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The Ultimate Bollywood Wedding Playlist – Mehndi songs

London Thumakda - The Maharani Diaries

Last week we launched part 1 of our Bollywood wedding song playlist and it was a resounding success! Pleased to inform you that we are now onto our second instalment which is our mehndi songs special.

The mehndi function is so much fun for many reasons. Much like a bridal shower, the intimate celebration takes place in the presence of the women of the family and close girlfriends. It’s a time to come together for a night of song, dance and the all important mehndi applying.

Whilst performances are not compulsory, they do form an integral part of a mehndi ceremony. Often your aunties will break out into a traditional number, but if you want to totally avoid this all together, get your playlist ready (hint.. hint) and stream them full blast on the stereo.

Today we are sharing some of our favourite classics from the nineties and noughties as well as a couple of mainstream pop hits that never grow old. There are also a couple of surprises in there!

Once again, we have a countdown of 10 favourites below and the full playlist is available to view over on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to keep an eye out for daily updates maharanis!

Mehendi Hai Rachnewali – Zubeidaa

I bet you knew this one was coming! One of the best Bollywood mehndi songs in our opinion. AR Rahman’s beautiful composition talks of the beauty and significance of the mehndi ritual. Singer, Alka Yagnik’s sweet and soulful voice will compel you to listen and take in every line.. “Mehndi hai rachnewaali, haathon mein gehri laali.. kahe sakhiyaan, ab kaliyaan – Henna paste is going to be applied, it will stain my hands red. My friends say, now flower buds.” This tune is timeless and is the perfect introduction to your mehndi party song list.

Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 

Another no brainer really. The quintessential mehndi song, it’s on the top of every bride’s mehndi song playlist, not only for the fact that it featured the lovable duo, SRK and Kajol, but it’s a full out dance number. No men at the party? No worries! Grab your maharani squad and start belting out the lyrics.. “Mehndi laga ke rakhna, doli saja ke rakhna – Keep your henna on, keep the wedding palanquin decorated.”

London Thumakda – Queen

What a fun wedding number! Simply put, the Punjabi lyrics talk of the transition from singleton to married material. We have no idea when it comes to Punjabi translations, so we kind of had to look this up.. “Loudspeaker te, Madonna vajdi ho laike virgin.. aithe utthe kehndi, arey phel karde, kabootar vargi, o nemma phir di, gootar goo kardi – On the loudspeaker, Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ is playing, and the lyrics are provocative, you see lots of pigeons around and then you roam around chattering like a pigeon..” LOL!

Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan – Chandni

Now this song captured the hearts and attention of many brides when it released all those years ago (was it 1989?). Sridevi’s amazing dancing was out of this world and so was the tune. While it may be slightly difficult to wear bangles for this song as your hands will be full of mehndi paste, doesn’t mean you can’t break out into some epic dance moves right? We say, play this at the beginning when your feet are nice and dry!

Likh Ke Mehndi Se Sajna Ka Naam – Anuradha Paudwal

This pop song, sung by Anuradha Paudwal, was a chartbuster back in the days and you would find this song on all wedding related CDs at the good old CD store. Remember those? Accompanying the song was this sweet video clip which made us feel nostalgic all over again. Sigh..

Chalka Chalka Re – Saathiya

Another stunning dance number for you and your maharanis. It’s kind of like a send-off song which is sung at the wedding by the bride’s friends. We did a little research about the meaning behind this beautiful AR Rahman song. So as you may know, the ‘kalsa’ (or ‘kalse’) is a religious article in Hindu tradition that’s used in almost every religious ceremony. It’s a symbol for health and prosperity. The bride is parting ways from her innocent childhood days and her family home to light the ‘diya’ (or lamp) near the Tulasi plant. Quite traditional, but it’s such a fun, light-hearted dance number for everyone involved in the mehndi party.

Gud Naal Ishq Mitha – Bally Sagoo (Malkit Singh)

When it comes to nineties pop songs, nothing quite beats ‘Gud Naal Ishq Mitha.’  Whether it’s Bally Sagoo and Malkit Singh’s version or some of the newer remixed versions, here’s a song that’s on every couple’s wedding playlist. A popular tune at the sangeet or wedding day, why not play it at the mehndi party?

