Shortly after the nikkah and a week before the wedding, my sister N had a marquee put up in our garden. Me and N gathered together materials, lanterns and decorative peices which we had from my brothers wedding 2 years before. All of the family chipped in to help and by the time we had finished it looked AWESOME!
I fel so glad that everyone was making an effort to help me make my wedding a good one and even happier that the family was making my last few days at home a time to really remember. We used the dholki that I had bought a few months before to use as entertainment as well as belly dancing scarves, dhandhia sticks and set up a laptop to blast our music from, additionally we had printed out traditional dholki night songs which we would sing with out guests later.
The purpose of the dholki nights was that all the ladies of the girls family and friends get together and sing weddings songs, eat good food and give the bride-to-be an appropriate send off to the grooms home (thats what I took from it anyway). My sisters and I had all invited my friends and family around (each night for a week) to help me celebrate. Initially the guests in the beginning of the week were a few here and there but by middle and end of the week we had plenty and the parties were really starting.
Each night me and my sisters dressed up, did our hair and makeup and set up the marquee for the party. Mum made some food to serve on each night and to lighten the load of cooking we ordered food in, we also had guests who brought along dishes as well. In terms of entertainment, there was plenty! We had all forms of dancing, singing, playing the dholki and games. At on point we all got up to dance (i hate making a prat of myself and i still got up) including my Mum and her friends! Was such a good laugh 🙂 Myt neice and cousin also did a little duet dancing routine which was very cute. The only somewhat downside was (which was fine with me) that no one could play the dholki except me! (and my tune was pretty simple) so turned out most nights i played the dholki on my own dholki nights! There was a few times an aunty took over but she only came on 1 or 2 of the nights.
neice getting ready to dance Me playing the dholki
On the Thursday before the wedding, my mendhi artist and her assistant came to do my bridal mendhi and her assistant to do my sisters and guests. I started early (around 4 o’clock) so that my mendhi would be dried on my hands by the time the guests arrived. I decided to do my mendhi 2 days before so that the colour would be able to come out as dark as possible. I was super excited and couldnt wait! I was finally turning into a proper bride 😀
My mendhi artist was amazing, like REALLY amazing. She had done my best friends wedding two years earlier and another friends a few weeks earlier, everyone seemed to be using her and i know exactly why! i had asked for a more arabic looking design and she did not dissapoint, i already knew she was good because i had also used her a week before for my mendhi night when she had done a glitter design on my hands. I must say though it was VERY tiring, sitting still for hours and trying not to smudge anything…yikes! On top of that my work friends had to feed me (which they found hilarious) as i couldnt use my hands in case i ruined the design. The mendhi lady added sugar water on top of the mendhi once it had dried to encourage the colour of the mendhi to come out even darker.
All in all the dholki nights is one of the best things i remember in the lead up to the wedding, it reminds of such a happy, calm time when i had all my family and friends around to send me off in such a loving way.