Bridal Mehndi

This past week our Hampton Roads ISES chapter hosted an event focusing on Indian Wedding celebrations.  We learned so many amazing things from speaker Erin Calvimontes, but today we would like to focus on bridal mehndi.  Mehndi is a very important part of both Hindu and Muslim weddings in India and we are going to share a glimpse of it with you.


For starters, mehndi and henna are essentially the same thing; a dye that is used to color skin, clothes, hair and nails. It is a powder/paste that is derived from the henna plant, and depending on its strength, the dye can range from orange to dark brown.  It is applied with a steady hand using a cone shaped applicator, and the designs can vary greatly by skill, region, and personal preference.  Prior to an Indian wedding there will be a mehndi ceremony where the bride will have mehndi applied to a portion of her arms and/or hands, and sometimes feet and legs.  The amount of coverage may vary from one bride to another, and is applied by either a family member or mehndi expert.  Upon drying, the hand drawn design will last for several weeks.  Here is a clip: 

<p><a href=”″>Parijat’s Mehndi Clip</a> from <a href=””>Vijay Rakhra</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The mehndi ceremony is very lively and festive, and every female family member participates.  Lemon juice and sugar may be added to darken the mehndi, as it is believed that the darker the color the greater the love for the husband.  The mehndi can take hours to dry, so once applied the bride must patiently wait.  As the mehndi dries it will begin to flake off on its own.

Our ISES event was decorated by Ivory Morgan-Burton of Storybook Events  and photographed by Carl Anderson of Hampton Roads Photography.

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Savarnas offered their henna/mehndi designs to each of our guests and below you will see the process of the drying/flaking/staining which happened over the course of several days.  This particular design was done by Simran K of Savarnas.



Managing other’s expectations when planning YOUR wedding

Recently I was invited to participate in an article for Virginia Bride Magazine regarding a popular topic; managing expectations.  Our team will spend months working very closely with our clients during the course of their engagement and we often see the stress and pressures that is put on them regarding their wedding and the decisions surrounding it.


Before I share the article I want to say that I am a strong believer in being true to you, and yourselves as a couple when planning a wedding.  I definitely think it’s important to be respectful of your families and their wishes and traditions, but it’s a two way street and the respect needs to be given both ways.  I think sometimes parents have trouble accepting the fact that their child is growing up and able to plan an event such as a wedding without their help.  Which brings me to my next point.  A wedding is a milestone which is defined as an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.  Throughout the course of our lives we experience several of these but a wedding signifies that an individual is committing themselves to another, forever changing the dynamic that each of their families were used to.

When a couple gets engaged and begins to plan their wedding there is so much excitement surrounding it.  Unfortunately, as time goes on and more decisions are to be made the wedding can become a source of contention instead of excitement.  My focus in college was psychology and I love having the opportunity to use it every day in my career.  I LOVE having the ability to be a calming force and counselor to my clients.  My office walls have seen mothers cry, couples fight, and an abundance of eye rolls, in addition to utter joy and excitement of course.  My desire for all of my couples and their families is to first and foremost have respect for each others desires and wishes regarding this life changing event, and remember to enjoy the process.

Enjoy the article!

ManagingExpectations ManagingExpectations2

You can pick up a copy of Virginia Bride Magazine at newsstands and bookstores and the following bridal boutiques

Pure English Bridal

1860 Laskin Road Suite 110 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454 757-631-9810

Williamsburg Bridal

3709 C Strawberry Plains Road Williamsburg, Virginia 23188 757-299-5004

YOU can inspire our first stylized shoot of 2014!

This gallery contains 5 photos.

     We absolutely love planning weddings and events and bringing our clients’ visions to life, and in our free time we love to bring our visions to life by planning and creating stylized shoots.  For those of you that … Continue reading

*Pop, Fizz, Clink* Magical Engagement Contest


 Planning to pop the question? Enter the As You Wish Weddings & Events’ Pop, Fizz, Clink “Magical Engagement Contest” to surprise your love and give them an engagement they will never forget!

There are SIX million proposals every Valentine’s Day… and this year we want to help plan one of them! We are looking for one lucky person looking to surprise their significant other with a Valentine’s Day proposal.

