In the days leading up to Jocelyn and Praket’s wedding, there were lots of traditions and preparation to go through. On the day Eric and I arrived from New Delhi, Jocelyn and Praket were working with a dance instructor to learn a choreographed dance that they’d perform, and the Mendhi process began for many of the women. Family was also arriving every day and there were lots of meals served by cooks hired by Praket’s family.
I really enjoyed being part of the Mendhi ritual. It’s almost like a shower, with many of the women crowded around, hanging out, chatting and laughing while the henna is drawn on and then you wait for it to dry. Two henna artists worked two straight long days to finish all the art. It’s such a process!
First, the ladies draw on the designs by hand. They’re really amazing and intricate, and the speed at which they can do it is pretty amazing. Thirty minutes later, they dab a mixture of lemon oil and sugar on it, which helps it set, and then about 30 minutes later they dab it again with mustard oil. You have to sit still and let it dry for about another hour and then you scrape all the henna off. The first day, the markings are a bright orange color and when you wake up the next morning, it’s darker. They say that the darker your henna markings are, the more your husband loves you. Because my skin’s so fair, my henna was pretty dark and Eric got congratulated quite a few times.
Below, the ladies hanging out during the Mendhi ritual (and some of the guys too). Tuki, Praket’s sister, is having hers done.
Soon it was Jocelyn’s turn. Below, the artists work on her arms and then they moved to her feet, which is an extra step only for the bride.
Jocelyn’s family arrived the next day and they had their first meeting with Praket’s parents over some snacks. It was so fun to be in the room as they got to know each other a little.
Below, Tuki and Sandy (Praket’s sister and Jocelyn’s sister) share a hug.
Next week I’ll be back on the blog sharing loads more photos from Jocelyn and Praket’s wedding!