Monthly Archives: May 2013

Colour Me Red

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The history of henna is as rich and colorful as the beautiful patterns that it makes. The use of Mehendi for cosmetic purposes originated in Egypt where people dyed their hands and nails. It has since been practiced in over 60 countries around the world for over 5000 years. Henna powder comes from a plant called lawsonia inermis. The leaves are dried and crushed into a powder. By mixing the powder with Tea tree oil, Lavender oil (or any essential oil that contains tannins) and lemon juice you get a paste which is put onto the skin. As people discovered the cooling properties of Henna , applying Mehendi on the skin and hair served as a natural coolant especially for people living in hot regions. When applied to the skin, it stains the top layers.

Mehndi was introduced to India in the 12th century, by the Mughals. At first, it was only used by the rich and ruling families. Eventually, it was liked and used by everyone. As more people started using mehndi, the recipes became more refined and the patterns more intricate.

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There are actually many uses of henna – It can be used as a deodorant because of the cooling effect that it has on the skin. It can also be used as an antiseptic and an astringent and applied to bruises and sprains, and is also often used to color hair and beards. It also acts as a natural sun block

In India of course the Mehendi is synonymous with weddings and even festivals, and vrats such as Karva Chauth. The Mehendi ceremony is an exciting pre-wedding ritual. The ceremony has been prevalent since ages and has become an integral part of the wedding celebrations. Whats’ more, Mehendi is one of the sixteen adornments of the Hindu bride and her beauty is considered incomplete without it.

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The Mehendi Ritual is held before the wedding and according to rituals the bride is not supposed to step out of the house after this ceremony. The Mehendi ceremony itself can be a private affair with family and close friends. However, today a number of families opt to have a grand celebration inviting guests in large numbers for the Mehendi ceremony as well. To apply the Mehendi a skilled Mehendi expert is called who applies Mehendi on the bride’s hands, arms, feet and legs. Owing to Bangalore’s cosmopolitan nature combined with the increasing number of South Indian families opting for a mehendi ceremony these days, bangalore is home to many skilled Mehendi artists.

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Symbols and Symbolism in Mehendi – The intricate patterns that adorn the hands and feet speak volumes and are home to mysterious tales and messages. Let’s demystify some of the common designs.

Palm – Designs range from the sun, flower or Mandala usually are an indication of opening and offering.

Back of the Hand – Patterns generally symbolize closing and protection.

Basic Patterns and what they mean-

Point (Bindu) – The Supreme Reality

Seed (Bija) – The mysterious matrix in which everything emanates and merges. All symbols begin with the seed.

Triangle –

Pointing up (Shiva) – Signifies active male principle. Resting on its base it represents fire, and the ascent to heaven.

Pointing down (Shakti) – Signifies active female principle. Reflects all that is feminine-water, fertile valleys, and grace descending from heaven.

Six Point Star (Satkona) – Signifies union of feminine and masculine principles.

Square (Catuskona) – Stability and order. Implies honesty, dependability, and shelter.

Diamond (Vajra) – Enlightenment.

Pentagram (Pancakona) – The 5 sections symbolize elements of fire, water, earth, air, and heavens.

Circle (Cakra) – Whole, perfect, infinite.

Mandalas – Concentric forms relating to a center point. By concentrating on a mandala the viewer penetrates the many layers of reality and moves towards an inner truth.

Flowers – Joy and happiness.

Lotus Flower – The awakening of the human soul. Grace, beauty, sensuality, femininity, and purity.

Sahasrara ~thousand-petal lotus~ uniting the soul with the ‘Divine Source’

Sun, Moon,and Stars- Deep and lasting love between lovers/partners.

Vines – Devotion and perseverance, invoking both tenderness and vitality.

Peacock (Mayura)~ Companion while separated from a loved one.

Swan (Hamsa) – Success.

Scorpion (Bicchu) – Romance, its sting is analogous to Cupid’s arrow.

