A couple of gold necklaces, splendid saris and kurtas, lots of music and dance with much glam and glitz and you are ready for an Indian wedding. Not every Indian wedding is a big fat one though. Magnificently designed stages in large, rituals on the beachside, palatial decorations, offering every cuisine the human tongue has ever tasted, hosting a hundred, sometimes even a thousand people in an exotic location, a picture-perfect trousseau is the BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDING.
The most astounding aspect of elite weddings is their claim to be global yet its retained Indian sensibility. The ability to blend the “western and “Indian” into the overall wedding experience is truly the crux of the big fat Indian wedding. Subsequently, the wedding becomes a mix of traditional ceremonies like the haldi (a ritual holy bath with turmeric), mehendi (application of henna to the bride and the groom), baraat (arrival of the groom and his party) and westernised events such as bachelorette and cocktail parties, huge receptions, multi-tier cakes and whatnot. The gastronomical selections that include North hand South Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mongolian, Lebanese and Mexican cuisines best exemplify this assorted sensibility. But, the most widespread appropriation of this globalised experience is the hiring of wedding planners.
Who is a Wedding Planner?
Earlier, in Indian weddings the organisational tasks and wedding preparations were overseen by uncles, aunts, cousins and relatives close to the family of the bride and groom. These preparations were made under the guidance of a Pandit (a priest). The roles and responsibilities of the Pandit have been displaced by the wedding planner and now rest upon his/her shoulders. In the presence of a planner, even the relatives have to just show up, look their best and eat and dance till dawn.
Wedding planners are experienced and possess a great deal of knowledge about décor ideas, lighting, floral arrangements, fashion, food and wine. They can make the couple feel like the most important couple in the world by providing the most exclusive and personal services. They are artistic, creative and highly organised.
Wedding planning is not much of a solo act and requires a support team consisting of professional, accomplished, creative and zealous people. The best venues, musicians, caterers, florists, photographers, videographers and boutiques come together to build a team. In the end, the performance of each department helps the other execute their roles seamlessly. To handle a high-end wedding, the planner must have a certain skill set allowing them to handle big budgets, high profile clients and the various pressures that arise out of the same.
What does the Wedding Planner do?
An accomplished wedding planner ignores a checklist of things to do and puts forth the best of things that he/she could do.
Making It Personal
The planner gives the client enough time to explain their vision, asks many questions and extracts information that the client might not even know that he/she had. This helps them add the most intricate little details to the soul of the wedding. After tons of meetings and understanding the vision of the client, the planner becomes a friend and begins to build a relationship of trust and confidence. With all the information flowing to the planner, he/she is at the centre of the planning process and pulls all the strings like a wizard behind the curtain. Right from the choice of the venue, to the food and even the flowers everything is designed to align with the couple’s vision. Bringing in that element of personalisation, the wedding planner makes the special day a reflection of the couple’s bond, instead of opting for the same rituals that are traditionally followed.
Caterer Of The Senses
Wedding planners translate the couple’s thoughts and vision for the wedding into a multi-sensory experience. They execute a series of opportunities that treat the guests to the most monumental sights, smells, sounds and tastes. Indian weddings largely depend on the extravagant gratification of all their senses and wedding planners do exactly that. Their attention to detail helps them do so.
When it comes to weddings, trends are contagious. But they can only make sense if they mean something to the couple. The questions planners ask themselves is, ‘Is this trend just a fad or is it here to stay?’ They make sure couples understand that maybe 20 years from now when they look back at their special day, they don’t want to regret anything. Hence, if a trend is personal and important, it becomes part of the wedding. If not, planners set new trends for the couple.
Crafting An Experience
Once a budget is set, it becomes a part of the background. The job of a wedding planner is to make the wedding day a celebration of life, luxury and love. They carefully design the wedding to make it an unforgettable experience for the couple, family and guests. The aim is to make them experience something they have never seen before and help couples achieve their dreams.
What makes the big fat Indian wedding so different for wedding planners?
In India, a wedding is much more than just a ceremony, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and endearing bonds. While the festivities of an Indian wedding make it a distinctive event, it brings out many challenges for those who are in the business of planning them. The roles of these wedding planners go beyond that of being planners and managers to being ‘managers of expectations, feelings and people’. The familial and informal air makes it extremely crucial for planners to bond and build a relationship with their clients. It is important for them to feel like it’s a wedding in their own family. Despite the massive globalisation of Indian weddings, traditional rituals and festivities remain an indispensable part of them. Appreciating tradition as an anchor of all weddings yet giving them a modern and global touch is one of the hardest things’ planners are required to do. Large families with many complex relationships make Indian weddings even larger and more complex. Thus, the barometer to gauge success at Indian weddings is to see that each family member, relative, friend and acquaintance remains satisfied and delighted.
Consequently, wedding planners begin to feel like family at these big fat Indian weddings where they dance along with the baraat and become teary-eyed at the bidaai.
Deepshika is currently a masters student of Global Luxury Goods and Service Management at SP Jain School of Global Management, Mumbai and Politecnico di Milano, Milan. Formerly, she has completed a triple major degree in Performing Arts, English and Psychology. Her list of internships include ones w.Read more..