Who hires Wedding Planners?
Few outside the Wedding Industry know about the exact nature of work of Wedding Planners in India, or the profile of clients they work with. While some have a perception that Wedding Planners work with a huge volume of clients, many others think all Wedding Planners take on weddings only and no other events. What is not known is that specialised Wedding Planners work with very few clients every year (some work on as few as 1 or 2 weddings in one season), or that today most Event Management companies whose forte is corporate events, also manage weddings. We spoke to Wedding Planners from 5 different cities to know more about their work and client profile.
Neha Goenka Shroff (Momente Weddings, Mumbai)
Momente was started in 2010 post my eight years working in London & New York. Our clients are mostly NRI’s & business families.There has been a large shift in requirements of clients wanting to create personalization of their weddings. Most clients now want to personalize & customize everything- wedding logos, personalized wedding favors& gifts are a norm. Entertainment has become a very prominent requirement. From a client’s point of view one of the common misperceptions is confusing a wedding planner to be a decorator. However, wedding planners are indeed like the master puppeteers of the wedding, whose job is not only to plan the wedding but also to ensure that everyone is doing their job well, and everything is falling in place like it should!
Raksha & Manoj Chawla (Mansa Weddings & Events, Delhi)
We are a husband-wife team who gave up our well established careers to start Mansa Weddings & Events. It was a risk we took to satisfy our craving to do something new and to create joyous & professionally managed events. We have a mix of NRI clients and India-based clients. If we were to sketch a broad profile of our clients, we can say- 1)They are affluent implying well-heeled business families, independent professionals, and CEO-level executives. 2)They place a premium on ‘time’ and ‘services’ and thus recognise the value of hiring a well-experienced wedding or event management agency. Today, thanks to more information on destination weddings and offerings around luxury weddings most clients are more aware about what they want and the budgets to be allocated. Hence, their briefs are clearer and like a ‘To Do’ list. Earlier, many clients had no clue about the different possibilities or what would cost how much.
Ankita Chugh (Ankita Chugh Weddings, Mumbai)
The majority of our clients are industrialists or prominent businesspersons from different parts of India. Now, we are getting more enquiries from big business families residing in non-metros. Client briefs and requirements change every season, since they themselves attend many weddings in their home town and destination weddings overseas. The basic brief ‘create something unique’ remains the same. Since there are many Western influences in our weddings today, wedding planners need to keep thinking of new ideas and recommend contemporary styles for traditional elements—so it’s a lot about traditional with a twist. Many people have a wrong impression that wedding planners have to be good ‘people managers’ and no other specialised skills are needed. That’s a wrong assumption- like any other job, a wedding planner needs many specialised skills—the ability to plan meticulously, talent management, negotiations, budgeting and most importantly time management.Negotiation skills are of paramount importance. The most successful wedding planners know how to work around the clients budgets for the cost-heads and identify and brief the vendors and artistes accordingly.
Pramod Lunawat (Marriageuana, Kolkata)
I started Millennium Events over 14 years ago and Marriageuana around 3 years ago to specialise in wedding solutions for High Net-worth Indians (HNI’s). Our clients are mostly business families and nowadays, we are getting more enquiries from first generation entrepreneurs and top technocrats. As weddings get grander, and the options for all wedding-related services are more, the demands on a wedding planner are more than ever before. Moreover, wedding clients are very knowledgeable—most of them have attended many grand weddings in India, or destination weddings at wow locations overseas. So, wedding planners have to offer the regular operational services, as well as think of out-of-the-box and creative ideas, since every client wants the ‘different’ and the ‘new’. My advice to budding wedding planners: “Work zealously to offer your clients the ‘wow’ experience and also focus on investing in, maintaining and building good relationships with wedding industry suppliers. Networking is a key to success in this business. There is no advertising like word- of- mouth advertising.”
Rishi and Yamini (The Wedding Designers, Surat)
We are two people in love, Rishi Rochlani & Yamini Shah (originally from Mumbai & Delhi) who started ‘The Wedding Designers’ to plan and execute celebrations of love. Our clients are mostly business families from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Earlier, clients chose concepts/themes that were already done and they didn’t focus too much on attention to detail. Now everything is custom-designed and clients suggest their own ideas based on their research on the Internet. Most Indian brides actively follow WeddingSutra.com so a lot of inspiration comes from there. For outsiders, a Wedding Planners job may be glamorous and creative. But only those who have worked in the industry for a few months of more in India would know the real story. The coordination to be done between two families and many vendors in the days leading to the wedding and the consequent stress is quite huge. It is not a ‘one man’ job! You require a solid set-up and many experienced hands. Not to forget lots of patience.
Neha Seth Arora (Var Vadhu, Mumbai)
I earlier worked in the hospitality industry my last job was at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai where I was organizing high profile events. Making the transition from hotelier to Wedding Planner has been an extremely adventurous and enlightening experience. Var Vadhu is a designer boutique agency crafting lavish weddings as well as high profile private & social events. Most of our clients are from business families and we cater to clients pan India.However, since we have offices in Mumbai and Delhi the majority of our clientele are from these cities. With time, many new styles and traditions have become a part of Indian weddings. Inviting talented performers (both Indian and International) and top entertainers is becoming an integral part of the big Indian wedding. Another trend that has really caught on is that instead of a reception there are post-wedding parties, which are a more relaxed affair.
Shruti Tiwari (Custom Weddings, Goa)
I am a relatively newer entrant in the field of weddings. I earlier worked as a Journalist and after moving to Goa, I decided to switch fields and started working with Funky Heads, a Goa-based Events company. Custom Wedding is the division of Funky Heads launched in 2012 to focus on Destination Weddings. The majority of our clients are Marwaris, Punjabis and Sindhis. And we have done more NRI Weddings till date. In my experience there is a big difference between working on an NRI wedding and the wedding of a family based in India. With NRIs we get involved 4 to 11 months in advance and there is extensive detailing. With India-based clients we sometimes come on board even a few weeks before the wedding, there is lesser detailing in the presentations and more time spent on face-to-face meetings and telephone talks! ‘Sab Acha Hona Chahiye’ (everything should go off well) is what I often hear from parents of the bride or groom; but as a wedding planner, that for me is a very vague brief and hence I have to take the effort to tell them more about the options, the timelines (and the costs of course) so I can deliver as per their expectations (Sab Acha)!