Solah Button Meri Choli – Darr

Ladies, it’s time to get your dancing game on because this fabulous wedding tune is going to get everyone on the dance floor. Would you believe this song is over 20 years old! It sounds like an old school tune, but in our eyes, this one is timeless. With lyrics like “Meri maa ne laga diye solaah button meri choli mein.. Mere baabul tu ab jaldi se baithaade mujhe doli mein – My mother has put sixteen buttons in my blouse.. My father, make me sit in the wedding palanquin quickly” you’ll want to play this one on repeat!

Mehndi Mehndi Na Mujhko Lagaana – Chori Chori 

We were disappointed that we couldn’t find a clearer copy of this song over on YouTube! We’re not quite sure why Rani is singing about not wanting mehndi on her hands, but nevertheless, it is such a catchy mehndi song and Rani looks so gorgeous. The best part is that the choreography is so simple for all your girlfriends to dance along to.

Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana – Lajja

Last but not least, ‘Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana’ is quite possibly one of the all time classic wedding songs. We love this song so much that aside from having it on our engagement song list, we have also decided to include it on the mehndi playlist. Who knows, we might even add it on our Bollywood sangeet list next week! A stunning pre-wedding song and if you have that one girlfriend who can mimic Sonali Bendre’s epic dance routine, even better.

There have been so many memorable Bollywood mehndi songs over the past few decades. We just couldn’t list them all, but if you want to check out our full playlist, you can do that here and don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there.

What are your favourite mehndi songs? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for next week’s Bollywood sangeet playlist! 

 

Fairytale Amsterdam Wedding: Ankita + Manmeet

Amsterdam couple, Ankita and Manmeet discovered soul mates in each other after months of long distance communication and weekend dates. Very soon after the pair embarked on an epic wedding adventure comprising a multitude of functions involving loads of family, food, dancing and all the beautiful things that tag along with big fat Indian weddings.

From the engagement to the colourful sangeet cruise party, bride Ankita credits her parents who had the painstaking task of planning the entire wedding.

GALLERY

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

A recent article published in Australian bridal magazine, ‘Bride To Be’ magazine suggested that the average cost to have a wedding now in Australia is estimated to be over $65K. Just a little over 2 years ago, the average was around $36K which indicates that the cost has almost doubled. The article was based on a survey that the magazine had been conducting since 1997 and wedding watchers say that there are many contributing factors to the rise of wedding costs.

There is a rising popularity in couples opting for destination weddings, purchasing couture made bridal wear, pre-wedding photo shoots, hiring photo booths, dessert buffets and not to forget the fact that traditional hens and stag parties are turning into weekend long parties or overseas getaways.

Save The Date | The Maharani Diaries

PLANNING THE PERFECT WEDDING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FINANCIAL STRUGGLE.

The way in which couples choose to approach their weddings has taken a dramatic shift from the days of hiring your local community hall down the road to massive function venues in hotels, resorts, vineyards and even palaces. It’s all about the ‘wow-factor’ and creating something magical and everlasting for not just yourself, but for your family and friends as well. 

Yes, it’s true. Planning a wedding never comes cheap and it’s difficult to stay within budget. Many couples often have to seek financial support from their parents or dip into their own savings accounts in order to cover costs. But, the truth is that your perfect day shouldn’t have to be a financial struggle. It is possible to plan the perfect wedding on a budget. It is also important to remember that weddings shouldn’t be about showing off how much money you have or about making comparisons about whose wedding was better. Traditionally, Indian weddings are about the joining of two families and spending it with your loved ones.  That is all that it should eventually come down to.

Your parents are around to support you.

YOUR PARENTS ARE AROUND TO SUPPORT YOU.

