You can ask for references from the artist, but also read #6 (in yesterday’s post) about google-stalking your mehndi artist. You have the right to feel comfortable with your choice so don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Like most bridal service providers, your mehndi artist should provide you with some kind of written documentation (a contract or confirmation) of what you agree upon. You can save yourself trouble on the day of your mehndi party by having everything in writing beforehand. This can be as simple as an email with all the details in it including how much has been paid for the deposit and what the balance due is, including any travel charges. Any written document should include the date, time, and address of the event. If your mehndi artist is unwilling to give you something in writing, you might want to reconsider your choice.
Paying the mehndi artist a deposit is good for both the bride and the artist. You pay the deposit to hold the date for you, to guarantee that the artist will come on an agreed upon date and time. The artist benefits from the deposit by knowing that you will not back out at the last minute and they won’t lose that time slot in which they could have scheduled someone else. It’s a very civilized way to do things. You have the right to ask for a receipt and you should get some kind of confirmation or contract once you pay the deposit. There is often a clause in the deposit about when you can cancel and still get your deposit back, so pay attention to that; if it’s not stated, ask the artist.
4. Expectations for artist and bride
If you have any special requests of the artist (i.e., hennaing your mother-in-law, dress code, early arrival, etc.) be sure to state that in writing to avoid last-minute surprises. Ask the artist if she has any requirements like seating or lighting (especially important if the mehndi is happening at the sangeet/mehndi party). The artist should let you know what she wants you to do in terms of prepping your skin for the mehndi.
5. When and where
Mehndi can be done at the sangeet/mehndi party, or the bride can have her henna done the day before the party. Keep in mind that the stain takes 2 days to get its darkest so plan your appointment accordingly. You might decide to do your mehndi the day before the party so that you can do it in the comfort of your home; then on the day of the party, you can enjoy yourself instead of sitting around with wet paste on your hands for hours. Also consider hiring a second artist for the mehndi party to ensure that everyone gets henna. Ask the artist how many people she can henna in a hour to see what works best for your event. Some mehndi artists make house calls, others only work out of salons. Decide which works better for your situation. House calls are usually a bit more expensive especially if the artist charges for travel.
Where you live definitely factors into the price of hiring a mehndi artist. In major U.S. cities, the price usually ranges from $70-150/hour. Usually there is a direct correlation between price and quality but not always, so do your research. Some artists offer pre-priced bridal packages, often with several tiers to choose from; be sure you know what you are getting for the price. The prices are based on the complexity of the design and the amount of area covered. Beware of complicated pricing schemes or prices that are too good to be true. The artist you hire should be able to give you an accurate estimate of how long your mehndi will take to complete so that you can work the price into your budget. Be sure to ask about travel charges if you live far from a city-center. Don’t be shy about asking for solid numbers and clear information; again, avoid last-minute surprises.
7. Mehndi artist search
There are several listings of mehndi artists on the internet. When googling try different terms like “henna”, “heena” or “tattoo”, but also different spellings of “mehndi” such as “mehendi” or “mehandi”. Include the name of your city or state in your search, and do several searches for different cities or states in your area. For example, in the NYC area you would want to look for artists in New Jersey and Connecticut, not just New York. Searching Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest for mehndi artists is a great idea; with Flickr searches you don’t have to search around for the artist’s portfolio…it’s all right there.
1. Referrals for other services
Mehndi artists work with a lot of brides and often are great sources of information about other bridal services especially hair and makeup, but also photographers, caterers, DJs etc.
2. Mehndi aftercare
Ask your mehndi artist how she suggests you take care of your mehndi to ensure the darkest possible stain. She may give you printed information or verbal instructions. She is an expert and knows her own henna paste very well and how it stains, so listen up!
3. Enjoy your mehndi!
Hopefully this list will make choosing a mehndi artist effortless. I wish you a gorgeous design, a dark stain and a long and loving marriage!
Credits: All henna by yours truly, Lisa Butterworth of kenzi.com.
Photography by: House of Talent Studio, Gulnara Studio and Sylvester Zawadski.