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Henna: the Hallmark of Love “She loves me. She loves me not.” You know the saying, “the darker the colour of your henna the more your mother-in-law will love you.” – We’ve all heard it but how true is it? With the wedding season truly upon us, we’ve been taking inspiration and learning the historical significance of henna from a talented henna artist. Sunny B from Birmingham, who came through the ranks and guidance of the inspirational Ash Kumar explains how henna lies at the heart of many cultures with its rich cultural heritage.

how the colour becomes darker if the paste is left on for longer and if hands are warmer.

Years ago in Southern Asia henna was traditionally applied to the fingertips and toes of a bride. And while it was customary on the auspicious occasion and something that only happens in a lifetime, henna represented something beyond beauty. It was about upholding tradition and it was the hallmark of love.

Henna originated around five thousand years ago and is derived from a flowering plant called Lawsonia inermis. It has been used to dye skin, hair, and fingernails but more recently as temporary tattooing and bridal decoration for mehndi nights. Reaching an iconic status over time with its use many uses it has become the main focus of many cultures and celebrations.

Sunny B revealed henna artists often get asked, “How dark will the colour come out?” with the belief that the darkness is associated with the strong love of their mother-in-law. She says, “this still remains a mystery” but explained

We love the cultural Arabic style with floral patterns, flowers and love hearts and how the design has adapted to tear drops, peacocks and names of the bride and groom within Middle Eastern cultures. And now with different variations in intricate pattern and design over time, the demand for henna has widely increased and has been adopted within the Western culture.

In Ancient Egypt, dating back to the mummification process, henna was applied to the hands and feet of pharaohs and was also used as a secret weapon and shield

against rashes in Africa. Eventually bridal henna was introduced during the Mughal Empire, under the rule of Akbar and has become increasingly popular from a fashion and beauty perspective. Traditionally within the twelfth century henna was applied to the centre of the hand and fingertips of a bride, but over time the design as developed and blossomed into the shapes, patterns and lines that we are familiar with today. Based in the West Midlands, Sunny B has a team of freelance henna artists offering a unique service of bridal mehndi bookings with packages ranging from £80 to £170. From a visual perspective Sunny B revealed how everything has designs in it to give henna artists inspiration. “I’ve always been quite artistic and wanted to follow through with that. For bridal bookings and mehndi patterns I get inspiration from the material or fabric and incorporate this into the design” she added. For more information please visit By: Neena Raj


The estate was originally acquired by the Fisher family but in1729 it was inherited by the wife of the 2nd Earle of Aylesford in whose family it has remained right up until the present day. Full of deer and oak trees it is deemed to be a nature reserve and although not open to the public, it does contain a number of old buildings including Packington Old Hall. The Second World War saw the creation of an extensive camp of thousands of huts used first by British forces but later by the Americans prior to the D Day landings in Normandy. Some of the original buildings to the left of the hotel's main drive are still used by local scouts and the concrete bases of many others can still be found all over this part of the estate. Gradual and organic development over the years, like pieces being slotted slowly into a puzzle, have all come together to create the greater environment which now benefits the hotel although this was not opened until 1989. A fine of example of this began back in 1945 when the 10th Earle of Aylesford started the excavation and sale of gravel for road building which in

turn led to the creation of four trout lakes and one specialist carp fishing lake for which guests can hire rods today. But perhaps of greater significance was the decision of the 11th Earle to establish a golf driving range in 1975 followed by the creation of a nine hole par three course the following year. Few then could have foreseen the developments which would lead eventually to the creation of The Marriott Forest of Arden's famous championship Arden course and much acclaimed Aylesford course. It was in 1987 that North Warwickshire Borough Council gave permission for the development of a 155 bedroom hotel complete with leisure club and conference centre and the then Junior Government Minister John Butcher performed the official topping out ceremony early the following year. The rest is you might say is history including the fact that over recent years the hotel in its wonderful parkland setting and with its host of leisure and sporting facilities has established a fine reputation as a wedding venue.

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