Shefali & Hitesh’s Pre-Wedding Events – Mendhi, Grah Shanti, & Garba-Raas
Last summer, we had the opportunity to capture a fun-filled extended weekend at Shefali & Hitesh’s Wedding. You might recall their engagement portraits which we shared earlier on the blog. The festivities got started well before the wedding day with the mendhi (henna) night, then proceeded with a Gujarati prayer ceremony at home called the the Grah Shanti the next morning. The pre-wedding events finished off with Gujarati folk dancing during their Garba-Raas night.
Here are some highlights from the mendhi night. For people not familiar with such parties, henna is used to decorate the hands of the bride and her guests. I like to think of these nights as sort of like rehearsal dinners with just the closest family & friends attending and having a wonderful time in the backyard with henna painting, singing, and dancing.
The next morning, the family had a Grah Shanti prayer ceremony at home. This is actually a string of different traditions tied together basically ensuring the bride has a wonderful wedding day and a happy married life. As with most Hindu traditions, it includes a lot of prayers, a lot of laughter, and a lot of participation from everyone.
And finally, before the wedding day could begin, both families joined together for a night of Gujarati folk dancing. Garba & Raas are actually two different types of dances, but are usually enjoyed on the same night, in the same venue. Raas is the “stick dancing” that you might be familiar with.
Stay tuned for highlights from the wedding day itself!