Taking Indian Weddings To The World: Experiential Celebrations Summit #wowAsia2016

Business Events | July 1, 2016 | News

Samit Garg Geeta Samuel Q Events E-Factor Entertainment WOW Awards

Weddings and social events Have fast evolved into an area of expertise where India plays a leader to other international event markets. With 10 million weddings being organized every year, the wedding and social event industry in the country is reported to be a humongous 25-billion-dollar business which is a playground For planners from this industry.

To celebrate and recognize the best talent, trends, success stories and insights of this industry, the Experiential Celebrations Summit was organized as part of the WOW Awards and Conventions Asia 2016 on June 25 at JW Marriott, New Delhi Aerocity.

The keynote session at the summit was delivered by Samit Garg-Director, E-Factor Entertainment. They don’t call it the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ for nothing! Samit Garg pointed out, the complexity of rituals, the endless menus, the flamboyance of entertainment and other elements in Indian weddings that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. "This makes us one of the most nuanced wedding markets. Governments of nations are looking at India with a renewed interest in a bid to attract tourism. Not only do Indian wedding look promising, but India as a wedding destination is picking up steam as well," commented Garg.

The world loves our expertise, colour, culture and flavour. India leads in bespoke destinations, hospitality as well as culinary experiences, making it attractive to foreigners looking for a wedding with a difference. A distinct advantage is that Indian wedding companies offer turnkey services including all aspects of invitations, décor, hospitality, food, entertainment and more. This is a far cry from western markets where families have different people they have to be in touch with for florals, catering etc.

The session ended with the prospect of defying the seasonal nature of weddings by not only handling Indian weddings at home and abroad, but organising weddings for foreign audiences anywhere in the world.

The succeeding session at the summit talked about the six degrees of separation in the Indian Wedding Industry and how collaborations are the new mantra of success. The panel discussion chaired by Samit Garg, Sumant Jayakrishnan, Director, Scenografia Sumant and Louay Mardam Bek, Founder, LMB Event Planning was moderated by Karishma Hundalani, Editor, ExCel Magazine. The discussion drew the following insights:

Clients are very well travelled, and as wedding briefs get increasingly more challenging, it becomes impossible for even the biggest agencies to deliver relying solely on internal capabilities. This has resulted in a rise in collaborations between the brightest minds and the most creative brains in the industry. As the panel pointed out, the first collaboration is between the project owner and the client – after all, understanding the brief completely is half the battle won. 

To ensure successful partnerships, it is key to maintain humility. No matter how senior or how big one is, they are still one of the spokes in the wheel. Understanding that your role is important, but so is everyone else’s is critical and calls for a generosity of spirit.

A collaborative format needs to be handled delicately by the wedding company, and this becomes more critical when it is a destination wedding with contributors and alliances forged across countries or even continents! The ground reality is that wedding companies often end up working with partners other than their first choice for budget or availability constraints and that’s when collaborations are truly put to test. Experts feel that the best alliances are often forged with partners who may not be the biggest names in the business, but are the best fit for the particular brief or whose functionality impresses. Partners who value and respect time and have the courage of conviction are often the best team players.

Over the last few years’ collaborations have yielded breath-taking results. As they say, you have a voice as a team and the impossible often becomes possible. Indian wedding planners have created marvels through collaborations, made rotating stages of over 80’, customised the iconic Cirque du Soleil and achieved more than we could have imagines a decade ago.

Also present at the summit was legendary Wedding décor designer Geeta Samuel, Director, Q Events, who shared with the attendees her magical journey in the industry. She shared that she had started off planning weddings four decades ago, at a time when it wasn’t even an industry. She eventually became a trailblazer and inspired many after her to take Indian wedding planning forward and reach the elite position in which it is today.

In all these years, she says it is the creative process that keeps her going and that makes every project excitingly different. She has seen it all over the years, and come to realise that as expectations and competition has gone up, the one thing that has stayed constant is the critical aspect of research and preparation. The wedding industry is a big and serious business to be in today, and we need to be able to look beyond the glamour and stay true to our ideas and creativity. 

Geeta and her team remember the times when all they had by way of venues were some blank walls and plain surfaces. They went on to entirely transform the venues. Once they created Santorini in a barren venue from scratch only because the couple had dreamt of a wedding there. What makes the wedding business so delicate is that it is the biggest day in the lives of the couple to be wedded, and it is up to the wedding company to make that dream come true! 

A workshop by Louay Bardam Bek on 'Creating Budget-friendly Social Events' followed as the next session. This workshop was built around a unique story of how a 16-year old client of LMB Events had given the team a budget of 1000 USD to plan her graduation party. Louay highlighted how even a smal budget can be taken up as a unique challenge and creative ideas can flow basis this challenge. He also presented some of the unique concepts of decor his team had produced given the challenge of a very small budget.

The final session of the day before the 'Expert Knowledge Exchange Sessions' took over, was that around 'Destination Weddings'. On the panel were expert Destination Wedding specialists Aditya Motwane, Motwane Eventertianment and Weddings; Nitin Nathur, VP, Wedding Design Company; Tobia Salvadori, Marketing Manager, Convention Bureau Italia; Jaideep Venugopal, Director, BlueMarble Destinations and Bunyat Ozpak, MD, Inventum Weddings Turkey.

The discussion revolved around local partnerships opening doors in international destinations when it comes to Indian Weddings, and how the trend of hosting Indian weddings in exotic, international destinations is now getting governments and tourism boards to recognise the value of this business and extend more support.

 

To celebrate and recognize the best talent, trends, success stories and insights of the wedding and social events industry, the ExCel Summit was held on June 25 at JW Marriott as part of WOW.

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