From corporate events abroad to fabulous destination weddings, Mumbai-based Sushil Wadhwa’s 12-year-old firm Platinum World Group has now left a footprint in 65 countries, and has touched the lives of close to half a million people collectively. “I’ve lost count of the number of weddings we’ve done,” laughs the dashing managing director of the firm, who also doubles up as emcee and is soon to have his own TV show called Amazing Wedding Destinations.
With the support of his business and life partner Malti, Wadhwa has travelled to over 250 destinations. The group now handles the weddings for some of the biggest families from Mumbai and other cities in India, from planning the entertainment down to the table settings. “Ours is the first company in the industry to get an ISO 9001:2008 Certification for all our processes,” he says, adding, “We leave nothing to chance—there is always a Plan B, C and D in place!”
Having handled both resident and non-resident Indian weddings, Wadhwa has a perspective on the differences: “In my experience, I’ve noticed that NRI couples come with a more practical approach and are more budget-conscious than couples from India. And while India-based couples look at international destinations, NRI couples look to reconnect with their roots in India.” I spoke to him about wedding planning details.
What should one keep in mind when planning a wedding?
First, fix dates and put a rough budget together. Then get in touch with a good wedding planner to identity destinations and venues (since planners normally get preferred rates). Start early as venues get booked out six to 12 months in advance due to limited auspicious dates. Go for new destinations so that your wedding becomes a trendsetter!
What should one look for in a wedding planner?
Go with a wedding planner with a good track record, experience, solid systems and processes, and a good team in place. Wedding planning is not an individual thing but a team effort. A good team ensures a flawless experience.
What is the most important detail to watch out for in every wedding?
Every wedding tends to throw up new challenges! It’s important to get a fix on the number of people and budgets first; it helps you plan the rest of the elements like destination, venue, décor, and entertainment effectively. The one common challenge we face is multiple decision-makers and opinions from different family members. The later the decision is made, the more challenging it is to source the items.
One of Wadhwa’s all-time favourite Indian wedding was for a Mumbai-based business family. The couple met through common friends and family and it was ‘love at first sight’.
PLANNING AND THEME: Jointly decided by the couple with their family, the theme was to be a ‘fairytale wedding in Phuket’. “They give me a lot of freedom to suggest venues, entertainment, theme, and so on.” Everything from the invitation cards, welcome signs, car stickers, event signage was personalized with a monogram created with the couple’s initials.
THE LOCATION: We chose the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa as the hotel for all 300 guests. The wedding was spread over three nights, and every night had a great event, a special entry and seating for the couple, followed by after-parties for the youngsters. RING CEREMONY: The first night was a welcome-dinner-cum-ring-ceremony where we had performers like Thai cultural dancers, Taiko drummers, fire dancers, butterfly dancers in florescent costumes, a Zorb dancer, and (here comes the highlight) an acrobat suspended from a helium balloon who presented ‘rings from Heaven’ for the ‘match made in heaven’.
DAY OF FUN AND DANCE: On the second day, we booked an entire island near Phuket with chartered boats to ferry guests. Polynesian dancers welcomed them with performances. We had water-sports like jet skis and banana boat rides, a rain dance party, and a spa zone. The sangeet function coincided with Valentine’s Day, so we themed it accordingly. WEDDING: For the baraat, we had a decorated elephant for the groom and a long pathway within the hotel for the guests to enjoy the baraat procession. The mandap was a beautiful combination of flowers, crystals, and mirrors just by the sea adding a romantic dream-like setting. Since this was a Gujarati family and had special dietary requirements, we had flown down a team of cooks from India for all the functions.
- Get a fix on the number of people and budgets first.
- Start early as venues get booked out six to 12 months in advance due to limited auspicious dates.
- Go for new destinations so that your wedding becomes a trendsetter!
- Hire a wedding planner with a good track record and a good team in place.
- Avoid having multiple decision-makers; this delays the process.
First published in the July-August 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Bride