Caught Red Handed!

The tradition of bridal mehndi is one that never falls out of favour and recently, it’s not just asian brides who are having it done. We caught up with Khilna Shah from Mehndi Creations to get the inside scoop on the ancient tradition, old wives tales and some of her most extravagant and famous clients!

Thanks for talking to us Khilna. Let’s start at the beginning- for those of us who aren’t 100% sure, what exactly is mehndi?

Mehndi is a temporary natural dye mainly used to produce intricate and decorative art-work on the skin. Mehndi is another word for henna.

Mehndi can be used as a cosmetic to dye the skin, hair and nails or it can be used for its healing and medicinal properties to cure skin disorders, hair thinning and providing resistance to the body from the tropical heat. It is also used to colour fabric and dye leather. On the skin, mehndi can be used as a decorative purpose. It is totally safe, natural and painless to use on the skin. The flowers from the henna plant are used to produce perfume.

Mehndi is a paste made from ground leaves of a shrub plant called Lawsonia Inermis. It grows in countries of hot tropical climates like India, Pakistan, North Africa, Middle East and other Asian Countries.

We at Mehndi Creations have designed a unique blend to make the mehndi darker, more radiant and last longer than off-the shelf varieties.  The recipe I use includes adding water, lemon juice, sugar, natural and aromatic oils to the mehndi powder until you get the right consistency. I strongly recommend avoiding the use of any hair dye (Paraphenylenediamine – PPD), which causes skin irritations.

What can you tell us about the traditional times that mehndi is used?

Traditionally, mehndi was used by Asian brides to symbolize love, happiness and prosperity for the couple. Nowadays, mehndi is not only used for weddings and religious occasions but also for trendy body art and tattoos around the naval, wrists, on the shoulders and anklets.

In eastern cultures mehndi is mainly used for brides as a wedding tradition. For many brides the application of bridal mehndi is when they begin to feel the wedding vibes.

We at Mehndi Creations have now become popular for organising events for celebrating the night before the wedding usually known as the Mehndi night. Various themes like the Arabic or Indian are used to set the mehndi night celebrated with music and dance.

Do you know any old wives tales surrounding a bride’s mehndi?

The mehndi colour once applied is determined by the length time it’s kept on the skin.  The old wives tale goes “The darker the colour the more your husband loves you!” or some say “The darker the colour the more your mother-in-law loves you!”

The husband’s initials or name is hidden in the design and the husband is meant to find it on their first night together, else the night won’t progress further.

How did you become a mehndi artist?

I have always been passionate about Art and Design since I was a child. Mehndi came to me in the millennium year when I was lucky to get an opportunity to explore and learn various art forms including Pot decorating, Silk painting, Nail Art and mehndi. It was then when I got to love the art of mehndi.  I believe if you have a passion for something within you, success would be imminent. With mehndi, I was pretty much self-taught, once I grasped the initial techniques. It’s also a matter of practice, experience and hard work that have helped me to reach the level, which I am at now.

Tell us about the most extravagant or intricate design that you’ve done.

The most extravagant / intricate design I have ever done is for a bride who wanted two figures per palm (bride and groom figures). The overall work was very intricate and detailed and covered the palms till almost the elbows and feet. This design took several hours to do and had to be patient with the bride trying to escape onto the dancefloor!

Have you worked with any celebrities?

I have dome mehndi on quite a few celebrities like Karen David, Konnie Huq, Kara Revel, Deepak Verma, Pooja Shah from Eastenders, Sam Sterling (Popo Gigi), Raghav and cast from the popular tv serial Bidaai – Sadhna and Ragini.

The latest, most amazing work I have done recently, has been body art for Karen David for her new music video called “Hypnotise you on the dance floor”.

What advice would you give to a bride who is looking to book a mehndi artist?

Brides should go have a trial to get peace of mind of the mehndi colour unless they have been recommended by a bride who have used the artist before.

A pre-wedding consultation would help the bride to see the work or style they would be getting on the day rather than relying on the artist to apply from their own accord.

Brides should have waxing done before mehndi is applied on them as otherwise the mehndi will be waxed off with the hair!

You must have spent a lot of hours with brides and their families over the years, have you picked up any advice on wedding planning in that you can pass on to us?

