BUFORD - The mehndi ceremony is, for many South Asian brides, the most important pre-wedding ritual in which they will participate.
Mehndi - the application of Henna as a temporary form of skin decoration - is celebrated primarily by the bride and her family. A professional henna artist or a relative will apply mehndi to the bride's hands and feet in intricate designs.
As the mehndi ceremony is unique to South Asian weddings, so, too, is the chuppah unique to Jewish weddings. The chuppah is the bridal canopy under which the couple are married during a traditional Jewish ceremony.
Similar to the chuppah, the mandup serves as the center of an Indian wedding ceremony. The four-column fabric-draped canopy that represents the bride's and groom's families coming together.
"It signifies that when you get married in the Indian culture, it's not just the groom or bride you're getting married to," said Vanita Vaswani with Envi Event Planning, "it's actually the whole family."
To cater to brides of various cultures, including South Asian and Jewish, Envi has organized the International Bridal Affair, a bridal event offering what organizers say is something for every bride, from a henna artist demonstrating mehndi application to vendors who specialize in arranging traditional Jewish ceremonies.
More than 100 vendors are expected to participate in the event, which will also include a live fashion show with multiple bridal wear segments, one featuring eco-friendly gowns made from recycled fabrics and another highlighting South Asian designs.
"(Brides) will see a very different show that is going to bring all the cultures and traditions of different ethnic weddings together," Vaswani said.
For more information on the free bridal event, visit www.internationalbridalaffair.com.
SideBar: If you go
· What: International Bridal Affair
· When: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
· Where: Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford
· Cost: Free
· For more information: Visit www.internationalbridalaffair.com