For Vikram Mehta, owner and founder of Red Om Entertainment – India’s premier event and brand management agency – wedding planning was a gift of fate. Although his advent into the industry was unplanned, it quickly led him to conceptualize and create Mpire Weddings, the luxury arm of his operations, that specializes in giving couples their dream weddings.
A seasoned professional with over a decade of national and international event management experience, Vikram has managed several high-profile clubs and restaurants in Mumbai, including Club Royalty (formerly Poison) and Prive Resto Bar, besides big budget weddings. He is the force behind many of the largest concerts in India and has brought some of the biggest names in the business to perform here.
Today, he and his teams are innovators and trendsetters who are best known for their creative ideas, awe-inspiring decor and exquisite attention to detail. The Mpire Weddings team is capable of planning everything from a party for a few to an extravaganza for thousands efficiently and creatively. Here, Vikram shares what it takes to be one of the best in the business.
1. Did you find wedding planning or did wedding planning find you? How did it all happen?
“Although getting into event management was a well thought out plan for me, wedding planning was a beautiful accident. I had finished almost 10 years with my first company that had covered all kind of events, right from nightlife and open-air concerts, to more formal exhibitions and corporate symposiums. I chanced upon weddings when a friend’s cousin was getting married. I had experience in event management, and she just needed a helping hand. That wedding led me to the second one, and that one led me to the third, and from there I never looked back. The joy and pressures of working towards curating the biggest day of someone’s life are unmatched. In that sense, wedding planning found me!”
2. What has been the most exciting or most memorable experience you’ve had as an event designer?
“It’s hard to point one out, but some of the messages that we receive from the couples after the wedding are the most heartwarming things that we hear. It makes the months of effort, the sleepless nights and all the roadblocks worth it. In terms of memorable experiences as event designers, I believe the Vishnu Malani and Panchami Ghavri wedding we planned and executed in Sri Lanka last year tops the list. There were hard fought and tough calls that we had to take due to the weather, and I think we walked out pretty satisfied with what we had pulled off! And of course, I do think the Disney World wedding was the most enthralling and surreal experience.”
3. The wedding that you organized at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, was as a fairytale affair in the truest sense. What was it like orchestrating it?
“When I first flew to Disney World to close the deal, everything went as it would have at any other hotel – grilling contractual terms, permutations and booking rooms and venues. It was only when I returned to Mumbai that I had a fleeting moment of adrenaline rush.”
“For the next few months, while preparing for the wedding, my team and I worked on it like we would for any other wedding. I think the key was that we didn’t let the occasion get to us. When the day finally arrived, we never really had the chance to sit back and think what and how much this means. There was a lot at stake, a lot on our shoulders. However, when the wedding ended, and we looked back, we realized how far we had come! We knew this was something special and it then started to sink in slowly.”
“One thing that truly deserves a mention is the work culture at Walt Disney World and how much of a pleasure it was to collaborate with all the professionals and vendors from Florida. Their way of working is so different from what we normally see in India. It’s thorough and impeccable, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to take some learnings from it back with me.”
4. Is there any other venue that can compare to the sense of enchantment and dreaminess of Disney world?
“Yes, I think the wedding we planned at the Maui islands in Hawaii is probably up there. Disney is surely the world’s happiest place, but it is manmade. Hawaii is nature at its finest and the Islands of Maui, which are disconnected from the rest of the world, make for exciting venues for weddings. You can exchange vows by a valley and yet overlook the sea and the sunset.”
5. As the saying goes, if you make enough mistakes you might become an expert. As an expert in the field of wedding planning would you say you have had your fair share of slip-ups and which one was the biggest learning experience?
“Absolutely! I think it is the smaller slip-ups that help us learn more than the bigger falls. It could involve being short staffed at a wedding, inviting the couple on stage for cake cutting before the knife had arrived, or opening the curtains for a surprise performance with an inappropriate backdrop. They all sound stupid and trivial, but they are often more stressful than any other, for the same reason – that they were trivial and yet we faltered!”
“As for the biggest learning experiences, I think it was those that taught me about picking the right clients. Working with like-minded people and enjoying the process is key. It’s taken me a lot of falls to understand to walk away from individuals, projects, and environments that are potentially a threat to my or my team’s peace of mind.”
6. What is the best thing that you could hear from a bride?
“A bride once told me ‘You are the second best decision I have taken in my life.’ The groom was the first of course. I think that did it for me.”
7. How does your creative process work?
“I try to understand the clients – their school of thought, tastes, backgrounds and what is it that they want to take away from the wedding, in terms of experience. Once that is done, I survey the location that has been finalized to understand how we can create that which is most suitable for their vision. Sometimes clients are specific about what they want, and sometimes they give you the freedom to gauge their preference and create what you deem ideal for them. I prefer the latter, but I am receptive to both.”
8. I cannot work without my…
“Mac and iPhone. Not proud, but I am a victim of the long-standing Apple hysteria!”
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