To enter please email your love story to

You can share something funny or something sweet, just be sure to tell us why your girlfriend/boyfriend deserves the proposal of a lifetime! The deadline to enter is January 18th!

{photo credit to the amazing}

Featured Friday – Inside the Intern


This summer we were very lucky in the additions that we welcomed into the As You Wish team. Our biggest asset being that of Julie’s intern, Gracie. She was fierce, and fabulous, and she just fit right in. We definitely found a *hopeful* future member of our dream team. Today you get a little insight as to how As You Wish truly works behind the scenes, as well as some of the real findings of a fresh faced girl regarding the wedding industry.


Tell us a little bit about you, Gracie.
* I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, a city of a comparatively small wedding industry to the Virginia east coast. Julie Morgan, As You Wish’s head coordinator, gave me the incredible opportunity to work and learn by her side this summer as an intern. So much more than that—she provided me the chance to fully understand every aspect of the wedding industry, something I will be forever grateful for. Prior to my wedding coordinating experience with As You Wish, I had dabbled in the industry with experience in events with catering, day-of coordination, and being the event chair for ΒΣΦ.

Was this a required internship?
* This was not a required internship by my school. It was by my own decision making and researching that I decided that I wanted to work with this event coordinating company specifically. Thankfully, As You Wish gave me the opportunity to thrive and grow from a summer internship and gain invaluable experience that I will take with me wherever I go.

Why did you want to intern for an event coordinator?
* Wedding and event planning/coordinating has been a field of interest of mine for years now and what better time to explore the field then in college as an intern? My goal was to thoroughly learn the career path, what all it entails, and the relevant industry. I wanted a well-rounded experience wherein I had room to grow and lead. I wanted an accurate lens into this career and its responsibilities including, budgeting and financial comprehension, team delegation logistics and skills, design detail, vendor and client communications, event execution processes, emergency situation resolve, etc. I additionally had personal goals to grow and thrive on the challenges presented.

Before beginning your internship, what did you believe an event coordinator’s work encompassed?
* Oh how little I knew ALL of the work that happens behind the scenes. I had little idea compared to my true knowledge of the industry now. Initially, I believed that an event coordinator’s work encompassed design, coordination, management, and all those things that fell underneath each category. What I did not know was the magnitude of responsibilities that came with each aspect of the process and with every individual client. I think it is fair to say that hardly anyone truly knows the work that an event coordinator does without being with then every second of every day. This “behind the scenes” work is an art and requires a very specific skill set to perform successfully.

What did you learn about event coordinating that you did not know or expect? And how did your impression of the career change?
* Expanding on what I previously answered, event coordinating is worth so much more than the price tag. Event coordinating is an insurance policy for important life events, it is an assurance that a skillful, experienced professional will be in a position to run the event, and run it well. It is deeply and widely a very involved profession wherein the client and coordinator develop a close relationship and mutual understanding of expectations. Event coordinating overlooks nothing and the coordinators take great pride in their work helping clients. Oftentimes, it is work that goes unrecognized. Due to the “insurance policy” nature of the event, coordinators are sewing the seams and mending holes continuously, mostly, when the client is not aware. I have worlds of respect for those who work in the industry, because trust me, they are dedicated and hard workers.

What are the top three reasons that a bride should pick As You Wish to help with their big day?
* Julie and Brandi and their As You Wish team will not let you down and will exceed any expectations you may set for hiring a coordinator. I was by her side for an entire summer and experienced her steadfast dedication and attention to detail over and again. If you want someone who will do an incredible job and do it with heart and care, then As You Wish is an easy recommendation. Julie’s organization and processes in place are the result of years of expertise and experience and will benefit you at every point of the process. She is open and committed to making the event the best that it can possibly be.

Thanks for the sweet words Gracie! We can’t wait to get you back out here during the holidays.

Meet the Vendor: Pure English Bridal Boutique


For the next few Friday’s we are going to dedicate the blog to a new vendor in the area. We’ll try and keep it versatile with the types of vendors that we feature, but if there is anyone in particular that you want to see definitely let us know.