It’s always good to start planning at least a year in advance and close each chapter as it finishes. Bridal exhibitions, word of mouth and the internet is a good source to get the contacts you may need. It’s best to have a budget in mind to start with as weddings can be over expensive!
Khilna Shah, Mehndi Creations

(0044) +7944004299


Sikhs And the City*

*You don’t just have to be Sikh to benefit from this blog post technically speaking, but Hindus And the City didn’t have the same ring to it!

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If hotels and country houses aren’t your scene and you’re tearing your hair out over venue hire fees, how about booking your wedding reception in a bar in the city?

In the city of London, you can hire an entire bar for a minimum bar spend and no hire fee over the weekend, as bars in these areas are traditionally closed at these times. I’m sure you’ll agree, money towards drinks is a more gratifying way to part with your cash than paying some of the exorbitant venue hire fees out there!

Make My Indian Wedding LOVES Clerkenwell House in Farringdon. You have all three floors, complete with dancefloor, DJ decks and sound equipment, full kitchen and restaurant seating and even pool tables for the kids if you want them. The lighting is beautiful in there and they’ll even let you decorate. You can even get married there, they are fully licensed to hold civil weddings.

The team at Clerkenwell House will host a sit down wedding breakfast for up to 60 people (there are all inclusive wedding packages available if you choose) but for a small additional charge, you can also bring in your own food. Why not consider bringing in a local indian caterer or even some samosas, meat and naan from a local indian restaurant? Let’s face it, food figures heavily in any indian wedding!

The Counting House in Bank is another great option and a venue that has to be seen to be believed. It dates back to 1893 and as the name suggests, used to be a bank.

A truly original, modern and potential budget friendly venue option!

Clerkenwell House:
Counting House:

For lots more options, check out

For Whom The Bell Dhols (sorry)…

If you haven’t booked your dhol player yet….look no further! Make My Indian Wedding caught up with drummer and co founder of Drummer’s Delight, Aman Chohan, and found out why they should be at your wedding. Oh and seeing as they’ve performed at countless Indian weddings, we couldn’t resist asking for their advice and tips on throwing the perfect wedding….

Q:Who are Drummers Delight?

A:  We are a team of energetic Dhol drummers who are often praised for our charismatic style of playing and great costumes! 😉

Q: What’s your background, how did you become a dhol player?

A:  Drummers Delight was founded by me and Sunveer Bhupal in 2005.  Although we only met each other around that time, we found that we came from very similar backgrounds; we both learnt tabla from a young age and then progressed on to the dhol, which we learnt ourselves.  As neither of us had a teacher or ‘ustad’ as such, we both play in an unconventional manner which has certainly given us an edge and a style that basically has no rules.

Q: What’s the best thing about the job?

A:  That’s easy; the best thing about what we do is knowing that we put a smile on peoples’ faces and when performing at weddings, it is a truly awesome feeling knowing that we are spending the most memorable day of the bride and groom with them.and playing a part in their celebrations.

Q: What’s been your most unusual request?

A:  We were once asked to tie the groom’s turban! A VERY big responsibility.  Put us on a stage performing in front of 10,000 people and we’re ok.  Ask us to tie the groom’s turban when his Grandma is watching… that’s when the nerves kick in!

Q: You offer the option of bagpipes to accompany the dhol. How did that come about?

A:  Yes, well, my best friend’s sister got married a few years back and we were asked to perform at the wedding. The groom booked Dave ‘Bagpipes’ Brooks with the thought that the dhol and bagpipes would sound good together.  So we got to the wedding never having met Dave before and unaware that a bagpiper had been booked to play with us so we quickly put together a routine to perform for the guests.  It worked out amazingly well and have been player together ever since.  So, it is really my best friend’s brother-in-law that gets all the credit!

Q:You must have been to hundreds of indian weddings. Do you have any tips or advice to someone who’s in the beginning stages of planning their indian wedding?

A:  The best weddings I have seen have not actually been the most ‘expensive’ but the ones where simply the bride and groom have chosen the right suppliers who all synergise their efforts to make the day really special.

Catering is important- it’s a given, the food has to be good.  Secondly choosing the right DJ is key- they must not only have the necessary expertise on the musical side in terms of song selection and ‘mixing ability’ but also the hosting skills to enthuse the guests and drive the event.

