Mehndi Party-A guide to having an amazing mehndi party for your wedding

Having henna at your wedding celebration is one of the most important traditions of Southeast Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.  The tradition of inviting guests for the ritual application of henna is a ceremony that has taken place for centuries.  However, while the tradition continues, the manners and process of having this celebration have evolved.  Here are some things to consider when hiring an artist for your henna party.  Be sure to look over things to consider when hiring an artist for your bridal henna as well. 


Social media follow your mehndi artist

With social media, google, and photo sharing sites like Instagram, it has become very easy to find an artist in your area and follow them.  Take a look at their work.  The quality of the lines and comments about the work.  Save photos of designs that you like and consider asking about the pricing of certain designs, and how long it took to apply.  


Google Search for an Artist
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 Edmonton area you would want to look for artists in Sherwood Park or St. Albert.  In the Red Deer area, you may want to search for artists in Ponoka, Lacombe, Calgary, Airdrie, or even Edmonton.  Be sure to take a look at the artist's portfolio and perhaps some reviews.


Ask for References
You don't have to go with the only artist that your friend or mom knows for your henna party.  One of the best ways to get a great artist is to find an artist and ask for references from the artist.  When you are hiring a henna artist for your wedding celebration, it's no different than hiring someone for a job... do your due diligence and get references from the artist.  


Seek out Referrals 
Henna artists work with a lot of brides, caterers, decorators, makeup artists, and photographers.  Try to get a referral from one of the other vendors you are going with.  Look through your photographer's blog to find artists from other weddings.  Ask your makeup artist for suggestions on henna artists he/she has worked with before.  If your artist is serious about the henna business, she will have a good network of people who have seen her work or heard something positive about her. 

Contract and confirmation
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.

Deposit

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 professional 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, and make sure you get it written down in your agreement.

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.  Keep in mind that in the busy-ness of the mehndi party, some people will get cut in line, some people will get more henna than what you wanted them to, and some people will argue to get more done.  This is something to keep in mind when booking your artist.  Make sure your artist isn't a quiet pushover and lets your guests push her around to get more henna done.  Your artist should be stern, but not rude--if you have set limits on what people get done, don't be surprised if your guests come back to you later to tell you that the artist was rude.  Keep in mind that the artist probably told them several times that they cannot get more henna done, which is why they think that she is being rude.  Keep in mind that if you are wanting limits, those limits will come with some uncomfortable situations. 

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.  Get all of these details done in writing PRIOR to your event. 

Pricing

Where you live definitely factors into the price of hiring a mehndi artist.  In major Canadian 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 set priced bridal packages, often with several tiers to choose from, while others will charge by the hour-- 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, and get all of this written down.  

Some tips to keep in mind for the actual day of your party:

  1. Make sure your artist has something to eat and drink before her shift begins so she can work well.
  2. Situate your artist is a very well lit area of your home or location.  Make sure you have a couple of lamps close by just in-case they are needed. 
  3. If you are having your party outside, let your artist know before hand.  If you have pets, let your artist know so she can take care of any allergies
  4. Skip the floor and have a table and chairs for henna application.  This makes rotating between people a lot easier and faster than the floor, and is better for the artist as well.
  5. Have a person who will be a liason between you (the bride) and the artist, or the host of the party and the artist.  This will keep things calm.
  6. If you only want certain people to get extra henna done and want the rest of your party to get regular designs, make sure your artist has a list of these people.  You can also opt for little tokens or tickets for your special guests.  This keeps things simple for the artist, and there is no second guessing on who gets what.
  7. Keep a list of who will go first to get mehndi done.  Give the list to the artist if you have one.  This way, no one gets mad at the artist for saying not to them.
  8. Follow your artist's instructions for henna aftercare.  She knows henna better than you or some aunty at your party.
  9. Buy extra henna cones from your artist instead of letting some aunty bring in something filled with chemicals from India or the local Indian store.  Natural is the only henna to go with!
  10. Be calm and have fun at your mehndi party


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