Jangpura houses a couple of well-established wedding vendors, but you wouldn’t know where to find The Wedding Design Company until a WDC team member sends you a detailed sms with exact directions. I followed their instructions to the T, and finally landed up in front of the “big blue door” mentioned in the message. It’s located on an unassuming narrow lane that doesn’t exactly scream, “address of one of the best wedding planners in the country.”
I knock on the door and having given my name to the guard; I wait for him to come back with instructions. I can’t help but notice the ambience inside the office. It is by no means a large sprawling corporate office, but then again – that’s not what WDC is about either. It’s small, but cosy. An office that has been evidently done up by a woman, someone who is as ethereal as she is elegant. And that’s exactly what Vandana Mohan is. She is the head of WDC, and when I had met her at the Vogue Wedding Show, she was as classy and gracious as you would expect one of the Royals’ to be! She had me at hello. And that pretty much sums up the conversation I had with her anyway 🙂
I’m told to wait in the conference room, and I walk into a room full of flowers! It makes for a very pretty backdrop to an official meeting, I think to myself. I’m just beginning to take in the gorgeousness of the office when Devika, one of the WDC team members, walks in. Dressed in relaxed yet chic work wear, she gives me that big hello I remember her for from the Vogue Wedding Show. After a few minutes of courtesy small talk, we dive into the thing I’m here for – what does The Wedding Design Company do? And how do they do it so well?
What WDC Does
Immediately, her body language changes. From a casual conversation with a young girl, it switches over to passionate conversation about planning the perfect wedding, down to the very last detail. And her passion for what she does is so tangible, I can almost touch it. It’s contagious, really, and soon enough I’m drawn into her anecdotes of how the team went to special craftsmen in Firozabad (who hand blow glass) to create structures according to WDC’s specifications, how they flew in flowers from Holland & China and how they scoured the streets of Benaras to eventually get hundreds of meters of brocade specially woven to fabricate cushions and table linen for a Benaras-themed wedding. With each passing story of how they went that extra mile to give the client what they required, Devika’s eyes light up more. She’s literally on the edge of her own chair while she’s narrating these incidents; she’s that enthusiastic about it. I assume the entire WDC loves their work just as much, as I can see how one would need to be if they are to survive in such a job. The amount of effort it must take to implement the tasks described to me, it’s no wonder they don’t do more than 20 weddings in a year!
They cover it all during a wedding planning process: trousseau shopping, gift selection and packaging, entertainment, coordination with other vendors (such as photographers, videographers, DJs and other artists), food and beverages (catering, menu selection), hospitality (handling the guests and the guest list), venue selection & travel coordination.
What Makes Them Special
Of course, décor is their forte and they know it – they’re not called the Wedding Design Company for nothing. Give them a theme – it can be as vague as “I should feel like I’ve walked into Benaras” to a more concrete “Mughal-theme” – they can do it all for you, and keep it authentic while they’re at it. They’ve actually done the Benaras theme for a wedding, where the entrance was made to look like the Ghats with pundits chanting and welcoming the guests. They’ve gone ahead and gotten custom-made cushions specifically for one wedding, and even gone to the extent of having 1500 napkins hand-embroidered for a guest list of 600. It’s all in the details, and the WDC team says that weddings with larger guest lists are relatively easier to do in terms of decor because it’s the intimate ceremony where the small details call for attention. And it’s these small details that make WDC what they are.
Their team doesn’t just outsource various décor items from other vendors. They have them custom-made for the wedding, and they will go to any lengths to give your theme an authentic feel. This is as real as it gets. In an interview for The Vogue India Wedding Book 2013, Vandana Mohan mentions how “WDC designs weddings from scratch, and with the ultimate level of personalization.” She recalls how they’ve “even specially designed in-flight menus” for one wedding!
The WDC team likens their work to that of The Wedding Filmer. They, too, do a limited number of weddings in a year. Why? Because they can’t possibly do more, what with the amount of time, effort and love that goes into making each wedding as perfect as it can possibly be.
They’ve done a lot of international weddings as well, and you can see that come across in the work they’ve done. Every décor image speaks volumes about the international like-ability of their designs. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve done recently. Don’t forget to close your mouth once you’re done. You will be left gaping.
I got a chance to get Vandana Mohan to answer a few more questions about WDC. Enjoy the interview! And don’t forget to read the end of this post – a little something special is in store for thedelhibride readers!
Q&A with Vandana Mohan
1. Each wedding you plan, especially the way WDC plans it, requires such a tremendous amount of effort. What keeps you going on a daily basis? Green tea, chocolate and that each day there is something new to do!
2. Do you and your team ever take a break where no one’s thinking of wedding planning? I don’t know about them but I never really switch off completely. YES we all have a LIFE…HUSBAND, KIDS, DOG and friends who love me despite me being late for all get togethers! The team takes a break, I insist on it! We all need to.
3. What about a work-life balance? Is it even possible when you plan weddings with such a hands-on approach? One has to because that is what keeps one grounded. We, at work, live in fairyland mostly! It is easy to get carried away and live in a big dream world. Leading a normal life makes one also look at the reality of planning weddings and creating the dreams most people want us to, with a touch of the REAL thing.
4. What’s your favourite destination for a wedding in India? And abroad? In India, my favourite destination is Udaipur (yeah…I know!) Abroad from what I have done, would be Florence.
5. Tell us more about the Florence wedding! It started off with a guest list of 200, which eventually turned into 700! One amusing challenge was having to deal with our marquee vendor who did not speak English, communicating through sign language and my hopelessly inadequate artistic skills and rudimentary drawings was hilarious, before local friends turned merciful saviours in the guise of translators intervened and rescued us. It was distinctly different, from being used to dealing on creatives where communicating directly is the way we’ve always worked. Florence also required all these health and sanitation regulations to be adhered to, and in order to operate on the scale we did was staggering. Another major hurdle was working within the regulatory stipulations surrounding our venues since all the sites were heritage buildings. Work timings of 7 am – 8 pm were also a concept we had to acquire a flavour for, instead of our Indian ethic of work till you drop round the clock 7 am – 7 am, and still it’s a race to the finish. It’s been a real lesson in efficiency, precision and an overwhelming respect for the venue and one’s heritage.
To say it was an amazing and unforgettable experience is an understatement, in the very least! It was an incredible learning exercise and a great confidence booster. The family and my team really engaged in a wonderful, if sometimes chaotic creative process, and a non-stop flow of ideas and concepts, both mad and practical ensued from this collective effort, with venues, colour themes all decided on mutually. The local partners we worked with, whether on coordination (were absolute gems and the epitome of professionalism), our florists and other service providers, were all sourced together. It was a fun collaborative venture that one was ashamed to label as work.
6. Other than décor, which other aspect of a wedding do you think WDC consistently exceeds a client’s expectations in? Without a doubt, hospitality. My team is really very tuned into the small things at a wedding. Handling people is an art and that is the key to successful wedding planning.
I had such a great time talking to WDC, and since they’re obviously wedding planning pros, I’ve roped them in to do a “Ask The Wedding Planner” series with us! Brides, send me all the questions you have always wanted to ask a wedding planner at email@example.com with “Ask The Wedding Planner” in the Subject line and WDC will answer the top questions right here on the blog over the next few weeks.
What are you waiting for? Email us already!