Bridal Mehendi Designs
The trend of applying 'Mehendi' can be traced back to the Mughal era in which it was introduced in India. Centuries have gone by, the art of putting mehendi has only developed further, in terms of style, designs and quality. Today it is an essential part of Indian bridal beautification. It is considered to be one of the symbols of getting married. In fact, there is an entire ceremony dedicated to the tradition of applying mehendi on a bride's hands and feet known as 'Mehendi ki rasam' that is usually accompanied by songs, performances and chit-chat.
From simplest homemade designs to complicated professional ones, each one of them has got a charm of its own. What's common in all of these,however, is the fact that they are all aimed at enhancing the beauty and glow of the bride. In some parts of India, even the groom is painted with mehendi on his hands.
There are a number of different styles of applying Bridal mehendi. It is good to be aware of the basic terminologies of the most popular styles in order to be sure of which one you want to get done for your wedding.
From among hundreds of different styles, the most popular designs for Bridal Mehendi are namely, the Arabic, the Indian, the African and the Pakistani.
The Arabic style of mehendi art consists of spacious floral designs, very similar to the middle eastern paintings and textiles. These designs are made with thin intricate strokes without really following distinct patterns. These patterns rather come with a flow thus forming a new design each time.
A slightly more detailed style of mehendi art can be found in the Indian mehendi art. This one is more like a story. The patterns used in the Indian style of mehendi art are more suggestive and symbolic, for example the outline of the national bird peacock, images of a bride and a groom and other such patterns that typically suggest the Indian heritage and culture.
The African style of mehendi art involves a lot of geometrical patterns. It is typically rural in essence and proportional in intent. This style is not very popular among Indian Brides but nevertheless it could be flaunted as a very modern style by brides who like to set trends.
Pakistani style of mehendi art is very intricate and extremely detailed. This style is said to be extremely time consuming but at the same time, it is extremely pretty and traditional.
Nowadays brides even have the option of adding colors like metallic silver and gold and they can even get stones and glitter on their Bridal mehendi.
The tradition remains, however, to have the darkest after-color for the wedding. It is believed that 'the darker the color of the pattern the dried-mehendi leaves behind, the more the bride is loved by her husband'. Indian brides, therefore, try and do as much as they can to deepen the color of their mehendi. There are age old homemade techniques available for this. For example, heating about 8-10 cloves in a pan and gently turning your hands over it and absorbing the warmth. The heat from the cloves eventually heats up the blood that leads to the darkening of mehendi. After this the mehendi should be allowed to dry and fall off on its own without letting it come in contact with water at all. Once its more or less off, the bride can apply some vapor rub over the mehendi and keep her fists closed, this would also induce heat and darken the color of the bride's mehendi.
Traditional Indian weddings also involve a number of wedding games. One of these wedding games is for the groom to find his name in the bride's mehendi. While applying the mehendi the artist inscribes the groom's name within a pattern thus hiding it in a way for this particular game.
In this way the 'Mehendi' leaves found their way from branches to beautiful hands celebrating the joy of a brand new union and became an integral part of the Indian tradition.
"The style of the Bride's Mehendi is usually selected on the basis of the beauty of its design, however, it could also be chosen to compliment the bride's outfit and the patterns on that."
Photo Courtesy : Peddu Eeshwar, Vrutika Doshi