Our series ‘Young and Inspiring’ showcases fresh, exciting talent powerhouses from the fashion and events domain who specialize in creating dream weddings for couples with stars in their eyes. Meet Wedding Planner Swati Sabharwal, Founder and Creative Director at one of Mumbai’s premier wedding planning companies, Big Bash Entertainment.
In a candid interview, she tells us about her journey and gives us a glimpse into the industry.
1. Walk us through your first steps into the field of wedding planning. And how did Big Bash Entertainment go from concept to company?
“I moved to Mumbai from Delhi to do my Bachelors in Mass Media. I began freelancing in the event space thanks to a college friend and initially it was for pocket money. But I slowly found my passion for it and agencies and clients began appreciating my work. After college, I worked at a couple of agencies and would get project briefs from clients who trusted me. I realized I could start an agency on my own.
I was 24 and living and working in Mumbai on my own. It just motivated me to work harder. I began with hospitality projects but my clients began encouraging me to take on the entire planning myself. By mid-2015, I went all out and started the company. While it was a wedding planning oriented company, I didn’t want to keep the name wedding specific. And a wedding is also a big bash, so Big Bash it is!”
2. Tell us the one golden rule you have learned about planning a wedding?
“Wedding planning is all about ‘trust’. Trust is imperative in keeping clients stress free and enjoying the most memorable moments of their lives. Maintaining the trust with your client is the ‘Golden Rule’. The planner must become part of the family because wedding planning is a very personalized profession.
Only with complete trust will a client hand over the entire wedding to you. This means you have the power to take decisions, liberty to create and innovate and when you have that, new innovations are possible and the wedding is a success. Also, having that trust means you spend less time getting approvals and you have the space to plan internally, organize back up plans and have all actions in place. When your planning is at par, there are very minimal chances of anything going wrong.”
3. As a planner how do you infuse a couple’s personality into a wedding?
“You begin with understanding their likes, dislikes, tastes, hobbies, music preferences and even their love story. Once you know them, you can bring their personality out at the wedding. For e.g.- for a couple that met while studying in the UK, we asked them to do their pre-wedding shoot at that university. Those turned out to be the best, most beautiful pictures of their lives.
We also once created a skit for a pre-wedding function which we kept as a surprise element. It showcased the entire love story and personalities of the couple enacted by their close friends and cousins. We also created a European street as they were big time travelers and loved everything about Europe.”
4. What are your favorite wedding trends this year?
“Celebrating festivals at the wedding like the Isckon style flower shower Holi seems to be a new trend. Also, adding an element that the family or the couple enjoys. I believe more in intangible things than decor, so for me it’s all about organizing fun activities like a full-fledged match for a cricket loving family, setting up a bar to another level for the client who loves partying, putting a proposal night together for a couple who really are in love and want to go all out once again or organizing a pre-wedding paint party for an artist bride-to-be and many more. There is no particular trend that we follow but we create something new for a specific wedding and that sets the trend for us!”
5. Which locations and hotels make it to your list of top three?
“Mardan Palace and Chirangan Palace in Turkey are easy to access and they are my all-time favorite locations. Disneyland Paris for weddings is like a dream come true. Chateaux Vaux- le- Vicomte -France is a dream destination and I’ve loved it ever since I got into this profession.”
6. What has been your biggest obstacle by far and how did you master it?
“Being a young woman! I have lost big projects because of client mindset – ‘how will a young woman handle such a big wedding?’ Yes, wedding planning requires a great skill set, excellent connections and sure, some of these things happen with time. But I am well traveled and continue to travel. I am constantly doing research and am adept at every aspect of wedding planning – logistics, technicalities, designing aspect, F&B, alcohol selection etc. I am well informed, have a decent network of connections and my clients have all been super confident that a young wedding planner like me can not only handle it all but even have an edge over other planners.”
7. What are some of the most unique, exciting, or even strange requests that a client has asked you to incorporate in the decor of an event?
“To make a full-fledged kids room! This request came to me last minute too. Then one bride wanted an origami bouquet for her fiancé on her wedding with the hashtag printed on every petal! And it was a bouquet of 100 flowers! We had to find an origami artist last minute. Then another client wanted us to build a revolving stage which was technically feasible but we decided that it would be really uncomfortable for those on stage. So we dropped the idea.”
8. What’s your favorite part of the job?
“Researching themes and adding new elements to each theme or wedding function is fun, especially when your ideas match with the client’s. Flower and prop styling is another thing on the ground which I really enjoy. I really like styling my events and adding a personal touch to it.”
9. If you could have one superpower as a wedding planner, what would it be and why?
“I wish I could be everywhere, hop on my projects in seconds or fly to different locations. Having this superpower will really enable me to take multiple projects during similar auspicious dates. Being a wedding planner and handling 100 things in a project is difficult. We often miss out on good projects because of the clash in dates.”
For more information on Big Bash Entertainment, click here.