Rahul Kumar and Arun Bablani, founders of Vivaah Weddings, have been making bridal dreams come true for the last 11 years. Here, they reveal memorable marriages they planned, including how once they helped a groom skydive into his own wedding.
How did you choose wedding planning as a career?
Eleven years ago a close friend asked us to assist with certain areas of planning her wedding as she was travelling a lot. Our involvement in her big fat wedding turned out to be much deeper and detailed than the wedding planner’s and the vendors believed we were the official planners. With a successful wedding celebration to our name and guests’ appreciation, we realised we could take this forward as a career.
What kind of skills and experience does it take to excel as wedding planners?
People management skills is most important as we often deal with several different vendors and need to make them work harmoniously with each other. Patience and persistence is also key: There’ll be testing times when families may throw a lot at our team members in terms of queries, responsibilities and narrow timelines, so a wedding planner should be quick on their feet to think of solutions while staying calm and composed.
What has been the most memorable wedding you’ll have planned ?
The one event that comes to mind is where the bride’s wish was for her two puppies be part of her wedding. The venues wouldn’t permit this due to strict policies, so we took this up as a challenge and managed to surprise the bride by getting her pets to join her at the altar. Her expression was priceless.
How involved are grooms with the wedding planning?
We have seen an interesting mix in the recent past where either the bride or the groom could be more active and involved than the other. The grooms have their areas of interest demarcated and they leave no stone unturned to shape it perfectly. Often, we plan events with the bride and groom simultaneously but separately.
Over the years, what are the changes you’ve noticed with regard to South Asian weddings?
We see that the families now want to be more hands-on in their involvement rather than solely relying on us. Traditions and culture are never compromised but they are modified using art, technology, décor and innovative concepts. One wedding though took the cake: the bride hired a former rock star from a renowned band to call out her rituals for her traditional Indian wedding. We still talk about that wedding. Another bride wore her favourite pair pf pyjamas to the wedding ceremony.
Does a beautiful Indian wedding ceremony have to cost a fortune?
You don’t need to break the bank for a beautiful wedding. Having said that, if clients come to us with over-the-top expectations and try to achieve the same with a miniscule budget we do take the liberty to re-align their expectations and help them achieve what’s closest to their vision by reallocating some of their budget.
What are some really novel demands couples have had for their weddings?
We’ve had grooms entering the wedding ceremony skydiving; a bride entering by sea on a jet-ski; a groom’s entourage arriving in seaplanes, and a lot more. If a request comes to us within a reasonable period of time before the event, we try our best to accommodate or find solutions to execute the concept.
Are bridezillas a myth?
We’ve had our share of bridezillas who keep us on our toes. Over the years, we’ve learned to deal with brides’ mood swings; it’s only natural to be worked up about your big day. We always comfort and assure the brides and the families through regular “counselling” sessions that all is progressing well and within control.
What’s the most stressful part of planning and organising a wedding?
With so many family members and guests in attendance, it is a mission to please everyone and manage each guest’s expectation.
How many staff does it take to get a wedding off the ground?
It depends on the size of the wedding and what it demands from us and deploy teams. On an average, a full scale Indian wedding could see an operations team of at least 15-20 members and this number can be multifolds for larger weddings. The typical Indian wedding lasts three days with up to six events.
Which country is the most in demand for destination weddings?
There’s a trend of European nations becoming preferred destinations simply because of the beautiful natural landscapes and favourable climate.