How did you come up with the idea of Wedding Diaries?
There are many stories that we have tried to tell through The India Story (TIS), but there is one integral chapter that we have not touched upon — weddings. I have always wished to include a wedding edit as a part of TIS. However, I realised that the grandeur of the Indian wedding deserves exclusive attention. It gives us immense pleasure to announce this new chapter as a prelude to The India Story.
As a country we celebrate a vast variety of weddings with different kinds of people, but what remains constant through cultures, boundaries and religions is the joy of a new beginning. Our vision for Wedding Diaries is the culmination of everything and everyone that makes a dream wedding happen.
We believe that a wedding should reflect the love and joy of the couple and their families more than anything else, and thus we bring together designers, florists, venues, jewellers to help prepare the couple and families for the most thrilling step of their lives. We are the same team, with renewed passion as we attempt to put together a show that will inspire weddings in a way that stays in memories, like an old photograph found years later somewhere between the pages.
How is it going to be different from The India Story?
The India Story, now, in its fourth edition, brings to Calcutta the very best of what contemporary Indian design has to offer. Wedding Diaries, while retaining the essence of TIS, creates a space that is designed exclusively to showcase the diverse verticals involved in planning the finest Indian weddings. It is different from our December showcase in terms of the selection, scale and ambience.
What will be the highlights at Wedding Diaries?
Some of the top designers will be showcasing for the first time in Calcutta. The best of names including Kalyani Chawla, Umang Hutheesing, Suneet Varma, Malini Ramani, Sanjay Garg, Raj Mahtani and Anu Kaushik will be available to help the brides and grooms get ready for their big day. We have put together a mix of traditional and contemporary clothing as well as accessories. The show will cater to a wide range of ages, tastes and preferences — brides, grooms, their families and friends alike. We have put together a one-stop solution for all bridal needs and have celebrity stylists, make-up and skin specialists and even a cosmetic dentist on board!
How is it going to be different from other wedding exhibitions?
In the grandeur of weddings, the surpluses it creates, especially in terms of food, often go unnoticed. This caught our collective attention while discussing Wedding Diaries and we at Team TIS felt especially driven towards the cause of managing food surplus through a structure that can connect the most affluent to the least affluent. To that end, we have collaborated with Feeding India, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition in the country. They channelise extra food to the people who really need it. It is this idea of a wedding without wastage which remains very close to our heart and sets Wedding Diaries apart from any other show in the country.
TIS is as much about business as it is about hanging out and partying. Will you have the same fun flavour at Wedding Diaries?
Wedding Diaries resonates with the spirit of The India Story, since TIS is beyond an event… it is a celebration! It will most definitely have a fun flavour but one very different from what we will see in December. This time, we have live performances lined up to enhance the ambience and create the perfect mood for our audience. We have also planned a high-tea and dinner (both by invitation only). Besides the special evenings, we have several surprises in store for all visitors including fashion walks and complimentary styling/beauty consultation services. We are also excited about hosting a lucky draw, where one couple will win business class tickets to an Etihad destination of their choice.
Tell us five things a would-be bride should look forward to at Wedding Diaries.
Weddings are not just events, they are stories and memories that tie families together, and the bride is the glue that binds these ties. At Wedding Diaries, we have so much to offer to all our brides-to-be — from fashion to jewellery, food to decor, gifting and anything else you might need to make your wedding dream come true.
What would the event offer to those not shopping for a wedding?
You don’t need to be a bride or groom to enjoy all the indulgences that come along with weddings. There is plenty for everyone at Wedding Diaries. We have a variety of fashion brands who will showcase their festive and resort-wear collections, menswear and quirky accessories like bags, footwear and destination jewellery.
Apart from fashion and accessories, what other add-ons will the event offer?
There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to make weddings come true. The whole idea behind Wedding Diaries is to bring together all of these offerings under one roof. We will have everything from make-up artistes to skincare specialists, caterers to stylists, card designers to luxury lifestyle curators, brands offering gifting solutions, fragrances, chocolates and even art!
What are the highlights going to be in terms of food and beverage?
If there is one thing that is remembered for years after a wedding, it is the food. There is a lot of emotion attached to food in our culture and we at Wedding Diaries want to give it that importance. We hope to tell a story with the food offerings we have — from dessert presentations to fun tea cocktails, street food reimagined to innovative takes on different cuisines. We are also collaborating with Sarita Bazaz from The Food Affairs to bring to you an interesting interpretation of high tea.
Tell us about the look and feel of Wedding Diaries and how you approached the design process.
The new Rashmanch is a perfect space to host an event like Wedding Diaries. The lost grandeur of the colonial past is evoked very well in this space, which in essence emulates the decadent past of the city. The space has a lovely Edwardian conservatory feel to it. It’s perhaps the only banquet in the city which is open to daylight. This gave me some interesting ideas. I wanted to resonate a sense of nostalgia, yet treat it in a contemporary way. I feel an Indian wedding is exactly the same, mitigating our way through the rituals and rites of passages, which have been followed through centuries and yet addressing our present realities, hopes and aspirations. So the scenography addresses both these aspects.
How are you going to play around with the wedding theme through installations?
There will be two entries to Wedding Diaries — one with a heritage look and the other with a contemporary feel. The atrium is being treated as a conservatory with foliage. We are very lucky to get a series of vintage cars from Concourz Motoring, powered by Shrivardhan Kanoria. We have a surprise installation by a special artist, which we will reveal at the venue. So we are evoking the festive wedding feel through a vintage-modern approach.