The South Asian Survival Guide: Mehndi Ceremony - Eternity UK

The South Asian Survival Guide: Mehndi Ceremony

29th August 2023

If you’re a South Asian couple planning your wedding, then you will definitely be preparing for the infamous mehndi ceremony. Chances are, you may have even dreamt of this your whole life, with the best Bollywood classics playing in the background! 

Often referred to as a the mehndi or henna – the ceremony is an integral part of traditional Indian weddings, known to calm the bride down before her wedding day. The paste is associated with positivity & good luck – exactly what you need before your big day.

During this vibrant pre-wedding ritual, mehndi is applied on the bride & her guests; alongside music & dancing. Some brides opt to have their bridal mehndi done during the actual ceremony, whilst others opt for having their mehndi applied on a different day.

Experts always recommend having your mehndi application on a separate day to your guests. You will want to sing, dance, mingle, and enjoy with them.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with 15 indispensable tips to help you survive your mehndi ceremony: how to prepare before, during & after.

Preparing For Your Mehndi Ceremony

moisturise correctly

Our mehndi expert, Akruti’s Henna, says one of her top tips is to avoid moisturising the area with any creams or oils around 24 hours before your mehndi application, to ensure your skin appropriately absorbs your mehndi.

Be sure to moisturise enough the week prior, in the lead up to your mehndi day. You want your hands to be dry on the day-of.


drink enough water beforehand

On the day of your mehndi, you’ll want to drink minimal liquids, so you definitely want to ensure you are keeping yourself hydrated before. Not only will it do wonders to your skin, it’ll also bring out that natural glow to your face.

get enough sleep

The pre-wedding week is all about relaxation. The likelihood is that you will opt for a very relaxed & natural look when you get your mehndi done. Comfort will be key!

Make sure you feel your best & energetic self, by opting to get enough sleep beforehand.

prep your bridesmaids

Whilst you may or may not be getting your bridal mehndi done with tons of people around you, or at the actual mehndi ceremony, you will want to keep some of your closest friends & family members nearby to keep you company.

Another top tip by Akruti’s Henna is to keep someone on food duty, keep someone on drinking (minimal) liquids from a straw duty, keep someone on music duty – you get the point.


dress for comfort

Get the perfect mehndi outfit ready – something cute and comfortable. You will be sat in the same place for 4-8 hours, at least, and so you will definitely want something that doesn’t make you feel too hot, too cold, or too uncomfortable. 

Opt for lightweight materials, and something which perhaps doesn’t tug at your skin either.

book a mehndi consultation

Before your mehndi ceremony, you want to make sure that you have had a consultation with your mehndi artist, to ensure that you are on the same page with the designs, the story you want to tell, where you want to hide your partners name, and even potentially do a patch test of the mehndi beforehand.

During Your Mehndi Ceremony

sit in the light

Make your life (& your mehndi artists!) easier by sitting somewhere with tons of natural light. This makes it so much easier for them to relax & concentrate, knowing that they can clearly work.

That being said, avoid sitting directly in the sun too, as this can definitely make the whole experience very uncomfortable for you.

not too busy

Whilst you want to make sure you have enough friends & family near you, you don’t want it to be too overwhelming to the extent that you are constantly distracted and moving your arms around to greet people. Not only does this make your mehndi prone to smudging, this can also distract your mehndi artist and slow-down the entire process.


make sure you are fed

On your mehndi day, your adrenalin can takeover and that would mean that you may skip a meal, or two! Be sure to set a time aside that you and your mehndi artist will take a break to eat something, as you don’t want to be skipping meals before your wedding day.

avoid drinking water

Like we said above, avoid drinking water the day of your mehndi. You don’t want to have too many trips to the bathroom, as this can also cause potential smudging.

don't move too much

Listen to your mehndi artist, and avoid getting too creative with how you hold your hands out for them. They’re the expert and know the best techniques to make sure your arms are as relaxed as possible.

We’re all guilty of waving our hands in the air to help the mehndi dry faster, but this will also increase the chances of smudging.


keep a good playlist

You will definitely want a fun vibe during your mehndi (maybe not one that will want to make you get up and dance every few minutes!); so make sure you have the perfect mehndi playlist set up.

enjoy the moment

Don’t you dare leave any wed-min for you to do during your wedding ceremony! Make sure you enjoy the moment, speak to your friends & family, and get yourself hyped for the big day.

Master the art of delegation for any last minute tasks.

After Your Mehndi Ceremony

let the mehndi dry naturally

Avoid using any artificial techniques to dry your mehndi – aka a hairdryer! Naturally, most of your mehndi will dry by the time your full application is complete, but you still need to be patient and not use anything like a hairdryer, which will only cause the mehndi to bleed.

stretch your arms

Realistically, you would have been sat in the same position all day long. You will definitely want to have a little stretch after your mehndi is fully complete, as it may prove difficult to sleep with a stiff body.

have some help

Speaking of sleep, if you choose to keep your mehndi on overnight, you will want to cover your mehndi safely. Make sure it is fully dried, and use plastic sheets on your bed to keep your mehndi from falling and staining your sheets.

You will want to be extra careful and seek your mehndi artists’ advice on this. If you enclose your mehndi with something skin-tight or warm, you will risk mehndi smudges throughout the night as well – be careful.


darken your mehndi

We’ve heard all of the techniques before: Vicks, lemon & sugar, no-water – the list is endless! Be sure to ask your mehndi artist about the best ways to darken their specific mehndi mixture. There isn’t always a one-solution-fits-all, and you don’t want to be using the wrong technique which may irritate your skin.

remove it carefully

Don’t overscrape! This will only make you prone to marks & itching, which tomorrow you will definitely regret.

Perhaps use a light balm to help remove the mehndi, or a very blunt tool.

avoid water

You can finally drink water after your mehndi is removed, but avoid putting your hands in too much water afterwards – especially soapy water! This will only start to speed up the process of your mehndi getting lighter or looking uneven.


hair-care? nope!

Don’t shave or wax after your mehndi is removed. You want to do any hair-care beforehand, as you don’t want to remove the top layer of your skin and risk removing some of the mehndi.

Like what you see?

Browse suppliers, use our free digital planning tools, and save money with our supplier discounts. 

Already married? Email us and share your real wedding for us to feature.