Megan & Prashant Sahu were married at St. Anthony’s on the Creek in Northwest Arkansas. It was a gorgeous formal wedding with Indian cultural additions. The bride and bridesmaids held a Henna party the night before her big day. Mehndi, otherwise known as henna, is a paste associated with positive spirits and good luck. Indian Wedding tradition calls for a Mehndi ceremony to be held the night before the wedding as a way of wishing the bride good health and prosperity as she makes her journey on to marriage. The core significance of applying Mehndi is to utilize its natural medicinal herbal remedies, cooling the body and relieving the Bride of any stress before her big day. Henna is applied to both the hands and the feet as a means of cooling the nerve-endings of the body, preventing the nerves from tensing up. Megan was absolutely stress free the day of her wedding and couldn’t wait to walk down the isle to say “I do”. No Indian marriage is considered complete till the bride and groom exchange heavily weaved jaimala of flowers together. There are a lot of stories in Hindu mythology that explains the significance behind the whole ritual. The word varmala means the garland for the groom. It ancient times, it was considered as the acceptance of marriage proposal by the bride and groom. The ritual finds its roots in various ancient scriptures and texts. Even in Gandharva Vivahs, marriage of celestial beings, the marriage was sealed by exchange of garland. Varmala, till date, still has this kind of importance in Indian weddings. In each part of the country, in every religion, the ritual exists; even though it might be followed in some different sequence or manner. Usually, the couple, first the bride and then the groom, exchanges the garland once they meet for the first time and then the other marriage rituals are carried on. The ceremony is carried on with a lot of teasing and fun on part of the family and friends. The ceremony is not just about exchanging floral garlands but symbolizes their love and respect for each other. A common standing joke is that the one who gives in first and garlands the other person will always listen to the other person throughout their married life. It was a day rich in tradition and culture, a day I was excited to be able to be a part of. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Sahu!
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