Of course Indian weddings have their own challenges. It can sometimes be difficult to convince your families that this day is about you and your fiancé. They may prefer to focus on the religious aspects whereas you on the other hand want to make sure everyone has a memorable time. Try to strike a compromise. Nowadays, couples are more inclined to take charge of their own weddings but do ensure that families have their input. Nothing will happen unless you have their support. My advice is to break it all down. Break down the events, costings and components. Start a spreadsheet and perhaps even draw up a timeline as well. This is especially relevant given that Indian weddings run over several days. So it’s essential to discuss aspects such as finding a priest, ceremonial costs and mehndi/henna artist hire. But, for now, let me share a few tips and ideas on ways you can save or budget on one of the most important days of your life.

via Marigold Tales | The Maharani Diaries

1) Host your pre wedding puja’s, religious ceremonies and parties at home

These events do not have to be over the top and perhaps invite only your closest friends and relatives. If your house is too small to hold a sangeet or mendi party, host it at a friend’s house or a well equipped and acceptable looking local community hall. When I say ‘well equipped’, I mean with kitchen facilities. I also suggest that you seek assistance from your relatives and friends to help with decorations and if need be, song and dance routines.

Pinterest | The Maharani Diaries

Pinterest Inspo | The Maharani Diaries

2) DIY or purchase decorative items

Often wedding decor is expensive to hire. But items such as candle votives, candelabras or mason jars are not difficult to source yourself and are often cheaper than hiring. Collect them or try purchasing them online, at the local dollar store and op-shops.

Pinterest (as in above images) is a great tool for creating an inspiration board or brainstorming image boards. It’s free to use and is possibly the most popular website for future brides seeking inspiration for their own weddings. Through Pinterest, you can narrow your likes and dislikes and it can certainly assist you with DIY decorating ideas. However, don’t go overboard with do it yourself decoration. Trying to include every single cute Pinterest idea will make your venue look tacky and over the top. One thing I learnt during my wedding and event work experience, is that ‘less is more.’

Bridal party tug of war | The Maharani Diaries

3) Small bridal party or none at all

A modern day dilemma that all Indian brides face these days, is whether to have a bridal party or not. It isn’t actually a part of Indian tradition, however times are changing and modern, western values are becoming a norm for south asian weddings. I suggest you really think hard about whether having a bridal party is really going to make a difference for your wedding. Your family and friends are going to be around anyway to help. You don’t necessary need a label for them.

Understated wedding decor also makes a beautiful statement.

UNDERSTATED, SIMPLE WEDDING DECOR MAKES A BEAUTIFUL STATEMENT.

4) Don’t go overboard with flowers

Wedding flowers are expensive. But, some florists are very accommodating and often suggest floral arrangement options that fit within your budget. Selecting floral arrangements which are smaller or at the less expensive end of the spectrum as your centrepiece isn’t always a bad thing. As an alternative to flowers, choose candelabras as your centrepieces. It all depends on the overall look or theme that you’re trying to achieve. Often wedding venues may be able to include centrepiece or floral arrangement packages or offer recommendations to florists or stylists that they have affiliations with. But do your homework and shop around for the best deal and remember to choose flowers that are within season as well.

As for bouquets, paper flower or plastic ones look just as impressive and much cheaper. Don’t believe me? Check out this link for proof – http://liagriffith.com/diy-paper-rose-wedding-bouquet/

5) Don’t hold your wedding on a Saturday

Did you know that more and more couples are now opting for a Friday or a Sunday wedding? Not only because it’s cheaper, but you could also cut back on numbers if you’re after a more intimate wedding. 

Other factors such as the season makes a huge difference as well. Summer is the peak season with Spring coming in a close second.

6) Opt for local wedding vendors

This is a no brainer really. Interstate wedding vendors are always going to charge more for travel, time and transport.

This Kikki K wedding planner file was a life saver during my wedding planning.

A WEDDING PLANNING FILE SUCH AS THIS ONE FROM KIKKI K IS USEFUL FOR PLACING ALL YOUR VENDOR
BROCHURES, BUSINESS CARDS, DEPOSITS, RECEIPTS ETC.

