In Conversation with Pawan Mirchandani Founder of Horizon WIE
With a reputation of being one of the best ‘Destination Wedding Planners’ in the business, with a record number of weddings in their kitty, Horizon WIE’s Pawan Mirchandani is confident about what discerning brides and grooms want and the tangibles and intangibles that make a venue or destination the perfect wedding hot-spot.
In a freewheeling chat with us, Pawan talks of his journey, favorite wedding locations and a totally memorable Shikhaara Baraat in Kashmir.
Location Courtesy – Four Seasons Mumbai
1. How did you start your career in destination wedding planning?
I was a professional chef working in five star hotels in the US. In the early 2000s I happened to come to India on vacation and it all started then. I worked with a friend on events and weddings and realized I liked the wedding planning sphere. Finally, in 2006, I launched Horizon WIE, my own company.
2. What do you enjoy most about your present job?
It’s the continued passion for the industry that makes me hustle each day. The day I lose that passion, I’ll shut shop. I consider clients to be my extended family and we cater to every aspect of the wedding – hospitality, décor – everything has to be the best. Each family has its own set of unique requisites but every destination wedding has one thing in common – the chance for tons of fun, fun that crosses generations, cultures and nationalities. Private celebrations in India typically have a certain level of formality, with in-built age barriers. Destination weddings are evolving the idea of the wedding celebration. They become about travelling, exploring new places and experiences, making friends from around the globe, treating yourself at hotels and resorts who understand Indian hospitality and eventually taking back fond memories of a holiday cum celebration. At the end of which, when we receive genuine smiles and amazing testimonials, it’s all that matters.
3. What are your favorite locations for destination weddings?
We’ve done 14 weddings in Mauritius alone in the last 2 and a half years at popular luxury resorts like Long Beach and Sugar Beach. These are spaces where two families invited hundreds of their closest family and friends over celebrations that exceed 2 days. Personally, it’s always a challenge and a high to be the first to do a big Indian wedding at an international property, like we did, for example at the Shangrila Hambantota. The rapport you develop while working with the hotel team is especially enhanced if they have an attitude of ‘we will learn with you’ and it becomes a truly special experience as a wedding planner. Also you must remember, I’ve been on the other side as a hotelier and I can empathize with them and also understand their business requirements and processes.
So many international tourism boards, luxury hotel chains and boutique properties are vying for a slice of the wedding pie but so few turn into destination wedding hotspots. Many wedding families are looking for the best deals. Some wedding families are looking for familiarity and comfort – so tried and tested venues in Rajasthan, Thailand or Goa are picked. Thailand or Goa are picked. Some are really keen to explore new territory like Azerbaijan or Cancun. There are the very few with a ‘sky is the limit’ budget.
So to pick a favorite is not easy – every location or hotel has its unique charm. Having said that, very few wedding and event companies manage weddings of the scale we do! One of our last big weddings was at the new Shangrila property in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, I’d mentioned earlier. It was incredible orchestrating a destination wedding for over 500 pax!
4. What is the most memorable wedding you have ever planned?
Every wedding we host becomes a memorable one but the one closest to my heart was in Kashmir. We organized a beautiful baraat in decorated shikhaaras for this grand wedding executed exclusively by us.
5. What advice would you give to couples just starting to plan their wedding?
Couples these days know what wedding planning entails, know what they want and are also open to suggestions. To be honest, there’s equal push and pull between demand and supply while managing a wedding in your budget. There’s a market for both intimate and large-scale weddings and couples can choose. My advice is be honest with the planner and be involved to make the wedding planning process most fruitful and efficient.
Weddings by Horizon WIE. Jenifer and Pawan Mirchandani
Address: Roha Orion, 401, 4th Floor,
16th Rd, Pali Village, Bandra West
Phone: 022 26042225
For more information on Horizon WIE, click here