Little did I know when I married my Indian husband that we would have the opportunity to attend a family wedding in Bangalore. We participated in all the festivities, all four days of them. Early morning family poojas (prayers), the blessing of the house, the saffron ceremony, a reception with a receiving line that over 1000 people went through, and the wedding itself were just a few of the elaborately prescribed rituals that took place.
My favorite event was the mehendi party, when all of the women and close friends on the bride's side of the family gathered for the 10 hour long process of applying the mehendi to feet and hands, and, in the case of the bride, all the way past her elbows and almost to her knees. Each women also receives the care of the other women around her as they gently pat palm or coconut oil onto the intricate patterns to keep them moist and soaking into the skin longer.
Mehendi artists are marvelously talented and creative, creating each design spontaneously and drawing most of the inspiration for their designs from the natural world.
While you may not be invited to a mehendi party, you can recreate this experience for yourself if you are traveling to India, or almost any place you can find a mehendi artist. Also, for the more intrepid traveler, ask around when traveling in India, and there's a good chance you can get yourself invited to an actual wedding.