Putting the Ding! in Weddings: Aarti Mattoo, Momentum Group
Accredited with the title of ‘Mother of all Weddings of 2010’ and a perfectionist in planning weddings, Aarti Mattoo, Chairperson, Momentum Group with her versatility and competence has carved herself a niche as a wedding planner. In conversation with Everything Experiential, she speaks about her designs, layouts, ideas, and the depth of her clientele’s pockets.
Q- How did you get into the wedding planning business?
A- Academically, I am an Engineer. My first job happened to be in an advertising company that paved way into the event management fraternity. My event management innings started with companies like Percept D Mark & Wizcraft International Entertainment. A quest for more and the unknown gave way to my entrepreneurship, Momentum Group. Although Momentum has three active verticals of corporate events, Intellectual Properties and Weddings, our designer work in destination weddings has been most awarded and recognized.
Q- How do you get the ideas out of the couple so that they describe to you effectively their vision for the wedding day?
A- Wedding celebrations are usually nothing like the discussion held in the first planning meeting. In a business that is so complex and subjective, no ready format is good enough. For us, indulging in conversations about life, values, tastes and aspirations has always helped us develop an exclusively befitting theme for the couple.
Q- Which has been the most outrageous wedding you have ever planned?
A- Many that come to mind!
• The Cello Group wedding, which won us multiple awards in the industry, including Gold for destination weddings. With 3 cities, 13 functions and 6000 guests, this was a mammoth wedding to deliver. The challenges of working at heritage venues in Jodhpur like Umaid Bhawan Palace, Bal Samand Lake Palace, Mehrangarh Fort, Taj Polo Ground were multiplied by a massive guest list spread amongst 6 hotels. To accommodate such unusual numbers, two reception ceremonies were held. Momentum Group curated designer themes to suit each heritage venue which became the highlight of the wedding. Sonu Nigam, Shadab Faridi, Shiamak Davar, Jai Bhanushali, Malini Awasthi, Mandira Bedi, Ila Arun, 500 folk artists, a military band and a choreographed lawasma for baraat churned the necessary entertainment to the biggest wedding of the season.
• The other wedding that is very close to my heart was for a Mumbai based family for whom we had ferried their 500 guests through chartered planes to Mauritius for 5 days. Lavish thematic decorations and celebrity performances by Mika Singh, Anusha Dandekar, Richa Sharma, Cyrus Brocha, RDB, etc. were part of the grand wedding celebrations at Intercontinental, Mauritius. 5 containers and 125 catering staff from Mumbai were flown into the island a week prior to the wedding. 8 months of pre planning and numerous visits became the talking point amongst Mauritians who had never witnessed a wedding of this scale. The Prime Minister and the tourism minister of Mauritius were the key guests at the wedding.
Q- Domestic wedding or International destination wedding, what is more fun for a planner to organize?
A- For a wedding planner, both are a part of the job. But it is more fun for the guests to be a part of the destination wedding as they take out exclusive time and therefore are in the mood to have fun seriously. The experience of gathering favourite people together and having an extended family vacation out of your wedding is priceless. This helps encourage people to disconnect from normal life and truly enjoy the event.
Q- If you could choose anywhere in the world, what would be your preferred wedding location and why?
A- Greece- Yes, we know this reminds of Greek mythologies and their rich and expansive culture. But, apart from all the Greek Philosophers, Greece provides the perfect setting for a wedding in the May to October season. The freshness of Mediterranean cuisine, local wine collection and of course their traditions. Greece would be the perfect concoction of the royal history and pep modernity. From Mykonos – a 24/7 beach party scene to Create that mixes ancient civilizations, you could take a trip after or before the wedding!
Q- What trends and innovations do you see on the horizon in the wedding industry?
A- With each passing decade Indian weddings are getting grander. Three decades ago people hardly thought about the lavish wedding function that has now become a trend and may be a compulsion. We will continue to see a high degree of personalization, and also a willingness to experiment with traditions. Brides now prefer to wear gowns instead of a traditional saree to their receptions, depict their own love story on their mehendi and leave goody bags for guests in their hotel rooms to cure their hangovers. India has also started adopting a few western traditions, namely bachelor/bachelorette parties, the idea of bridesmaids, and grand wedding cakes. Technology has also taken over the wedding season & so has buying habits. A lot of families & planners alike are coming online to check latest trends in this wedding season.
• Personalized touch in weddings
• Boutique weddings on the rise
• Wedding Planners being ‘must haves’
• Unique/ untouched destinations
• Lavish celebrations for each function
Q- What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to new wedding planners?
A- Each event, I plan, I learn something new. One can never stop learning in this industry. You prepare for all possible situations and the very next client has you stumped yet again. I would tell new planners to be more approachable and flexible. Some people work better with all digital files, some work better with printing every piece of paper off to carry to appointments. Figure out what works for the client and go with it. Patience and restraint. Remember, it’s not your wedding day and although you may do things differently, if your client wants something specific, be sure to deliver to their desires.
Q- Share with us any memorable idea that you've executed?
A- Every single wedding we plan has unique ideas in each and every aspect that has something special and memorable about it. At Momentum, we strive to innovate new concepts for each wedding and our guests have an incredible montage of all the best bits.
Q- What is one thing about the Indian wedding industry that drives you and one aspect that you despise?
A- The fact that drives me is weddings are getting fatter and wilder day by day. The one I despise is Plagiarism.
Q- How deep should be one’s pockets to afford a wedding planned by Aarti Mattoo?
A- Quite deep!
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