Meet the Wedding Planner Behind Big Fat Indian Weddings
Devika Narain conceptualizes each wedding based on her clients' tastes and their relationship history.
While the grandeur of the Virushka wedding grabbed much attention, the person who remained behind the scenes was Devika Narain. The popular wedding planner believes in the simplicity of weaving an emotion for the couple rather than showcasing a larger-than-life event. Lucknow-based Narain came to Delhi to study literature at Lady Shri Ram College. However, after reading 50 books a year for three years, she became sure that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She interned at various media companies, soon to realize that even that was not meant to be. Scanning through opportunities, she landed up with a job at a wedding planning company. Narain always enjoyed creating personal spaces. She remembers, as a child how she would decorate her home as an experience during the festivals. However, working with the company for close to four-and-half-years she found her true calling. Eventually, she quit the job to start her own venture. In her words, “We create design experiences rather than just packaging it. All our designs have Indian influences and involve working with local craftsmen and artisans closely.” But, she didn’t know anything about running a business. Narain says, “I literally Googled an MBA to properly execute the business.”
Her aim has always been to design a space with a certain amount of consciousness, involving art and craft. On how the past career choices helped her later on, she says, “My literature background helped me immensely because we put in a whole lot of research into everything, almost like the way architects pursue their projects.” The business, however, has grown organically and by word-of-mouth, with the company winning most of their projects through referrals and social media. She says, her Instagram account is her portfolio. She shares, “In fact, my first client came to me on a referral. I spent an entire year working on that wedding.” The first two projects brought 50 percent of the rest of business. “The wedding industry is extremely small. People highly rely on the referrals. Surprisingly, most of the referrals are from people who don’t end up hiring us,” she quips. Devika designs each wedding based on the couple’s taste, their personal and relationship history. She speaks to them together and separately to understand what is meaningful for them to give the wedding an expression. This is what makes each wedding unique and memorable. “Like recently, we did one in Kerala. The bride is based out of San Francisco and the groom is an American. Her mother sells Indian spices. Those were her memories from home. Accordingly, we did an American all white night and also a Bollywood night,” she shares. While speaking about the learnings from the Virushka wedding, she says, even small and personalized weddings can also be exquisite if they are done stylistically.
As a designer, she is now looking forward to a level of scale which can be achieved by next year. Next on her cards would be an extension to interiors and spaces, which she is excited to give a shot. However, her heart remains in weddings, as she says, “The good thing about events is they are short term. Interior design goes on for years. We get to have so much fun and thrill in that short span and every project is drastically different.”
With a team of eight, Narain has conceptualized 50 weddings in the past three years.