World Henna Styles

Henna comes from rich global traditions. There are so many styles and options to choose from, we thought we would reach out to our experts to lend us a guiding hand. So we asked Hiral Shah of Hiral Henna, Mehndi Designer Neeta Sharma, and Rachna Bhatt of Henna and Beyond for their wisdom. Here's what they had to say:

Generally mehndi designs are classified into two styles: Indian traditional and Arabic. Most prefer the traditional style that has fine lines and intricate designs adapted from ancient textile designs of India. There are several different design elements to choose from:

Elegant geometric henna inspirations. Photo by Michelle Feilecan.

Elegant geometric henna inspirations. Photo by Michelle Feilecan.

Geometric. Combination of peacocks, paisleys or other geometrical elements.

Realism. Above elements plus faces and figures of a bride and a groom. Sometimes the groom is portrayed on a horse (baraat) and the bride is in a palanquin (doli). Elephants and other dancers may be added in the design as well.

Symbols. Mythological figures or religious deities. Often people following other religious traditions may want to avoid people or animals in their henna design. It is possible to do the traditional style without any of these elements. Arabic-style designs are adapted from decorations consisting mainly of flowers, vines or leaves. This style has thicker lines and is more free flowing – it may not be as intricate as an Indian traditional.

Contemporary Fusion. A current trend is to combine the two into an Indo-Arabic pattern that can be especially appealing. Henna designs with this style are quite popular and a lot of brides get a traditional design for the inside of the hands and an Indo-Arabic design for the outside of their hands and feet. Apart from these two popular styles, Moroccan designs are also available as well as Jewish, African and other designs from different parts of the world if the bride is looking for something different or belongs to a specific community.

Whatever style you choose, know that your mehndi designer will work with you to create your special look for your special day!

Images courtesy of Hiral Henna, Mehndi Designer, and Henna and Beyond.