In Conversation with Rahul Kumar, Vivaah Weddings, Dubai

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Rahul Kumar is the Managing Partner & Creative Director of Vivaah Weddings. He has over a decade of experience in event creation and production. Through the years, he has worked in all aspects of the event industry from conceiving, planning, conceptualizing, managing and operating weddings in over 20 countries around the world.
What started as a hobby, grew into passion and eventually a business interest! Rahul has a reputation for excellent organization, creativity and attention to detail. He is well known within the industry and loves working with Radio, TV newscasters, and talk show hosts – and is always ready to give an insightful interview or share a profound quote.

1. Please give us a brief on your journey as a wedding planner.

Being a part of someone’s ever important day in their life is a tremendous feeling; especially if you’re instrumental in shaping up their big day. Being a wedding planner has been a blessing. It comes with its fair share of challenges but the joyous moments more than makes up for it.
I began my career as an Investment Banker. A few years into the financial world, I realized there was a much more colorful and happier world out there revolving around weddings. With passion, learning and innovation, I’ve grown into a successful wedding planner which wouldn’t have been possible without the involvement of my business partner Arun Bablani and our reliable team of professionals. Today, we find ourselves blessed with the admiration of our clients and our peers in the industry.

2.What are the major ups and downs(challenges) you have faced being in the business?

When we started as wedding planners, the industry was quite new and required an education process to make the world understand why they need a wedding planner. In today’s developed world of weddings, there are professional courses and training available to hone skills and talent to create the next wave of successful wedding planners. The positives were quite clear at that point too. Being one of the firsts in the business gave us an undeniable first move advantage and gave us an edge over the competition.

3.What are your beliefs and projections for the future trends in Wedding Market?

Today’s bride is well travelled and well inspired. She knows what she is looking for and is not hesitant in putting forward her expectations explicitly to the wedding planner. This makes things simpler for us as it enables us to deliver the right services in line with the expectation of the couple. We see that going forward; the couple would choose for themselves more philanthropic concepts such as ecological/sustainable weddings, charity fundraisers at weddings or recyclable supplies to build the décor and theme of an event.

4.What are the major challenges faced while planning Indian/destination weddings?

Every wedding comes with its set of challenges and obstacles which we as wedding planners take away from the families and deal with in the most professional manner. People management comes on top as dealing with several vendors and making them work harmoniously with each other can be a task specially if you do not have a great experience or a long standing relationship with your vendors.
Furthermore, at destination weddings, language competencies can be a big hindrance. It is always recommended to have someone local assist you who could speak the language and get the message through to your local vendors. This is vital as requirements need to be communicated clearly bearing in mind the cultural differences. They may not understand the significance or importance of certain rituals or traditions in the wedding unless a complete detailed walkthrough of the wedding is done with them.

5.What criteria have you set for hiring or sourcing vendors for local and destination weddings?

It’s always best to work with a team you’ve successfully worked with in the past and have had a great experience with. Having said that, there may be destination weddings where you would like to explore the possibility of working with professional vendors in that destination. Then again, check with your peers in the industry for references who may have hosted a wedding at that destination. Recommended vendors give you the comfort knowing they’ve delivered quality services at past events and they’re reliable.
Do not solely rely on online searches as this can be deceiving. Make it a point to go and visit their premises and meet with the key people in that company. Ask them to share their past works and any references they could provide for a quality and professionalism check.
After all, working with the best and most reliable vendors is of utmost importance at weddings as there are no second chances.

6.What tips would you want to give budding wedding planners to sustain the wedding market?

It is indeed a glamorous and colorful world of weddings but what goes behind making it one is hard work, passion, hours of conceptualizing, managing emotions, handling client requirements, stress situations and a lot more. You’ll have to be prepared for topsy-turvy roller coaster ride if you decide to pursue this as a career. We suggest you work on a few projects from beginning to end with some established professionals so you know what it entails from inception to wrap up. This makes you stronger, skilled and experienced to handle the dynamic world of weddings.
Furthermore, there are trainings and workshops now available which educate you on the events industry and helps hone your skills to prepare you at the highest standards of the wedding industry.
Last but not the least; remember you’re going to be a part of someone’s biggest occasion of their life. Be involved as family and not just a service provider.

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