Dulhan mehndi designs are temporary bridal tattoos that are applied to certain parts of a bride's body one or two days before her wedding. There are a few interesting traditions and beliefs surrounding dulhan mehndi designs, and a mehndi party is an important part of the dulhan mehndi tradition. Arabic and Pakistani designs are often popular choices for brides.
The bride usually has dulhan mehndi designs applied a few days before, or on the night of, her wedding. It is not only a form of decoration but also symbolizes happiness in marriage for the couple. Traditionally the hands and feet are covered in dulhan mehndi before the wedding, but the designs usually extend no further than the elbows or knees.
One of the beliefs surrounding dulhan mehndi designs is that the depth of color is an omen surrounding the marriage. A dark red color is highly desired, since this predicts a happy marriage for the couple. This may explain why dulhan mehndi is usually applied to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, as the skin in these locations is much thicker and the color of the tattoo is usually darker in these than in other areas.
Another interesting belief is that the groom should search his bride's tattoos for his name or initials. If the groom does not find his name or initials, it is believed that the bride will be the one with the final say in the household. Traditionally the name or initials of the groom are inserted into the mehndi design somewhere on the bride's palms.
If the bride holds to tradition, the dulhan mehndi designs should be applied during a traditional mehndi party. Traditional parties are held during the week of the wedding and include only close female friends and relatives of the bride. In the past, it was considered an honor to be asked to attend a bridal mehndi party, as the members present would decorate the bride for her big day. In 2011, both men and women are invited to mehndi parties, which include music and dancing. A professional mehndi artist does the tattoos for the bride, her close female relatives, and friends.
Both Arabic and Pakistani designs are popular with brides and can be used as dulhan mehndi designs. Arabic mehndi designs are less intricate, and leave larger parts of the hands and feet unadorned. These tattoos usually include vines and leaves or floral patterns. Pakistani mehndi designs are very intricate and detailed and can take a long time to finish. These designs are also floral but cover most of the hands and feet.