Mehndi, henna or mylanchi, is an intricate plant-based design, that is adorned on a brides hands and feet. Typically, a bridal henna artist will handle the application, and aftercare, to ensure the beautiful temporary tattoos last throughout the major events of your wedding. Usually, Desi brides allocate an entire day or event, known as the “Mehndi Ceremony” for this application.
For hundreds of years, mehndi has been a part of weddings and other celebrations in India. Mehendi is a ceremony during which henna is applied to the hands and feet of the bride and the groom for both Hindu and Muslim weddings.
Historically, Indians believed that the darker the color, the more the bride and groom would love each other. Today’s it has evolved into a fun event to wish the couple good health and prosperity and give them blessings as they enter this new chapter.
Mehndi is still associated with positive spirits and good luck, and also has scientific benefits. Henna paste comes from a medicinal herb and has cooling and destressing properties. The plant has been used for everything from helping with blood circulation and healing to protection from viral diseases. Given how stressful weddings can be, mehndi night or the mehndi ceremony is supposed to be an event for pampering the couple and helping them relax before their big day.
Henna paste comes from powdering dried leaves from a henna plant (Lawsonia inermis). Usually, mehndi artists will create their own paste by mixing the ground henna with herbal elements like fresh lemon juice, sugar, and essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils. Lemon juice helps turn the dried leaves into a paste, and its acidic properties cause the mehndi to release dye slowly, leading to a darker and longer-lasting color. Optional sugar helps the mehndi better bind to your skin, stays wet longer, and allows for flexibility as you move around, also leading to a darker color. Finally, the essential oils can help with a darker stain but also nourish your skin, make then mehndi smell good, and help with creating a peaceful ambiance.
It’s important to ask your mehndi artists how they make their cones and make sure they aren’t adding chemicals to darken the color. While chemicals may give you a stronger color, they damage and dry out your skin. Note that most professional mehndi artists make their own cones instead of using store-bought cones.
Bridal mehndi duration can vary based on how intricate the henna design is and how much of your arms and legs you cover. Typically for an average bride, mehndi will take 2 to 4 hours. If you are planning for an intricate design, we recommend hiring two mehndi artists to work on your mehndi simultaneously, so it cuts down the total time you have to sit still.
The cost of bridal mehndi varies based on the complexity of the design and how much mehndi you get. The average rate for bridal mehndi in Dallas, Houston, and Austin ranges from $200 - $500 per bride.
For guests, assuming that they get simpler mehndi on one hand and one side of the hand, pricing is usually either hourly or her hand. Pricing her hand in Texas is usually $7 - $10, and hourly pricing is usually $75 - $100. We recommend talking to your mehndi artist(s) ahead of time to let them know which guests you’d like to have more intricate mehndi for (family, siblings, close friends) and then guidance on applying one hand / one side for the rest of your guests. Not only will your overall cost be better, but this way, everyone will get a chance to have their mehndi done, and guests won’t leave feeling that they didn’t get henna.
We have four key recommendations to make sure you enjoy your bridal mehndi in peace:
Mehndi typically dries within 30 minutes. With that said, artists usually recommend that you do not wash mehndi off for at least 6 – 8 hours and ideally keep it on overnight. For this reason, mehndi ceremonies are usually in the evening, so you don’t have to walk around all day with dried henna.
Skincare before mehndi really helps with getting a darker stain. Artists recommend you remove your hair and exfoliate your arms and legs 1 – 2 days before your bridal mehndi. The henna paste is better able to permeate and attach to your skin, resulting in a darker and longer-lasting mehndi stain.
Secondly, once you remove the mehndi, make sure to moisturize your skin with natural oils, which will also prolong the exfoliation of your skin and help the mehndi dye last longer. Make sure you avoid any products with alcohol, which strip the dye quickly.
Brides should try to schedule their bridal henna at a time where many people are not around, before the sangeet and other key events. Given how long mehndi can take, it’s nice to be able to get it done without distractions with close family and friends and then have a larger ceremony for your guests either later in the evening or the next day, so you can actually enjoy mingling with your guests. Plus, this allows you to wear something more comfortable and easier to roll up while you get your mehndi done and a fancier lehenga or suit during the mehndi night with guests for pictures!
Liberally cover your dried mehndi in sunflower or olive oil. Instead of washing the mehndi off, you should scrape as much of the mehndi off as possible. Washing your mehndi will also wash away the dye, but oils help moisturize your skin and help the dye permeate, even more, resulting in a slower fade time.
There are various styles (and even colors) available for bridal mehndi, which is going to be dependent on your mehndi artist’s specialty. Examples include:
Your artist will be able to provide you with the best guidance. Ideally, make sure your mehndi is finished 1 – 2 hours before you go to bed. Then, apply oil on top of your henna to help it absorb. Wrap your arms and legs with toilet paper or paper towels, and finally wrap the toilet paper or paper towels with saran wrap. The saran wrap helps the mehndi in place, while the toilet paper helps the oil better absorb and also prevents your mehndi from shedding and making your bed messy with henna crumbs.
With modern millennial brides, we’ve seen new mehndi trends emerge where brides add glitter or stones to their mehndi. You can use rhinestones or other stones to match the color of your mehndi outfit. Alternately have your mehndi artist sprinkle thin glitter on top of the henna paste before it dries.
Finally, there’s also white mehndi (can be plain or glittered) which looks elegant, especially on darker skin tones. As a note, sometimes the glitter doesn’t look great in photos, so we recommend having your photographer take pictures before you add any sparkle.
There are five trends that we have highlighted below:
Mehndi stains last differently for different people as it depends a lot on your skin type and how the dye reacts to it. Below are a couple of ways to getting rid of your mehndi dye faster. Note that you might need to try these methods multiple times to fully remove the dye.
Click the below links to find your wedding mehndi artist.