We got an insight into the details of putting together a wedding — a destination or one close to home — when we saw Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh take over Delhi in Band Baaja Baaraat. The wedding industry in India is only getting bigger as more and more people realise the importance of being able to enjoy the occasion and leaving the planning to professionals. These three wedding planners have organised some of the most high-profile weddings in the country, and share their journeys of giving many couples their happily ever after
A company that started in 2006 and became bigger, Tamarind Global has organised highprofile weddings and have even changed wedding food trends, like when they had American chef Peter Callahan design the menu for the wedding in Kota Kina Balu in Sabah, Malaysia, where they set up a local Borneo market and brought international brands like Hakkasan and Zuma to serve the wedding party. But the biggest wedding in terms of numbers that Tamarind has done, according to Alisha Shirodkar Aggarwal, VP of business development of the company, has been a 10,000-people wedding in Hyderabad, where they had a month to create a barren ground into Mysore Palace. “Our first big Indian wedding was in Bahrain, with 1,000 guests. In Udaipur, one of our all-time favourite wedding destinations, we recently executed a 700-people wedding across six hotel buyouts around Lake Pichola,” says Alisha. Talking about the grand and grandeur of weddings, Alisha believes millennials think differently. ”I think people are choosing to do more unique and exclusive rather than overly exorbitant. The grandeur factors in as part of the chosen destination, food spread, artist curation, decor and production and so on. The millennial generation does grandeur in a different way,” adds. Weddings get all kinds of weird demands, like wedding planners are Gods. Alisha recounts one demand. “We’ve been asked to have a tiger in the baaraat at a Dubai wedding. Also, live butterflies flying around to make the theme realistic and many other things,” she adds. Wedding planners go through some unthinkable madness to make sure their clients are calm and have a good time. Alisha believes there needs to be method to the madness. “It’s quite a journey, and a rollercoaster of emotions. But we become part of the family. And the right people can turn the madness into magic,” she adds.
A three-year-old company handled the most high-profile wedding of 2018, with exactly the privacy and security that the duo needed. Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s Italy wedding was taken care of by Shaadi Squad, founded by Tina Tharwani, Saurabh Malhotra and Manoj Mittra, which also led to them handling the engagement of Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas. The trio hails from a film production background. When asked what’s the biggest wedding they’ve handled, the squad says “big” is a broad term. “Big is a broad term,” the squad believes. “If you ask for a wedding that put us on the radar — then that’s Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli. While that was the most challenging one because of the confidentiality, it wasn’t the one that was the most expensive. Landing their wedding was purely based on word of mouth. We have worked with Anushka professionally, and I guess she trusted us enough to give us the chance. I think the fact that we had dealt with a celebrity wedding of such a scale before and had been able to keep things fully under wraps would have been instrumental in us landing Priyanka’s events,” says Tina. An exhorbitant wedding, according to Tina, doesn’t depend on the guest list. It could be a small wedding with fewer guests but with a grand budget, which is what the trio thinks they do best, by creating experiences more than choosing expensive locations. “Obviously, Italy was another experience altogether, but we have done a temple wedding in Navi Mumbai where the temple was located in a private corporate park and this was the first and only wedding at the venue. We have planned a wedding in the sand dunes of Rajasthan and inter-cultural weddings where guests taste both cultures, so those are experiences we like to give people,” says Tina. She recalls a funny anecdote from a wedding in Jaipur. “At a South Indian wedding we planned in Rajasthan, we had a rough idea of the required items so we knew coconuts would be required. We checked and rechecked with the client. But, on the day of the wedding, the priest was very upset as the coconuts had scratches on them and insisted we find scratchless green coconuts at 6 am in a village near Jodhpur.” She laughs. The most important skill in wedding planning, according to Tina, is organisation. “Given that most weddings in India take place in a particular season, you have to deal with multiple clients and vendors on a daily basis. Clients are usually stressed, so it is important for the planner to regularly update them and help them enjoy the wedding. It is also important for one to build a good rapport with the client and their families. Trust plays a huge role for a wedding to go off smoothly,” she signs off.
Glitz and glam seems to be Wedniksha’s mantra. Wedniksha is the wedding division of the entertainment giant Wizcraft, and it’s no surprise that Wedniksha’s client roster is star-studded. The Mumbai-based company has upped the luxury wedding game by planning the wedding of Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Anand Ahuja, Poorna Patel and Namit Soni among others. Wedniksha was the anchor behind the first-ever fully chartered cruise wedding, the Dil Dhadakne Do inspired the wedding of dentist-turned model Sana Khan to Adel Sajan of the construction giant Danube group. It has to be their most exorbitant wedding ever. “From organising a retrothemed welcome dinner to a fairytale wedding function and after-party, the flamboyance and the colourfulness were intricately showcased in the Sana-Adel wedding.” Says Shehzarrin Udwadia, director of Wedniksha. “But”, she continues, “Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s wedding was the most anticipated wedding of the year. Every single detail of the wedding was resplendent. Both weddings had their own essences and briefs, which were detailed in every aspect of the ceremonies. We had a team of experts who took care of minute aspects, ranging from hospitality to entertainment to security.” However, Udwadia refuses to divulge in the details of any crazy requests (which we’re sure they would’ve gotten anyway because hey, budget). She emphasises on the importance of system for wedding planners, or it can go really hotch-potch. “The most important thing as wedding planners that people need help and advice on is the selection of vendors and choosing the right destination.” She concludes.