World of Weddings aims to revolutionize end-to-end wedding planning by taking it virtual, says founders

 

 

In an exclusive interview with Travel News Digest, Manoj Gopalani and Neha Arora share details of organising The World of Weddings-India’s first virtual wedding fair. 

What prompted you to go ahead with a fully virtual The World of Weddings as opposed to a hybrid event?

The global pandemic has transformed the face of the wedding industry sparking off new trends of getting hitched. With ‘The World of Weddings’, our aim is to revolutionize the planning experience, bringing the right vendors and suppliers all under one roof. Interact and book appointments with industry veterans, choose your trousseau, attend workshops and masterclasses by experts, all of this and more at your fingertips.

The advantage is being able to plan a wedding end-to-end from anywhere with the convenience of your computer or smartphone. You save on time, money and effort while digitally planning your big day. With accelerating change in technology, wedding planners and suppliers have adopted a digital model of connecting with potential brides and grooms via live videos, in-depth telephonic chats or the trusted email.  We have about 45+ partners on board right from fashion, styling, glamour, entertainment, travel & hospitality segment. We are expecting about 2000+ registrations for the event.

While elaborate weddings may maybe an eventuality, we believe that the virtual game with planning will continue to stay on course in the future.

What were some of the challenges and opportunities for organising a virtual wedding fair?

We were initially met with scepticism on the event, especially putting together an entire wedding fair on a virtual platform. However, our knowledge and experience in the event management and wedding planning space is what we believe has worked to our advantage. Having spent several years in the industry, we recognised the need of the hour and were able to not just conceptualise but make the entire experience come alive for our partners

TWOW is a one-stop platform where consumers can meet with the most coveted and sought-after suppliers from the wedding industry giving them a plethora of information from the comfort and safety of their homes. Today, The World of Weddings has some of the most reputed brands from fashion, jewellery, hotels, tourism boards, photographers, planners to entertainment; covering the entire spectrum of the wedding industry. We are also overwhelmed with the response from consumers with over 2000+ registrations. We are certain that our partners and visitors will find value and unlock opportunities at The World of Weddings.

Tell us about why The World of Weddings is unique. Do you think virtual wedding fairs would become the norm in the new normal?

Marriages are made in heaven but a lavish and unforgettable wedding celebration is surely brought to life on Earth. The ideation, planning, curation and several other stages require relevant expertise and hence events like ours, in the current sphere of things, become more important than ever. TWOW is a one-stop platform where consumers can meet with the most coveted and sought-after suppliers from the wedding industry giving them a plethora of information. Be it wedding planners, tourism boards, hotels, decorators, photographers, choreographers, fashion designers, food & beverage experts; The World of Weddings becomes a single market place for all wedding needs and essentials.

TWOW offers a virtual lobby, dedicated auditoriums and immersive galleries that will showcase the likes of fashion designers Masaba Gupta, Nivedita Sabboo, Ritu Kumar and Archana Kochhar and bespoke jewellery labels like Forevermark (Associate Partner), Notandas Jewellers and Farah Khan World. Masterclasses by renowned make-up artists Ojas Rajani and Kajol Paswwan and celebrity stylists Eshaa Amin, Mohit Rai & Aastha Sharma from The Wedding Project. Representing wedding planners will be Horizon W.I.E., VV Weddings and photographers present will be The Wedding Story, Israni Photography and Jodi Clickers.

Hospitality brands like Hyatt (Associate Partner), Minor Group, Shangri-la, Marriott, Sofitel Bahrain and Aamby Valley have been locked in while tourism boards such as Seychelles, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Thailand will mark their presence. Dream Cruises, Asia’s global cruise line will also be showcasing at the fair.

We have also roped in wedding décor stylists Vivaah, DreamzKrraft and SPREE. Entertainment solutions will be represented by Salim – Sulaiman represented by Nirav Thakar, E Positive Entertainment, Exceed Entertainment, BToS, Meet Bros, Red Entertainment and 22nd Avenue. Additionally, Pulp Fiction will offer sustainable solutions and Pink Whistle Man will assist with wedding invitation solutions. Other partners include Soundkraft, Fantasie Chocolates, Networking Now by Shaan Khanna, Drinq, Skin & You and Prana.

