Shruti Tiwari, founder of Goa-based VLW Global, shares insights on her journey & how weddings are evolving
For couples dreaming of a beach wedding followed by a rocking party, Goa has always been a magnet! Not only does it have a plethora of gorgeous venues to choose from, but it also adds its signature holiday spirit to any celebration. Of course, while the pandemic has put a dampener on most weddings in the state, like the rest of the country, we can look forward to better times. Shruti Tiwari of VLW Global, a leading Goa-based bespoke wedding planning company, shared her journey and experiences, and shed some light on the future of hosting weddings in Goa.
1. You are an industry leader for bespoke destination weddings in Goa. Tell us a little bit about your journey and the evolution of your company over the years.
“I launched VLW Global in January 2016, and without much planning, I was undeniably apprehensive, but that leap of faith turned out to be the best decision of my life. After leaning event management at the grass-root level as a coordinator and then moving onto sales, I realized wedding planning was my calling. At VLW Global, we have been fortunate to have worked with amazing clients, who have become like our family. We have also had the opportunity to work with some of the best in the industry in our B2B dealings across the globe. Largely, however, I would credit most of the success to being situated in an amazing destination like Goa.”
2. With the immense popularity of destination weddings and couples seeking new locations for their big day, what sets Goa apart?
“With its cultural diversity and contemporary ambiance, a celebration in Goa is always memorable. Of course, for modern Indian couples who crave the romance of a beach wedding over a traditional setup, there can be no better location in the country. A celebration in Goa is sure to be an unforgettable experience, with families coming back time and again for their happy moments. Over the years, Goa properties have become extremely flexible in what they offer, whether it’s complementary services, an exquisite food spread or specially requested cuisines to cater to the diverse wedding cultures. Hotels like The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort Goa or ITC Grand Goa go out of their way to offer the best to their guests when it comes to offering various cuisines and even fly down their chefs to Goa for a wedding if needed!”
3. With so many options, what are your favorite spots for a wedding in Goa?
“From sprawling to five-star properties to quaint, boutique hotels, Goa boasts of a wide range of properties with great options for everyone. We have planned weddings in almost all the properties in Goa. When planning a wedding, we suggest properties as per a couple’s vision and preferences. For a luxurious beach wedding, our top suggestions would be ITC Grand Goa, The Leela Goa, Taj properties, The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort Goa, and more. For a more economical, but still spectacular experience, properties like The Holiday Inn Resort Goa, Radisson Blu Resort Goa Cavelossim Beach, Novotel Goa top the list. However, if an intimate, boutique experience is what the client desires, then we would explore options like Alila Diwa Goa, Hilton Goa Resort, DoubleTree By Hilton Goa, and Goa Marriott Resort & Spa.”
4. There has been a shift in the size, manner, and locations of weddings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How have you handled this shift?
“While the effects of COVID-19 have swept the globe in its entirety, some of the hardest-hit industries have been those of travel, tourism, and events. We were extremely busy till March 10, 2020, with 11 additional weddings in the pipeline for the months of April and May, all of which got canceled due to the lockdown. While many couples postponed their weddings indefinitely, many chose to go ahead with it within their homes, or on a much smaller scale in their city.”
“Even though this unforeseen situation was a huge blow, We have to accept this new normal as a way of life and adapt to things as they come. The business of weddings won’t ever go out of fashion, it has just hit a pause. And with most major properties shut till about mid-September, we are utilizing the time to do a recce with clients and plan other aspects of the wedding. We are promoting small and intimate weddings to comply with government safety regulations. Boutique properties such as Postcard Hotels & Resorts and Montego Bay Beach Village with limited rooms are perfect for small families to celebrate the day in style. We have also tied up with a few properties for wedding packages. We are being constantly vigilant about the state SOPs and other guidelines to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe experience for our clients.”
5. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from wedding planning?
“As a wedding planner, one of the most important things I have learned is how to handle critical situations with ease and patience! I miss the hustle-bustle of grand weddings, anxious situations, happy solutions, and the pure moments of love that we get to witness in our work. As a destination wedding planner, my calendar fills fast and I often miss out on very interesting projects because of dates, which has taught me the importance of prioritizing. My motto is to ‘Plan each wedding to perfection.'”
6. What is that one mantra that you follow diligently?
“The one mantra I follow diligently is to be honest to your job, to yourself, to the client, and to your situation! I have been successfully planning and executing weddings for years now, and I’ve realized that if you’re honest to your client about any shortcomings, any situation on-site or challenge can be overcome.”
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