Post # 1
I got a pretty intresting question. I am a Native American bride marrying an German groom in October.
I am 33 now, but when I was a 20 I was an exchange student/host daughter in Jaipur India for six months. I attended more weddings during that brief time than I had in my entire life—up to recently.
I am considering having very ‘light’ henna done a few days before my wedding. What I mean by that is a small pattern or design on both hands. Nothing that moves up the arms or feet, nothing that covers the entire hand. I have wonderful memories associated with Mehendi (and all those pre and post wedding parties in India) and would like to honour this very transformative part of my life.
Is there anything I should be considerate of?
Thank You 🙂
I am the girl in the Watermelon pink Sari 🙂
Ah to be 20 again! At my friend Pallavi’s wedding:
Henna I had done for fun as a tourist in Morocco (side note: my Mom hated it:)
Post # 2
I’m not Indian but South Asian and I would find no problem with other brides doing mehndi on their hands. I’m assuming you’re not wearing a sari at your wedding, so I don’t think this is offensive in any way at all.
Personally, I never liked mehndi except for the process of applying it/making designs, so for me it was always just something done for fun.
But I think it’s pretty cool that others like parts of our culture!
By the way, you look beautiful in the sari!
Post # 3
I was at the mall yesterday and saw a kiosk for mehendi. The Indian woman didn’t care one bit about cultural appropriation, she was excited and happy to see her culture and artwork being shown to the world. It’s really beautiful!
Post # 4
Thank you everyone 🙂
Thank you very much I loved that sari, but since found it a good home 🙂 Unless I am able to go back to India, I think my sari days are gone. I’ll be wearing a conservative-ish satin wedding gown.
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center
It’s a little weird to me (I’m South Asian American and I don’t even like mehndhi lol), but honestly henna is so commonplace now that as long as it’s not elaborate I think it’s fine 🙂
I wouldn’t go through the trouble of hiring anyone though, just go to a couple of Indian stores and ask for some henna cones and do it yourself (buy a few practice cones) or ask a friend with a steady hand/artistic.
Post # 6
Yes I think you can! I don’t think anyone would consider it appropriation since you have ties to the custom and a meaning behind it! I love henna and loved having it for an Indian gf’s wedding also… go for it!
Post # 7
I’m southeast Asian, and I think it’s inappropriate. I’m sure you’re going to do whatever you want anyway though.
Post # 8
As a part south asian, I think as long as you understand and respect the cultural significance of the tradition, then it’s ok to partake. That is the difference between appropriation and appreciation.
Post # 9
As my little tag says I live in Germany, which at the moment has the highest rates of immigration in western Europe, and an especially long standing Turkish community. We live in a Turkish neighbourhood and like someone suggested I thought perhaps of buying a Henna cone and seeing if I can manage to do a nice design myself.
My friends here are all Turkish and as part of their wedding traditions they do Mehendi too. I asked my friend Zahlia and she said I should go for it.
As a first nations person I understand how painful cultural appropriation that is done for show, as a joke can be. When I was still figuring out what I would like to wear on my wedding day—how to mix and match the regalia that inherited with pieces specifically bought for the wedding I did a few Pinterest searches and what I saw really made me queasy.
“Native American” weddings with fake tipis, akward face make-up, craft store feathers…. .
It reminded me a lot of carnival (Mardi Gras) season around here when a lot of people love to dress up as ‘Indians,’ ‘Mexicans,’…I’ve even see a few people in blackface. This idea of cultural appropriation hasn’t gotten here yet…or at least not with the drunken partying masses.
I would like to have Mehendi done to honour a very important part of my life and the wider cultural traditions that I have been/am part of. It’s not just ‘pretty’ or pure aesthetics for me.
Where do we draw the line on who ‘owns’ cultural/wedding traditions? A year ago, my fiance and I went to a wedding between a woman from Nepal and a man from Poland. Beforehand I was very careful not to wear red and for some reason thought she would not be wearing white (mourning colour.)
I was so suprised to see her in a white wedding gown, not a trace of anything that one might find at a South Asian wedding. Was this woman appropriatng ‘Western’ wedding traditions or simply doing what she felt was right?
Post # 10
It’s okay. You don’t need to justify yourself. Some people will be offended by anything.
As long as you don’t disrespect a culture or arbitrarily adapt something from it (neither of which you’re doing here), I don’t see how it could be reasonably offensive.
Your family and friends know about this special time of your life, so they’ll understand the meaning. You don’t have to explain it to others.
Post # 11
If you have to question whether it is cultural appropriation, then it probably is.
Post # 12
I am white and will be having henna done; my fiance is Indian though. I have wondered about cultural appropriation as well, although his family really likes me to wear Indian clothing while participating in their traditions and seem to have no qualms about it. His family friends as well have been very welcoming and inclusive. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for you. Will there be any Indian guests at your wedding? Maybe you could ask them what they think would be best.
Post # 13
Interesting question about the Nepali wedding you went to. The bride could have been Christian, or since the groom was Polish, they would have had a Christian ceremony in Nepal. They could have even had 2 ceremonies and invited you to only the Christian one – too many variables are at stake here. There’s also a strong chance that she just likes Western weddings and think white dresses look beautiful because that’s what she’s seen as the “white ideal of beauty” in the media, which is sad but as someone South Asian who sometimes really wishes I could have worn a western dress for my reception, I can see how she might want that style of wedding. Lastly, the white for mourning is only for Hindus – a lot of Nepali people are either Bhuddist or Muslim, If I recall correctly! They may not follow that.
Post # 14
I’m southeast Asian and I don’t find it inappropriate.
Post # 15
Wow, this was almost a year ago. Just because it’s ok with you doesn’t mean it’s ok with everyone else. Way to gaslight.