7) Keep a diary or planner and set up a wedding savings account

As mentioned earlier, draw up a spreadsheet and break down your wedding costings. Purchase a planner or notebook and write everything down. This will ensure that your sanity is in check and that you’re not wasting unnecessary money. Stationary aficionado’s like myself will know that Kikki K produce beautifully presented notebooks and planners that keep you inspired. Use the planners to keep on top of your budget and keep track of deposit due dates as well.

Setting up a wedding savings account is a brilliant idea and is certainly something I wish I had thought of during my own wedding. Every week leading up to the wedding, set aside a certain amount of money for the big day. It doesn’t matter how much it is, just remember that every little amount goes a long way. If you can avoid it, try not to use your credit card.

Indian wedding buffet | The Maharani Diaries

8) Save on catering

Catering is a delicate topic when it comes to Indian weddings. Many couples don’t even know where to begin with this. After venue hire, food and beverage is the next biggest expense. In my opinion, I don’t believe that you should cut costs on catering. After all, what is an Indian wedding without delectable curries right?

What you could do though, is cater less. You can save on costs by reducing the amount of food and alcohol you serve. Indian food is generally heavy so it makes sense to do this. For my wedding, I opted for a basic beverage package and a few canapés, some starters, a couple of meat and vegetarian curries, naan and rice. There was of course dessert and the cake as well.

Try to restrict the amount you serve and you can of course discuss this with your caterer as they would know best.

If you’d like to serve a signature cocktail as well, then perhaps eliminate a couple of other drinks or one food item from the menu.

Indian wedding cake | The Maharani Diaries

9) How about the wedding cake?

Ask your cake decorator to make a cake that is just about the right size and has enough servings for your guests and yourself to enjoy. For example, for 200 guests, a 3 or 4 tier cake should be sufficient.

It is also entirely up to you if you would like a cake or not. You could opt for cupcakes instead or just a dessert table. Why not save on costs by asking a friend to bake the cake for you? I’m sure everyone knows of a friend or family member who is a keen or avid baker.

10) Hold your wedding and reception at the same venue

Venue hire is expensive. Don’t forget to factor in travel costs for your vendors and family and friends who are coming from interstate/overseas. How about holding your wedding and reception at the same venue? 

The beautiful RACV Club set in the winery region of Victoria, Australia was the perfect backdrop for my outdoor fusion wedding ceremony.

THE BEAUTIFUL RACV CLUB SET IN THE WINERY REGION OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA WAS THE PERFECT
BACKDROP FOR MY OUTDOOR FUSION WEDDING CEREMONY.

11) Choose a beautiful venue

I hate to say this, but opt for a wedding venue which doesn’t require too much decorating. This way you don’t have to spend a fortune on styling it. For instance, a venue that is visually appealing and has sweeping views would make a great choice.

On a side note, remember that lighting is costly. You can be quoted up to $1000AUD or more for ambient or mood lighting. You can definitely create ambience by simply telling your venue coordinator to dim the lights at the venue. Candles or tea lights create a romantic atmosphere as well.

12) Involve family and friends

Delegate tasks to family and friends. Accept help when it is offered, but be organised.

13) Save on wedding wear

I know the dream for most Indian brides is to wear a Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi or Tarun Tahiliani creation on her wedding day, but reality is that you’re looking at paying upwards of $2000AUD for a couture lehenga or sari. There are alternative options. Elegant and classy Indian bridal wear isn’t difficult to source and I will discuss this in future posts.

14) Design your own wedding stationary or don’t have it at all

If you have the time, I would seriously consider this. If you have an eye for design or have a clever graphic designer friend, by all means opt for this. Design can take time, but it is a huge cost saver.

Otherwise, there are some great online wedding invitation businesses out there that offer great packages for you and can work within your budget. Just don’t forget to double check the spelling.

Another option is to create a wedding website which might not even cost a thing. The only risk here is that some guests might not even bother to check their emails.

Decide if you want to have programs or a wedding guest signing book. Guests will look at these things if they are there or if an announcement is made, but I don’t think they will notice if these two items are missing.

