Having made her mark in Bollywood with Chashme Baddoor and Baby, actress Taapsee Pannu, stepped into all new industry. The very talented young lady, who is an engineer by qualification, a model and actress by profession, started a wedding planning company sometime ago along with her sister, Shagun Pannu, and a close friend, Farah Parvaresh. The venture named, The Wedding Factory, organises not just wedding functions, but also events for various other occasions.
And, in an exclusive tête-à-tête, this gorgeous lady revealed everything about this project of hers. Not just that, she also talked about her take on Indian weddings and all the rituals behind that.
Tell us about your company and, your team? And, the idea behind the name- The Wedding Factory?
Taapsee: The Wedding Factory, is the brainchild of three of us, Farah Parvaresh, Shagun Pannu and me. Farah, our Creative Head, has an experience in this industry as she worked in a wedding planning company for a couple of years. Shagun, Business Development Head, has experience in event planning and management, as she worked in a production house in Hyderabad, handling their events. And, I am responsible for the marketing of the company as I have the right contacts to help this company grab the eyeballs.
As far as the name is concerned, we wanted something that is easy to remember and resonates with the essence of wedding. We kept a tag line, “Events And More”, because we want everyone to know that we do not deal with just wedding or wedding related events. We also deal with corporate and other social events.
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How is The Wedding Factory different from the other wedding planning companies that have been around for years? What is your unique style?
Taapsee: Well, I would say- a group of three young girls who have the right experience, contacts and a modern thinking style to gives us an edge over others. We do not call ourselves decorators or planners. We are 'stylers' because we believe in styling each and every event exclusively for each client, giving them a personalised touch. Most importantly, we believe in working backwards from the client's budget. We do not want to burden them with big fat packages. We believe in making them feel stress-free and that can happen only if things are in their budget.
Usually we see Bollywood actors turning towards production or some such related field, but rarely do they move away from their comfort zone. So, what led you to venture in something different?
Taapsee: I always have been a multi-tasking person. Probably, the fact that I am shuttling between three movie industries, makes it evident. But, I wanted to extend my creativity to something that will be independent of my present job. I did not want any string attached between the two, and this work satisfies that requirement. I intentionally never want to get into production. In fact, planning and decorating are the things that I am personally inclined towards. Additionally, I believe wedding is something that neither goes out of fashion nor faces recession. Hence, this choice!
Indian weddings are filled with numerous ceremonies, rituals and celebrations. Which is that one moment (ritual or ceremony or function) that you personally look forward to the most while attending a wedding?
Taapsee: The pheras, an absolutely unique thing in the Indian weddings! So many emotions run through each and every individual who witnesses this ceremony. It is the real changeover for the lives of those two souls who go through this ritual. It always leaves me teary-eyed to see a couple taking pheras.
Tell us a bit about the weddings that you have organised so far.
Taapsee: We have done a couple of social events and wedding functions so far. The most memorable one was Farah's own wedding, which was styled by us. We feel it to be one of our creative best products, and a very easy one on pocket as well. We had a lot of inquiries from there as this business is all about word of mouth, more than any other type of marketing. We already have two weddings confirmed in the upcoming wedding season, and a few under discussion with the clients.
Destination weddings are quite a rage right now; what are your views on the same?
Taapsee: It is the best way to showcase your creativity because it goes much beyond organising particular specific events. Right from the arrival of guests to every moment that they spend at the destination, everything is to be planned and made memorable, which I feel is the biggest test for any wedding planner. Sky is the limit when it comes to planning a destination wedding. We are open to creating and planning a whole new world for the guests lasting up to few days non-stop. It is of utmost creative satisfaction.
According to you, what are the qualities of a good wedding planner? Are you keeping yourself in-tune with the latest wedding trends?
Taapsee: I feel a wedding planner should be a keen observer. We have to be open to very unique ideas and develop an understanding of how to imbibe them in our décor. We do look at others’ work so as to constantly upgrade our standards as per the latest trends.
We feel a good planner should have immense patience and perseverance to listen to the client's requirements, likes and dislikes, etc. So, that should be kept in mind while styling their event. A good wedding planner cannot afford to panic as it is them, on whom the entire family or gathering is relying on for a wonderful experience. Additionally, there is a very thin line between keeping yourself updated and replicating certain décor. One should know how to take care of that aspect as well.
