Young and Inspiring: Wedding Planners Anant Khandelwal & Kartika Sharma of IWP – Indian Wedding Planners
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.
The Jaipur-Delhi based boutique company, IWP – Indian Wedding Planners, have mastered the art of making strong connections with their clients and honed their skills in the area of managing celebrations for over a decade.
The Partners, Anant Khandelwal and Kartika Sharma, have a flair for curating concepts that are creative, personalized and distinct to each celebration. Managing the nitty-gritty of vendors, event flow, F&B, entertainment, décor and more, IWP ensures that the couples and their families can take their minds off the hustle and focus entirely on creating memories at their once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Anant Khandelwal and Kartika Sharma share highlights of their journey so far.
1. What makes you passionate about planning weddings?
Anant: For me, a wedding is more than just the events it entails. The experience of a lifetime, its soul lies in the little moments, rituals, traditions and laughter. Every time we plan a wedding we are not creating a mere event, but giving someone a celebration filled with opportunities to create everlasting memories. Joining the dots to bring to life someone’s picture-perfect moments, as well as meeting and understanding new people is what gives me a dopamine kick.
2. What sowed the seeds of interest in this field?
Anant: The industry caught my interest at an early age; the way it brings together so many different elements and aspects to project a couple’s personality and tell their story. My first stint actually dates back to the time I was in the 10th grade. Weddings give you a chance to transform the dreams of a client into a captivating reality.
3. What makes IWP – Indian Wedding Planners stand out from the rest?
Anant: Regardless of the scale, weddings are very personal affairs and IWP – Indian Wedding Planners make sure they remain personal. We meet our clients often before the big day to really understand their personalities and design celebrations that speak of their style. To achieve this, communication is key. There is always a window to discuss every little detail and go back to our desks as many times as we need to modify thing to get the perfect cut.
Kartika: I would also say that our youth helps us relate and connect to couples but we also have a decade of hands-on experience in the industry and this really works for us as well as our clients.
4. You’ve designed some of Rajasthan and India’s most complex and innovative, theme-based weddings. What makes you push the limits and expectations every time?
Anant: Our primary focus is personalization and this is what makes way for innovation. No two couples are the same. If you custom create a wedding that mirrors a couple’s individual qualities and quirks, every celebration is different from the last. It’s just how we work and what we do – so none of our weddings resemble another, each has its own unique character.
What helps immensely is feedback from our clients. It helps us improve, improvise and create amazing experiences.
5. Can you tell us about one wedding that you had the most fun planning/ designing/ conceptualizing?
Anant: One of the most memorable weddings would be the Khanchandani wedding in Dubai. The most interesting aspect was that we had one venue, two couples and three families (with one family common between both weddings)!
It was tremendous fun to plan this wedding. We combined the mehendi ceremony for both brides and then there were consecutive sangeets and wedding functions. In total, there were six functions back-to-back with no breathers, making the experience deeply challenging yet highly enthralling.
Kartika: Sindhi weddings are always fun to plan, with clean requirements, and lots of room for innovation. With low budgets at hand, the real challenge comes in with making local décor material look classy.
6. Which new wedding trend will take over in the coming months?
Anant: The old ‘good decor + good food = a great wedding’ equation is passé. Weddings today are tailor-made to extend exceptional experiences. From the catering to conceptual attire, souvenirs and more, every element is woven together to tell a tale of love and togetherness. Besides this, immersive and intimate destination weddings with a small guest list are the new rage.
Kartika: Whether live music, professional dance performances, or an engaging offbeat option – weddings today lay a lot of emphasis on great entertainment.
7. What kind of weddings do you enjoy planning the most?
Anant: I love traveling so destination weddings match my taste the most. The thrill of exploring a new location, meeting new people, and then fusing the desi vibe with local flavors is indescribable. Not to mention the truckload of learnings these experiences bring. Having said that, it is weddings I am most passionate about so whether the celebration is taking place at the other end of the world or in my own neighborhood, I’m going to be just as enthusiastic about both.
8. Which country do you prefer most?
Anant: In terms of planning an international wedding experience, the events that we orchestrated in Turkey have been the most amazing so far.
9. How do you gauge the success of a wedding or event planned by IWP – Indian Wedding Planners?
Anant: The success of an event usually depends on how efficiently and systematically it has been carried out. We facilitate seamless communication within the team and with the clients, we work out a timeline, checklist, and running order of every function and allocate responsibilities well in advance. All this is then put in the cloud and on Google sheets so that everyone is in sync and nothing is missed.
10. All our brides and grooms would be eager to know what you think is the secret to having an amazing wedding. Can you give them a few great tips?
Kartika: Our advice is simple; be honest about whatever you want, and be frank with your likes and dislikes. Your wedding should reflect your persona. Ditch the trends if you want, go all traditional if you like, go overboard with an element you love a lot or keep it minimal – do what you like and who you are as a person. Also, take your time and always check for references before deciding on a wedding planning agency.