The wedding story
MICEtalk gets in touch with wedding planners, MICE agents, hoteliers, and vendors to zero-in on the latest trends in the wedding business
Every couple wants their wedding to be more grand and unique than the other. Five-star cruise liners are being chartered for wedding celebrations, and European destinations like Greece, Monaco, Tuscany, and Barcelona are trending. Couples are opting for destinations that offer a unique experience to their guests. Contemporary or special acts are also being created for guests as per their profile.
COLLABORATING WITH DMCs
Our company has been rather well-connected with the DMCs of Turkey and Spain to name a few. We choose our suppliers and vendors based on their past work and recommendations. DMCs do help in acquiring the best venues and even connecting us to the right people, getting better rates, and more exciting experiences.
The wedding décor trend of colours is making a comeback. Different colours help relate to different seasons. For instance, the current summer colour palette consists of kale green, sage, copper, and white. International flowers are being imported and used for décor, unique designs, and fancy sets that are larger than life are also being created.
EXCLUSIVE VENUES OVER HOTELS
The unorganised segment has been gaining favour over hotels. While picking out a venue, we ensure that the location can easily be accessed by guests and that the food and service at the location are top-class. Capacity of venues and restrictions imposed by law are also made note of.
DRONES FOR SHOOTS
Couples always want a unique pre-wedding shoot at a location which is beautiful and untapped. Some pet-lovers want their dogs in their shoot, some high-school lovers want the shoot in their school where they first met, while some others want them at palaces and beaches. Drone cameras have also become very popular.
OFFBEAT LOCALES ON THE RISE
Destination weddings are getting more innovative as families are trying to provide a unique experience to their well-travelled guests. Destinations have evolved from Bangkok and Phuket to the Middle East, with Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi trending. Other exotic European destinations of Vienna, Malta, and Monte Carlo are also fast becoming desirable markets. Offbeat locales of Antalya, Baku, and Bali are also on the list of trending destinations. A few untouched destinations that we have done weddings at include Bahrain and Kota Kinabalu. Other aspects such as performances by international artists, fusion food, eclectic themes and décor, all make an appearance in typical wedding functions.
COMBINATION OF LOGISTICS
Different weddings and destinations have different requirements. For flights, guests may book their own or in some cases where the destination does not have too many scheduled flights per day, we look at charter options or ties with the airline and take complete charge of the tickets. Most of what can be procured locally is sourced in the destination country. Other décor, production equipment, and food items are declared and shipped, hand-carried or air-freighted.
POLICY AMENDS AND WEDDINGS
There was an initial reaction post demonetisation, however, the Indian economy has strengthened and the demand for destination weddings is back. The impact of GST is not yet known but the wedding industry is a fairly recession-proof and resilient industry and we do not foresee too much slackening of demand.
DESTINATION DEFINES CHALLENGES
Challenges depend completely on the destination and hotel chosen. In completely new destinations that have never dealt with Indian weddings, the challenges could be in the form of customs and immigration support, infrastructure to handle the movement of a large number of people, availability of quality vendors, hotel flexibility, and capabilities on various fronts such as food, laundry handling, hospitality, and venues. This is where the role of a planner and local ground partner is essential.
WEDDINGS IN BAHRAIN
The most recent wedding that Tamarind organised in Bahrain was held in the month of April and catered to 1000 guests. This was as challenging as it was rewarding. There was a lot that was accomplished in the four months of planning from building the infrastructure in a country that had never seen an Indian wedding of this size to working with customs and immigration officials, the airport authority, the hotels involved, and the DMCs.
HIS AND HERS
The year has been flooded with trends for destination weddings. Wedding teasers have been quite popular, giving clients a perfect three-minute short film to relive the highlights; custom hashtags are another popular trend; and wear-your-side-IDs is another trend that more and more clients and their guests are adopting.
We prefer to work with vendors and those who can provide us with the best deliverables, offer detailed destination knowledge, and be capable of taking care of all ground services that include transfers, accommodation, restaurants, venues, logistics, and activities.
Clients are always on the lookout for something new at their wedding. When we talk about weddings in India, traditional décor for the mehendi ceremony used to be quite the trend, but now people are opting for new ideas like origami/paper décor, decorating the venue with quirky daily-use household products, lanterns, and rustic and vintage décor.
