Wedding: Chirag + Nancy | Day 1 of 3 - Mehndi Ceremony | White Rabbit Studios

Ashley and I shot a wedding on Monte Sano last November, and we were talking about wedding photography and what our dream weddings to shoot would be. If you know me well then you know this, but for those of you who don't, I've been infatuated with India for years and years. One of my biggest dreams was to visit, and Sean and I did that in 2007. One of my biggest dream weddings to shoot was hands-down a Hindu wedding, and Ashley and I did that this past weekend.

Ashley called me a few weeks after we shot the wedding, bubbling over with excitement about a phone call she'd received about this wedding. She told me more or less that if she booked it I had to help her shoot it, and I readily agreed. After she booked it, I began mentally making notes. Luckily for all involved parties, we moved back to Alabama, launched White Rabbit, and this wedding serves as our first together as White Rabbit Studios.

Chirag and Nancy's wedding was a three day extravaganza. We went to a variety of locations in and around Huntsville, and the first of these was the home of Chirag's parents for the Mehndi ceremony.

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Some background: the Mehndi ceremony is traditionally held in the home of the bride and/or her parents. A professional henna designer or relatives apply mehndi to the bride's hand and feed. This process can take up to four hours, and that doesn't count the two hours it takes to dry! There are few places in India where it is a ritual that the first motif of henna or mehendi is applied by the bride’s sister-in-law whereas there are some places where the first mehendi motif is said to be auspicious if applied by bride’s mother. The Mehendi is both the adoration of the bride and epitomizes her transformation from a virgin girl to a woman for her husband. Popular motifs of the bridal mehendi are conchshell, flowers, Kalash, peacock, doli and baraat patterns. The intricate motifs of the bridal henna also hide the husband’s name. It is said that the husband’s name in the intricate henna motifs is made for the groom who has to find out his name in his bride’s mehendi as an evidence of his sharp eyes and active brain to impress his girl.

Woo!

You'll also see photos that feature several brightly-bedecked women singing. The Mehndi ceremony is usually performed for and with women who sing traditional songs for a prosperous marital life of the bride.

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This first night was amazing, brilliant, and surreal for Ashley and I. We are forever grateful for this opportunity and experience, and very excited to continue to share our photos over the next week or so! Keep checking back for additional photos, as we'll both be editing this and subsequent blog posts with more as we finish.

Stephanie

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