Grandeur of a wedding
Birju C Gariba, CEO and Executive Director, Platinum World Group, elaborates on the nuances of planning a wedding at a grand scale, while making it special for the bride and groom
With the borders melting, India has been witnessing an unprecedented growth in international destination weddings and events. Planning such grand jamborees however is not a walk in the park and requires enormous amount of planning, madness, creativity, a great eye for detail and an impeccable sense of execution which sounds like a new army of wedding planners. Let’s just run by the requirements that a destination wedding demands and things that have to be planned to make a wedding that the young couple dreams of.
It all starts with creating a shortlist, which means mapping the know-how about the destinations across the world, the weather conditions during the month of the wedding, flight connections for the guests from different locations, sometimes across the world, and the safety that the destination offers. Once the stage is cleared of these basic details, comes the task of dwelling into the domain of hotels, room counts, distance from airport, gala dinner venues, unique destination offerings, banqueting sizes and layouts, ease of availability of Indian food or setting up of a satellite kitchen and of course some idea about the budget at these destinations. It may not sound big but I imagine the list of potential knowledge domain that one has to possess would be large enough to create a ‘best wedding places’ directory. The shortlists are itself sometimes as large as 8-10 destinations and then starts the process of prospecting individual destinations with inquiring about hotel availabilities and venue availabilities, given that these are the primary needs for any wedding. Indian weddings are known to host about 200-250 guests on an average at international weddings and the big fat ones are in the vicinity of about 400-500 guests which means it's never easy to book all the rooms in a single hotel, easily. The biggest reason also is that our market runs on a short leadtime as compared to the rest of the world. And while the recommended time for such scales is at least one year in advance, we see cases sprawling from a timeline of six months to as low as one month before the wedding.
GEARED UP FOR ANY DEMAND
Once you come across the potential solution of rooms you have to also hope the airline is not full on the given set of dates as only limited destinations offer a direct access. There is obviously an option of chartering a flight for uber fancy weddings, but those are much smaller in percentage. While I write this, I am reminded about our first event in Tokyo in 2015, where our clients had given us a lead time of 25 days and the date of the event was October 22-24 for which we had a brief in September. When we wrote to our partners seeking their support towards execution, most rejected and the ones who were positive about it, responded with a probable error-of-year mention assuming it was for 2016 and not 2015. It took us a while to finally find the right partners and hence, the right solution for our hugely successful event. Having now done events in over 72 countries, we are geared up to be able to handle any demand at any unusual lead times. The process continues with detailing of various offerings and exceptional experiences that guests will locally witness during the wedding/event. All of these are usually done in about 4872 hours and put in a nice presentation that helps the families visualise each destination as well as offerings with pricing, of course.
The process then goes down to taking site inspections and finalising the destination and hotel therein. Then starts the creative grill of giving out-ofthe-box ideas for each of the function individually that would include thematic décor ideas, entertainment, both local and global, styling, and with growing demand in destination weddings, paying heed to the request of ‘How can my wedding be different than others?’ The differentiation comes from cuisine, décor, and entertainment, which in itself is a separate industry. The talent in weddings has seen a huge spectrum across the globe, maintaining a roster of talents across the globe and recommending the right one for each wedding. We have seen how acts by Cirque Du Soliel and Elton John feature in weddings.
QUEST FOR UNIQUENESS
Uniqueness and exclusivity took us to the shores of Mongolia recently to organise an event and it was a completely new terrain for Indians as well as for Mongols to welcome us Indians.
We believe this trend is still nascent and the millennials will be even more explorative in their search for uniqueness.
Having now done events in over 72 countries, we are geared up to be able to handle any demand
Birju C Gariba