Our series ‘Young and Inspiring’ showcases fresh, exciting new talent powerhouses from the design, fashion and event domains who specialize in creating dream weddings for couples with stars in their eyes.
After obtaining a degree in Automobile Engineering, Ashish Bohra shifted gears. He took the road to becoming a wedding-planner and four short years later, is one of the country’s most sought-after. Alongside his father, this young entrepreneur runs Perfexion Events – a company that takes their clients step-by-step through each aspect of planning a marvelous wedding.
In a candid interview, he tells us about his journey and gives us a glimpse into the industry.
1. Tell us a bit about your journey? What inspired you to get into wedding planning?
As a qualified mechatronics engineer with an MBA, I thought working with a company commensurate with my educational background was the right path to take. In 2014, I began working with BMW in Chennai but my professional life didn’t hold my interest. My dad had founded Perfexion Events two years earlier with my sister Purva, a CA. I realized I’d always been passionate about managing events and had a creative bent. So I went back to join my dad’s company.
Working on projects with my dad made me fall in love with this industry. Everyday day brings a new challenge, you meet new people, the job constantly reinvents itself. This is something that struck me about this field. And the satisfaction at the end of each successful event was incomparable.
2. Which was the first wedding you planned and when did you realise the only way on, was up?
As soon as I joined, I was immediately active in operations so I managed several weddings on my own. However, the first one I was really proud of was the execution of a wedding in Udaipur in 2015. Single handedly, leading a team of over 100 people, a set of functions spread across 14 hotels, a team full of folk who were far senior to me in age – it was not just a challenge but rich experience.
To add to it all, the wedding took place during the monsoons so even the weather was a hurdle. Still, despite everything, we pulled off an event that was a success and appreciated by everyone.
My father had always been supportive of my work but this event crystallized my confidence in myself and profession I’d chosen. Another event where I thought I outdid myself was our first international project for Sugal and Damani at The Ritz Carlton, Bahrain. Here, again, I was in charge right from the start. I had been to Bahrain through a FAM trip organized by WeddingSutra and I loved the place so I pitched it to this client and they decided to go ahead with it. It was a three-night event with about 80 people that included friends and family of the partners of the company. We had people come in from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi and the affair was no less lavish than a wedding. Several people from the client’s side wrote us rave reviews.
3. Which is the most interesting and challenging wedding that you executed?
It was a wedding that we planned at Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur in the month of July. The plan was to have a Sufi night with Kailash Kher on 1st July, a sangeet with Terrence Lewis and his troupe as well as Shalmali Kholgade the following night, and a reception on the third day.
The construction of the stage for the Sangeet Night began 10 days in advance at Bal Samand Lake Palace by Shyam Bhatia, known for his work with Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Mirchi Awards, Indian Big Boss and more. We had sourced rain shelters for the event from Kerala – to keep everyone dry in case it rained. But a torrential downpour from 5:30-7:00 in the evening ensured that all our preparations were ruined.
We were expecting the who’s who of the corporate and banking industries and not putting up an excellent show was just not an option. The instant the rain stopped, we swung into action. And with the support of our associates, vendors and team members, we were able to recreate everything that had been damaged due to the rough weather!
The next evening, when the rains came as hard and for as long as the previous day, we paused operations for the time period and restarted work as soon as they stopped. We got new chairs, new sofas, new carpets, dried up the stage, unwrapped the sound systems, etc. The sangeet started at 12 a.m and Terrance Lewis performed. Shalmali Khogade came on stage at 2:00 a.m.!
We had covered everything right from the green room area and poolside to the seating and food sections. Thankfully, on the third day, the weather was in our favor. This was definitely the most challenging event we have ever done so far. It had all the potential to turn into a flop show but we didn’t let that happen. My father, my team and I put in all our energies into making this a success and couldn’t have been more satisfied with our efforts.
4. Which is the one wedding decor trend that is your favorite and matches your style?
Wedding decor and styling is such a subjective realm. I’d say I like flowers over fabric and light colors – turquoise blue, sea green, peach, pastels. These details effortlessly turn a setting into one that is elegant and classy. To further the mood, helium lights are great.
Having said that, there are so many other elements that are quite interesting and work wonderfully when you’re looking to add some character to the decor. A lot of times certain details appear very different depending on the combinations they are used in. So, there are a lot of factors that come into play when discussing decor at a wedding.
Decor & Event Production: Lalry Bahl & Ajay Decorators
5. What is the most unusual wedding request that you have ever had?
I had a client, Naveen Patel, who wanted to see every little detail that was going to be a part of his wedding before the nuptials. He wanted to see the cutlery, personally meet the waiters who would serve his guests, the contractors involved in putting up his wedding, view samples of the flower work that we were going to do as part of the decor, have a look at the table centerpieces, you name it!
Now this wasn’t because he didn’t trust us – it was just his protocol to screen everything personally. NRI couples often make requests like these but this was a guy from Jodhpur!
Of course, we were happy to oblige. We invited him to our warehouse where everything had been kept ready and laid out for him to see. We met each other to plan his wedding and moved on to become best friends. His wedding was even covered by WeddingSutra.
6. Which is your favorite location (national and international) for a wedding when it comes to planning? Why?
In India, it has to be Umaid Bhawan Palace! I belong to Jodhpur and have grown up seeing that property. To me, there is no hotel in the world that compares to this one. Umaid Bhawan Palace is certainly the hotel where I will get married!
As for international destinations, I love Chantilly. It is unreal how beautiful that domain is. It has all the luxury that you would find in a more common wedding destination like Turkey but it affords a unique character and exudes a vibe that is serene and intimate. The perfect time to host a wedding here is from August to September. It has locations perfect for a beautiful mandap and even a reception setting. The property I like best there is Auberge du Jeu de Paume for its aesthetics. It induces a very positive feeling. With its horse museum, expansive grounds, secluded location and cooperative staff, this makes for a great hotel to host your guests at.
7. What are the biggest challenges a wedding planner faces?
“Kuch naya le kar aao”, “Give us something new” these are possibly the most challenging words professionals are faced with across industries. For wedding planners, this is most difficult when spoken in the context of couple entries. After all, conceptually, there are only so many ways in which one can enter a venue, so a lot of times you focus on reinventing the details that are attached to the core idea. And this is only the broader picture. Let’s not even get into the nitty-gritty of the process of helping the client realize what exactly it is they want in the first place.
Decor & Event Production: Lalry Bahl & Ajay Decorators
8. What’s your advice to couples searching for their dream wedding planner? Any other tips for them?
This biggest factor to keep in mind when choosing your wedding planner is the level of comfort you share with them and the amount of faith you have in their work. Whoever you develop a good sense of trust and ease with, you should go ahead with.
The thing is, there are many wedding planners out there who are fantastic at their job – it’s not just us or a select few. Once you have done your research go with your gut about who you think will truly convert your dreams into reality.
Also make sure your wedding planners are flexible. You don’t want a team that will be rigid about their scope of work and be unwilling to go the extra mile to make your big day a little more special for you.
For more information on Perfexion Events, click here.