Water – Human emotion.

Raindrops (Bundakis) – Love and affection of a woman.

Waves (Lahariya) – Deep passion and ecstasy.

Combining the rich tradition of the Mehendi ceremony with the prospect of having a fun get-together with close family and friends is an oppurtunity most families these days make use of. With a legacy of over thousands of years the “Mehendi Ceremony”, “Mehendi ki Raat” or “Henna Night” is definitely here to stay – so choose among Rajasthani Mehendi , Arabic mehendi or even Crystal Mehendi and add to it a large measure of music and dancing- you can opt for the traditional Dholak beats or the various numbers that good old Bollywood has to offer and you’ll have yourself a night your guests won’t forget.

 

Archana and Adhvith

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We have been waiting to put this up for a long time. Our first interaction with the Dhuddu family was several months ago and somehow we hit it off so well. It is inspiring to speak to each one of them and listen to their story. A telugu- tamil wedding with a cultural confluence that sculpted a 3 day Big Fat South Indian Wedding.

We met Adhvith and Archana on our third meeting and one could tell that they just fit perfectly together like ying and yang 🙂 Adhvith runs a startup called AliveNow Inc and has been rated as one of India’s top entrepreneurs. I have seen their work online and it is fab. Archana is an actor with tamil cinema and television and also pursuing a degree in business. The duo is an all brainer.

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We planned the wedding for over two months with the Dhuddu family and with every meeting we could tell how much the excitement was building up before the day arrived. The entire period of planning was beautifully scheduled with week one as venue and menu planning. Week two as wardrobe and accessories. Week three as invites, courier and timelines and obviously the decor was religiously planned with as much excitement from the entire family.

The Mehndi, Sangeeth, Cocktails, Varapuja, Baraat, Reception and the Wedding were all very elegant and subtle yet extravagant in its own way. All the events planned out at an out of town Egyptian Themed resort called Confident Amoon and was sort of a ‘Get Away Wedding’ as guests flew in from across the country for the 3-day extravaganza planned out for them. Dhol and percussion set the mood for the mehndi in colourfully tainted gazebos with diwans and feet resting on the lush green this was followed by a fun informal introduction to the couple and families and hi-tea.

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The evening sunk into a fun Sangeeth and Cocktails with the entire family participating in karaoke led to a sing-song affair. Day 2 started with a simple varapuja, the set up was white and elegant with just close family and friends. The evening was much awaited and boy was it worth the wait! ….. the most fun baraat we have seen. Well, this is the thing with a wedding with cultural fusion it just gets more and more innovative and as much fun to be a part of. The baraat was initiated with a dhol and followed by a mobile DJ and the horse with of course the groom…. it all summed for a good two hours of dancing and finally ended with a long awaited rose shower on the couple. The evening ended with a nice reception with the couple meeting guests seated across the lawn and moving into dinner. The night was planned with a super fun family anatakshari – Groom’s VS Bride’s, good time to show off knowledge on Indian music and cinema and then we finally stepped out to release sky-lanterns into the night sky till they became an invisible star eventually.

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Day 3 started with the serene yet thumping sound of the traditional kerela chendamelam ( directing these guys to the venue to make it on time was a whole new story as they spoke a language alien to us on phone but eventually spoke the most beautiful English to us once they reached – It was one of those “duh moments” to us) The bride made an entry into the wedding mandap on a gold palanquin complemented by the sounds of the chendamelam. The ceremonious rituals continued while the guests read printed booklets of what the ceremonies meant the couple. Day 3 ended with a voluptuous spread of the famous plantain leaf meal and a cute cuddly photo shoot of the couple. We wish you guys the best in life!!

