shoes, also known as “jutti” and then offered to sell them back to him for $500! After bartering back and forth a bit, Fabio managed to get the final price down to $150. Poor Fabio – forced to pay for those shoes – twice!
One of the surprises of the evening was when Fabio joined the musicians to play a Beatles song for his soon-to-be bride!
It was such a busy night with so much going on, but the three of us managed to sneak away for some gorgeous bride and groom photos!
Henna and Fab, thank you so much for inviting me to capture this amazing event in your lives!! xo Lee