Thursday, March 31, 2011

Have a Party . . . A Henna Party

Recently, we did a Q&A with Beth Hendrickson of New World Henna! Beth is very talented certified natural henna/mehndi artist. She is available for all occasions including bridal, pregnant bellies, parties, fairs, festivals and individual appointments. She also makes her very own paste fresh and all of her work is freehand. So next time you are thinking of throwing a party, but are looking to do something fun and unique, have a Henna Party!

To find out more about how to have a Henna Party and what all is involved, check out our Q&A with Beth! You can also visit her Facebook page to see beautiful images of her work, as well as her website:

{photo by McLellan Style}

What makes a Henna Party different from any other party?

Henna parties are special because it is a chance for you and your friends to do something very unique- it’s not every party that you get the opportunity to get “tatted up” as they say. Of course, henna body art isn’t the same thing as a real tattoo, but it’s a fun way adorn yourself for a couple of weeks at least.

How does the henna application process happen at a Henna Party?

I pass around copies of the design book to let the guests choose a design. I explain that the henna goes onto the skin in paste form and that it takes 30 minutes to dry but must be left on for anywhere from 4-16 hours in order to get a nice dark mahogany stain. I explain that it is okay for the paste to begin falling off on its own before the 4 hours is up and that after the 4 hours is up, they can scrape the rest of the paste off or rinse it with lemon or lime juice to get the remaining paste off. I am sure to tell them that the stain starts off a light color and gets dark by day 3 and then fades from that point over the next 2-3 weeks. Then I start on my first client and continue until everyone who wants a henna design gets one.

What occasions are most popular for Henna parties?

Birthday parties, holiday parties, wedding receptions, sorority parties and bachelorette parties are very popular, but I have also done baby showers (momma’s belly can get hennaed too!), fun parties, sales parties, grand opening parties and just plain ole party parties. I can do henna parties for pretty much any age group, however I prefer not to henna children who are 6 years old or under because their skin is so delicate and may not be able to hand the pure essential oils in the paste, such as tea tree, eucalyptis, etc.

Are there a certain number of guests that’s best for this kind of party? For example, does it work better to have a small or large group?

Really any size group is fine; however with smaller parties we can accommodate larger, more detailed designs. But obviously, if there are upwards of 100 guests or more, I bring more artists with me and we have an assortment of smaller designs to choose from to make sure we can service everyone who wants a henna design. We can usually accommodate any size party.

What are the rates like for a Henna party?

I charge $80 per hour, per artist. I also round down to the nearest 15 minute mark (so the rate is essentially $20 per every quarter of an hour). So for example, if finish with the last client at 1 hr and 55 minutes after I started, I would charge$140. If the party was large, say around 100 guests, and I had brought an additional artist, it would be doubled- $280 total.

How long should the Henna last after the party?

The henna stain starts off a light orange or light brown color and darkens to a deep brown or mahogany color on the 3rd day, then gradually fades over the following 2-3 weeks. It’s usually completely faded by the end of week 3.

What type of clothing would you suggest the guests wear?

It depends on where on your body you want the body art to go. The henna paste will need dry for about 30-45 minutes and will need to be exposed for at least 4 hours, so you will want to dress accordingly depending on where on your body you are getting the design. For hands and arms, wear a short sleeve shirt or a long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up. If you want it on say your upper back, a tank top or a tube top would be great. If on your legs or feet, shorts or rolled up pants and flip-flops or flats are great. I try to steer folks away from getting henna on any bendy parts of the body, like the wrist or neck, because it is too difficult to move around normally without smudging the henna paste and ruining the design while it is trying to dry.

What are some other fun ways to make a Henna party festive?

A great way to make a henna party fun is to have an Indian or Moroccan themed party. You can serve ethnic food, wear ethnic clothing, and play ethnic music. I even worked a Moroccan themed baby shower once that had a belly dancer hired to teach a little belly dance class to the ladies. I got in on the belly-dancing action as well and it was so much fun. Alcoholic beverages at a henna party can be a tiny bit tricky though. You want to make sure that you get your henna done well before you start drinking so that it has time to dry- at least a good 45 minutes just to make sure. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the number of drinks people have had and the number of henna designs that get smudged and have to be redone. It can be a challenge to say the least.

Tell us a little bit about a Henna party you have done and what made it so fun?

My absolute favorite henna party was at my very first Indian “mehendi party”. “Mehendi” or “mehndi” is the Indian term for henna. Indian weddings have several events spread over 3-4 days and it is typical to have a mehendi party for the family and guests on the day before the actual wedding ceremony. Typically the bride has already been adorned the day previous and gets to enjoy the party as well. During my first mehendi party for my first Indian bride ever, I was working fast and furiously, trying to make sure that I could service everyone. Then all of the sudden, a famous and poignant Bollywood song about a bride getting her mehndi came on over the PA system and everyone broke out into what seemed like a synchronized Bollywood dance- everyone young and old began dancing and singing together in their brightly colored sarees and sherwanis- it was just fantastic. Plus it made me feel a little special since I was the one doing the mehndi for everyone. I think I cried just a tiny little bit because it was so beautiful.

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