Something Old, Something New: Body Art for Weddings

One way to celebrate your wedding day and to make a really unique fashion statement is through the use of body art. The reason I called this post “Something Old, Something New” is because body art for weddings has been around for centuries, but is a relatively new concept for modern-day brides who are not from any particular religious traditoin. The three main options are mehndi, body painting, and tattoos, both temporary and permanent.


Mehndi is the application of henna in elaborate designs which last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The most common areas for mehndi designs are the feet and the hands because the designs last the longest in those areas. But they can be, and often are, applied anywhere on the body. And mehndi is not just for the bride; the bridegroom can be decorated as well.

The use of mehndi for weddings and other special occasions is traditional in Southeast Asian ethnicities, among others, and probably dates back to ancient India. Many Muslims employ mehndi practices because they were used in the day of the Prophet Mohammad. The designs, which can take many hours to set, are applied ceremoniously in special gatherings of women, much like a modern-day bachelorette party.

The designs themselves can be as simple or as complicated as you want them. Often symbols of love, union and harmony or the names of the bride and groom are incorporated into the designs. If you’re interested in a mehndi design for your wedding, the best place to look for a mehndi artist is among ethnic communities, such as Southeast Asians,  Somalis, or Muslims in general. You may have to advertise for their services.

Body painting

Body painting is another option. It’s more versatile than mehndi color-wise (henna creates a red-brown coloration–be cautious about black colors as they often use dangerous dyes) but also more difficult to employ because it has to be done the day of the wedding. The designs can be anything you want and in any colors, although if you want small, intricate designs, you might be better off to go with mehndi. One of the nicest uses of body painting I’ve seen was a fairly simple design in white (and possibly another accent colot) painted on the forehead in a kind of bindi design. (Sorry I couldn’t find an illustration; it was in a book I no longer have.)

Body painters may be a little easier to find than mehndi artists, but you may also need  to advertise for one. Consider using a student from a local art school. Body painting supplies can be ordered from the Internet. One suggestion I ran across was to have a body/face painter at the reception, especially if there are going to be a lot of children there. But more than likely, you’ll want to keep this effect for yourself.


If you’re very daring–and ready to make the commitment–a permanent tattoo can be the way to go. I would go with something discrete that fits in with your wedding dress. You’ll want to get it done in enough time for it to heal completely before the wedding (and honeymoon). But another way to go is a temporary tattoo. I found an especially nice source on the Internet called I Do Tattoos. They only have a few designs but they’re all tasteful and their color is blue (there’s your “something blue”).  The cost is $36 and includes a folio of the tattoo for memory-keeping.

Visit Mehendi World for everything you might want to know about mendhi.

8 Replies to “Something Old, Something New: Body Art for Weddings”

  1. well, you know i dig this topic. maybe i could use some of these ideas until i save up for the permanent. thanks for the idea!

  2. Interesting article, thank you. I have recently partnered with a body painter for doing painted baby-bump photos, and am going to suggest how she can get into weddings with me.

    Thanks for the inspitation.

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