The grand entrance for the bride and groom is probably one of the most highly anticipated moments of the day…so it is important to make this part of the event as grand as possible, yet tasteful and choose the right performers to accompany the bride and groom

They say good memories don’t fade, well to be on the safe side I say its best to catch it on camera as best as you can!  Hiring an experienced videographer and photographer is crucial as the video, pictures [and wedding rings 😉 ] are the only tangible items that ensure that nothing is forgotten and must be of a very high standard as it will be with the couple and their families forever.  So, if you can hire Steven Spielberg…do it!   (Editor’s note: check out for wedding films a cut above the usual offerings!)

Finally it is important for there to be dialogue between the above suppliers before the wedding.

If you choose the right suppliers who are flexible and friendly, you’re pretty much guaranteed a top notch event.

If you want Drummers Delight to perform at your wedding, email them at

Wave Your Arms In The Air Like You Just Don’t Care (bhangra style!)

You’ve probably already heard of Honey Kalaria, the Bollywood choreographer and all-round dance guru. Well to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her dance school, Honey’s Dance Academy, they’ve slashed their instructional DVD prices so you can break out some mean bhangra dance moves at your wedding (instead of breaking out a sweat!)

I’m definitely going to pick up the “How To Dance – Bhangra Style” DVD- it’s only a tenner and I reckon I can pass it round quite a few family and friends (naming no names!) after I’ve picked up some moves.

You can also get a “Personal Coaching DVD Pack”, which is down to £39 from £89 and includes Bollywood dance DVDs and a Bollywood Work Out if you feel like you want to work on those bingo wings BEFORE you start waving them in the air!

Oh, and if you’ve got some money left in your wedding budget, you can always go and get some private lessons at the school.

Chak de fateh!



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BBC3’s “Don’t Tell The Bride” tells us everything!

Have you all seen BBC3’s “Don’t Tell The Bride”?  The idea is that a couple get their wedding paid for, the catch being the GROOM has to organise the whole thing, right down to choosing the wedding dress…while the bride is kept in the dark. Compulsive viewing!!!  Make My Indian Wedding caught up with one of the show’s DV directors and got the inside scoop on how to throw the perfect wedding…(if you’ve watched the programme, you’ll KNOW these were all fatal errors made my hapless grooms!)

1. It’s never too late to organise a wedding and the later that you leave it, the better deals you can sometimes to get.

2. Add the word wedding to any service and the price is guaranteed to be hiked up, but don’t be afraid to barter for a deal. Prices can always be negotiated.

3.Make sure the entertainment is right. A good band or DJ can be the difference between a good and bad wedding. The entertainment should also be all inclusive for your guests. For example, some ladies would not be impressed with a casino theme, if a load of men are standing around a poker table all night!

4.Have emergency contact numbers for all your suppliers. Your suit hire company could turn up with 2 left footed shoes.

5.Do your best to stick to your timings and allow for any delays (like the bride turning up late). You wouldn’t want your second round of guests turning up whilst the rest of your guests are tucking into their main course. You should assign a designated and trustworthy guest or hire an MC to take care of this.

Bride and Tested: 1

As promised, here is the very first installment of “Bride and Tested”, where I convince a former bride to dig out her wedding binder and share all of her invaluable knowledge!

About Our Former Bride

L got married this July in an East-Meets-West wedding- she’s English and her now husband is Bangladeshi. Their bridesmaids wore Indian suits from India and L’s dress was a beautiful mix of an English wedding dress and an Indian lengha, that she had custom-made in white. She very kindly agreed to tell us where she found her dress and all about the other boutiques she found along the way…

Where to find the perfect wedding dress

“In the hunt for the perfect wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses – I did a lot of research in Birmingham and Leicester.  I loved the fact that Asian wedding dresses can be so individualised. I have a notebook with all the wedding dress shops I visited – and there were a lot !!! There are two renowned ‘asian’ streets – Soho Road in Birmingham and Belgrave Road in Leicester with a wide range of asian wedding shops.

In Birmingham – the winner- the top end market of wedding dress shops are: O&P, Laaj, Silons, Sache, Khushboos and Mairs -good quality fabrics and designs.

In Leicester: Arinder Bhullar – there was a gorgeous red dress there – but it didn’t work with my colour skin ;P

I got my dress from O&P – they have a beautiful boutique and are passionate about the designs they create.  They were the last shop I and they were also the most professional out of all of them I visited.

In London is the fabulous ‘Mona Vora’ which I never got to visit – but I salivated over many of her dresses in magazines.”

Please do post your comments so that we can learn from your experiences too!