We want to put India on the map as a global wedding destination: Prerana Agarwal Saxena, Theme Weavers Designs
Prerana Agarwal Saxena makes dreams come true – dreams of a perfect marriage.
She is the founder of Theme Weavers Designs, a wedding planning and design company established in 2008 with her sister Annushree Agarwal. Before that, she was part of the corporate world and worked hard in banking for four years. But for her, passion was lacking in this profession.
And that realization came to her after a trip back from the Andamans in 2006, when she planned a beach-themed birthday party. Thereafter, she began to organize planned themed events for her loved ones, gaining a great response and ultimately a varied and rich experience from her endeavors. And that’s how his brand was born.
Today, his company is listed in the top 10 luxury wedding planning and design companies in India. In a conversation with SME Futures, she tells us that her company is constantly working to overhaul the tourism and wedding sector, as it has the potential to contribute to the national GVA.
“At Theme Weavers Designs (TWD), we have taken on a semblance of urban and social responsibility. Under the banner of “Weaving Hope”, the non-profit organization created by our company, we aim to stimulate the local economy and systematically serve the disadvantaged. We are also constantly working to initiate a profound overhaul of this sector through tourism. We wish to put India on the map as a global destination wedding venue as a top choice. This can lead to much better growth in the nation’s service and tourism sector,” she said.
How would you describe yourself as a person? Tell us about your family background.
All people are very varied, so much so that they must be described using different words and adjectives. This subjectivity in personal differences can lead to many varied responses from each person. Personally, I would describe myself as eclectic, ambitious and always looking for opportunities to grow and learn.
Additionally, there is a major purpose in my life to uplift the marriage community around the world. In many of my projects and events I have tried to incorporate local arts and crafts to bring the local economy to life. Thus encouraging other craftsmen to continue their work and not to lose their hope and optimism.
My parents were my biggest supporters when it came to starting my own business. I am also from Jodhpur located in Rajasthan. Living and growing up in such a cultural city firmly rooted in the heritage of royal regalia, it seems almost cosmic that it was in my destiny to plan royal weddings – it almost seems like royalty was steeped in my blood. My childhood experiences of having so many parties gave me the solid foundation that allowed me to start my own business.
From childhood parties to celebrations as a professional, how was this entrepreneurial journey for you?
Who doesn’t love a good party? Growing up, I had always seen my parents throw those big punches. From pomp and circumstance to lavish events, these parties had it all. These parties were the perfect place for my sister and I to meet new people. As a child, I always had creative inclinations, and so when I had the opportunity to plan my son’s beach themed party, I saw great success. I felt like I had found my calling. My parents were also extremely supportive of these efforts, and so, it propelled me further into the wedding planning industry and the rest is history!
The journey has been like a roller coaster ride and Theme Weavers Designs has been loved and recognized by various print and digital platforms and mainstream media. They have documented what we do and shared our story with a million readers.
Moreover, all the experiences I have had in my life have ultimately led to my success. My team has always been my strength and so I want to attribute my success to my partner and sister Anushree and my team.
What was the highlight of your work that you will never forget?
The highlight of my career was when I had the chance to work with Yuvraj Shivraj for his wedding, who hails from the culturally rooted city of Jodhpur. Being part of the Rajput Gharana in Jodhpur, the family was able to give me and my company the chance to plan this very royal wedding. This event acted as a huge catalyst for my career by welcoming me and introducing me to the world of royalty.
Being in a male-dominated work environment, what challenges did you face?
Did you know that worldwide there are more than 252 million female entrepreneurs? In my case, I was expected to juggle wife, mother, and CEO while running my business like other female entrepreneurs and that balancing of duties became more difficult over time. But ultimately, I was able to mitigate these challenges through my extensive support network.
An interesting story I would like to share is that of Royal Rendezvous, which I consider to be one of my greatest achievements as an entrepreneur. It is a unique platform developed to showcase the best of India’s rich cultural history, royal heritage and legendary luxury as a compelling proposition for world-class weddings. Deploying immense creative prowess, we transformed a simple idea into a spectacular initiative.