Though we, as wedding planners, are habitual of handling last-minute requests, we are also often faced with challenges that we do overcome. Among all the requests that we have received, there was one where we had to organise an Indian wedding ritual for 70-80 people within the span of half an hour for which neither we nor the caterer was prepared. We did somehow manage it in the end.
Wedding photography has taken a completely new dimension in the last few years. Pre-wedding short films that can be used as wedding invites on social media or be played during other ceremonies have become popular.
These videos use all forms of shooting techniques like aerial, under water, stop motion, time lapse, etc.
Décor is the most crucial aspect of weddings. We believe flowers are irreplaceable and are the evergreen jewels of a wedding décor. In terms of floral décor, the trends change from season to season. This season, we are using a lot of English cut flowers and French garden conservatory looks involving a lot of organic materials, dried flowers and roots, and different kinds of green, fresh leaves and berries in our setups. Another trend this year is tone-on-tone colours like beige on beige, etc. For the cocktail function, people prefer exotic cut flowers.
GOING BEYOND HOTELS
Holding a wedding at a hotel is not so charming anymore. Extravagant venues are the demand of the day. To meet this demand, Ferns N Petals has a chain of luxury wedding venues in Delhi-NCR that include The Ritz, The Riviera, Udman, Vilasa, Shagun Farms, The Kundan, and Brij Greens.
LOCAL MEETS GLOBAL
Destination weddings often entail a lot of planning and ground work. Usually, a local flavour is maintained in one of the functions to bring in a nostalgic factor in weddings that are held overseas. For cocktails or reception, people love to do English, Caribbean, Florence-themed settings to retain the elegance of the foreign locale.
At a recent wedding function, FNP Weddings & Events recreated the grandeur of Buckingham Palace through the craftsmanship and hard work of more than 500 people who worked for about 45 days in an area of 1.5 lakh sqft, for a function that was to cater to 3000 guests. This enormous space was the largest that we have ever worked in.
We once had a client who wanted a floral dome of pink rose buds for the wedding. To import 7000 bundles of roses (each bundle has 100 pieces) of the same colour and size was a huge challenge.
Clients are now moving away from traditional group pictures taken on the stage to candid photography. They want us to tell a story through photo-documenting the wedding. They seem more willing to spend on creativity and quality.
The client's involvement today is far more participative and the level of encouragement we receive for creativity in our work is more than it used to be.
Pre-wedding shoots have become popular. They have moved on from being only about clicking a few nice pictures of the couple together in an informal setup to being one that tells a story of their journey.
These shoots have become an essential aspect of any wedding. People today don't mind travelling to an exotic destination or a grand setting to get their pre-wedding shoots done.
Today, couples want grand and ambitious themes, backgrounds, and settings. We, at FotoShaadi, take three weeks to prepare for a pre-wedding shoot, given that it is now more of a short film that we must be well-prepared for.
We have a couple of discussions with the bride and groom and sometimes even with friends and family to arrive at a story and then go ahead and plan a shoot schedule to capture the entire story with the couple being the heart and soul of it. Every minute detail from concept of the shoot and the attire to the location and the props is planned.
When it comes to videos, the need for short crisp videos has sky rocketed. Earlier, people wanted every moment and every aspect of their event to be captured. Now, the demand for a very short video with an emotional angle is given more importance than the regular full-length video. Everyone wants their wedding to be captured in a cinematic fashion and not merely a video recording of the event. People love the beauty shots that are taken while the bride is getting ready. Every couple wants their story to be told in a short, concise video. They want moments with a lot of emotions, friends and family opinions about them, and how the husband and wife feel about each other to come through in the videos.
DESTINATION INFLUENCED THEMES
Destination weddings started from far east destinations, but now the eastern European region is also becoming more popular due to price and flexibility. Clients demand to do the wedding in the local traditions of the destination, besides their own. Normally, the wedding functions carry on for two nights or three, depending on logistics and the destination. Themed functions are definitely conducted to make the wedding experience an out-of-the-box one.
We have a list of DMCs who specialise in this segment and support us in perfectly planning out business to exceed the expectations of clients. Specialising in all aspects, ITH is able to manage all logistics smoothly. We speak to airlines in advance for equipment facility to be carried and negotiate on the cost.
