Mehndi Party: The Complete Guide



First, What is Mehndi ?

The main item used at a Mehndi Party is Mehndi!

Mehndi is a brown paste made out of dried henna leaves and water.  The henna artist pipes the henna paste in intricate lace-like patterns onto the bride’s hand and feet.  Once dry, the bride rubs off the henna to reveal a gorgeous stain on the limbs that lasts for two weeks. Fortunately, Mehndi tattoos fade in 2-3 weeks.

Close up of Mehndi being applied on Indian bride's hands

What is a Mehndi Party? 

Let me warn you, wedding guests party a lot at South Asian weddings because it is usually a vibrant multi-day celebration. The grand finale is the actual wedding ceremony and reception. Every step of the wedding process will have a celebration tied to it including the mehndi party.

Sometimes, the mehndi party is combined with the sangeet (dance party) another Indian pre-wedding event.

As part of tradition, a couple days before the bride says “I do”, mehndi or henna is applied to her hands and feet. 

For Hindus, the henna is applied at the actual mehndi party.

In contrast, Muslim brides arrive to the event with her limbs already adorned in Indian henna.  

Furthermore, the female family members, friends and guests also apply mehndi on their hands.  I love mehndi parties because it is an interactive celebration for the guests!

Mehndi, henna paste, flower garlands, candles, indian sweets and fruits displayed at the henna mehndi party

What to Expect at a Mehndi Party?

Sometimes, the mehndi and sangeet are combined. For this reason, I will include a bigger picture idea of what will happen in this celebration.  Also, the celebration depends on whether the couple is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Arab. etc.

Mehndi Event for Sikh Weddings

Usually, a Sikh mehndi event is at bride’s house and very informal. The bride’s side comes to celebrate, apply henna designs, and pamper the bride.  The Jagoo (dance party) is more of the formal dance celebration but usually separate for the bride and groom. Nonetheless, there will still be dancing, singing, playing dohl (drum) at this home event.

Mehndi Event for Hindu Weddings

At Hindu weddings, the mehndi is just for the bride’s side of the family and is an event where the ladies are invited to have henna designs applied to their hands.  If it is combined with the sangeet (dance party), the groom’s side will also be present and the majority of the night will be dedicated to delicious food stations, raucous choreographed dances, henna designs, funny speeches and photo ops.  The event is more open ended and free-flowing with the exception of the organized dance program near the end of the party.

Mehndi Event for Muslim Weddings (South Asian)

The Mehndi party for Muslim Weddings is a very different timeline because it is usually a combined event (both bride and groom’s family and guests).  The muslim version has more ordered timeline.  Let’s take a look below…

Indian bride and groom at Mehndi Party at Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando Florida by Maha Studios

Muslim Mehndi Party Events Are Different

Alternatively, the muslim bride already comes to the event with her hands and feet fully adorned in henna. The groom and bride decked out in their colorful mehendi outfits make separate grand entrances with their cousins, friends and siblings.  These entrances are high impact and very festive. 

Mehndi Party Timeline for Muslim Weddings

Groom’s Entrance

1. First the grooms extended family walks in carrying sweets, gifts for the bride, colorful platters of henna and lit candles. When the groom enters, he arrives with his friends and cousins.  They all usually dance in to the groom’s chosen mehndi entrance song.

Bride’s Entrance

2. For the bride’s entrance, the family brings in more sweets, favors and platters.  Similarly, she will either walk in with her close family and parents or sometimes I have even captured the bride coming in on a rickshaw or dohli (palanquin).

Pakistani and Indian Mehndi Traditions

3. The bride’s side feed the couple sweets, wave money around their heads, and put a teeny tiny bit of henna pasta on their hands as a sign of good luck. Usually, the moms of the couple will also adorn them with fresh floral garlands as another sign to welcome the couple.

Dinner is Served

4. Lots of Amazing Food – There is no shortage of delicious food.  Normally, live food stations are set up with a variety of Indian and Pakistani dishes such as biryani, lamb korma, chicken.  But the recent trend is to mix in fusion favorites that mingle flavors of the east and west to create a more personalized wedding experience. Don’t forget about the chai! No South Asian wedding is complete without chai. So you must try a cup at the end of your meal. 

Enjoy the Show

5. Dance away the night! The mehndi night celebration finale is the program of choreographed dances, skits, speeches and performances.  If you have ever seen a Bollywood movie, you will get to experience it live at a mehndi party. 

For months, the bride and groom’s family and friends will plan and practice complicated Bollywood dance moves in a jaw dropping series of bride vs. groom side dance-off performances.  Interestingly, the couple themselves will also hop in surprise performances throughout the night.

Mehndi Party at Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando Florida by Maha Studios

What to Wear to a Mehndi Party?

Do not be afraid of color and lot’s of fun embellishments like bangles, earrings and necklaces. 

For example, colorful mehndi outfits can be found online at retail shops such as Pernia’s Pop Up. 

Alternatively, you can even rent an outfit! Fortunately, there are plenty of colorful Indo-western outfits to choose from too!

Is a Gift Needed?

No, this is a pre-wedding event and is meant for pure celebration.  Most likely, you will walk out with a mehndi party favor as a souvenir. 

What Time Should I Arrive To a Mehndi Party?

Being the early bird to mehndi party, will not usually get you bonus points just maybe a few extra samosas during appetizers. 

Normally, guests do not usually start arriving until 30 minutes to an hour after the invitation time. 

If you come early or on time, you will likely be the first guests to arrive.  

How to Practice Mehndi at Home?

Intricate henna design on Indian brides hands wedding photography by Maha studios


If you are fascinated with the art of mehndi tattoos, you can easily practice at home. Indians and Pakistanis apply henna normally with these cones.

Remove the needle from the cone tip and squeeze the mehndi paste onto your hand in any desired pattern. You can also find dozens of henna design patterns on Pinterest.

Do not feel intimated by the intricate Mehndi designs online. Just have fun and start with simple patterns.

Fortunately, the more you practice the better you will become! Overall, you will be amazed at how much fun you have. These cones here are very inexpensive and have great reviews.

Get These Natural Henna Paste Here: Mehndi Henna Cones

BIC Temporary Tattoo Markers

Alternatively, if you don’t feel confident with handling henna paste as yet, try these BIC temporary tattoos markers.  

Therefore, they are perfect to experiment different designs and they come with mehndi stencils to color in. I love that these henna markers come in different colors.

This can totally be a hit with kids and people that don’t like the smell of natural henna. 

Get These Markers Here: Mehndi Tattoo Markers


The simplest way to enjoy henna designs are these body art stickers.

Have fun with these designs! The great part is it easily comes off in a few days. 

Actually, I would recommend these mehndi designs for kids who can’t sit still. You can apply the entire mehndi stencil in a few minutes.

Sometimes, brides also prefer the henna tattoo sticker option. If you want you can bedazzle these stickers with glitter and adhesive body gems. 

Get these Henna Stickers Here: Mehndi Tattoo Stickers

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