Interview with Rahul Kumar, CEO & Founder of Vivaah Celebrations, a Leading Wedding Planning & Management Company in Dubai

Interview with Rahul Kumar, CEO & Founder of Vivaah Celebrations, a Leading Wedding Planning & Management Company in Dubai

In the realm of timeless romance and opulent celebrations, Vivaah Celebrations has been crafting unparalleled narratives of love and luxury on a global stage. Specializing in destination weddings, particularly in the UAE, Vivaah Celebrations has orchestrated weddings in over 23 countries for prestigious families.

Explore the enchanting universe of Vivaah Celebrations as Rahul Kumar, the CEO & Founder, and Maggi Kewlani, COO, uncover the secrets behind their success and the magical stories that have shaped the company into a global leader in destination wedding planning.

From the realms of banking and finance to a world-renowned award-winning wedding planner, Rahul Kumar’s journey was an extraordinary one. Despite hailing from a background in the service sector, with his family deeply rooted in banking, Rahul's trajectory took an unexpected turn. Holding a master's degree in banking and finance, he initially pursued a career as an investment banker with an international bank in the UAE. He recognized the untapped potential in the wedding planning industry. With a desire to create something glamorous and challenging, he founded Vivaah Celebrations eight years ago, setting the stage for a remarkable odyssey that would redefine the destination wedding industry.

Reflecting on Vivaah Celebrations' extensive experience orchestrating weddings in 23 countries, Maggi Kewlani, the dynamic COO, highlights the company's openness to exploring new and diverse destinations. Rahul’s relationships with global tourism boards have helped Vivaah Celebrations expand their reach. Drawing on her international background and proficiency in seven languages, Maggi plays a pivotal role in connecting with couples worldwide. She explains,

“We have traveled the world, we understand, and adapt to different cuisines, different cultures, which helps us connect with couples for multicultural and destination weddings.”

With their extensive selection process, Vivaah hails as the epitome of luxury wedding planning. Maggi says,

“We like to call ourselves the Rolls-Royce of wedding planners because we are very selective. We have a niche. We are very selective in terms of what work we pick up, instead of doing about 40-50 weddings a year, we only do 10 to 12 weddings.”

Personalized Offerings

The company emphasizes selectivity and a commitment to quality over quantity. By only committing to 10 to 12 weddings every year, they ensure each celebration receives undivided attention. Maggi highlights their use of sophisticated tools, including custom timeline sheets and analytical progress reports, setting them apart with a structured and proactive approach. These innovative tools are crafted by Vivaah’s founder, Rahul Kumar. From the initial stages to the grand finale, Vivaah Celebrations guides clients comprehensively. This provides clients with a reassuring experience by anticipating needs and ensuring meticulous planning throughout the entire wedding journey.

The team at Vivaah Celebrations is committed to exceeding the expectations set by their clients. Rahul states,

“We do a little bit extra for our clients to feel comfortable and see that someone is backing them up professionally.”

Rahul recalls a remarkable instance where they went above and beyond for a couple seeking a destination wedding in an unprecedented location. With no specific destination in mind, the couple entrusted Vivaah Celebrations to identify the perfect location. Navigating through iconic venues, the team's meticulous planning culminated in a magical fairy tale wedding at Disneyland Paris, establishing Vivaah Celebrations as the exclusive planner for the first and only destination wedding in this enchanting locale.

This wedding came with a lot of challenges. Some of them were overcoming the cultural and logistical hurdles, including the complexity of explaining the concept to the French and securing the closure of the park for four days. The team also encountered a significant obstacle concerning catering. Given the limitations of theme park cuisine, especially for an Indian wedding, the team explored innovative solutions. The ideas ranged from establishing a satellite kitchen on-site with flown-in chefs to utilizing Disneyland's existing kitchens. However, the final and successful approach involved London-based food preparation, where meals were vacuum-packed and transported through a rigorous three-check process—UK hygiene, French port checks, and a final examination at Disneyland Paris.

Tailored Approach

Vivaah Celebrations ensures a personalized and unique experience for each client. Rahul Kumar underscores the diversity of every family and couple, emphasizing the need to cater not only to the couple but also to their families' varied expectations. He further explains,

“We spend a lot of time with the family and the couple themselves. We try to understand their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses.”

Vivaah rejects a one-size-fits-all approach. The team makes meticulous efforts to understand each family's dynamics, likes, dislikes, and cultural nuances. By spending extensive time with both the couple and their families, Vivaah Celebrations goes beyond the traditional scope of wedding planning.

Rahul says,

“We do not take the same template and pass it on to the other client because their budgets are different, their ethnicities are different, their expectations are different.”

The company ensures a tailored approach to each event, whether a grand showcase wedding with extravagant elements or a more intimate affair focusing on the couple.

Preserving Traditions

Ensuring Vivaah Celebrations remains at the forefront of wedding trends involves a commitment to innovation and cultural sensitivity. According to Maggi, the COO, the company prides itself on being a pioneer, consistently thinking outside the box to deliver unique and modern wedding experiences. She says,

“We are not the type of planners who would cut copy-paste. We build things from scratch. We look at how we can enhance the entire experience and think of creative ideas outside the box.”

With a diverse team of 16 individuals, each hailing from different parts of the world, Vivaah Celebrations draws on a rich tapestry of perspectives. The team includes specialized roles such as a dedicated F&B Manager focusing on culinary aspects and designers who build each wedding from scratch. This approach reflects their dedication to enhancing the overall wedding experience by infusing creative ideas that go beyond conventional boundaries.

Before the contract signing phase, the team invests considerable time in establishing a profound connection with the couple and their families. Maggi recognizes the significance of mutual respect and warmth as the planning journey has a duration of 10 to 12 months. The team ensures a lasting relationship by engaging in one-on-one meetings, in-person discussions, and even flying to the couple's home base.

Rahul Kumar discusses the challenges of preserving traditions while embracing modernity in the South Asian wedding landscape. He says,

“One of the most important key elements when it comes to South Asian weddings is that we do not compromise on the traditions, ethnicities, and the cultures.”

Recognizing that many couples now include modern ideas in weddings globally, Rahul identifies the importance of preserving traditions, ethnicities, and cultures in South Asian weddings. Vivaah Celebrations remains unwavering in upholding the authenticity of rituals such as pheras, haldi, mehndi, vidaai, and baraat. He also understands that a wedding involves three generations, and their sentiments and cultural essence must be respected.

Beyond Awards

Vivaah Celebrations has won many awards and recognitions for its outstanding service in the industry. However, Rahul Kumar humbly expresses that the team does not work for awards but for their passion for creating exceptional weddings. He emphasized the dedication invested in each project, with happiness derived from witnessing clients and their guests delighted after months of meticulous planning. According to Rahul, the ultimate reward is receiving further references and recommendations from satisfied clients for future weddings. He reveals,

“We have stopped participating in award ceremonies in the recent past. Short awards are always welcome, but we don't nominate ourselves because the award business has now commercially become a business.”

Looking ahead, Vivaah Celebrations envisions limitless growth and continuous learning. The team believes that the sky is the limit for their future endeavors. With eight years of experience and a portfolio of diverse and unique weddings, the founder emphasizes the importance of staying hungry and foolish. He also tries to learn from those more accomplished or still aspiring. The strategy involves fusing young talent into the company, recognizing the potential for unique ideas and inspiration from any source.

As Vivaah Celebrations continues its journey, the team remains poised to redefine the art of celebration and create weddings that transcend boundaries, leaving an indelible mark on the world of luxury and bespoke events.

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