POLICIES AND WEDDINGS
Every change has a short-term or longterm impact and the recent policy amends of demonetisation, GST, liquor ban, etc., have definitely impacted the industry with things moving towards no-cash transactions. It will take a bit of time to recover as people are used to spending in a certain way.
Planning and timelines are the most difficult part of weddings besides the logistics involved. Every guest is important and every guest can have different requirements.
We need to follow timelines and manage well to have complete control of situations and execute the functions as planned.
INFLUENCE OF FILMS
Weddings are, to quite an extent, influenced by the film industry of India and abroad. The designer clothes that the guests and the bride and groom wear are very similar to those shown in films.
The whole sequence is often built around performances by relatives or the couple itself. This is a big change from earlier times and gives the family and guests a chance to be extrovert.
STAFF DEFINES VENUES
Venue is the most important aspect of a wedding. The choice of venue entirely depends on the scale of the wedding and the client’s requirements. Before showing possible sites to clients, we inquire about the money they are willing to spend and the expected number of guests. A small gathering of people in a huge hall can make the venue look empty; similarly, a large gathering at a small venue can make guests feel suffocated. There are various factors that must be taken into account while choosing a venue, no matter how beautiful it may be. A property is often defined by its staff. Good and friendly staff can help a small property in becoming a popular brand.
THE IMPACT OF REGULATIONS
There has been a huge impact of demonetisation on almost all industries. Clients were already stressed because of their functions and demonetisation added to their woes with transactions not taking place on time. Gradually, however, things settled down.
The ban on sale of liquor along highways hasn’t affected us much. GST, on the other hand, is going to affect big weddings. Now, the client will have to spend more for the venue. That said, the coming in of GST is an indicator of growth for our economy and the impact we are talking about will have a negative impact in the short-term and a more positive one in the long haul.
VENUES FOR WEDDINGS
Earlier, weddings had a gathering of about 1000 guests but now the same has reduced to 400-600 guests on an average. Lawns are been replaced by banquets. Clients are increasingly moving towards hotels. The need for a good property is rising and new properties are also coming with unique and creative ideas.
IMPACTED BY FILMS
The Indian film industry has been the biggest influencer when it comes to Indian weddings. Now, clients come up with various demands that they see in movies. One such popular demand is that of synchronised dance performances in the functions. This has added a fresh task to our list - arranging a good choreographer. Overall, the industry has had a positive impact.
WEDDINGS IN GOA
Being in the industry for many years, we share a very good relationship with 5-star properties all across Goa. We have good relations with vendors and suppliers so we know how and where to source products and execute whatever is required for a successful wedding in Goa. There is no such thing as an average amount spent because different clients have different budgets and we customise the entire wedding based on the client’s budget. Hotels and resorts are gaining more traction with people looking for stay, venue, food and drinks, all under one roof. It becomes more feasible to get an all-inclusive package, especially because 90 per cent of Goa's business runs on destination weddings.
PICKING OUT THE VENUE
We first look at what the client wants to achieve in terms of décor and detailing and the type of venue setting. We then take into account the number of guests the client is wishing to invite. We believe that the venue should be appropriate for the number of guests being invited and not look too empty. The right amount of people at the venue creates a good vibe.
These days, clients are going in for very DIY (doit-yourself) décor that is more interactive with the guests. They look at more personalised and practical décor rather than larger-thanlife structures. Rustic and minimalistic designs are also in. Couples are opting out of reception stages and going in for more table-to-table greetings.
Vendors are chosen based on certain parameters such as quality, timelines, and scale of work undertaken in the past as well as references of current planners and their experience working with them. Company profiles and artist profiles are a pre-requisite for shortlisting a vendor before suggesting them to a client.
We once received a request for a wedding lunch reception where the client realised that it would be hot and after warning the client wellin-advance, his last-minute request had to be accepted, with an air-conditioned venue being set up in less than 32 hours.
Wedding videos and photography help create a good wedding story, making the entire plot for the wedding fun for the couple and the guests. Drones are now a very important part of wedding videography, giving a lot of dimension to cinematography.
Photograph by Rimi Sen Photography