As women, traditionally, we have a lot on our minds. Generations before us passed down their teachings onto our mothers who we are inspired by. Having a wedding in North America today involves mindless circulation of digital research and remnants of history (photographs of jewelry and collections of sarees). We dress up discretely in our mother’s closets for these moments, which instigate a rush of colour through our mind’s nomadic ventures. Yes! We are forever travellers in our time and the generations that come after us; are constantly reassuring their values with their feelings.
Weddings are the perfect time to revisit our ancestors and we dance passionately to celebrate their traditions; a time that can be overwhelming with friends and family. These are the stories involving many south asian families. Planning your wedding is where we acknowledge disorientation on merging trends with customs.
One thing that considerably intrigued my imagination was the pattern work that was done on my mother’s hands during her wedding. What was this tradition and why was I not familiar with this art form? I was looking through her wedding photographs and I could never find a perfect image of just the pattern work on her hands. Her hands were dyed of a ravishing paste of scarlet and ruby; a bright highlight in the sky’s sunset on a painting I created. I remember my heart yearning for that colour, but times are changing.
Today, I am here planning my wedding with a Pakistani-Bohemian theme (something tribal yet trendy). Classical embroidery and silkened, sensational fabrics with thread counts I cannot begin to pick a part while weighing a feather as my veil. My waist will be my pillar of support and I will be adorned in jewels from my wrists till my chakra.
My hands.., the only bare accessory belonging to my wrists a part of my body.
The time has come for me to paint them red. As a Bridal Henna Artist myself, I always wanted an intricate and lavish diary adorning my arms till my elbows and my feet till my calves. The sensation of rosewater along the soles of my feet, pressed many at a time as a I danced in my Henna..this was my dream.
I cannot even begin to tell you the stories that are versed along the palms of Brides all over the world. Henna is a beautiful rendition of a story passed down through our cultures (bedouin, Spain, Middle East, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, India). There are so many areas of the world that practice Henna and Brides of all faiths wish to have it done (not just Muslims, Hindu and Sikh). At Breath of Henna, Brides are provided a complimentary consultation where they can have their Diaries rendered to those of their dreams. Henna is a significant part of a Bride’s transitioning period from being independent to being independent and married. Not just women, but men are also included in the festivities; all genders and races. As long as natural Henna (lawsonia, essential oils, sugar and water) is used, no one can ever have a bad experience. The joyful celebrations of a Mehndi party, Sangeet (musical celebration) or even a Bridal Shower can bring your dearest together while experiencing Henna.
Fashion is always chasing Fine Art and a generous adaptation to the world of Henna has accepted a new calling. Those who do not enjoy the scent of the lush colour of natural Henna, can use what is now called, ‘White Henna’. White Henna is a cosmetic application, which stays above the skin for up to four days after it dries. It can be accessorized with swarovski crystals and jewels if you wish for it to match even closer to your bridal gown. For those who are worried that they won’t have enough time for their traditional Henna application, they can have this done the day of the wedding or the day before.
Thankfully, this medium is mixed of an FDA approved adhesive mixed with body paint.
As an Artist, it is so important to meet with your vendor either in person or setup an online consultation. You have the option of selecting your design or even creating a custom diary just like your natural Henna would be rendered. Enjoy this process as it’s important for you to feel your best. After all, you have been awaiting this day for so long and you may have too much to do later on as your date approaches. Have a look at your Artist’s portfolio (instagram, website, testimonials). Every part of your wedding is a memoir for eternity so cherish these intimate details as your most valued. The art of Henna has changed immensely since the Bedouins first adorned their wives with the henna paste using only their fingers. Now you can have it done so delicately and to your taste.
If you’re wearing a white gown with lace overlay, the white Henna adds a sensual and breath taking detailed accent of lace gloves or lace sleeves. Garters can also be created for your intimate moments customized for you. Adorn yourselves in Henna and welcome to the generations’ abyss of cultural fusion.
Art Director/Stylist/White Henna: Sarah Hussain. www.breathofhenna.com @breathofhenna
These stories are woven in between veins, hidden away; so deep beneath our corsets. Our souls, entrenched in words that are broadcasted only through our hearts surrounded in cages of bone and blood. Here you see Hania Zaman - our BRIDE in an exuberant arrangement of thread work and embellishment. Created by one of Pakistan's finest Bridal designers ELAN. When is marriage instilled in a young girl? Why do we dream of great romance or that marriage is eternal bliss? Culture to its finest craftsmanship. A great woman always says, right after sunset 'Never wish or feel ill about your future, especially when it comes to marriage. Hold true to your being and remain strong. A great man of your desires will come and keep you happy. This is my wish' - Mama.
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Quoting my dear Mama isn't to raise any form of bewilderment. She tells the truth. We work hard to maintain a balance between life, family, honour, respect, fitness, health, meditation and everything else you can possibly imagine. So why not wish for the best, the greatest; your greatest! This is how she was raised and millions of other young girls. To be calm and collect while the world is in turmoil. If your family ever needed you, you either complete your work in advance or you let your breath be your regime. Can you imagine how life would be if with every breath you breathed another thought, another movement. Every step you took was to build your home with love; fervidly contending to your children and significant other. We need several minutes to complete a task, how is this possible? As we grow, we acknowledge our mothers and run around aimlessly trying to build our own force in our homes. My tongue raging endlessly in English after coming back home from school, exhausted while she drinks her cup of tea. I didn't know she was relaxing. She never once needed to, or made it seem that way. MASHALLAH. She listens and till today she is there. A Bride is a woman defined by her upbringing; her mother, if not present, then her father, a sister, a guardian. What I love about this this photograph which was taken by the very talented Athena Blude is that this portrait evokes Hania's eternal elevated state as a BRIDE. Her memories extended in her long hair, woven up towards the sky and gracefully dressed by the heavenly veil. Her jewels are subtle as she wears her simplest all gold set. This is her moment and she remembers all that she was told, heard, read, wrote and folded in secrets close to her heart. Within one breath, she remembers it all.
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