At TWOW one will witness engaging panels by some of the industry’s most renowned thought leaders sharing stimulating insights in their area of expertise. The audience will be in for a very special tête-à-tête with musical sensations like Salim Merchant, Darshan Raval, Kanika Kapoor, Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Harmeet Singh of Meet Bros, Sukriti & Prakriti among others. And tying it altogether would be popular hosts anchoring their way through all the action at The World of Weddings.

Let’s talk about destination weddings. What are some of the top destinations doing to woo Indian matchmakers?

With a hope that the travel will begin soon, international boards are ensuring they reach out to as many travel partners and travellers as possible. Right from virtual roadshows to webinars to participating in trade shows these tourism boards are present everywhere.

Digitisation has been paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the shift to remote working, as well as lockdowns around the world, there has been a rapid shift towards digitization, with people increasingly feeling comfortable with a touchless travel experience. Armchair travel experience is the new trend adopted by the boards and is well accepted by the audience.

Similarly, to ensure not to miss out on wedding season 2021, these boards also showcasing the safety rules followed by the hotels and venues at the destination. TWOW is a first of its kind virtual show which will further help these boards to reach out to B2B2C audience at one go.

How do you think the Indian destination wedding market will change in a post-COVID world?

The shift from grandeur to safety is changing the look of post-lockdown weddings. The ‘New Normal’ for celebrating weddings in the post-COVID-19 world is going to be different. People are expected to adhere to safety and social distancing norms. Weddings will be smaller, more intimate, emphasizing strict hygiene standards as well as ensure contactless services. Couples who plan to celebrate their weddings during the latter half of the year will have to consider altering their wedding plans to limit risks and ensure safety.

We expect many couples to tie the knot, however, the way they do it will change. Couples will forego the ‘big fat’ wedding for an intimate, more cautious wedding, adhering to social distancing norms. Most couples who chose factors like weather to choose a destination for their wedding are now ensuring guest experience and safety as the priority. Other measures and preparations like Open-air venue with well-spaced out table arrangements, and minimum-contact buffet services will also top the chart. Moreover, the whole perception of wedding travel will focus on impeccable hygiene standards and adapting to a post-COVID-19 culture.

These weddings may be less lavish, but the focus is on people who matter — the bride, groom and close relatives. In a way, these moments are more special than before.

 

What is the profile of your suppliers? How many domestic and international partners have come on board for the event?

TWOW is a one-stop-shop bringing together the finest players of the wedding industry to not only network but to also have one-on-one interactions with potential clientele. Showcasing the best in class industry suppliers, TWOW addresses the wedding woes of the pandemic by giving consumers direct access to myriad wedding operators and service providers from the comfort of their homes. The integrated 3D platform presents an in-road into engaging with prestigious industry mavens including wedding planners, tourism boards, hotels, décor stylists, photographers, choreographers, fashion designers, food & beverage experts among many others.

Hospitality brands like Hyatt (Associate Partner), Minor Group, Shangri-la, Marriott, Sofitel Bahrain and Aamby Valley have been locked in while tourism boards such as Seychelles, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Thailand will mark their presence. Dream Cruises, Asia’s global cruise line will also be showcasing at the fair.

 

What is the overall sentiment that you have seen so far from wedding suppliers?

2020 has been a year of difference, people have adapted to changing times and constantly finding newer ways to expand and survive.  The industry has slowed down but the enthusiasm is still high. We have seen a great response to The World of Weddings. We are hoping soon or later wedding industry will be in full form.

What do you hope to achieve through the event?

Through TWOW we aim to fill the void we are currently experiencing. It is the perfect platform that brings together everyone in the wedding industry. What sets us apart is the reach of B2B2C. With opportunities to connect not only with brides and grooms, but we have curated a panel of the best in the industry to allow them to connect and collaborate with one another in this 3D immersive platform.

 

Will the World of Weddings platform be open for networking after the event is over, or is it a one-time event?

As mentioned earlier, TWOW will serve as a bridge between prospective clients and the key players in the wedding industry. The aim is to get the audience not only interact but get one of kind experience through expert speak segment, master class or through panels. We are hoping to get bigger and better every year. We will keep adding news aspects to The World of Wedding show.

 

Are more virtual events in tow for 2021? Or, are you planning to do a mix of virtual and physical events?

Our long-term goal is to create a market place of sorts basically an e commerce sight wherein we will get stake holders from the wedding industry to meet potential customers and to meet that we will be doing multiple additions of the world of weddings across the globe targeting the Indian population.