I’m so excited about today’s two-part wedding feature, I can barely stand it!  Rita and Imi were married last summer in a gorgeous outdoor wedding that incorporated both Western and Pakistani traditions.  But before we get to Rita and Imi’s wedding and reception at Meridian House, we had to share the stunning images by photographer Erin Lassahn of Rita and Imi’s Mehndi – a traditional festive and colorful event full of dancing and eating that takes place before the day of the wedding.

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

After the bride and groom enter the Mehndi hall, the bride and groom are then both seated on a stage at the front of the hall and selected guests take turns greeting them and placing henna paint on the bride’s hand.  The guests also perform Sadka (warding off evil) by circling the bride and groom’s heads three times with money and then feeding them sweets.  The two families also exchange fresh floral leis and adorn the bride and groom with them as a symbol of unison and love between two families blending as one.

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

During the Mehndi, the bride and groom sit on a stage with a dance floor in front of them while the guests take turns performing choreographed dances for the couple and the rest of the guests.  There is usually friendly competition between guests on the bride’s side and guests on the groom’s side, with both sides trying to outdo one another with their dance performances.  Dinner for family and friends is served and “bhangra” dancing continues until late into the night.

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

Pakistani-American-Wedding-Mehndi-Washington-DC

The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to Rita and Imi’s wedding mehndi:

Venue: The Dupont Hotel
Photography: Erin Lassahn
Catering: Shaheen Restaurant
Videography: Blue Sky Films
Décor: DIY

Check back soon for Rita and Imi’s wedding and reception!

Photo Credits: Erin Lassahn

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