Excerpts from the Rendezvous with Meltem Bayazıt Tepeler
The Founder President of KM Events, Meltem Bayazıt Tepeler,has been the Founder President of Turkish Event Association ‘YEPUD’, the only association in the event industry in Turkey, between 2007-2014. She is the writer of the only wedding destination book in Turkey called ‘ Weddings and İstanbul’, which was published in 2010 and 2012. She is also the founder and the lecturer of “Event Management Certificate Program” at Bosphorus University Long Life Education Center and one of the Founders and currently the Vice President of ILEA –The International Live Events Association Turkey Chapter. Since establishing KM Events in 1995, she has hosted many important international projects in the special events and wedding industry and made KM Events one of the leading wedding & event company in Turkey and around the region by distributing the KM Events vision to different parts of the world.
1) The challenges you saw in 2017 in the wedding industry and how do you see things changing in 2018 & 2019?
Having been a wedding planner and a designer for the last 23 years, I can easily say that the challenges are dynamic and growing complex with every passing year. But the most significant one started with the evolution of internet and social media. Although it has been a great opportunity to reach potential couples beyond borders, it is also a big challenge for experienced wedding planners and designers. Through the social media accounts, everyone is free to showcase or present themselves in any way they want and the brides have a big chance of meeting an unprofessional planner without any experience. Along with the social media accounts, there are some applications and even websites that the brides can actually use as their guide. These applications/websites provide everything that a wedding planner could present and actually limit the need for the proficiency of our work and services. As there are many technological platforms these days, the brides might feel like they dont really need to hire a planner and try to manage their weddings through the internet and all by themselves.
2) According to you, what is the key to growing in the wedding planning business and what do you look to bring to this event from your region?
The most important thing in our business is to understand our clients, meet their expectations and give them an unforgettable experience that will last for a life time. As the world is getting smaller, wedding planners are beginning to get clients from different cultures and backgrounds. In order to grow in the wedding planning business, you have to understand different tradition, tastes and also refer to those who have different style and get ready to prepare something different!
I first started my company in my home country Turkey. Through the years, when Istanbul became one of the wedding destinations, I started having clients from Middle East, Iran, Azerbeijan etc. and today our company, KM Events is serving to many different nationalities in Turkey and as well as in UAE. From India to Pakistan, South Africa to Greece, we have learned the different perspectives and traditions from each of our clients and most importantly we learnt to cater to their taste. To sum up, the key to growing is definetly hard work along with the ability to address varying needs of different nationalities within their budget and expectations. This is one of the most important aspect of becoming an international wedding planner and scale your business to different countries. As a Turkish wedding designer and a planner, I am looking forward to introduce the weddings & events to special destinations in our region and share all of my experience with the planners.
3) How or on what basis do you choose to work with vendors?
We are based in Turkey for 23 years now and for all of our weddings and events we have specific vendors that we work with who represent our quality, meet our expectations, know our style of work and most importantly, we trust. Even when we opened our second office in Dubai, UAE last year, we chose our vendors on the same criteria. The most important qualities that we are look for are hard work, high standards and being punctual.
4) What key points do you think the attendees of EWPC in Dubai will take back after the event?
EWPC is a great opportunity to learn and develop yourself and your business as a wedding planner. Here, all of the attendees have the chance to listen to the industry, from experienced planners. Its a great way to share your problems, get professional support and advices and apply the things you have learned, into your business. The conference also provides a huge network to the planners which immensely helps when it comes to destination weddings and international events.