Our first fantastic vendor is Helen of Pure English Bridal Boutique in Virginia Beach {and how cute is her team y’all?}.  I got to ask her a few questions and I just love her answers! I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about this fabulous dress shop.


Why did you open a bridal boutique?
My background was in fashion and home magazines and so it was not a huge departure for me.  I had recently married my husband Graham in England and when I moved to the States I felt that there was an opening in this area for a more intimate and European style bridal boutique.  Even as we have grown over the past decade, we have always maintained our focus on one on one private appointments and very personal approach.  Even after nearly 13 years I still love working with brides and their families and helping them to find that perfect dress for their special day.  We really pride ourselves on giving each client a very positive and wonderful experience.  I am surrounded by beautiful products, a dedicated team of talented consultants and I get to be creative and interact with lovely ladies at such a special time in their lives….I love what I do J

Describe Pure English in three words
FRESH PURE COUTURE ! (It has been our logo for years)

What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned while working in the wedding industry
Every bride is unique and on her own journey.  We try to remember that whilst we do this every day, our clients do not and we need keep it fresh and tailor made for each young bride.  Fashions may change but customer service is always in fashion and we work very hard to keep it memorable and fun.

The wedding industry itself has exploded in the past few years and it seems as if there is a wedding related program on every channel.  This has some negative effects as it can sometimes lead brides to believe everything they see rather than trusting in their own instincts and following their own hearts.

Whilst there is certainly a vast range of very informative blogs, magazines and programs out there that can serve the bride as she prepares for her wedding – I would always advise brides to take everything with a pinch of salt!  There are no hard fast rules and the most important thing as that she enjoys the journey to the altar and the actual wedding day without getting too stressed or overwhelmed.

For a bride who has just started her dress search, what are your top three tips coming into her first appointment?

  1. Don’t bring too many people with you.  Again the wedding shows are for ratings and drama and do not always accurately reflect real life experiences.  Bringing too many people can be distracting and hectic and leave you bombarded with opinions.  A few trusted loved ones, who know you and your style are all you need.
  2. Give some thought to style and budget before hand.  Bringing pictures will also really help your consultant to envision and understand your aesthetic.  Knowing what you are comfortable spending on your overall look is key to maximizing your appointment time and helping keep you on track.  No one wants to fall in love with a gown they simply cannot afford, and with so many fabulous gowns out there – brides really are spoilt for choice!
  3. Keep and open mind and enjoy yourself!  If you surround yourself with a good team of professionals who excel in their field – you can rely on their knowledge and expertise to introduce new ideas and exciting options that you may never have considered before.  It is supposed to be a celebration of your love and union – not a Broadway production J  Have fun, be creative, but don’t make yourself sick – the most fabulous weddings are those with a happy happy bride!

If a bride falls in love with a dress, how does she know it is “the one”?
Everyone is so very different that there really is no standardized reaction or recipe to follow to know when you have found the dress.  With so much hype on TV, some brides worry that they are “supposed” to feel a certain way at a certain time.  This is NOT the case!

Some brides and their mothers cry at every dress they try on, some never shed a tear – so don’t think weeping is a sign.

Many girls love several dresses and would honestly be happy with any one of three.

Some girls have hunted so long that they are genuinely exhausted and settle on a dress because they have been looking so long, in search of “the one” that they have lost connection with their emotions and are suffering what we refer to as “bridal fatigue”.

My advice it to look for a gown when you are ready to find it – not before.  It doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out process and you are not missing out if you don’t commit to a bridal marathon.  If you find a dress you love, feel fabulous in and it doesn’t break your budget, then go for it!

What is your favorite part about being a bridal consultant?
I am very lucky to able to own and operate a very successful business that allows me to be a creative and productive business woman, wife and mother.  I love that I get to set a high standard of integrity and service and hold myself accountable every day.  What we do is often glamorous and fun but running a reputable and respectable business that over delivers on our promise of excellence takes hard work, commitment and a strong team.  I love the ladies on the Pure English team and the relationships I have with them and with our clients is what makes Pure English Couture such a wonderful place to be each day.  I am very thankful for what I have.

Here are some pictures of her beautiful shop