As ceremonies evolve post-COVID, this entrepreneur reveals how wedding planners can survive

Prerana Agarwal Saxena started Theme Weavers Designs in 2008 and has organised 106 weddings so far. She believes that the Indian wedding industry is in the midst of an evolution and wedding planners must be prepared.
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India is known worldwide for its ‘big fat weddings’. However, the COVID-19 pandemic cast a massive shadow on the wedding industry.

A large number of people either postponed their marriage dates while others decided to have smaller celebrations on their original dates and a larger celebration at a later date. The trend may be new but Prerana Agarwal Saxena, Founder of Theme Weavers Design, a Gurugram-based design studio that curates tailor-made weddings, says she saw it coming in the last few years. 

“The wedding pattern has been changing in India since the last few years and the pandemic only accelerated the pace. We were seeing the definition of ‘big fat Indian weddings’ changing as for some time now clients have been eager to spend on more premium experiences rather than on a vast gathering,” Prerana explains. 

Talking about the industry scenario, Prerana says though the wedding planning industry saw a decline in the business during the pandemic, wedding planners that were agile and adaptive found success. 

For Theme Weavers Designs, the 2020 wedding season was not worrisome as restrictions were eased and Prerana had contracts for a few destination weddings.

The initial journey 

Prerana’s love for palaces, forts, and luxury weddings made her quit marketing to start her own wedding planning company. She says she began by organising small birthday parties. Her first project was for Rs 5,000, and there has been no looking back. 

It was in 2007 when she planned the 40th birthday party for Samir Modi, Founder of Modicare and Executive Chairman of Godfrey Philips, and garnered praise that she decided to enter the business full time. Theme Weavers Designs was born in 2008.

Prerana organised her first wedding in 2009 at Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, and has since then planned around 106 weddings out of 250 events, including those of Shivraj Singh, the Yuvraj of Jodhpur; Gayatri Kumari, Yuvrani of Jodhpur; and more ranging in the premium budget. 

The sector evolves

Ruminating about the future of the Indian wedding industry amidst the pandemic, Prerana says there won’t be a huge change in the industry, but an evolution. 

“People now want premium and luxury weddings. The trend is fast changing and wedding planners have to gear up for that,” she says.

Destination weddings have been popular for the past few years and in future too, Prerana thinks young couples would want to spend money on destination weddings rather than calling a mass crowd.  

“People are shifting towards giving and having an experience of a wedding. They now prefer to spend more on gifting, offering comfort to the guests, and so on,” she says. 

Tips for wedding planners 

Ahead of the upcoming shaadi season, Prerana says wedding planners have to make every effort to stay ahead of the competition. What can they do? Prerana has some advice:

  •  Gain experience 

For anyone new to the industry, it is important to understand the business first. Start small and intern with established planners to learn the ropes. Grab opportunities to work with a variety of wedding vendors as you get exposed to a wide range of event preparation aspects.

  • Manage the schedule 

There are numerous aspects that go into a wedding to make it seem flawless. Keeping a handy checklist will save that extra hassle. No bride wants to spend unnecessary time, so a checklist aids in eliminating all the extras and helps you focus on essential needs.

  • Always be prepared  

A wedding comes with various events and even more guests. Hence, always be prepared to handle any last-minute situation. While there can be unseen pauses, a wedding planner has to be in control of all the events that culminate in the ceremony. 

  • Give a personal touch 

As a wedding planner, you have to understand and interpret your client’s personalities and expectations. While recreating the wedding of their dreams, give your personal creative touch to the theme.

  • Streamline the process

Processes in place do more good than expected. So streamlining processes and tasks helps build team efficiency and get the work done in less time with less manpower.

Plans for the future

Talking about the future of Theme Weavers Designs, Prerana says her focus is to “make India a wedding destination and attract international clients”. 

Prerana is also looking forward to streamline processes and systems further to minimise the time taken for the work done and increase efficiency of the business. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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