When I first immersed into the wedding industry, I couldn't help but be super intimidated. Why? Well, the pressure of being spot perfect made me so nervous, and if you're an ultra perfectionist like me you'd understand. But setting 'perfectionism' a side, being a part of someone's event let alone a wedding, needs to be treated like the milestone that it is.
Brides are already generally stressed with the logistics they have to upkeep, the traditions they have to keep alive, the family members they have to please and the list goes on and on. I've never had a wedding myself, but witnessing my sister go through the process alone was exhausting. So to all the brides out there, I seriously applaud you.
When you're booked to do a bride's henna, you really need to treat it with such pride and honour.
You're an intended investment in someone's most special day. You're a part of a deeply celebrated tradition in many different cultures. You're selectively chosen for a wedding - A WEDDING! and that alone is not only an honour but a big enough milestone for you too.
So one of the most essential things is to offer a truly memorable and smooth experience for your bride, because this will put fuel to the "word of mouth" fire, but more importantly, it's because your bride deserves it.
** FREEBIE ALERT**
1) INFORM THEM WHAT TO EXPECT
I know this can seem pretty obvious, but by constantly reminding them what to expect from you, you're already building a foundation for your relationship. And believe it or not, establishing a genuine relationship with your bride (or even any client for that matter) will create long lasting impacts to your overall business.
When I get a bridal inquiry, so even before I get booked for a wedding, I literally email back with a list of reasons of why I got in henna in the first place and a link to my 'about me' page, so they know who I am and add a little humanistic element to it. So here's a little snippet from a typical email I send out...
I also send out a FREE BRIDAL GUIDE that informs brides what they should be looking for in an artist or what to expect while they're getting their bridal mehndi done, regardless if they booked my services or not. This already builds a list of expectations and unknowingly triggers what they would 'expect' if they go with me.
However, this should not stop there. You need to be in constant communication with your bride to make the entire process as simple as possible for them. They're dealing with a million vendors, so by "holding her hand" you're already standing out from the rest.
So after they've sent you a deposit and the date has been secured, why not send them an email with a list of bridal pointers like: waxing 24 - 48 hours before their mehndi application day, not to moisturize before their appointment, etc. Make it as easy as possible for them and don't assume they'll know what to do. You be their guide.
2) BE THEIR FRIEND
When you're bubbly and friendly, you leave a much bigger impression. Think of it this way. How much more likely are you actually going to tip decently for a waiter who was friendly as opposed to one who wasn't? You are the face of your business, so you need to treat your bride like you'd treat a friend.
This can range from little things like sending them a photo of something you think they'd like, bringing them coffee when you arrive to their henna application day, bring dollar store bought shoe flats as a complimentary gift when they're too tired from dancing on their wedding day.
Think of ways you can authentically be there for them beyond just henna. You should not be just another wedding vendor, but a person who truly cares about their wedding as much as them.
Bridal henna application is a time consuming process, so have a conversation with them when you're doing their mehndi. Don't just sit there in uncomfortable silence. Talk to them, pick their brain, ask them how they met their partner, be genuinely interested in who they are and their story.
3) GO THE EXTRA MILE
You should always underpromise and over deliver! Going that extra mile for your bride is making her day much smoother and creates a rapport between the both of you.
Last year, I arrived an hour early at my bride's sangeet party because of a crazy bus schedule situation. I didn't sit idly by scrolling through my phone, but actually helped her and her mother put up decorations for the party. It wasn't part of my job description as a henna artist, but offering a helping hand makes you all the more impressionable.
This shouldn't just end at the time you're done with the henna application, but even after her wedding.
You can send her a post card or a hand written letter congratulating her or maybe even a photo of her mehndi so she can always remember you. Be creative in how you can really go over and beyond.
4) ACT LIKE A GUEST
There's no bigger win for me than to be mistaken for a guest at a bridal party. It's truly a rewarding experience. Usually my long hair and pierced nose makes me blend in, but still :)
You're not just building a positive impression on the bride herself, but you're literally in a sea of other potential clients as well.
When you're at a sangeet party and act like a guest, the actual wedding guests will be drawn towards your bubbly personality and will personally seek you out for their future events.
I remember I was at my best friend's wedding last year, and her photographer was amazing in making you comfortable posing. She was also jumping around and dancing just as if she were there at the event as a guest herself. This made me single her out and ask for her business card, even though I hadn't even seen her work. Her personality and free spirit left such an impression on me that I blindly requested her without having a reference as to what her photographs were like.
Creating that initial first impression is crucial and not only can it drive more clients to you, but makes the experience just as memorable for the bride as well.
And that's that fellow henna bee.. 4 easy and simple ways you can impress your bride and provide a truly unique experience. It's most important to be true to who you are and be active as an individual, not just another "wedding vendor". Let's revise those steps again:
Make sure to keep your bride informed on what to expect every step of the way. Half of clientele disappointments are a result of not knowing or assuming what to expect. Once you make that clear, you're much more likely to end up with a happy client.
Treat your bride like you'd act towards a friend. By constantly offering a helping hand, you're leaving a much more long lasting impression, beyond to just her wedding.
Really make it a point to go that extra mile any opportunity you can.
Be a guest at her sangeet party or whatever event you're present at. This will both please your bride and can even reel in other potential clients from the party.