The year 2000, just after we launched WeddingSutra, we met Venkat Narayan then a junior college student who was interning with his uncle, Shiva Subramanian a popular wedding caterer. Venkat was clear he wanted to pursue a career in Event Management. “In India, events and food go hand in hand”, is what his uncle would often say, so Venkat knew the best learning opportunity was to work in his uncle’s catering business.
Fast forward to January 2013. We received a call from Venkat, he told that that post MBA he joined an MNC and he quit his job there last year, to start his new venture ‘Weddings Inc’. We were equally happy when Venkat told us, “My first wedding is at Radisson Blue Resort & Spa, Alibaug; WeddingSutra has meant a lot to me, I’ve spent the last six months visiting your website everyday to learn about news and trends from the world of weddings, it will mean a lot if you come for the wedding.”
Photograph Courtesy Mithilesh Choubey
It was a pleasant drive to coastal town Alibaug on the evening of January 23rd; Alibaug now also known as the weekend home for the rich and famous, has lots of luxurious villas and sea-facing bunglows. Till Radisson commenced operations, there were no five star hotels but a few villas offered their spaces for intimate soirees. Now, the Radisson property is emerging as a popular choice for those looking for a Destination Wedding venue close to Mumbai. And with over 150 rooms, and banquet and outdoor spaces, it’s perfect for a big wedding too.
Photograph Courtesy Aniket Mazumdar
It was the marriage of Nikita, daughter of a Bangalore businessman with Mumbai based Chartered Accountant Bharat Lunia. The families had booked the entire resort for their 400 guests. While the wedding was a traditional affair sans too much bling or wow elements, the property we felt was stunning.
We asked Venkat how much he missed his structured, corporate job. “Very rarely”, was his quick reply, “I much prefer the fun and challenges associated with Band, Baaja and Baraat.” On his future plans he elaborated: “I’m looking forward to doing more Destination Weddings this year and next, Goa and Rajasthan to begin with, and maybe Thailand.” The learning about different communities is fascinating too, he says. I’m from a South Indian family, and most clients in our catering business were South Indian. Now I get to meet Marwaris, Gujaratis, Sindhi and Punjabi clients, each of them have a very different brief, different inspirations.” That’s what makes the Shaadi business truly unique too– one industry, with so much difference in spending, across cities and communities.