Can we expect the weddings planned by The Wedding Factory to have a Bollywood touch in them? We believe that in India, Bollywood and weddings are quite synonymous, what is your take on that?
Taapsee: Yes, they certainly are! Everyone wants a Yash Chopra, Karan Johar style of wedding. If our client wants a Bollywood touch added to their event, then why not? They surely will get it as Bollywoodish as they want. But, if you ask me for an opinion, I would rather suggest each wedding to have its own flavour than replicating the Bollywood feel to it, which becomes monotonous after a point. Rest, we leave up to our client to take a call.
Which Bollywood couple’s wedding would you like to plan or would have liked to plan?
Taapsee: Why would I want to leave any of them! In fact, the ones who are already married, I would want them to celebrate their anniversary and take the vows again with my company having the honour to plan the whole event. Whoever wants to get married becomes our favourite client. So, there is no one particular couple I insist to have.
Being an actress, you have your main career to focus on already. So, will you be able to give time to your company in any way?
Taapsee: I primarily handle the marketing aspect of it, so it does not have to be date specific. So, when I know I will be busy in my schedule of movies, I will finish my marketing plan beforehand and would not leave it to the last minute. Basically, I do help the company with my contacts, which I know will be helpful. However, I do not assume my presence during execution as I always have prior commitments related to acting.
What is that one thing that only you as the co-founder of The Wedding Factory, will bring to it?
Taapsee: A certain unsaid trust that my clients can put in me. I have a name and image to protect. So, I will do my utmost best to protect it and deliver my best, as one wrong move and it can cost me a lot more. It is not just wedding planning that I am associated with, and I would not want anything wrong to mark my acting career or image. And, my clients understand this pretty well, so they know they will be given nothing less than the best.
What kind of wedding would you love to plan?
Taapsee: Well, I would say, a destination wedding, where we have the freedom to decide the venue and have a couple of days in hand to help the guests have an ‘out of this world’ experience. In the end, all that we want is to make sure their memories of that event will last a lifetime. It is like creating a new world and letting people experience it.
From being an engineer by qualification, to an actor by profession, to a businesswoman now, what next can we expect from you? Too much diversity, is it something you aimed for?
Taapsee: I never planned any of it in my life. It all happened. So, I will leave it up to time to decide what next. But, so far I have my hands way too full to even imagine starting something else. And, I am truly enjoying living these two lives of being an actor and a businesswoman. I am probably one of the lucky few, who could do whatever their heart said, and the brain just helped to make a way through. I am extremely thankful of having a sound degree with me because that really gives me a sense of respect amongst my friends and colleagues. People take me much more seriously when they realise I am an engineer by qualification.
Cliché, but can’t miss asking this one- What are your own wedding plans?
Taapsee: Let me have hundreds and hundreds of people married first, and then we will plan a very exclusive warm wedding for me. Basically, when I know I am ready to marry and start the new phase of my life. I can assure you it is nowhere soon. Right now, others’ wedding interests me more than mine.
For you, weddings are?
Taapsee: A lifetime commitment. Possibly, one of the biggest decision of your life.
What would you prefer to organise- a traditional Indian wedding in India or outside India?
Taapsee: Traditional Indian wedding in India. As a wedding planner, I see it easier and more fruitful to have one in India, if Indian wedding is the theme.
Your ideal destination wedding location?
Taapsee: Anywhere from hill stations in Himachal Pradesh to Kerala's beaches and backwaters! Something as exquisite as Rajasthan can also be memorable.
A big fat Indian wedding or an intimate wedding?
Taapsee: Personally, I would prefer an intimate one. But, as a businesswoman big fat wedding always is a lucrative choice.
Colours that define a perfect Indian wedding for you?
Taapsee: A fusion of Indian pink and turquoise blue with lots of gold.
What makes Indian weddings complete?
Taapsee: The family involvement and combination of big as well as small traditions and rituals that we have around a wedding, are a must for an Indian wedding to feel complete.
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We hope to see Taapsee reaching the top of the game very soon, just the way she has done in the tinsel town!
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