10 rules to keep in mind when choosing your bridal mehandi artist
From when to start scouting for a mehandi expert to how to zero down on one for your wedding day, consider this your step-by-step guide to hiring your ideal bridal mehandi artist
For centuries, mehandi has been used to celebrate momentous occasions in the Eastern world, especially weddings. Apart from being an irreplaceable part of traditional festivities, the plant-based dye also gives brides-to-be a free hand to express themselves through customised designs. From an elaborate Indian bridal design as seen on Deepika Padukone and a simple option like Anushka Sharma’s, to more personalised variants à la Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, there’s a sea of inspiration available when it comes to picking a mehandi style that most resonates with you. But then how does one make the choice? If you ask us, it all starts with picking the right mehandi artist. Use this 10-step guide to find one who ensures your design is as customised as your bridal lehenga.
1) Block your mehandi artist in advance
It’s very likely that choosing a makeup artist might take precedence over finalising a mehandi expert. But this delay might get you in a tough spot as the good ones get booked months in advance. Be sure to line-up your preliminary choices at least three months prior to the event, and settle on your specialist within two to three weeks from then.
2) Scour through Instagram, but also do on-ground research
Yes, it’s totally acceptable to create your Pinterest dream board and even stalk some mehandi artists on Instagram—most tend to upload their previous works online nowadays. If you like what you see, contact them immediately. That said, don’t underestimate the power of traditional research—word of mouth continues to be a fail-proof method to clinch a veteran artist who might not be on social media. Consult former brides-to-be from your family and social circles, particularly if someone’s bridal design had caught your fancy in the past.
3) Check the mehandi artist’s design portfolio
Once you’ve shortlisted four to five mehandi artists, schedule one-one-ones with them. Personal interactions are most conducive when finalising a wedding expert. Moreover, every specialist is likely to have a portfolio or an extensive photo album of their best as well as recent works. Scrolling through their designs will give you a clear understanding of their style and finesse.
4) Pay attention to the artist’s forte
Every mehandi artist has their signature style, but they do mostly dabble in various different designs. Chances are that while your heart might originally be set on a traditional Indian design, a quick browse through a specialist’s expertise may find you wanting to convert to a different style for your wedding day. Or probably even find a middle path with your design. Whichever situation you find yourself in, it’s best to keep the communication clear right from day one.
5) Show them references
When doing your due diligence, save every design you set your eyes on. Whether you’d like to go ahead with a spaced-out Arabic design or are smitten with a teeny tiny geometric Moroccan style you spotted on social media, don’t wait to go back to the picture. Most artists will willingly draw inspiration from other artists without exacting their work. Plus, a visual reference will ensure you’re on the same page as your artist when zeroing down on your bridal design. Stray away from asking them to completely copy another expert’s design though—it may give them the impression that they are not your first choice and most importantly, stifle their creativity if the style doesn’t mesh with their signature aesthetic.
6) Inquire about the ingredients used
This is a huge disclaimer. An ideal situation is where your artist concocts the henna paste herself. Inquire about the ingredients that’ll be used in your henna. Using fresh paste versus the ready-made (chemical) option is a mark of a specialist. Ensure your artist only uses organic, natural henna and doesn’t mix any synthetic dyes to get a deeper pigment—you don’t want to end up with a rash.
7) Find out what the application time would be
Bridal mehandi can take anywhere between two to six or even eight hours for application. Once the design is decided, ask your mehandi artist about the tentative time required for completion. This will give you headway in planning the nitty-gritty of your event, and in some cases the budget as well.
8) Budget right
Getting the fees locked in at the get-go will help you to stick to your wedding budget without unexpected surprises on your appointment day. While one artist may charge as per the intricacy of design, another may charge on an hourly basis. Several, if not all artists have bridal packages catering to various styles, and depending on the level of coverage you desire.
9) Seek a local artist for your wedding
You’d rather wear jeans on your function than settle for a mehandi artist that’s not the one you shortlisted. Trust us, we get it. But realistically, if your bridal mehandi artist is from another country or city, bringing them to your wedding destination can concur a huge logistics cost to you. In fact, commissioning a local artist is particularly important in case of a destination wedding. If your heart is still set on a particular artist but you can’t get them over to your event, ask them for a recommendation of someone closer to you geographically.
10) Request for a trial
Much like makeup artists, mehandi experts also offer pre-wedding trials (at an additional fee, of course). Consider this your litmus test for several reasons—gauge the artist’s speed and flair, and do a patch test for the ingredients used.
10) Request for a trial