It had been on my wish list to photograph an Indian wedding for a minute, so when Hania reached out about her 3-day Pakistani wedding and how they’re extremely similar I immediately began to salivate and chomp at the bit. I was intrigued by the henna, colors and customs; excited about the opportunity to shoot something out of my norm.
Since this was my first Pakistani wedding I needed to be schooled on each day’s order of events. So, I met with Hania and Zahan and Hania’s sister a week prior to the wedding where they shared with me about their customs, its names, and we went over the timelines so I would know what to expect. I even acquired a tiny history lesson, (did you know that Pakistan separated from India just 69 short years ago? If you’re like me and didn’t know, now you know).
In preparation for the 3-day wedding, Hania began with her henna application, selectively choosing Sarah from Breath of Henna out of Toronto. It was a 6-7 hour process of applying the beautifully intricate design on Hania’s feet, forearms and hands. Afterwards, Hania was able to invite a handful of friends to join her in getting a design on their finger and down their hand. Hania graciously included me in that experience and I loved it, like fleetingly contemplated getting a tattoo of it, loved it.
Next, and the first day of the 3-day wedding, was the Mehndi, also known as the Henna ceremony. The Mehndi is the pre-ceremony celebration. It’s a lively and colorful party, where the groom doesn’t participate. The bride’s entrance is elaborate, which follows girls carrying tea light candles leading Hania to a platform area where she was greeted by guests, served sweets by married couples and takes group photos. Then, there are several choreographed dances performed, followed by group dancing. And finally, the fun filled night ends with her family singing songs with a drum on a seating area.
The opening ceremonies started off with a bang and it was everything I expected and more. Enjoy my favorites from the Henna to the Mehndi, with day 2 and 3 to follow!