Finally, after returning from your honeymoon, it’s important to snail mail or email thank you cards to guests for all of the generous gifts and for being a part of your special day. Thank you cards are simple to design and/or print. Simply type out the same gratitude message for everyone and send them off. For your online alternative, take a look at Paperless Post. 

15) Don’t include wedding favours

Wedding favours add a nice personal touch to your wedding, especially if they’re DIY. But if you are really on a tight budget and don’t have the time, then eliminate them all together. In the end, all that really matters is that you host an amazing function with delicious food and peppy music and your guests won’t even know.

Wedding guests | The Maharani Diaries

A SMALLER GUEST LIST CAN UNDOUBTEDLY SAVE COSTS.

16) How about a smaller guest list?

I know your parents are probably insistent on inviting Uncle Raj or Aunty Renuka or some distant relative or friend you haven’t seen in years. The truth is that you don’t know who they are. Is it really necessary and will you be paying them regular visits in the years to come? You could really save on costs here. Catering for one person these days can cost upwards of $100AUD per person. Try and come to some sort of compromise on this with your parents.

Ace wedding and event planner, Sonia Sharma.

ACE WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNER, SONIA SHARMA.

17) Hire a wedding planner

If you really don’t know where to start or are extremely time poor, I suggest hiring a wedding planner. Your wedding planner will complete all the note taking for you, create schedules and timelines and ensure everything is running accordingly.

An experienced wedding planner will offer you smart advice and provide you with some sort of direction. They will only work with trusted vendors and will also be able to work within your budget. Some of the more experienced and celebrity wedding planners will obviously cost an arm and a leg, so take some time to shop around for the best deal. I recommend contacting up to four or five wedding planners.

You won’t believe it, but a wedding planner can save you time and money. You won’t have to worry about whether the cake has reached the venue on time and spend more time focusing your efforts on enjoying the wedding day with your family and friends.

18) Save on photography, videography and entertainment

I’m sure you have a photographer or videographer in mind whose work you absolutely love but can’t afford their charges. One option could be to ask them if they have an associate photographer or videographer who will photograph your wedding for less. Opt for one of both as well. Two or more photographers or videographers will set you back thousands of dollars.

In terms of entertainment, hire a smaller band or just one DJ. If you’d like some Bollywood dancing as well, I’m sure you could coax some friends into performing at your sangeet party or reception without charging the massive fee.

'2 States' | The Maharani Diaries

In the end, you know your budget, your needs and wants. Try and save on money where you can. The Indian culture is so rich, colourful and vibrant. Try and save where you can but my advice would be to not hold back on food or entertainment.

Are you planning a wedding soon? What are your budget tips? Let us know in the comments below.

Introducing ‘Henna by Alisa Parveen’ – a budding architect with a passion for henna

Henna, or ‘mehndi’ parties are one of the most important functions for a Hindu bride in the lead up to her wedding. But until very recently, finding a quality henna artist in Australia was a challenge. 

I caught up with one young, up and coming talented artist by the name of Alisa Parveen who gave me an insight into her work as well as share some common myths and misconceptions about henna.

Henna artist, Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

Alisa has been trading at markets and festivals in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. In fact, the architecture student/part time henna artist was just recently in Singapore for the launch of her book, titled, ‘The Henna Narrative.’ She also appeared at The Henna Circle Australia conference over the weekend in Sydney to run some workshops as well as attend a few herself.

The talented artist has 15 years of henna drawing experience behind her. A native to Singapore, she started applying henna frequently at the mere age of 9 at the Hari Raya Bazaar in Singapore as well as in her mother’s henna studio (Parveen Ayurvedic Beauty Care). She would watch the Pakistani women working in the studio and picked up the inspiration to try her hand at the delicate art of applying henna. In between attending school and studying, Alisa continued her passion for henna art by participating in events, festivals and facilitating bridal appointments.

Alisa’s designs are unique, intricate and look highly professional. She can differentiate between Indian, Arabic, Indo-Arabic, Moroccan and Western henna patterns. She loves to challenge her creativity and is always experimenting with new, innovative designs as seen regularly on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.

‘The Henna Narrative’ was Alisa’s first publication and she’s still abuzz with the success of the book launch held a few months ago in Little India, Singapore.