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Pooja and Viraj

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The first thing that comes to our minds when we think about this wedding and the family we worked with is the love, kindness and friendship we experienced. The warmth of this family inspired us to do and deliver our best. With every meeting we felt more and more at home and that’s the nice part of what we do as Wedding Planners, after all it is the biggest day of one’s life and the closest to the heart as well and to feel that feeling with as much intensity makes us understand that what we do goes beyond just a form of business and we sure felt that with this Kannadiga – Bengali wedding.

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I remember our first meeting with Mrs Sarit Deshpande and Mr Pratap Deshpande, strangely it felt like we went a long way back and felt almost like home, we sat down on a mug of freshly brewed green tea and started chalking out a plan for the wedding to come. Mr Pratap Deshpande is an ace pilot and Mrs. Sarit Deshpande works in the social sector. The level headed, practical and kind hearted approach of both of them translated on to Pooja Deshpande Mitra. Another key person involved in the planning process was Pooja’s grandma (ajji), who gave us a great deal of ideas on garlands, colors etc . Eventually, we met with Pooja and paused for a second to taken in her gorgeous face, she is such a beautiful woman definitely a make-up artists delight! Pooja is an architect, great fun to be with and a very pleasant person with the most beautiful smile! Viraj’s personality is a lot like Pooja’s, he is lively and easy-going and together Pooja and Viraj definitely are a match made in heaven, They define fun- You can see it when you are around them, always surrounded by friends and family, fun and frolic. They met at a party and hit it off like a roof on fire. One can tell how connected they are.

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Now moving to give you a brief about their wedding- The wedding cards were electric blue and white and these colors were carried through the wedding in the gift hamper packaging, decor and clothes. The menu planed for day 1 would define a chaat lovers delight and menu for day 2 was a scrumptiously laid out banana leaf meal. Make up was kept as natural as possible with contemporary and traditional hair accessories for both days. Guests were stationed at 3 different hotels close to Jade garden. The nice thing about Jade garden is that although it is a residential club, it’s as natural as it can get. Hence the scope of working with contemporary elements is promising. Day 1 had shades of pink and purple and we used interesting flowers like rudrakshi and crhrysanthamum, interestingly they go very well with roses and orchids.

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We used bright linens for tables and elements like alcohol and goli soda bottles, pickle jars and light bulbs with flowers. We fell in love with the idea of using chalk boards at weddings. It’s just super cool. The bar area was done up with hanging bulbs with individual floral stalks, the dance area on the contrary had a starry backdrop, somewhat like a 70’s hindi flick. We were debating whether to call the night before the wedding a Sangeeth or just a Cocktail Party and well….. Ended up calling it “the party”. This “the party” was so much fun that it would give any other party a run for its money. Started off with the traditional Varapuja,, which is a South Indian custom & symbolizes receiving of the groom by the bride’s parents and a formal introduction of both families. The Varapuja transitioned into the party with firework display. Fire crackers and me do not go hand in hand as sometimes the cracker behave like they have a mind of their own, but fortunately the display delivered to its full potential this time. The party was great fun with food, alcohol and a sing song affair.

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The wedding morning begun with the smell of hot filter coffee and jasmine flowers. The flow of guests was slow initially but before one knew it, the venue was packed with guests. The wedding was conducted by a kannadiga priest Viraj was dressed in a traditional Bengali outfit and Pooja was in a traditional kanchi saree with a reddish border to incorporate the Bangali colour scheme – This gave the wedding a very new feel. Hand fans were placed on every chair to help guests beat the heat. The amazingly good-looking couple, the lovely Bengali twist to south Indian ceremonies and the element of fun brought in by the couples’ near and dear ones surely make this a memorable wedding. Wedding colours – Electric blue and white and purple. Make up – Harish Candid cinematography – Studio 33 Candid photography – Manas (www.manassaran.com) Wedding Venue – Jade garden Food – Delhi wala chaat and Adigas

Choosing A Wedding Planner

A cloud of bliss of can envelop you right after your engagement and you may most probably instantly start browsing through wedding magazines and websites, which is when full realization may dawn on you—planning a wedding is no walk in a park. Okay, we’re backing off, you deserve your props, planning a wedding can be child’s play—you want this to look like that, you want that to look like this—Done!

