Wedding planners are now big business

Monday, 17 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The sight of harried relatives running around to pull off a flawless, dream wedding is one most Indians are familiar with.

But now that seems set to change with the advent of professional wedding planners, who are slowly gaining popularity in metropolises across the country.

They profess to take care of everything, from the caterer to flowers, a wedding venue, the photographer and more a la Jennifer Lopez in "The Wedding Planner".

Jyoti Bedi entered the profession after she handled her sister's wedding.

"I like the idea of running around and doing chores at weddings and this motivated me to take it up as a profession," said the 24-year-old.

Last year she launched her company, Your Wedding Planner, at Bridal Asia, an exhibition that sells wedding wear and accessories for brides and grooms.

"These days nobody has the time to plan such huge events and sometimes they don't have the knowledge," Bedi told IANS. "For instance, non-resident Indians (NRIs) come to India and have no knowledge about how to manage things."

Wedding planners even help with choosing the style of invitations, accommodation for out of town guests, transportation, gift packaging, music, planning religious ceremonies, honeymoon destinations and the ideal time to wed.

Their main attraction is that they reduce the wedding planning time drastically.

Meeta Kohli, who hired a wedding planner for her son last year, said: "These days children are so fussy. They think their parents are old-timers and don't agree with our opinions, so I decided to get professional help.

"Since my husband does not have the time and I was busy looking after other things, the wedding planner took charge of the whole affair and the marriage was a memorable one. I was quite happy with my decision to hire a planner."

Planning for a wedding can be a strenuous task.

"We sit and talk things out with our clients before we execute any plan. Some come to us six months before the wedding and some come just one month earlier," said Tripti Chaudhary of Shaadionline, a wedding planning firm based in Mumbai.

As most Indian families spend lavishly on marriages, a wedding planner can easily fit into the budget. They can also help people save money.

"Most people think that wedding planners are not affordable but it's not true. We keep adjusting our rates according to our clients' budgets," said Bedi.

It all begins with personal consultation, for which a fee is charged, and the planner just gives details and briefs clients about what to do.

In the production package, the planners take care of all wedding events. They are also present at all functions to ensure that everything goes off smoothly.

Charges range between 30,000 and 40,000 depending on the number of functions. There is also the a la carte service under which a client can opt for the entertainment and decorations alone or help with the gift packaging.

"Most of the time clients come to us for decorations. Theme weddings are becoming popular and people want their weddings to be based on themes like Thai or Dutch. Some want colour themes, which we arrange," Bedi said.

Chaudhary said: "The trend of using wedding planners for Indian weddings started around three years back. In the past year we have handled 60 weddings."

She added: "But people are still not open to the concept of an outsider working on such private affairs."

Housewife Pooja Arya is one such person.

She said: "A wedding planner will increase our expenses. When we can manage these things by ourselves, why hire a wedding planner? Besides, they are complete strangers to the family and will not cater to the needs of each person."

Source: IANS
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