From the time of our engagement in January till the wedding started in September i spent alot of time with my family in between work organising dates, places, budgets, etc. As im not a typical girly girl whose always ‘dreamt of the perfect wedding’ i was quite open to ideas with what i would want for the big day (or days as us asians like to celebrate for a week). As a youngster i always went past ilford town hall and wondered what a wedding in there would be like…..sooooo i did the next best thing and had my mendhi there instead! and im so glad i did. The hall i was given was at a very good price, held a capacity of around 200 people and looked lovely and spacious.
To prepare for them mendi, my sister (again) helped me out BIG time. We all took a part in helping out in sorting out decor, food, layout and so on. One thing i would say to those of you looking to get married, work out your budget, i started off with this whole wedding with a set budget in mind and was not embarassed to take bargains and freebies when i got them in order to stick to it.
Together me and my sisters and close friends made alot of things by hand which also gave the mendhi day a more personal touch. my sister in law made a beautiful ‘J’ of fresh flowers, something i totally loved and though was original. she also cut out a watermelon fruit basket and a mendhi tray for people to use when applying to my hand on the day. my elder sis F made a basket of fresh flower bracelets for the inlaws to wear when they arrived. N and M also did a whole host of things including buying disposable cutlery, helping with decor and general organising and managing the day to ensure it was stress free for me, which it was.
I also bought a Dholki to add to the decor on the day brought from a lovely musical shop in southall for £25 (works out cheaper than hiring and can be used and re-used at other mendhis). The days leading upto the mendhi and wedding are abit of a blur now but i know one thing is that i enjoyed the buildup to it, everyone was working together and it gave the household a lovely atmosphere.
My mum had gone to Pakistan a few months earlier for the wedding prep and bought me back some amazing clothes, including the mendhi outfit. originally i was a little skeptical about it as it seemed a little OTT with the sequins but on the day it was perfect and everyone loved it just as much as i did with the whole look.
on the mendhi day itself, i was a little nervous waiting around till the evening time, i was also left alone for a while while everyone went to help set up the hall which made me want to go too! finally though my mendhi lady turned up and i must say she is AMAZING! i had heard of her through alot of friends and had gone for a trial months before and she was just lovely. Because my mendhi was a week before the wedding, i decided to have some temporary glitter henna put on my hands rather than the real thing, she designed some intricate details on my hand using a special glue and then glittered it matching the colours to my outfit, it defo had the wow factor as lots of people commented on where i had it done from!
I then got ready and waited to have my hair done by another amazing lady who did a fab job. i had asked for ‘party hair; (which works out cheaper than bridal hair) and she was ace. Because i had gone for a traditional look i wanted to keep the hair with the same theme so opted for a puff at the back of the head and a plait coming down over my shoulder (using extensions..or a parandha, a traditional hair piece used by some), she did such a good job people thought it was my actual hair! for my makeuop i decided to do my own, especially after the engagement fiasco.I used colours i know work with my skin tone but also kept it simple so that i would still be able to have the wow factor for the actual wedding day. I used gold and greens on my eyes to match my outfit and kept the rest of the face more neutral.
When it was time to go and i had a good friend H come to pick me up whilst my sisters set up and welcomed our guests at the hall. As it was a ladies only event, we were only recieving my husbands female family. We drove around a while until we were told everyone was ready for me and then it was showtime! i had to remind myself this was the first of 3 more events to come so i had better brace myself! whilst going in we met my inlaws family making their way in and who else should i see but my husband dropping them all off! I had to quickly hide and hope he wouldnt see me (bad luck to see the bride before the wedding and all that) but luckily he didnt.
on the way in my sisters, cousins, neice and friends held a red dupatta over my head and thaalis (mendhi trays with candles and flowers) behind me and once the cameras and videos were rolling we were ready. We walked in and for some reason i lost my nerve and started crying before i had even got in! luckily the camera women (we had requested females only) were very nice and gave me a moment to compose myself before i went in, so i took a few DEEEEEEP breaths and tried again and this time managed to walk in without looking like a sobbing mess.lol.
The evening was amazing! after the formalities had taken place and the obligatory pictures had been taken (look here, look at me, dont make faces etc) we all wound down and i walked around to meet and greet friends and family. We also had some fab dancers (thanks to N’s friends), some dholki songs, dhandia sticks routine, children dancing and pass the parcels with granny knickers hidden in between layers! there was lots of delicious food and a huge cake (obviously…where there is jojo there is cake!)
I also had a pre wedding gift from my best friend HB who made me a sweet table for the mendi night and the effect was awesome. Everybody loved it and kept asking who had done it for me, i had already given her some ideas as to what i wanted but what she pulled off was beyond words, she helped make the evening that extra bit special for me. In addition to that i had a lovely work friend whose husband was a DJ and she offered to DJ for me for free, she again did a fabulous job and even dis song requests! My hubby also added that extra bit of sweetness into the day by sending some amazing gifts with his family, including this chupa chup tree that he made himself! bless 😀
I never imagined my Mendhi to be the way it was and i loved every minute of it, it really made me appreicate all the love and help i got from my friends and family and i was so glad they were all there to help me kickstart the beginning of my new life.