Sunday, November 3, 2013

How To Hire a Bridal Henna Artist

Your special day is fast approaching and the task of hiring the henna artist has made its way to the top of your list. 

These tips will assist you in hiring the right bridal henna artist for you. 

Before calling and googling around be clear with yourself about what you expect for your bridal mehndi. Do you have a design in mind? Is there a certain style of henna you want (Indian, Arabic, Indo-Arabic, Gulf/Khaleeji, Moroccan, Indo-Fusion, extra)? Are you more traditional? Or are you looking for something a little bit more unique or modern?

Next, think about your budget. Bridal henna can range in price depending on the artists talents and where you live. If you want a top knotch henna artist expect to pay in the $250-$350+, but not every artist that charges in that range is worthy of those rates. 

Once you're clear about what you want, and your budget is settled, it's time to begin the search. 

You can start by searching locally, Google or craigslist is a great place to start. Most henna artists have a web presence of some sort, so a website/page, blog, Instagram, or Facebook page should be easy to find. Once you've seen who/what's available locally, select an artist or two that you feel meets your needs and set up a consult/meeting with them. 

Now what if there isn't an artist in your area or those in your area aren't up to par? Search in the nearest major city. If you end up hiring an artist in another city, expect to pay extra for their travel or expect to travel to them. 

The consult should be free of charge or very cheap. During the consult you should have the opportunity to browse the artists portfolio and see a live sample of their work. At least two happy bridal clients (not related to or friends of the artist) should be provided to you as references. You should show the artist the design you want and ask if she/he can do it. 

You don't have to hire the first artist you consult with, but if you do consult with one and you don't hire them, a thank you but I've decided to hire another is most appreciated. 

Once you've picked an artist, be very clear about your expectation as far as the designs, the dates, and the results you want. Expect to put down a non refundable deposit. Very few henna artists do bridal business on a handshake anymore, and more artists are using contracts these days. Contracts and deposits are part of bridal business. 

Your artist should provide you with tips in regards to skin prep before the big day. She/he should advise you when it's appropriate to tan, have mani/pedis, waxing/shaving, or other skin treatments. All of these things affect the quality of your henna stain and the artist should advise you when to have those things done, so your henna will be its best on your special day. 

Your artist should keep in contact with you as the date for your bridal mehndi nears. This is the best time to ask all questions and review the details you may have previously discussed. 

On the day of the mehndi the artist should arrive on time and ready to henna. Before starting, review the design again, placement of the design, and ask questions if you have them. If you've added bridal party members, this is the time to talk about and agree on the added cost. Extra work means more money. 

The artist needs space, good lighting, and comfortable seating. The artist may need to take short breaks to rest her/his hands. Please put away pets, little ones, or busy people that might bump you or the artist. Don't allow pushy family or friends to bully the artist or talk you into something you don't like/want. 

Once the mehndi is complete, your aftercare has been provided, and the artist is ready to go, it's time to pay. This is not a time to haggle with the artist on what's due even if that's normal for you culturally, it may not be for the artist and is considered rude. Tipping is the norm in service industries, but not a requirement. 

The artist should provide you with aftercare and should give you additional instructions before leaving. 

It's always nice to send pictures taken of your mehndi on your wedding day to the artist. We love to see pictures or get feedback. You may be called upon to give a reference for the artist and we're most thankful for that. 

In the event you're not happy, let the artist know immediately. Don't wait weeks after the application to speak up. Be clear about what you don't like or why you're unhappy. A simple I didn't like it, or my cousin could've done the same for cheaper just won't fly. Threats aren't appreciated. 

Red Flags to watch for 
• The artist has no portfolio and can't provide references. 

•The artist doesn't mix their own henna. 

•They're not clear on their pricing and are vague about their availability. 

•The thief is using pictures of others work and trying to pass them off as their own. A portfolio isn't made up of pictures stolen from others. 

•You're their first bridal. 

• Their portfolio doesn't reflect bridal quality work, or the sample henna done during the consult doesn't match the quality in their portfolio. 

•You can't get in touch with the artist. 

•The artist refuses to do a consult or expects you to pay a lot for the consultation. 

•The artist offers black henna. RUN!

•The artist insists on a deposit but won't provide a contract. 

Please share your bridal henna experience below and artists please share tips you think are helpful to brides, that I didn't list.