For better, for worse and for fun

Most couples nurture the dream of a unique yet elegant wedding. More often than not, it is the family and friends of the couple who run around to make sure all goes well on D-day. Over the last few years, a new player has entered the fray. The wedding planner, who takes on the responsibility of organising every tiny detail of the wedding — for a fee — giving the bridal couple and their families time and energy to enjoy the special occasion.

From negotiating the best deals with vendors — be it the florist, the photographer or the DJ — to scouting for the ideal honeymoon destination for the couple, a wedding planner is expected to handle it all with a smile.

Shreya Dutta, who heads a Bangalore-based wedding planning firm, says: “Planning a wedding is certainly not a desk job. I chose this profession because I learn on the job every single day.”

Multi-tasking is key

While the career doesn’t call for any particular academic qualification, a degree in  Hospitality Services would certainly help. Most wedding planners follow this up with an MBA because they often take the entrepreneurship route to success. Short-term courses in fashion, flower arrangement, photography, music, marketing and merchandising are sure to prove beneficial for those keen on a career as wedding planners. There are certificate programmes available on the internet on wedding consultation.    
A wedding planner’s job involves:
* Budgeting/ Costing
*Venue booking  
*F&B services
*Guest management
*Personalised wedding invitations
*Trousseau planning and packing
*Floral design
*Sound/ Lighting systems
*Mehndi artistes
*Co-ordinating clothes and jewellery of the bride and groom, and their families
*Pre-wedding grooming for the bridal couple, including spa and salon visits
*Personalised wedding websites  
*Entertainment like DJs and dance troupes

‘Be resourceful’

“Wedding planners need to be experts in time management, project management and human resource management,” says Nikhil Bhide, a Mumbai-based wedding planner. Respect for deadlines, adherence to timelines, sound negotiation skills and good financial planning are crucial skills which a wedding planner must develop.
This profession challenges people to rise above the ordinary. Every wedding is a learning process for planners as each community has a different set of rituals, specific only to them. “Wedding planners in India are exposed to various cultures, and this helps us gain a wider world view,” observes Shreya Dutta. “It certainly helps to develop a keen sense of humour, especially when it comes to handling nervous and edgy brides,” she adds.
“In recent years, planners have begun experimenting with the ceremonies leading up to the wedding. It is  not uncommon to hear of sangeet ceremonies at lounge bars and bachelorette parties aboard a private yatch,” says Vandana Mohan, a New Delhi-based wedding planner.

Boom time for business

Wedding planning has become a multi-crore industry. Exposure to world media has made it easier for Indian wedding planners to keep pace with their counterparts across the world. The wedding planning industry in India is still at a nascent stage, but there are a lot of exciting opportunities as people begin to get comfortable with the idea of a wedding planner as a pre-requisite for a unique wedding.

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