“I finished my first book 5 years ago before moving to Sydney for studies. However, there was never a right moment to launch the book. I was travelling back and forth from Sydney to Singapore and it would never be for long periods of time. I desperately wanted to showcase it in my home country and preferably during the Diwali or Hari Raya festival. So, I sought approval and support from the National Heritage Board of Singapore (NHB) and finally the ball got rolling. Within 1 month, I completed the book featuring new, more updated designs, sent it to the printers and launched it during the South Indian festival, Pongal.”

The response from the book launch was beyond her expectations and she was elated that she managed to sell numerous copies of her book.

In addition to launching her book, Alisa collaborated with the Little India Shopkeeper & Heritage Association (LISHA) to organise Singapore’s first henna competition. She saw it as an opportunity for the henna artists of Singapore to showcase their work and expand their portfolio. This was the first of its kind and given the chance someday, she mentioned that she’d love to take part in it herself.

Whilst chatting to Alisa, I found her to be a well grounded young woman who shares equal passion and drive for henna and her architecture studies.

Henna by Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

You will often find Alisa creating brilliant works of art such as this at popular markets around Melbourne and Sydney.

 

Alisa feels incredibly calm, relaxed and in her element when doing henna. She loves creating and coming up with new patterns every week. It gives her joy when she can make someone else happy by doing something so effortlessly. She finds inspiration everywhere and also adds that architecture and henna design sometimes goes hand in hand.

“Inspiration is all around you, everywhere you go. I often find inspiration from my henna books from India, but I also love Instagram. The henna community on Instagram is huge and it’s nice to take a look on social media every now and again to not only connect with the artists, but to also see what they are creating.”

Nowadays, in Melbourne, apart from studying for her Masters degree in Architecture at the University Of Melbourne, she’s also constantly looking for opportunities to show her talent. Alisa has applied henna for many brides in Singapore and a few in Melbourne and Sydney. She has expressed a desire to work with more brides in Australia.

On the topic of bridal henna, I asked Alisa what she thinks brides should be weary of before selecting a henna artist for their wedding.

“I believe that you should be able to see the artist’s work before hand. If they have a portfolio or website where by you can see their work, that would be great. Ensure that the designs they show you are legitimate and their own work. This is extremely important as there are a lot of imitators out there. Finally confirm what type of henna they will be using. Some henna can often cause an allergic reaction in some people, particularly the ‘instant’ ink type which isn’t commonly used. If possible, have a trial done a month or two out from the wedding day.”

She also added that she doesn’t have a personal style and doesn’t believe in trends. For brides, she has exclusive designs which she offers as a special ‘bridal package.’ She will always do finer, Indo-Arabic henna work for Indian brides. However, the use of void space in bridal henna is becoming increasingly popular these days. She also added that some brides still love the fuller style designs, but every individual has different tastes and also an idea of what they’d like their henna to look like on the big day. Furthermore, it also depends on the religion or background of the bride.

Alisa only uses natural henna and specifically mentions that it’s the same henna for every client. There is no such thing as “bridal henna.” All her cones are made up the same way and she never compromises. She’s a perfectionist when it comes to applying henna and prides herself on the quality of her work.

Currently, she is based in Melbourne and provides henna services for public or private events held in Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. Having just returned from conducting some busy Indo-Arabic and bridal henna design classes at the henna conference, she said that she’s going to now focus on completing her Masters course and once again return to Singapore. She expressed a desire to appear at more markets in Melbourne and would also love more appointments.

Alisa’s book, ’The Henna Narrative’ includes a series of more than 40 henna designs ranging from basic beginner designs to intricate bridal narrations and a peek into Alisa’s 13 years of henna experience. She sets high achievements for herself and would love to produce more books in the future, continuing her passion for this popular art form.

The Henna Narrative | The Maharani Diaries

Henna by Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

If you are a bride in Melbourne, Sydney or Singapore or someone who just loves henna and you’d like to get in touch with Alisa or get your hands on a copy of her first book, visit the vendor page.