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Jaspreet's Mehndi

I always forget to keep up to date with my blogging and tend to blog outside of wedding season which means that inevitably by the time I come to write, most of the details of the day have alluded me. That was most certainly not the case with Jazz's Mehndi i Southampton. I was both honoured and excited to witness and capture such an event and when the day arrived my expectations were far exceeded.

I'd never heard of a Mehndi when I was first contacted regarding photographing one, however, the more I gleaned about the events that were to unfold on the night, the more excited I became...Mehndi, also known as henna, holds a special place in the rich tapestry of Indian weddings. The Mehndi ceremony is one of the most anticipated and enjoyable pre-wedding rituals. I have never seen such a colourful occasion, celebrated with such joy and enthusiasm. When I was invited by the bride to photograph this event she likened it to a hen party but this was like no wedding event I have seen before! Unlike with other events where I am encouraged to be unobtrusive, I was actively implored to involve myself and get in close and personal. It was so much fun to be a part of such a joyous event and to be in the thick of it.

Rituals were observed where family members covered the bride, Jaspreet in a colourful, fragrant paste of flour and turmeric whilst suspending brightly coloured fabric above her. The paste known as Haldi was applied liberally all over the bride's skin to purify her before her wedding. The atmosphere was celebratory and filled with fun and laughter as friends and family covered Jas in the vibrant paste. A red thread worn around the wrist was distributed amongst the guests symbolising good luck and blessings for the bride's married life. The playful act of tugging at the red thread, also known as the Kalire is believed to bring good fortune to the single women, indicating that they might be the next to get married. Another delightful custom that was observed which involved the feeding of rice mixed with sugar to the bride. This symbolised prosperity, fertility, sweetness and happiness that the bride was wished to experience on her journey as a married woman. The name Mehndi refers to the henna applied in intricate patterns on the bride's hands and feet as well as on other female members in attendance. A resident henna artist obliged the masses and set to work on some truly beautiful designs.

A Sangeet followed on later which involved traditional Indian songs and dancing. The dancing and the singing was merry and inclusive and the ambience was happy and energetic. young and old jumped onto the dance floor to bust a move. I great time was had by all and by me especially. I hope I am fortunate enough again in the near future to photograph such an event!


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