Monday, February 28, 2011


When Dharmi Sahdev, lead planner of Evenings of Elegance, called me to inquire about collaborating with her for her cousin, Mughda's wedding, I knew I was going to be a part of something fun, beautiful and detail oriented.

Many brides don't have the time or way of meeting with their many vendors before the event or signing a contract. This is when trust is really importa
nt, and I am glad that Mughda, had the confidence in my work to send in a deposit to reserve me even before we had met or spoken! Mughda lived in India prior to her wedding and so she trusted in Dharmi and I to ensure that she had very detailed mehendi that is done in India.
While Mughda liked for the designs to delicate and feminine, she didn't like many flowers in her pattern. Instead, she chose to do more abstract patterns, even shying away from doing too many peacocks. Rather, she embraced tradition by incorporating many different wedding symbols in her designs. These included having a picture of a bride and a groom, tabla and shehnai, and kalaash to name a few. What made her design even more unique was that she chose not to do a full figure bride and groom and instead chose to get a bride in a doli.

Even the mehendi done on her feet was as detailed as the mehendi done on her hands.
What I really appreciated about Dharmi as a planner was that she made me and my mom feel at home at the event. We joked, heard good music, talked, enjoyed ourselves, all while doing work. So thanks a bunch for that, Dharmi!

What I am grateful for as a Mehendi artist.

This is something I had scribbled down on my notepad during Thanksgiving. It's a short and sweet list of things that I am grateful for as a Mehendi artist. Many times, we forget to give thanks to things and people who have brought us where we are. Since it's only been about four months since Thanksgiving, I decided that I had made these people and things wait enough for their well deserved thank you. Just kidding!I am grateful for:
  1. Cones-my mom tells me of the days when they used matchsticks to paint designs on people. Apparently, it took hours. Then my ba, my grandmother, tells me of mehendi during her days- big round blobs in the middle of the palm and feet. I mean if it weren't for cones, it would take hours to come up with intricate patterns and those who lacked the patience would be stuck getting a big blob!
  2. Eucalyptus Oil-Many brides questions me with concern about safety and strong reactions to mehendi. Unfortunately, many vendors and unaware brides end up using a chemical called PPD which is similar to hairdye. Although it enchances color, it may lead to severe allergic reactions that would require immediate, extensive and costly medical treatments. So I am grateful for the all natural Eucalyptus Oil, which I use to enhance the color of my mehendi. I have yet to encounter a person that is allergic to this.
  3. Patience- It does take a while to do this patterns so I am grateful for the all the patience that my clients and I have for this process. Afterall, it gives beautiful results!
  4. Brides- Their patience, their likes, their dislikes, their big events, and they themselves. Thanks to brides, I have discovered how much I love Indian weddings and culture. I have learned to appreciate the effort that goes into their events for I often hear about the details. It's lovely working with beautiful brides!
  5. Fans - The hours that we put into our work is made well worthwhile when we hear about how much our work is liked and appreciated. Thank you for the kind words! And we hope to keep up to your expectations and beyond in the coming years.
  6. Word of mouth- Many a times, I am asked whether I advertise to which I respond, yes and no. Why? Because, I don't really have to advertise thanks to all my wonderful loyal clients who promote and spread the word about our work. For example, one of the brides I did mehendi for recommended me to about ten of her friends and relatives who all ended up booking with me.
  7. Wedding Planners- They keep the parties organized, keep the lines moving and ensure that we are well fed and taken care of. Thank you to Sonal J Shah Events, Spotlight Style (Preeti Shah), and Evenings of Elegance (Dharmi Sahdev), just to name a few, for all your dedication and hard work! We look forward to working with you again.
  8. Guests- At mehendi parties, we encounter guests who come from hours and hours away yet wait in lines that could go on for long just to have a pattern done by us. This is not just a pleasure, it's an honor.
  9. Inspirational Designs- be it a wall paper, outfit, invitation card, jewelery, sculpture or painting, designs in these works of art never cease to inspire me to keep coming up with newer and more beautiful designs. Were it not for these, I would still be doing designs from back in the day.

Keep it simple!

In the past, I had come across many brides who chose to do a lengthier and/or more intricate mehendi pattern than they would have liked. Many did it because that's what they thought was "bridal." To that, I say, "Bridal design is not a set bunch of patterns; rather, it is what reflects the brides taste and personality." So if a bride felt uncomfortable or overwhelmed by mehendi that went up all the way to her elbow or covered most of her feet, then why should she be getting it done? Afterall, she will be looking at the designs for days to come and it would not be too great to look at something that you don't really like.

Then came along Anisha, a bride who chose to defy the norms and do what she liked while balancing out the traditions. She chose not to go too high up on the arms and on the feet for it was not her style and also because she'd be going on her honeymoon right after the wedding.

To add a bit of her and make her pattern unique, she chose to get a pattern of a peacock; however, true to her style, the pattern was unconventional, bold yet elegant. To balance out the more contemporary designs on the back and front of her hands, she chose to get a traditional pattern done on her feet. Although traditional, the pattern was kept true to her taste: simple.

This goes to all the brides, if you don't feel comfortable getting intricate and lengthy patterns, then you don't have to. our mehendi will still be just as beautiful and will be YOU at the same time!

Artsy yet Chic

Julia was among the most fun brides to work with. She had preferences but as an excellent artist (photographer) herself, she let me have artistic freedom. As a photographer, she had an eye for detail, a quality which I personally love, so I tried to reflect this in her mehendi pattern. Furthermore, I am in completely awe of the pictures for these emulate Julia's style in a beautiful way. These pictures were shot by the very talented Ms. Tina Shah Doshi from KSD Weddings.

The front of her hands were painted with more traditional and intricate work. The picture of Lord Ganesh seen on her left hand, was inspired by a pattern on her invitation. While not visible in this picture, what made her mehendi pattern really artsy was the picture of a bride and a groom under a tree on separate hands. Julia trusted my artistic judgement enough to have a bold pattern of tree encasing much more delicate patterns of the bride and groom.

What made Julia's mehendi design chic was the pattern on the back of her hands. It's a fusion between arabic and traditional designs. Julia chose to do this pattern on the back side to balance out the intricacy of the work done on the front of her hands. I love that you can clearly see the floral patterns because of the negative space around it.

Lastly, what made my work for Julia even more interesting was that she requested me to do a little design for her invitation. Being on Jewish and Japanese heritage and marrying someone
of Indian origin, Julia wanted to incorporate something from all cultures so I came up with the a pattern from her theme-elephants. The elephants have Japanese and Indian motifs while the trunk of the elephants have a hebrew phrase inscribed (it means I am beloved's, my beloved is mine). Furthermore, to honor her husband's Gujarati heritage, I wrote their names in Gujarati.

This is just an example of the many ways mehendi patterns can be incorporated into details of your event. If any bride would like for me to do this, it would be my pleasure. It's so much fun coming up with these designs!