But who is going to go on to execute what you’ve planned out, definitely simpler on paper than in practice. This is when you and your fiancé will want to think about hiring a professional wedding planner. Fortunately, picking a wedding planner is no herculean feat; you just need a few yardsticks to judge between who the right one for you is and who isn’t:

The Whole Deal Or Half-Way In?

When you are looking out for a wedding planner, you may want to consider if the planner is a full-service planner or a day-of coordinator. A full-service planner is someone who helps you set up everything from scratch and down to the very last detail, while a day-of coordinator is someone who comes into the picture only a month before your wedding. Depending on how much time and expertise you have on your hands, you can choose to hire the services of a full-service planner or a day-of coordinator. However, gong by our own experiences, be rest assured that if you bring in a full-service planner, there’s not a single thing you’ll have to worry about. As if marriage is not an incentive by itself, imagine striding into a stress-free marriage. Sheer Delight!

Budgets! Budgets! Budgets!

Contrary to popular belief, wedding planners don’t come with a king’s ransom attached to them. Look to find a wedding planner who comes with the right amount or experience and expertise and cost compromises. When this becomes the case, hiring wedding planners can be fitted right into your budgets making this a very good thing for one big fat reason—You Don’t Need To Worry About A Single Wedding Related Activity. The buck is passed on to the wedding planner. Relax, sit back and get married.

Compatibility Mode On?

With two yardsticks ticked off, what you need to be looking at next is if you and your wedding planner are compatible enough. This is something that you can determine post a quick sit-down with your planner. Ask yourself such questions: Did you feel heard? Did it look like your wedding planner understood your vision and seemed excited about it? Was there a strong connection between you and your wedding planner? Did your personalities blend well? Did members of your family hit it off with your planner? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, you’ve got a winner of a planner on your hands.

Tackling Last Minute Challenges With Prince-Like Charm 

This one’s a tricky patch of ground and not all planners can make promises in an arena such as this. What you need to be finding out for yourself is if your wedding planner is capable enough to tackle popping up last minute challenges. Lights not turning on?Caterer not in? Key elements of décor messed up due to unforeseen circumstances? A band to be replaced? Your wedding planner should be able to put of all of these deviations from the normal right back on track. In short, everything other than a missing bride or bridegroom is something your wedding planner should be able to tackle.

That Eye For Detail 

Post the okay-ing of portfolio showcased and personalities gelled, you need to judge to see if your wedding planner has an eye for detail, someone who is obsessed with the nitty-gritties and yet someone who is prudent enough to respect sentimental and religious values associated with weddings. Look for planners who care to enough to be microscopic with everything to do with your wedding. Have your wedding invitations come out right? Is the right fabric and lights used for décor? Are floral arrangements perfected to a T? Are shades of colors used everywhere just the way you wanted them to be? Are dining arrangements according to preset standards? A wedding planner who pays attention to such details is who you want, a hawk-like planner, really.

Twice As Organized As You 

Introspect here. You are hiring a wedding planner because you believe that he or she is twice as organized as you are. You don’t want to hire a wedding planner whose timelines you need to be planning out. To determine if your wedding planner is organized, check to see if a calendar is put in place. A calendar fitted in to make everything as organized as possible will help avoid last minute issues. Working around a calendar will also help add just the right amount of rigidity to the wedding process, leaving no room for delays.

Third Parties? Waves Hand.Handled

When a wedding is about to happen, directly or indirectly, you will come in touch with quite a number of third parties: flower guys, light guys, food guys, printing guys, crockery guys,etc. These ‘guys’ are your third parties and a good wedding planner should ensure that you do not come in touch with them. All your opinions can be given to your wedding planner while he or she goes about handling vendors across the length and breadth of wedding-related needs.

Credits to Vijay Issac