Under the valuable guidance of HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji II, of Marwar Jodhpur, TWD meticulously planned and hosted international and Indian wedding planners, media and other wedding industry professionals for the unveiling of ‘Destination Jodhpur ‘ at the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace.
When TWD embarked on the adventure of starting Royal Rendezvous, we faced many naysayers. However, we were able to overcome these issues and received an overwhelmingly positive response for Royal Rendezvous.
Do you think women’s participation is booming in the event and wedding industry?
The opulent wedding planning industry has many sides and spheres attached to it. Women have the power to multi-task and can change perceptions as they can handle all the nuances of life with increasing ease, making them true superheroes.
Women are capable of balancing various aspects of life, which makes them a great asset in a wedding planning business. Since childhood, almost every woman I have had the pleasure of knowing has had a gift for planning and organizing. Therefore, my opinion is that women have an innate sense of what is aesthetically pleasing and what goes perfectly well with the marriage in question.
People usually join the wedding industry with this passion, and I’ve seen an increasing number of women in this industry take on leadership positions. Women can add to the charm of wedding planning, making it more concise as they steer a tight ship that effectively relegates work to every available resource they have.
At the same time, the industry in which we work is very welcoming, especially for women who wish to pursue a career in it. They have long been known to be family oriented, which makes it easier for people to open up to them.
The events industry has been hit hard during the pandemic, how has TWD fared?
As vaccination mandates are put in place and travel restrictions have been lifted, the wedding industry appears to have resurfaced with equal vigor this season.
TWD has done quite well during the pandemic. Even though the Big Fat Wedding concept was limited during COVID Phases 1 and 2, many people simply chose to get married at home and in their hometown.
We were happy to host such weddings during the pandemic. Additionally, as TWD had already gone digital, we were able to tackle the managerial issues posed by the pandemic.
Tell us how India’s wedding culture has transformed due to the pandemic.
The pandemic has dramatically changed the face of weddings. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is that people are looking for more intimate yet luxurious weddings. Hence, it can be observed that weddings are becoming more and more personal and yet have the perfect touch of royalty and royalty.
Bigger, bolder and more intimate weddings are in season, making destination weddings the perfect option for people, while indirectly uplifting local tourism and artisans as a whole. To put it simply, people look with great interest to Indian destinations, from luxurious wedding destinations like Jodhpur to scenic spots like the backwaters of Kerala. Since one cannot simply take a jet and fly to an international destination; people appreciate local destinations more in our beautiful country.
People are increasingly aware of the importance of a wedding planner. Getting married is supposed to be a time full of fun and joy, and we as wedding planners aim to make things easier for the bride and groom.
Over time, people begin to understand the need of the hour, which is to ensure disinfection and segmentation of wedding venues. Post-pandemic, they want to have a stress-free wedding or event and want to leave the actual planning to the experts.
What is one thing you would like to see change in the Indian events industry?
Although there has been a trend to streamline and plan weddings, the industry also needs to be streamlined.
The wedding planning industry is near perfect, but it lacks transparency when it comes to putting in place ironclad contracts. Therefore, many people are skeptical about an Indian wedding or an Indian destination as many have faced discrepancies between what was promised and what was executed and also been burdened with hidden costs. Due to documentation issues and lack of transparency, many people restricted themselves earlier and some still do now.
However, due to everything going digital now things are looking up and even at TWD everything is accessible digitally with clear contingencies in place.
What advice would you like to give to other women entrepreneurs?
Things can get a little tricky, but always believe that nothing is impossible in the world of entrepreneurship. You just have to keep moving forward and be brave to get what you work for. The crucial thing to keep in mind is that you never know when that big moment will come, so until it does, you have to keep thriving, and you’ll never know until you have not tried. So keep working hard and giving your best, which always makes a big difference.